THE HARBOR BURNS

As explosions rocked the harbor, the blackened sky mirrored the orange and yellow flames consuming the pier. People screeched as the panicked horde surged toward us.

Chapter 6

People strolled the sidewalks beneath the street lamps’ hazy yellow glow. Bright window displays beckoned to visitors as music wafted from the open doorways. Boats rode the soft swells on either side of the long dock, jutting into the dark water. I stood beside Scarlett at the curb, taking a deep breath of the crisp, salty air.

David and Logan exited the parlor, taking positions on either side of us. 

I glanced at Logan, feeling uncomfortable in his presence after the intense interrogation in the ice cream parlor. His haughty mien lifted as he caught my glance, and his gray eyes softened. He nodded to me before turning and heading back to the store.

The ground beneath my feet shook as flames shot to the sky from the moored vessels and ear-shattering explosions cut through the air. Time turned sluggish and unreal, like a movie reel playing in slow motion.

I stood frozen, transfixed by the orange flames sweeping across the wooden planks at the heels of the fleeing pedestrians. Scarlett grabbed my hand as the crowd headed our way, jostling us in their frenzied path. As an intense heat hit our faces, people screamed; sirens shrilled; fire engines pulled alongside the marina. Police cars swarmed the streets.

His face a blotched red, Lively strode from the parlor, puffing. “Take them home and then hurry back,” he shouted to David before rushing across the street with Logan to join the officers arriving at the dock.

“I’ll walk you home.” David snatched my hand, transporting me back to reality. 

I hurried to keep pace with him, the hazy fog clouding my vision cleared. Scarlett strode ahead while Bella hobbled beside us on a broken heel. I glanced back at the burning harbor. “I don’t understand; the advertisements depict Blue Harbor as a peaceful town.”

“It used to be.” David shrugged. “Things have changed.”

“What things?” I asked, but he refused to look at me. “David?”

He faced me. “Maybe you shouldn’t move here.”

“Do you want me to leave?”

“No, then I won’t see you again.” He halted as people rushed around us. “But the town hasn’t been safe for the past few months, and I don’t want you hurt.” David took my hand, and we continued walking.

“Do you believe I’m in danger?”

“I don’t know. I’ve been working with Logan and the chief, but we’ve made no headway.” He checked over his shoulder. “Where’s Bella?”

“I’m here.” Bella emerged from the crowd. “The broken heel is making it difficult to walk.” She removed her shoes and loped toward us barefoot. “That’s better.”

As explosions rocked the harbor, the blackened sky mirrored the orange and yellow flames consuming the pier. People screeched as the panicked horde surged toward us. 

David dropped my hand and looked at me. “I’m sorry. The police need my help; I must go back.” He pushed his way through the throng and headed back to the pier. “Remember to lock your doors,” he yelled over his shoulder before disappearing.

“What’s wrong with this town?” I eyed Bella.

“What isn’t wrong with it?” she replied before stumbling ahead to our building.

Scarlett stood on the front steps, gaze riveted to the burning harbor, her arms wrapped around her shivering body.

Bella unlocked the front door, and we trailed behind her into the dark hallway.

“Are you going to explain this creepy town to us?” Scarlett stepped in front of Bella.

Bella hit the light switch. “No, and don’t shut the hall lights. Tomorrow, I’ll explain the town’s strange history.” She rushed into her apartment, throwing the bolt on the door.

MEET ME IN MAINE

Book Review

From the start I couldn’t stop reading. The characters were fun and believable. The setting is fabulous. A small town on Maine’s coast led the way for the paranormal fun that ensued. The action was nonstop and I enjoyed the creativity in how some of the death’s occurred. I caught myself laughing while thinking yuck.
This book is far more than a cozy mystery and in a similar fashion to The Dead Game series its filled with all types of elements that make me anxious for the next book in the series. I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves paranormal and/or mystery.

MELTING DESSERTS

Silhouette of a man behind a frozen glass

As the desserts melt, Chief Lively questions the witnesses of the bloody crime.

MEET ME IN MAINE

CHAPTER 5

The blood congealing in the chalk outline made my stomach queasy. Jonathan and Eric stood behind the counter, their faces pale, ice cream dripping from the sides of the banana split dish. Colorful dessert melted in the deserted dishes on the tables and the cones that had fallen to the sparkling white floor. 

“Elizabeth.” David rushed to me. “What are you doing here?”

“We were ordering ice cream when the man collapsed.” I shivered.

David pulled me into his arms and whispered, “I’m sorry you witnessed this,” as he rested his chin on my head.

“You know her?” Logan’s deep voice rumbled behind me.

“Have you met Logan?” David stepped back, staring at me, his hands gripping my shoulders.

“I met both of you today.”

“Nice,” the chief said. “You come to Blue Harbor and meet two of my men… how convenient.”

“What are you suggesting?” David glared at Lively.

“I’m not suggesting but pointing to the fact these two women have insinuated themselves into our town on their first day.”

“A coincidence.” David focused his stare on Logan. “How did you meet?”

Logan raked long fingers through his thick hair. “Bella was showing them the town when I bumped into them… a coincidence.”

“We’re full of coincidences today.” The chief paced the room, sidestepping the crime scene outline. “And now, we have a dead body.” He pointed to the thick mass of blood.

“How does this relate to us?” I asked.

“It could be nothing.” Lively scowled. “Or could be everything.” A strange light shone in his dark eyes.

“Stop with the macho act.” Logan marched to the chief, jabbing a finger at his chest. “They’re new to our town.”

The chief stepped back. “Okay, big boy, no need to argue. I’m doing my job.”

“So, do it, and don’t harass the women.” Logan took a deep breath before approaching us and turning his face from Lively. “Ladies, please have a seat. We have a few questions.”

“Sure,” the chief mumbled behind Logan’s back. “Do my job for me.”

David led me to a table, taking a position behind my chair, while Bella and Scarlett took seats on either side of me.

With a stern expression on his face, Logan halted in front of Scarlett. “Did the shop appear unusual before the man entered?”

Scarlett cleared her throat. “I don’t know what’s unusual for this town since I just arrived.”

“You know what I mean.” Logan lowered his face near hers.

“I was trying to lighten the mood.” Scarlett averted her face. “No. I saw nothing strange.”

“Did you?” Logan directed his sharp gaze at me.

I shook my head.

When he glanced at Bella, she mouthed, “No.”

“Okay, let’s try this.” Logan circled the table before standing in front of Scarlett, his hands on his hips. “What do you remember?”

Scarlett squirmed in her seat. “The man ran into the store, blood gushing from his neck. He said, ‘they’re back,’ and then collapsed.”

“Nothing else?”

She shook her head. “Nothing else.”

“Elizabeth?” He faced me.

David’s fingers tightened on my shoulders as I replied, “I remember the same.”

Logan swiveled his head to Bella. “I take it you have nothing to add.”

“There’s nothing to add.” Her face reddening, Bella came to her feet. “He walked into the store and bled to death.”

“Did you recognize him?”

We shook our heads in unison.

Logan directed his icy glare at me. “Why did you choose this week to visit Blue Harbor?”

“What do you mean?” I squinted at him, confused.

“Most people visit our town during the summer and leave after Labor Day.” Logan tilted his head, watching me. “Why are you visiting after the season?”

“We’re not visiting.” Scarlett rushed to her feet, her voice rising in tone. “We’ve moved here.”

Logan spun to her. “You’re staying?”

“Why is that so strange?”

David replied, “It’s unusual because we didn’t hear of your arrival.”

Scarlett shoved her hands on her hips. “We didn’t arrive with a parade and horns blaring.”

David gave her a sullen look.

The chief grunted. “I don’t enjoy surprises.”

“I didn’t think we were an unpleasant surprise,” I said.

“You’re a pleasant surprise.” David patted my shoulder.

“We had nothing to do with the man’s death,” Bella said. “Let us go home.”

Logan frowned at Bella. “Thank you, women. You can leave.” He strode to the door and held it open for us.

DARK PARADISE

A more beautiful place cannot be,

It faces the waves of the dark sea.

White sand and quiet beaches galore,

You can’t ask for anything more.

Life is perfect as can be.

Come and frolic with me.

Tourists visit from far and wide.

Oasis is Florida’s pride.

Beware when The Dead descend.

We can no longer pretend

This is a perfect place to be

As The Dead rise up from the sea.

Darkness brings flying creatures and death.

Beware that this won’t be your last breath.

THE DEAD GAME

by Susanne Leist

ARE YOU READY FOR THE NEXT CHAPTER?

Chapter 4

A bleeding man. Fleeing customers. This isn’t what our heroines expected in Blue Harbor, Maine.

Screaming customers shoved past us, stepping over the bleeding man and rushing from the shop. Soon, the store was empty except for Jonathan, Eric, and us. Bella sat frozen on a stool, her hazel eyes round as saucers. Scarlett backed away until her back hit a pink booth. I shivered as I watched the blood spread around the body and across the white-tiled floor.

Jonathan jumped over the counter and raced to the young man dying on his floor. He yelled over his shoulder, “Call an ambulance.” 

“I will.” Bella fumbled with her handbag. “What should I tell the police?”

“He’s bleeding to death,” Scarlett said, her face white from shock.

“They cut his throat.” Jonathan came to his feet, staring at his bloody hands. “It’s too late.”

“They?” I asked with a squeak.

“I called the police,” Bella said.

Jonathan withdrew a cloth from behind the counter and wiped his hands. With a grim expression, he turned to us. “You can leave; I’ll answer the police’s questions.” He looked at Eric, who stood beside the counter, his skinny body quivering. “You too.”

“The man said ‘they’re back.’” I faced Jonathan. “Who are they?”

Icy blue eyes glared into mine. “I don’t know.” Jonathan averted his face, rubbing at his red-stained hands with the blood-soaked cloth.

“Let’s go.” Bella grabbed my arm. “We’ll get in the way.”

I followed Bella and Scarlett from the shop. The sun had set, leaving behind dark and deserted streets. I didn’t hear any sounds until a stretcher and officers rushed past us. Then the wail of sirens and shouts of police bombarded my eardrums, a veil lifting to show the ugly truth.

“Move, lady,” an officer yelled in my ear.

Scarlett yanked my arm, pulling me across the street. Bella joined us as we watched the paramedics and police swarm into the pink parlor, a white van labeled The Coroner’s Office pulling in front. A man ran into the store with a black bag clutched in his hand. Once the sirens quieted, people emerged on the streets, but no one dared to approach Jonathan’s shop. 

“Look.” Scarlett pointed at David, who rounded the corner and strode to the parlor. He opened the door and hurried into the shop. “What is he doing here?”

“He works with the police,” Bella replied.

“But he’s a lawyer.” I gaped at Bella. 

She shrugged. “A smart lawyer who knows how to fight crime. As an ex-marine, he’s handy with a firearm.”

“Oh, no.” Scarlett touched my arm.

I followed her gaze to the tall man opening the shop’s hot-pink door. “Don’t tell me Logan also works for the police.” I frowned at Bella.

“Okay, I won’t tell you.”

“Spill it.” Scarlett grabbed Bella’s arm.

Bella shrugged Scarlett’s hand from her arm. “Logan owns an investment firm, but he helps the police on occasion.”

“No way.” Scarlett shook her head. “Is he an ex-marine like David?”

She averted her face. “Logan wasn’t a marine but a Navy Seal.”

Scarlett shot me a look, and we kept silent.

The pink door opened. Two police officers carried a stretcher, the body covered by a sheet, and loaded it into the coroner’s van. A heavy-set man, wearing a blue uniform, stepped from the doorway, scowling at the people crowding the sidewalks. 

“The chief of police,” Bella said. “Ryan Lively.”

“He’s focusing his beady eyes on us.” Scarlett stepped back from the curb. “We should head home.”

“I agree.” Bella shivered. “He gives me the creeps.”

The police chief marched across the street. 

“Too late,” Scarlett whispered. 

The chief halted a few feet from us, his short, stocky body blocking our escape. “Hello, Bella Fox. We meet again.”

I turned to Bella, who stood frozen like a deer caught in headlights.

“And who are you?” Black eyes stared at us from a beefy face. 

“I’m Elizabeth Reading.” I nodded at Scarlett. “This is Scarlett Harding.”

“I was told you were present at the scene.”

“We were ordering ice cream,” I replied.

“Is that so?” His thin lips curled. 

I didn’t answer. Ryan Lively didn’t appear to be a friendly, small-town cop, and I wasn’t offering information unless asked.

“What do you want from us?” Bella yielded first. “We witnessed a man bleeding to death on the floor.”

His bushy eyebrows met in a straight line. “Don’t be difficult, Bella Fox.” He swiped a hand through his short gray hair. “Not as last time.”

“Last time?” Scarlett asked before clamping her mouth shut at the chief’s scowl.

“There’s always trouble in Blue Harbor,” Bella replied.

“Keep your opinions to yourself.” Lively swung his back to Bella, turning his attention to us. “Join me at the scene.” He glanced over his shoulder at Bella. “You too.” The chief strode across the street, the crowd parting as we followed him into the ice cream parlor.

WHERE ANGELS FEAR TO DWELL

Beneath the earth, we venture,

not knowing what we may find.

Will the dungeon lead us to hell,

where angels fear to dwell?

And therein lies a maiden.

Her lips are ruby red.

Her eyelids flutter open,

Even though she’s quite dead.

THE DEAD GAME

PREY FOR THE DEAD

I’m over here.

I can smell your fear.

You won’t be alone.

I can hear your moan.

I’ll be rising soon

On the next full moon.

I’ll rise from down under

On lightning and thunder.

You will not recognize me.

I’ll be different you see.

My new body is strong.

Now, do not get me wrong.

I still love you, my dear.

Of that, please have no fear.

SHADOWS FILL MY ROOM

Shadows fill my room.

I’m going to swoon.

It looks like a woman.

But not at all human.

The town is scary.

It’s getting hairy.

Florida isn’t all fun.

Not a walk in the hot sun.

THE DEAD GAME

http://amzn.to/1lKvMrP http://bit.ly/1lFdqNj

FOLLOW THE PATH

areyou-stillawake

Demonic (2015)

Light the path

through the woods,

where many have gone.

Follow the puffs of smoke

to the end of the trail,

where many have gone.

Climb the broken steps

to the deserted house,

where many have gone.

Descend the staircase

to the dark basement,

where many have gone.

Face the row of doors

on the opposite wall,

where many have gone.

Open the wrong door

to the caged tigers,

where many have disappeared.

THE DEAD GAME