Monday, November 12, 2012

Hidden Salem Book Tour ~ Review and Excerpt of Chapter One

Welcome to my stop on the Hidden Salem book tour. Brought to you by Bewitching Book Tours. Here you can read a synopsis of the book, First Chapter ,Giveaway, and book trailer and my Review! I also have a bio of author Kiki Howel. 

Hidden Salem

Kiki Howell

Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Romantic Suspense

Publisher: Mitchell Morris Publishing Inc
ISBN: 9781937629281

Number of pages: 332

Book Description: 

Intuition alone brought Makayla to Salem, Ma in search of a story, but her research has her confronting more than she bargained for. With her empathic gifts stronger in Witch City, she physically suffers, landing her literally unconscious in the arms of both Noah Ayers, local cop and Dylan Baines, local history teacher. Yet, it is Lauri, a witch who owns a local shop, who teaches Makayla about who she is and what she can do.Unfortunately for all of them, Makayla also stumbles upon a coven in the woods practicing a dark magic ritual. Now they are after her, threatening her life and the lives of those she has quickly come to care about. Immersed in things she never expected, like an old legend and necromancy due to residual hauntings, the race is on to stay safe from the coven and protect her heart from a certain sexy cop.But, is Lauri correct in thinking Makayla might just have encountered the only real witch in Salem in 1692? And, do they share the same bloodline? 

“Richly vivid and captivatingly engrossing, Hidden Salem is a mesmerizing tale that blends an eerie historical past with a rather terrifying present. Kiki Howell brings the fascination of the witches of Salem - both past and present - to a brilliant level, adding liberal doses of sensuous love, suspense and murder to provide a hard-to-put-down, provocative and memorable story that you don't want to miss.”  ~ April Pohren, Cafe of Dreams Book Reviews
 “Kiki Howell spins a tale that will bewitch your heart and leave you wanting more.” ~ Misty Rayburn - Top Shelf Book Reviews
" I really enjoyed reading Hidden Salem. You see a lot of books about the Salem Witch Hunt. This one is really different and I just really loved the characters and how they interact with each other. I enjoyed this paranormal. Had the right amount of suspense and love interest. " ~Crystal, Romancing the Book

About the Author:
Ever since she was young, Kiki Howell has loved to listen to a well-woven tale with real characters, inspired plots, and delightful resolutions. Kiki could spend hours lost in a book, and soon she knew that creating lives, loves, and losses with just words had to be the greatest thing that she could do. To that end, she pursued her study of literature and writing, earning a bachelor’s degree in English. She then followed in a Master’s program in Creative Writing. She has now had over thirty stories published between eleven different publishers.  She could not be more thrilled or grateful to see her creations polished and out in the real world. In May, 2011, Kiki was chosen as an Ohioana Book Festival author for her novel, Torn Asunder.

My Review:

This was an exciting book. I love books with witches and powers in them, and this one sure did. It was right to excitement within the first 20%. We get a hot cop, a dreamy history teacher, and an evil cult who is after Makayla after she seen them performing an evil ritual. It’s all there, all kinds of excitement.

I was not expecting to like Makayla as much as I did, but I do. I found her to be so strong, mentally. I could not imagine how hard being an empath would be. And to feel the feelings others have for you even, would be hard. But to me the hardest part would be feeling the feelings of the residual ghost, or energy of long dead people. When she arrives in Salem, she finds a very strong connection with a spirit, while by the water, Mary, and she finds out later, that she is an ancestor of hers. Meaning she is connected to Salem, and it is why her “gift” is so much stronger there.

I really fell for Noah, what a sexy cop he is, and loved how they met. Her, practically falling into his arms, after a very strong vision. I loved it.

Laurie is awesome, I love how when they first met that Laurie could pretty much read Makayla’s mind. She is a fun character, and loved her, and a true Salem witch.

Dylan, I felt bad for, seems to be a great guy, and was hurt protecting her, and it’s nice she was able to share her secret with him. He is a great help to her on her research of Salem, as he is a history buff, and a teacher too.

I won’t say a lot more, so to leave you with the mystery. It’s a wonderful story, I love the whole background we get of Salem, it’s really fascinating to me. I devoured this book in one sitting just about. I just could not put it down.

I encourage you to give this book a chance. If you like any books about magic, and the paranormal, you will love this. It’s written really well, and easy to read.

5 out for 5 stars for me.

I was provided this book from Bewitching Book Tours for the book tour and my honest review.

Did you like my review? If so, I would love for you to mark my review at Amazon as Helpful, here, thanks. And/Or you could Like my review at Goodreads Here. Thanks so much.

Hidden Salem Excerpt
Chapter One
By Kiki Howel

In the outer edges of my vision, the cloudless sky became as dark
as night. A shroud of fog descended, an image only I could see, I
knew, but for a moment blocked my present reality. Despite the
sunlight that warmed my shoulders, shadows of rainclouds filled the
sky. The juxtaposition between today’s reality and the glimpse I
caught of the past were like a thousand icy fingers tapping down my
I’d stumbled upon another piece of residual energy stuck in the
earth, what some would call a place memory . Thus, a scene from the
past played itself out for me. This was nothing new. I’d long ago come
to terms with the fact that I was different. I’d not asked for these gifts,
if a person wanted to refer to them as such. I managed to live with the
fact I was an Empath. With living people, that was one thing, but I
often had to deal with the emotions of the past of the deadas well.
Though the smells of brine and salt water still came with each
breeze, the picturesque scene of Pickering Wharf blurred, changed
shape before me. I’d longed to see Salem’s gateway to the sea, without
any reason as to the strong yearning. Now, here I stood on the harbor
in the year of 2011, but it looked like something straight out of a
history book. I witnessed the place in both its present time and the
way it appeared many years ago. The misty view of the past flickered
before the real time images in front of me. I squinted, cocked my
head, but I couldn’t make the scenery look as it had a minute ago. The
edges of mud and rock along the water were no longer as formed by
the elements. Instead, it expanded in spots, presented itself as it had
once looked long ago, as if centuries of erosion had never happened.
A ghostly aberration of a woman, not of this time, appeared
before me. My heart skipped a beat. She stood between the shoreline
and me. Dense, pelting rain soaked her hair. I trembled against the
thickness of the air. Her dress, a Puritan brown, clung heavily to her
body. Yet I knew, as if we were the same person, more than material
weighed her down. She hugged her flat stomach, arms wrapped in a
protective squeeze.
The ghost-like image glanced back at a large, spectral ship. The
old seaworthy vessel fluttered into my field of vision as quickly as it
dissipated into the ether. The clanging of its bell marked its arrival
and its departure. As if she’d been spooked by the same apparition,
she took off on a run. My muscles jumped to do the same, but I
tensed, defiant in my stance, frozen in place.
The woman was not a ghost, though. This I knew from research.
I’d read books in secret, so no one would know the secret of my gifts.
I tried hard to appear normal more than any other thing I did in my
life. If people were aware of what I could see and what I could feel,
they would call me crazy, lock me up, and throw away the key. This I
knew without a shadow of a doubt.
The idea that a place can hold a memory of past events that can
be viewed or felt by people with certain sensitivities, people like me,
is not a new one in the field of parapsychology. Studies had shown
that in places where the human spirit had experienced intense
feelings, a trace of their anguish stuck, engrained itself into the
ground. It is that trace, that energy, which a receptive mind picked up
on, witnessed the past like a vague vision.
I kept all this in mind. I didn’t exist in this woman’s time any
more than she did in mine. I stood firm, tried to ignore any apprehensions as she flew toward me, her feet barely hit the ground.
She appeared to look through me. A few seconds later, she stepped
into me. I looked down at my body, unsure if I stood still or floated
backward with the woman. Her lungs moved inside mine. I no longer
had control over the air, which entered and left my body. My ribcage
expanded and contracted, forced by hers.
For a moment, fear seized me. My breathing stopped. She was
frantic. Her tension lifted my brows and tightened my jaw. I resisted
the urge to curl over a nauseous stomach. She sighed resigned herself
to her fate, and then rebuilt her courage. The name Mary floated into
my mind with a low hum of a sound, the timbre of a somber voice.
For a moment, her vision became mine, the harbor as it had
looked centuries ago. The muggy air, rank of horse droppings filled
my nose. The silent, dark street became eerie with the water’s
movement and men at her back. A forlorn warning, that told her
prospects were bleak.
Sudden grief strangled me. Her fear punched me in the gut. The
tang of blood from where I’d bitten my lip soon replaced the sour
taste in my mouth. Her husband had died on the trip home, but
somehow he knew she carried his child. The questions as to how she
would live in this place, and take care of her child filled her mind, and
thus mine. The urge to hug almost made me extend my arms to
comfort her. I knew that was impossible, no woman, ghost, or spirit
was there.
There had been arguments among scientists as to whether some
sort of ether or medium existed, a non-tangible matter read by the
subconscious, a pseudo-haunting if you will. Even though she
appeared ghost-like, transparent, and unstable, this Puritan woman
from another time was not here in the present with me. This moment
played on a loop, repeated for anyone sensitive enough to see it.
Yet, to me, and only to me, she appeared so real at the moment.
Her feelings mixed with mine, getting all stirred up in the pot of
emotions boiling in my stomach. I couldn’t distinguish the difference
between her reactions and mine—a common plight for an empath.
My mouth dried, and the air caught in my throat. Chills ran over my skin despite the heat. Rays of the October, late-afternoon sun
infused my clothing. Tears stung my eyes as I fought the dizziness
that threatened my frail grip on the reality I knew.
I admonished myself. She no longer walked this earth. On any
plane of existence, she didn’t exist. This was not a ghost, just a strong
unwavering mixture of memory, energy, and emotions stuck forever
in a plot of dirt. Whatever tragedy had stricken this woman from the
past had been profound enough to charge this spot of land for several
hundred years.
To prove I didn’t need to be wary of this—well, let’s call her
apparition for clarity’s sake—I forced my feet a few steps forward. As
if she’d read my mind, she left. The fact that I’d read hers shocked me
the most. It took a minute for my vision to become lucid, as I returned
to the present day and watched the sunlight glisten on the soft ripples
in the water.
This day, this basic Wednesday in my modern world became
clear again. Yet the year 1752 went through my brain, as if I’d recalled
a fact for a test. 2011, undeniably, spread out before me again. I
looked behind me, glared down at the spot where the energy of the
eighteenth century remained stuck, as if I would see a sign or
something mark it for me. Of course, only I would see that sign too. A
lunatic? Crazy? Me? Perhaps. The proof, half of me wanted to step on
it again, and the other half of me, the one I most often ignored,
wanted to flee. Curiosity killed the cat would probably be etched on
my gravestone one day.
I moved a shaking foot, wobbled off-balance. An unwelcome
stone caught in my sandal. Distracted, I stumbled through a half-kick
to dislodge the intruder. I sighed and watched the pebble skitter back
among its friends. Their multicolored surfaces glittered, outdone in
their illustriousness only by the boats that glistened in stark white
contrast to the vast blue water. Dots of bluish-white light swam in my
vision. Reality, present day was back. With a mixture of relief and
disappointment, I said good-bye to Mary. I sighed, head down, not
ready to face today or real people. My muscles weighed heavy inside
my limbs. I longed for a nap, to close my eyes over the growing throb in my head.
“Are you okay, Miss?” A gruff baritone voice covered me like a
heavy blanket that offered warmth. It was intimidating, yet
seductive.—deep and direct, yet smooth and sexy. Still, I grappled
between reality and consciousness, questioned the reality of the voice
I heard. I shook my head in an attempt to leave behind my previous
experience. While I often experienced emotions that lingered in the
earth, I rarely found myself privilege to images or voices. My mind
reeled because I’d felt her physically inside of me. My body fought to
recover from her sentiments. Thoughts that belonged to someone else
ran rampant in my mind. A slight headache beckoned me to close my
Instead, I turned in the direction of the voice as a man in a police
uniform put his hand on my shoulder. A dry fire ignited in my chest
as every nerve ending came abruptly to attention. Both hindered my
already impaired breathing. My vision blurred, and I fell.
When I opened my eyes again, after what seemed like a second to
me, the man had my body braced against his. Embers of awareness
burned in my stomach. Once more, I couldn’t draw in air. Had my
body shut down or revved up? I found myself lost in his cooI blue
eyes contrasted by dark lashes. When they locked with mine, my
cheeks warmed and I briefly smiled. My cheeks burned as I looked
away because I knew my smile had been too wide.
“Uh, let’s get you down so I can call for help.” Out of the corner
of my eye, I witnessed his gaze sweep down my body before he swept
his arm under my legs and sat me down on the grass. In my haze, I
still had my head on his shoulder. I pulled back, became entranced by
the two jagged scars over his left eye. I found my hand on his chest.
“Matt, I need help. Call—”
“No, don’t call for help!” I swallowed hard over my dry, raspy
throat. What I anticipated to be a yell had come out as a squeak. Fully
aware again, I hated the damsel in distress persona often forced upon
me, and I sure as hell didn’t need some doctor trying to figure out
what was wrong with me. Not this time. I’d become quite skilled over
the years at lying away my peculiarities. I was sick of it just the same. “I’m fine. I’m sorry. Please, cancel the call.”
“Matt. Forget it.” He scowled down at me with his jaw set. “You
I nodded as the heat in my cheeks moved down my neck and
chest. In that moment, the air warmed as hot as his body had been
against mine. I tried to create some distance between us, but as I stood
up, I felt like we were magnets. It took every ounce of effort I had to
create some space. A sudden jolt to my system, as if he could feel my
desires instead of the other way around, moved me faster. The
thought screamed of ridiculousness, yet I reacted anyway.
Unfortunately, the movements were too sudden. I swayed. His hand
grabbed my arm. The yearnings in me increased. An inferno blazed
through my core. My skin tingled from the inside out, from my head
to my toes, which included places that made me blush.
He cannot read your mind or feel your feelings. They're not even all
yours to begin with.
“You don’t seem fine.” He paused between each word. “May I
have your name?” Though he didn’t sound the calm, cool, and
collected cop, he straightened his back and put his hands on his hips.
Sexy as hell. I wanted to lean into him, have him be my personal
protector. I wanted to be the reason for his unrest. Stupid, but true.
Maybe my receptors were fried from my encounter with Mary
moments ago, or maybe he was a bundle of contradictions. Either
way, I was intrigued, to say the least by the want that came from him
and rushed through me. His strong, solid frame proved intimidating
in a way. I hadn’t missed the flexing muscles in his arms when he
lifted me like I was light as a feather. Anyone could sense that much.
There was something fierce, almost predatory about him as he
subdued his own raw affections. Every one of his muscles was tight
and tense, like a snake ready to strike. When he licked his lips, I
“I’m Makayla, Makayla Knight from Ohio.” Shut up! He only
asked your name you bumbling idiot, I yelled at myself. I needed to
scream at someone. These often ill-timed gifts of mine overwhelmed
me: Mary’s fears, the cop’s unexplainable anxieties and my (for lack of a better term) lust.
I’d regressed back to being a hormonal teenager after one touch.
Despite being in my early twenties, I had the silly urge to flip my hair
and flirt. Get a grip, girl! You’ve met cute guys before.
On the other hand, this guy glorified different, a wealth of wellincorporated
contrasts. The rough cut of his muscular body
contrasted with the gentle way he touched me. The chisel of his
tightened jaw and sharp voice with direct opposition to the way he
seemed to be a bit tongue-tied, in direct opposition to his tightened
jaw and sharp voice.
That perfect combination of bad boy and well-cut gentleman −
danger and protection. He stood menacingly before me, a rare
temptation. I was sure I would make a fool of myself if I didn’t stop
staring at the mesmerizing contrast of the cool color of his blue eyes
and the warm thickness of his shiny black lashes. I just couldn’t get
over them or even look away. If only we’d met under different
circumstances, and I hadn’t already humiliated myself, I might’ve
even flirted with him. I figured he knew his way around a woman.
“Well, Makayla Knight from Ohio, I’m Sergeant Noah Ayers,
Salem PD. Are you sure you’re all right? I mean, you don’t look fine.
Not that you aren’t… I mean you look—I’m sorry. You‘re still
shaking. Just a second ago you were out cold.” He touched my arm
again, but the carnal appetite hungry inside him embraced me
“I just haven’t eaten. Long drive. I was too taken with the water
to get food first. Silly. And, now that I’ve humiliated myself, let me
just say, sorry to have bothered you.”
“It’s no bother, really.” A smile flashed over his face, warm and
sexy, good enough to rival any I’d ever seen before. A primitive
hunger, passion, surged through his hand, and made my blood course
through my veins. Yet, the instant another cop showed up, Sergeant
Ayers tempered his lusts He pulled back his hand, our physical
connection severed.
“What’s going on, Noah?”
“I guess nothing. The lady claims she’s fine, just hasn’t eaten. I saw her walking…well, funny.” He shot me a killer smile. My heart
quickened, and I returned a pathetic, sheepish grin. I reminded
myself that people didn’t get from me what I felt from them. “When I
got to her, she passed out. Instinct was to call the squad.”
The man I think he’d called Matt had started to ask me
something, but inklings of darker affections came from behind me
began to hinder my ability to concentrate. I didn’t want to encounter
another moment from the past again before I could get rid of the
officers. I attempted to block it out, push at the feelings with my own,
but an instinctual empathy to the alarm of another woman took over.
Such was the plight of an empath. There are days you can block other
people’s emotions, make yourself feel a bit in control of your own life.
And then, there are the days where you feel everything everyone
feels, hopeless to do anything about it.
Her fear grew, wrapped around my already aching lungs. I
folded my arms over my chest with my hands clenched into fists. The
nails that bit into my palms kept me lucid. I bit at my lip as the
indication of something evil, dark, lurked behind me, bristling the
hairs on my neck.
The affectations were too strong to be from the past. These were
in the here and now. To get them so intensely without touching the
person, they had to be over-the-top in strength. I had to figure out
where it came from. My moment of choice had vanished, swept away
by that evil but often necessary seize of fear.
“You really don’t seem all right,” Matt agreed.
“Wait a minute. Please,” I begged, walked away from them, my
hands signaled them not to follow me. Trying to force my trembling
legs to work correctly, I willed them to turn and propel me forward. I
knew the cops followed me anyway, but I ignored them, moved
toward the danger like the dumb chick in a horror film. I wanted to be
more the gutsy heroine.
As I reached the weather-beaten posts that stood at the top of the
break wall, panic assaulted me. The distress so viable it lived and
breathed as an entity of its own. Sweat broke out over my skin, which
became more chilled the closer I got. Anger and a deep burn of lust were all there, raped me with cold fingers, which left hot scratches
over my skin.
As always, as an Empath, others’ emotions attacked me. They
assaulted me in physical ways, then invaded and mixed with my own
feelings until I couldn’t separate mine from anyone else’s anymore.
To my chagrin, I often had trouble staying uninvolved as well. If it
was my lot in life to feel it, I had a responsibility to respond,
especially if I could help. My whole life, this had been my philosophy.
In hindsight, to help had not always been the wisest move, but still
the need to do so never went away. In a way, this defined me. It had
formed the person I’d become.
On the beach below me, five boys stood against the retaining
wall. They were young, maybe high school or college age. They had
two girls surrounded like a pack, they circled their prey. could see
where one girl twisted her wrist trying to break free of the front guy’s
grasp. The air trembled. Thick smoke, alive and pulsing, curved
around the boy, his own dark aura. White noise buzzed in my ears,
and I could taste his putrid intent. It was so much worse when you
experienced the emotions of the living and they were close to pure
evil. Sometimes I feared meeting someone dark enough that his or her
presence would kill me.
“What are you doing?” Mr. Blue-Eyed Cop demanded. His voice
roused the boys’ attention even though he’d spoken to me. The girl
who’d been trying to break free started to cry. She tried to cover a
strangled sound of weeping with her free hand. Hot tears blurred my
own view until the movements of those below me on debris-riddled
sand looked like knotted wood.
“Down there.” I pointed to the blur of figures. Sudden movement
had me rub at my eyes. The one boy took off on a run, yanked the
crying girl with him. That only lasted a few strides before she fell to
the ground. Her assailant turned a second and raised a fist as if he
was going to bend down and hit her, but one of his friends grabbed
his arm.
“Stop!” Both cops yelled in unison about the same time they broke                                                into a run after the thug. “Leave her, man,” one of the other boys shouted as they all
grappled for their friend’s shirt.
The creeps got a decent start despite the moment of persuasion it
took to get through to their friend. Still, by the time the cops got
around the fence and to the sand, they were too far behind to reach
them. There were jagged rocks the boys climbed with ease before they
disappeared over the other side. The landscape became empty with
the exception of a horizon of boats.
The more nefarious, foreboding tremors to my psyche had gone
with them. I shook my head to clear it before I walked toward the two
girls. I didn’t touch them on purpose, lest I feel more than I already
did of their distress. They stood, their hands wrapped around each
other’s forearms, as they held each other up while they caught their
When I caught up to them, they tried to turn off the faucet of
their feelings. I found this strange, as they couldn’t know I’d read
them. Then it dawned on me this was a moment of composure on
their parts. I’d assumed they were going now to downplay the
incident and lowered one eyebrow at their odd maturity. They looked
young enough to shriek with youthful, female drama, that teenage
girl sort of thing.
“We’re grateful you came when you did, but please just walk
away,” the one who’d been manhandled hissed at me through gritted
teeth. Her dainty features pulled to a glare, scary despite the halo of
blond hair that framed her reddened face. The way she brushed the
sand off her arms and shirt, with stiff and harsh movements,
screamed of anger, rage.
I stepped back a bit, cocked my head at the sudden apprehension
that pinched my muscles, bit at me like swarms of bugs caught under
my skin. “I was just checking to see if you were all right.” My words
were jumpy as I rubbed at my own arms.
“Don’t. Walk away.” A small amount of spit shot from her
mouth with the words. She shook her head and wiped her nose in an
unladylike fashion on the back of her hand. “You can’t help us. If they
saw you…just go.” Her teeth hit together when she closed her mouth. She grabbed her friend, led her away, and left me with my mouth
open. In the past ten minutes I’d hit quite a spectrum of lurid
emotions with the exception of my strange reaction to the cop. Body
shaking, muscles aching, sweat coating my neck, I attempted to
produce a rational thought. Damn, I needed something to eat, even
though I wasn’t sure what my stomach could handle.
I stepped back to the retaining wall and slid down it. With jerky
movements as the wood grabbed my shirt, I made it to a crouch. I
took out my camera and balanced it with trembling hands on my
knees. I hoped to blend in like a tourist while I regrouped. The
thought almost made me laugh. Salem, I was sure, was much less
eventful for normal sightseers. My question remained, who had it
Even now that I was alone, a strange sensation lingered.
Something mystical, almost otherworldly, cabalistic, hung in the air
around me, something so different from the energy stuck in the earth
from the past, like I’d encountered with Mary moments ago, this
present disturbance snaked around me. It hung heavy, though the
breeze of October held no humidity, and pushed me to leave. I fought
against it. Seeing Mary had proved my premonition to come to Salem
had been right. I tampered the urge to scream I was staying.
I wondered if the cops had caught the boys. They’d all been
unkempt, clothes dirty and wrinkled. It crossed my mind that maybe
they were in college and either couldn’t afford or didn’t have time for
laundry this week. On second thought, the t-shirt one boy had on said
Giorgio Armani across the front of it. Weird. I surmised most people
who owned Armani kept it better.
The weight of whatever evil had been here continued to burden
me. I’d encountered this depth of depravity only in rare instances,
and so I sat frozen, asphyxiated by a beast with fingers around my
throat. My hand clutched at my chest. My heartbeat reverberated in
my back against the wall. Never had I experienced such a sense of
foreboding from ones so young. The air around them had been
pitched in a thin cloud of black smog, thick as pea soup, just didn’t
describe it. A black, tar-like substance dumped on their auras seemed close though. Not all of them appeared to me this way, but their
leader did for sure.
The more the base depravity sunk into my being, the more I
understood why the girls had been so scared of them. I had to get up
and move to convince myself I wouldn’t be murdered by it, sacrificed
in some demonic ritual. After a few deep breaths, I pulled my legs
under me and rose despite the fact I could barely feel them. Ghost–
like, I moved over the ground on non-existent feet.
As I climbed the mini-hill, I gained sensation; tiny pinpricks
stabbed my heels and calves. The sludgy sand sucked in my feet, but I
continued to the street. Everyday sounds greeted me, and I smiled
back. The little coffee shop to my right brought sweet smells that
made my stomach growl. I could at least get something to eat or a
nice sugary drink with lots of caffeine. Desperate for food and a chair,
I made my way to the shop semi-cognizant of my surroundings
without incident. Relief flooded me with the jingle of the bell over the
When I’d almost finished my sugar and fat-loaded coconut cream
pie mocha and a double chocolate muffin, the cop, Noah, walked in
the door, adding another dimension to my self-induced sugar rush.
“I was hoping to find you…to make sure you were okay. Not
being a stalker or anything.” He let out a sound close to a laugh,
which had gotten caught in his throat.
“Cop and stalker, nice safe-feeling thought there.”
“Yeah…” His fingers ran through his hair. The waves stayed as
black as night even while they caught the orange light which hung
above our heads. Tussled in complete disorder, his hair was soft and
inviting. I put my hands on the seat under my thighs to keep from
running my fingers through it too or just touch him period. An
inconceivable attraction stormed between us, a tempest I would brave
just to be able to tell the tale. Something with so much energy, that it
took on a life of its own between us, could not be ordinary. Never had
I had the desire to want to read someone so strongly. The need went
beyond curiosity.
“I’m better now that I’ve had my sugar-fix. Still shaking, but for other reasons...I mean sugar verses no sugar… So don’t get concerned
if I stumble again.” I laughed, or made a sound similar to one as heat
burned my cheeks. Those mesmerizing eyes radiated deeper warmth
in the light of the store. His essence haunted me as much as the
window darkened by the encroaching twilight.
“So, did you catch the guys?”
“Actually, no, but we talked to the girls. They don’t want to press
any charges. I know those kids. They were harmless pains in the butt
when they were in high school too. Two are the sons of a few of the
richer, more influential families around here. They get bored
sometimes and cause some minor havoc. Matt is calling their parents
now. I offered to follow up on your case.”
“I’m a case?” I asked, and let out a short laugh despite myself
because he had hit the nail on the head there.
“Well, no, you have no official case number or anything, but I
wanted to make sure you were all right. It’s my job to secure a scene. I
don’t like any loose ends. But, in your case…sorry, in your situation, I
had to run off.” He stopped. I think he realized he rambled even if in
cop talk. “It’s all part of our tourist protection policy.”
“Really? Well, thank you, but I’m just fine. Um, what sort of
havoc were the boys up to today? Did the girls tell you anything? Or,
is that all classified information?” I couldn’t shake the chill from the
girl’s warnings nor the darkness, one indefinable to me still, which
came from the boys. I hated to use the word, but it was almost
demonic. Like a beast, it had bared its teeth at me, and then gone in
for the kill.
Frustrating as it was, I’d no way to explain to officer sexyenough-
to-die-for why he was wrong to think those boys were
harmless. I never could decide if my gifts were blessings or curses.
My blessings today were to have witnessed Mary and to have been
rescued by Noah. The curses were, well, everything else.
“The girls said they were doing some kind of experiment, some
stupid thing about how long they could go with minimal sleep, little
food and no sex or showers. Guess they’ve been running around in
the same clothes for four days. Stupid, spoiled rich kids.” He rolled his eyes and laughed. This time he sounded more natural, with a
short grunt that had caught him off-guard.
I made him nervous. That came across clear to me in tidal waves.
His strongest feeling was the easiest to read, but I didn’t need to be
empathic to tell. His actions betrayed him, only confirmed what I felt
of his emotions. The muscles in his broad neck were tense, the veins
stuck out as if his collar choked him. His fists moved from his waist to
the table and back again. Of course, how much of the nerves were his
or mine? What did I know? The guy’s presence threatened and
shocked me all at the same time. He was like some action movie hero
come to life right before me. I wanted to play damsel in distress, if
only to lie in his arms once more, but that wasn’t me. I squared my
shoulders and sat up straighter.
“Okay, why would they do that though?” I couldn’t stop my
questions. Something about the group had gotten under my skin and
not in a good way. I’d become the dog with the proverbial bone.
“Who knows? They’re bored rich kids, like I said. I won’t even
try to explain them. Seems the one boy had had enough of the no sex
part, and his girlfriend was a bit turned off by his no showering part.
At least, that’s what the girls claimed in fits of nervous laughter.”
“Ah.” I bit my lip. It was really none of my concern. I was just
passing through. Just because I felt it and couldn’t explain it, didn’t
make it my business. This had become the new mantra of my life
recently, and soon I was going to enforce it as well. I was just a little
slow on the uptake.
“Can I ask what made you walk over to them in the first place?”
Sure, but I will have to lie, I thought as I searched for a viable
answer. “Good hearing, I guess. I thought I heard some sort of
whimper. I thought someone was hurt.” I impressed even myself
sometimes at my ability to contrive a new truth, one better than the
real one on such short notice. It was a gift. What could I say? Just one
I shouldn’t be so proud of, though.
“Funny, I didn’t hear anything.”
I shrugged. What else could I do?
“Well then, what brings you to Salem from Ohio, Makayla Knight?” He pulled his jacket forward and leaned back in his chair.
The sexy sprawl revealed other fine parts of his anatomy, a package
I’d brushed up against in my embarrassing swoon. Although the idea
of it irritated the crap out of me, what I wouldn’t give to be in that
position again, in private. Attraction did funny things to a girl. I
wouldn’t berate myself for the thought. No sense in that as I’d
probably never see him again.
“Well, I’m an author. Or, at least I am aspiring to be. I’m writing
a book.”
“Ah, Salem has been the inspiration for many books.”
Lies, lies, and more semi-lies are what I usually told. I would
write them down to keep track, but I probably wouldn’t be here long
enough for it to matter what I told him and what I didn’t. Although, I
was sure Mr. Sexy Cop Guy here had a mind like a steel trap. To keep
it short and simple would help if need be.
I’d yet to write even a word of any book. Oh, I’d wanted to, that
was true enough, and I’d thought Salem was a good place to start. I’d
traveled here to write. That made me an author, didn’t it? Therefore,
what I said was true enough. Leaving out pertinent details was not a
lie. I didn’t owe him my life story. I just wanted to talk to him until it
was okay for me to touch him again. Right or wrong, I wanted to
know everything about him.
“So, since this is Witch City, are you writing a non-fiction
historical or a paranormal fiction type deal?”
“Well-versed in the town’s literature too, Sergeant Ayers?”
“Call me Noah. I’ve had to read quite a few books where this city
is concerned. They’ve come in to play in crimes and conspiracies,
actually, but on that I can’t say any more.” He winked at me so
adorably that I wanted to kiss him. Even happy, his eyes held such
intensity. “What are you writing?”
“Well, the fantasy or fiction type stuff. I really just hope to
stumble over inspiration somewhere here. If not, Salem seems a cool
place to visit anyway. I’m like a magnet to water.”
Stumble I’d done already. I couldn’t wait to go back to Pickering
Wharf and, fingers crossed, find out more about Mary. I’d come here on intuition alone, followed a whim that had nagged at me. I’d
traveled here to discover a hidden Salem. Someone here wanted me to
write their story, a sort of redemption for something done wrong. I
didn’t know exactly. Call it a hunch. Mary was a good lead, a good
confirmation that I was right to have followed the feelings that lead
me to this historic city. In fact, Mary was much more than I’d
expected so soon.
“Me too, and I’ve lived here my whole life.”
He stood, tugged up his pants, and showed off a manly outline. I
shut my mouth not to drool as he held out his hand to me. I had to
laugh at myself because I couldn’t remember the last time I’d reacted
this way to a man.
“I’m relieved to see you doing so well. I better catch up with my
partner, but I hope to run into you again before you leave,” he said
Really? I wondered if he wanted to say more as I took his hand
to shake. I’d had a moment’s hesitation to touch him, but I’d pushed
through it. I couldn’t avoid the shake, or I’d look crazier than I
already did.
Our palms met and caused me to gasp. I tried to contain it,
started fake coughing while more of his reactions to the world rushed
through me. He was complex, loaded with conflicting emotions,
questions, and turmoil. The brunt of it hit me like a hug that was too
harsh and yet welcome just the same. I didn’t want it to end. I wanted
to hold his hand for hours until I uncovered everything about him,
what he loved, what he hated, what got him excited, made him smile
endlessly. Alternatively, I at least wanted to hold onto him until I
found the underlying cause of the lust in him, which complimented
“Huh? Are you sure that you’re okay? What’s strange?” I got a
crooked smile as the fingers of his other hand ran down over his five
o’clock shadow.
“Me today. Don’t you agree?”
“Well, I wouldn’t quite put it that way.”
“Yeah, I don’t think I want to know how you would put it after I humiliated myself by passing out in your arms.” I forced a laugh and
forced my fingers, one by one, to let go of his hand. What I wanted to
do was cradle his palm to my chest. An overwhelming urge to be in
his arms, to kiss him, to talk to him through the night, made my allof-
the-sudden dry mouth start to water again.
“Stop. It happens. I’m not complaining. Let’s see, I would use the
word interesting, maybe fascinating, definitely beautiful, but I’m not
the writer. And, I’m on the clock and shouldn’t be saying such things.
I better go before I get myself in trouble.”
“Thanks…for saying… well what you did.” I actually blushed. If
the heat radiating off my face was indicative of the red on it, then I
was sure he noticed. How could I ask him if he was flirting with me,
or if he was just always this friendly with all the ladies? “Well,
anyway, it’s nothing a good night’s sleep won’t cure. It’s just been a
long two-day drive for me.”
“Where are you staying?”
“Right over there in Salem’s Waterfront Hotel. I got lucky,
apparently, snatching a room that became available with a last minute
“Good. You don’t have far to go, then.”
“It’s been a pleasure meeting you, Makayla.”
“It’s been a pleasure being assisted by you, Ser…Noah.” I
couldn’t help but to watch him walk away.


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