Updated: Feb 1
Here is an excerpt from my paranormal romance, Dead & Disorderly, book 2 in the Behind the Blue Line series!
You can pick it up here!
Nahia stood at the cash register in her shop, Wellington’s Magickal Apothecary, surveying
her domain with pleasure. Business was good in the downtown Indianapolis store, selling herbs
for teas and tinctures, as well as crystals and other items for varying practices of religion and
divination, and she enjoyed interacting with her clientele. Everyone from the boho chic to the
well-heeled blueblood came to her store to peruse her wares.
She snorted at her word choice; it wasn’t that kind of establishment. Yeah, it had the
requisite dark jewel-toned walls, wind chimes, walls of various books, and tarot decks, not to
mention the couple of rooms upstairs she rented out to a local clairvoyant, tarot, and palm reader,
but she wasn’t all done up in faux-fortune teller broomstick skirts and jangly belly dancer belts.
Today she had her turquoise streaked black mane tamed back into a long braid to her waist, her
favorite Hello Kitty KISS shirt, and a pair of jeans that had been new two presidents ago. It
wasn’t the mystical look, but it didn’t hurt the business at all.
She was ringing up a beginner tarot deck and a bag of tiger-eye runes when her cell phone
sang from her pocket, Saint-Saëns’ Danse Macabre. Even though it was her personal phone, she
answered, “Wellington’s Magickal Apothecary, putting potion in motion, Nahia Wellington
“Nye, it’s Nigel. I need a favor.”
“What kind of favor?” Nigel was Nigel Gooch, a childhood friend who now worked for the
police department. They’d known each other so long that their parents referred to them as Nye,
Squared. Nahia looked at her watch, a robust faced two pound wrist weight she was loath to part
with and found it odd for him to be calling her so late in the day. He was normally a day shift
“The work-related kind.” He paused to snicker a bit, “I mean, your work, not mine.”
“Oh, this can’t be good.” Though she wasn’t exactly psychic in the traditional sense she was
highly sensitive, somewhat clairvoyant and more often than not, clairaudient. For the life of her,
she could think of no good scenarios for the police department needing her services. “The walls
of roll call bleeding or something?” A simple haunting and a house blessing she could do.
Locating missing people, not so much. Ghost hunting was a personal joy for her, with numerous
pictures and audio evidence to her credit.
“No!” Nigel sounded unduly excited to be disagreeing with her. “Not like that, exactly. We
had this guy go check a house. He got thrown out of the house.”
“That sounds like a situation for SWAT, not one for a friendly, neighborhood magickal
implements supplier.” Wedging her phone between her chin and shoulder, she quietly tended to a
customer, taking money in exchange for a rose quartz pendulum on a silver chain and a bundle of
“Not when the house is abandoned and whatever threw him out wasn’t visible to the human
Nahia smiled at the customer before turning to grab a piece of paper and a pen. “Now you
have my attention. What was that address again?”
Nico Verrazzano disliked favors, at least as a concept. It wasn’t that he didn’t like people
owing him, but the mercurial nature of the payback in the event that he was the one who owed
always bothered him. In this case, he’d owed Nigel Gooch for covering for him on a missing
persons case while he went to his cousin’s daughter’s birthday party, and now, as payment, Nigel
had him sitting outside of this scary-looking abandoned mansion on the north side of town in his
department vehicle. Looking around with his flashlight once he got out of the car, it was like a
typical scary movie set, overgrown landscaping, broken windows on the bottom floor, and an
overall sense of foreboding and despair. There were even gargoyles at the end of the drive, for
He turned around for the second time in as many minutes, feeling the tingly sensation of
being watched, only to find the three story house looming over him with no movement in the
blackened windows. This was not worth the original favor, definitely.
The reason for his presence was he was supposed to meet someone here, someone who was
going to ‘ghost hunt’ in the house. Since it was abandoned, he didn’t have to worry, necessarily,
about them trespassing, but more about the very live things that could be hanging out in the big
old Gothic structure. Why they’d want to though, was beyond him. The place was damn creepy.
Though it was the middle of July, he found himself fighting a shiver that chased down his
spine as the evening stretched leisurely across the sky and the lengthening shadows seemed to
reach for him.
He was debating waiting inside his car when a pair of headlights pulled into the driveway
behind him. A cute little Fiat, sky blue in color, bumped along to music barely contained within
its confines. The door opened and the engine died simultaneously, giving him just enough time
to detect the presence of U2 on the speakers.
Nigel hadn’t told Nico who he’d been waiting for, but when the tiny little brunette bounced
out of the driver’s seat with all the eagerness of a puppy with a toy, he figured this was his
charge. Watching her wasn’t going to be hardship at all, he mused, taking in her well-shaped ass
and legs in a pair of jeans she had a closer relationship with than he did his dentist.
When he thought ‘ghost hunter’, she was nowhere close to what he’d imagined, though he’d
be hard-pressed to describe his original suppositions. Maybe driving a hearse or dressed in a
squad suit and carrying a proton pack, but not her. In a million years. Even before she marched
up to him in her tight little black t-shirt with a large backpack slung over her shoulder, he knew
she was going to be different than any other woman he’d met. And he’d met more than a few.
“Nahia Wellington.” She offered her hand with a confident grin. He could see lighter streaks
woven through the braid over her shoulder opposite the imposing satchel.
Quickly pocketing his flashlight, he responded in kind. “Dominic Verrazzano. Like the
bridge.” When she shook his hand, all his senses erupted, feeling everything all at once. Her
delicate bone structure, her soft skin, her warmth. His breath arrested in his lungs until she
released him. “You can call me Nico.”
“It’s...lovely to meet you, Nico.” She didn’t sound any steadier than he was, her quick
shiver as she put her hand in her pocket had him on full alert, and the evening hadn’t even started
yet. “Where’s Nigel?”
“He didn’t say.” Nico shrugged and reached for her backpack. He hoisted it onto his
shoulder with one hand while checking his hip for his gun and his pocket for his flashlight. “He
asked me to step in. I hope you don’t mind. I won’t get in your way.” Even as he said the words,
he had no idea what he was agreeing to other than being her Sherpa.
Nahia stepped to his side and rummaged in her pack he had on his shoulder before coming
away with her own flashlight, a camera around her wrist and small digital recorder. “Not at all.
This’ll be fun.”
She stood before him in the dark, almost completely obscured by the night, a hand on her
hip and chewing on her lip as she regarded him. He would have given the entire contents of his
wallet to know what she thought. Rather than let the awkward moment grow between them, he
took a step toward the house, feeling his muscles tighten in his legs in defiance of the action.
Hopefully she didn’t notice the stutter in his step as he held out a hand. “Shall we?”