Illuminated comes out on Wednesday — and is available for pre-order now — so it’s time for a sneak peek!
Sarah was just reaching for her glass of wine again when three loud knocks sounded at the door. Good thing she hadn’t actually been holding the glass, because otherwise she would have certainly dropped it.
It had been so long since she’d heard a sound she hadn’t made herself — or hadn’t been made by the local wildlife — that those knocks rang in her ears like shots from a gun. Heart hammering in her breast, she reached for the pistol and slowly stood.
Maybe she was going crazy and had started hearing things. Or maybe a tree had fallen over and hit the side of the building, and it only sounded like someone knocking.
Pistol in hand, she began to inch toward the door to the reception area. Out of habit, she always locked it when she was here…or even when she wasn’t. Safer that way, since the last thing she wanted was an adventurous raccoon to get in and cause havoc in the kitchen.
The three knocks came again. Sarah gulped back a gasp, then forced herself to continue moving forward. A horrible story came into her mind, one that her friend Alyssa had told one night back when they were in junior high and having a sleepover with a bunch of other girls from their class. Something about how a demon would knock three times, in a mockery of the Holy Trinity.
Yeah, and they’re supposed to knock between midnight and three in the morning, Sarah told herself sternly. It’s probably not even eight o’clock yet.
True, but even if it wasn’t a demon…what if Rebecca the ghost had finally decided to make an appearance? Sarah might have joked to herself that she’d welcome the spirit’s presence, since it would mean she wasn’t alone here in the hotel, but that sort of joke was a lot more amusing in the bright light of day. Now, with the only light coming from the fireplace and one Coleman lantern turned down to its lowest setting, the prospect of a ghost roaming the halls of the Lodge suddenly wasn’t funny at all.
All right. She steeled herself to open the door, trying to convince herself that the sound of the knocks had been all in her mind. And if it wasn’t….
Her fingers tightened on the grip of the gun she held. Kyle’s old Colt single-action pistol. More than once he’d told her proudly that the gun never jammed, had always been there for him when he needed it. She had to hope he’d been telling her the truth.
With her free hand, she reached out to disengage the bolt on the door. Now all she had to do was turn the knob.
A quick breath, and she flung the door open. A tall figure loomed over her, and she gasped and took a step back. It really was a bear —
Then he stepped forward, just enough that some of the dim light from down the corridor touched his face.
No, not a bear. A man.
A tall, handsome man.
Illuminated is available for 99¢ until December 11th, 2017. Get it at the following stores: