Whisper Cove Book #3
March 17th, 2015
In the haunted town of Whisper Cove, who can be trusted? Detective Thomas Jayme is a single father seeking a stable life for his little girl. Unfortunately, three things complicate his life: the spirits of dead townspeople who are out to fulfill an age-old curse, a cold case involving a woman’s death, and the appearance of a beautiful woman who might know something about both.
Chelsea Wright, a newcomer to Whisper Cove, is determined to keep to herself and spend time with her fourteen-year-old son before he leaves home for a year-long trip. But when Chelsea learns she might know the identity of the murdered woman, she strikes a deal with Thomas: she’ll take care of his daughter if he’ll help her uncover the connection between her and the cold case. As Thomas and Chelsea work to solve both his haunted past and her uncertain future, unknown evil threatens their lives. Will they solve the murder, save lives, and fulfill the promise of a smoldering love before it’s too late?
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At the edge of the open seaside cavern, Chelsea Wright stared up at the bluffs where Detective Thomas Jayme gazed down at her from inside his SUV. Still shaking, she pushed back her tears. She couldn’t lose the awful vision of the dead woman from her mind. Or the woman’s spirit that hovered before her.
“Mom, I want to go back to Safe Haven. Back home.”
At hearing her son, Daniel’s voice, she pushed a smile onto her face. A month ago, she’d given in to the ethereal pull of Whisper Cove and said goodbye to Safe Haven. Whisper Cove was supposed to be a place to call home. The scent of the Pacific still warmed her inside, the surf still beat steady. The sea should have helped to clear her mind. But the lifelike spirit and the mummified body remained in clear view.
A storage trunk had been converted into a makeshift coffin. Against the cave’s far edge, stacked in neat rows and resting on raised pallets, several unmarked crates butted against the rough walls. The acrid air pressed against her lungs, weighted and bitter on her tongue. The remains lay preserved enough to reveal the woman’s formal position, her floral dress fanned out at her calves. The scarf at her neck was tied into a pretty bow. Her shoulder-length hair was brushed back. Even the inside of the trunk was lined in a satin cloth. Why had someone hid a body with such care? How had the woman died, and what was her name?
“When will the detective release us?”
She squeezed Daniel’s arm. “Only a little bit longer, then we can leave.”
Almost fifteen, he groaned. “This place gives me the creeps.”
Chelsea’s skin dotted with goosebumps, and she ran a hand down both arms. Why couldn’t Chelsea resist the pull back to Whisper Cove and this cave? Had she made a mistake in looking for a place to call home?
“You can see me?” The spirit circled in a thin mist. “Hear me?”
Chelsea tracked the spirit from the cave with her gaze and gave a subtle nod. She had known the risk of returning here—and had caught glimpses of moving shadows when shadows don’t move. Even now, she protected Daniel from knowing about her past, and certain things a mother does not share with their child. But how much longer could she keep secret her ability to see the dead when the dead woman’s spirit orbited and looked at Chelsea for answers she did not know.
“I want to get out of here.” Daniel gripped her arm, then let his hand slide.
Responding to the tremor in his voice, she knelt beside him. A blush had returned to his pale face. But his hazel eyes were wide, and he darted his gaze toward the cavern’s opening.
“I know, sweetie.” She pushed back his dark-brown bangs and lifted her gaze to the bluffs. “Detective Jayme needs to take our statement. Then we can go.”
The SUV passenger door swung wide and for good reason. Thomas was Daniel’s height, around six foot, but that’s where the comparison ended. The man’s physique had broad shoulders that whittled to a thin waist then bulked up at the hips and thighs.
A surge of warmth toasted through her tummy, and she shuddered then rolled her eyes at the ridiculous reaction. She chalked up her body’s response to seeing any man who held the answers to solving the case and freeing the spirit.
“Mom, what’s he doing up there?”
The detective leaned inside and withdrew a baby that wore a pink bubble jacket and a matching beanie.
“Cripes. If I’ve told him…” From behind, fifty-something year old Detective Crandall ascended the steep embankment with little effort. Head shaved to reveal the figure-eight pattern balding, he used the rocks as leverage to hoist himself step by step and engaged a thick cough once he was topside.
A motorcycle pulled alongside Detective Jayme’s SUV. A clear discussion occurred between the three men, and then the new arrival climbed into the SUV with the baby. After a few minutes, the vehicle drove away.
Perched on the bluff, with the elder man’s back to her, Thomas nodded repeatedly at what appeared to be his supervisor’s disapproval of the baby and someone other than the detective driving the county-owned vehicle. However, even as the elder stabbed his hands into the air beside him, Thomas stared. Right at her. Arms crossed.
“Help me.” Nothing but the spirit’s voice rippled through the air.
Tingles blanketed Chelsea’s skin, and she glanced in the direction of the sound and stepped away from Daniel. When she was out of hearing range, she asked, “What happened to you?”
Hovering, the spirit wavered, her wispy hair floated about her shoulders. “I don’t know.”
“Do you remember your name? Anything about your life?”
Wild eyes, the color of storm clouds, widened. “I’m in trouble. He’s coming.”
“Who’s coming?” Electricity pulsed in the air, and Chelsea hugged her arms close to her body. She recalled the first time she’d gazed at faces and forms rising up from the fog…
A whirlwind whipped against the bluff and pushed dried reeds into the air. “I-I don’t know. He’s here. You have to hide.”
“Hide…” Chelsea glanced around and narrowed her gaze to the mission church not a quarter mile from where she stood. Near the dark cave opening, several men surveyed the site, two more on the bluff. The last time she’d visited, she’d been hiding…
Thomas sidestepped the older man and cocked his head, as if seeing not only her but the spirit that hovered at her side. Was he like her? If he could see the spirit, he hadn’t reacted much. If he could hear the voice, he remained impassive, his facial muscles and the angle of his head did not give away his gift… Still, she stared and wanted to know him. “Is the detective like me? Can he help you?” A feather-soft touch tickled down her arm from the spirits proximity.
“He can, but he needs you to help him see.”
Help him see… Chelsea pinched her eyes and tried to sharpen her focus on Thomas. She wasn’t an investigator. Knew nothing about spirits other than their existence. Nothing about helping to solve a mystery. “I want to help you, but I don’t know how.”
The spirit rose like a leaf caught by the gust then suddenly the older man turned and headed down the hillside. There beside Thomas stood another spirit. Her dark hair flowed across strong, young shoulders of the newly deceased.
“Another,” the spirit whispered. “She’s the reason why…”
Why? Chelsea stumbled backward and watched as Thomas jolted. “How can that be?” she murmured. “I can’t be involved in helping two spirits find peace. I have to focus on Daniel, on making a home.”
The spirit’s lips moved as did her hands that tugged at Thomas’s jacket, having little effect on moving the detective toward where Chelsea stood.
“Go to him.” The spirit darted around Chelsea leaving a vaporous trail.
Along with waves that rolled onto the shore, a tumble of knotted worry settled inside, making Chelsea shiver. Other people stumbled on raised sidewalks. She stumbled on bodies and spirits. She wanted to help the spirits—it was in her nature to be helpful, but what could she really do?
Chelsea glanced at Daniel.
He sat near the water’s edge, throwing pebbles in the tide pools.
The detective would expect Chelsea to answers questions about her findings, maybe provide some personal information. All normal questions for a detective, and then he’d focus on the case. “The detective can help you. It’s what he does.”
“No.” The spirit darted to Thomas, spiraled around him, and then darted back to Chelsea. “It’s you. You’re the one. He wants to talk to you.”
Holding the spirit’s chilly stare, Chelsea shivered. “What makes you think I know? The person who did this could be anyone. Living. Dead. Trapped as you are.” The moment the harsh worlds rushed out, she lowered her head. “I’m sorry. I want to help, I just don’t know how.”
The spirit pinched her lips, and then her gaze lowered. Where the spirit had hair, she pulled but instead only dissipated. Finally, her gaze settled on the bluff and her lips parted—
She screamed, the tone piercing.
Covering her ears, Chelsea swayed, her temples pounding with an instant stabbing pain. “Stop. Stop!” She clawed at the air, and spun in clumsy circles, as if battling a flock of birds.
Thick arms wrapped around her. Green eyes pierced her gaze. Soft bangs fell forward. “Chelsea. Ms. Wright. I’ve got you.”
Electricity sizzled between them. A thick fog rose from the ground. Voices rumbled in the air, but the detective didn’t let go.
“I can hear them.” He twisted his gaze in all directions, stopping only briefly to look at the appearing faces that grew out of the fog. “Because of you.”
She shoved him back and shook off the buzz that razored up her arms. Memories of the past pelted her mind—her mother’s disappearance, the shock of abandonment that had stole her memories of that day and what had transpired, her husband’s death. Now, spirits all around. “Get away. I can’t help you.”
“Mom!” Daniel called behind her.
From over her shoulder, she heard his sloshing footprints though the tide pools. “I have to focus on my son. The living.”
“Chelsea, with you, I can see and hear them all. What did the spirit say? Does she know her name? Why her body was hidden?”
“She-she doesn’t’ know anything. I-I can’t risk…” There was hitch in her throat and a risk in knowing the truth behind her mother’s disappearance. Behind her husband’s death. Behind exposing the fact she could speak with the dead. “Leave me alone. I’m not ready.”
“You are. You’re here. Together, we can solve this case. You want that right. You want to be free.”
Biting back tears, she covered her mouth.
Daniel gripped her arm and glared at Thomas. “Mom, what’s going on?”
She twisted and hugged Daniel’s warmth, his life. He was growing up right before her. She wanted to tell him two spirits would need her help. That possibly she alone, and she didn’t know what that would involve, would have demands placed on her that would draw away her attention when she wanted nothing more than to scoop Daniel into her arms and hide. “Losing again. Risking everything…” She pushed back the hair from her eyes and stared at Thomas. She’d tried to find her husband’s spirit. Had meditated until all she’d found was lost time, and pain, and Daniel to have aged by a full year. No. She’d never again search for a spirit who didn’t want to be found. “That’s what I’m afraid of.”
“As you should be, Chelsea. As we all should be.”
Thomas’s weighty voice matched the pillar strength contained within him.
Whether she was ready to admit that she, too, was ensnared in his investigation made no difference. All Founding Families of Whisper Cove were linked, living and in spirit. She’d moved to Whisper Cove, her birthplace. Calling another place home or fleeing wasn’t an option.
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Jake Mitchell is a neurologist who doesn't trust what can't be explained. That is, until he moves to the rumor-haunted town of Whisper Cove and meets a beautiful nurse named Faith Cabrillo. When Faith awakens Jake's sixth sense that defies science, he's thrown into a world of passion, spirits, and a centuries-old lovers’ curse that can never be broken...
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Sweet, Sexy Always Satisfying
If you love a tale with courageous heroes and heroines, where their unconditional love for each other gives them strength to defeat their inner demons, Cyndi Faria invites you to enter the pages of her romances and find happily ever after.
An engineer turned romance writer whose craving for structure is satisfied by plotting heartwarming contemporary and compelling paranormal romance stories with a dash of mystery and a touch of American folklore, “Cyndi Faria writes with passion and her stories touch the heart” –New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Virna DePaul.
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The series continues on October 27th, 2015 with SPIRIT RETURNED!
Mason & Katrina’s story