Title: GHOST NOTES
Author: Beth Henderson
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Ten years ago a stalker nearly killed him, so he disappeared. Gave up what loved: music. Staying alive was the new goal.
She thought it the impossible assignment: find a man who was believed dead. Could she do it? Should she do it?
“I don’t understand.”
She sighed, irritated. “Any of it. The man is dead. Has been for nearly ten years.”
“Then prove it to the client,” the man across the desk from her said. “He believes Hastings is still alive, just in hiding.”
“Then he’s hiding for a reason. A good reason.”
“That’s not our call. We’re simply being paid to find him.”
Her sigh was louder this time. She shifted in her chair. “But he’s dead. It was in all the news reports at the time.”
“Was it?” He rifled through the papers in a folder on his desk. So old school. But when briefing an investigator, he liked to stab a finger down on each as he laid out the facts already corralled for the job.
His index finger poked the printout to her left. “Here’s the original report. She was killed outright because she was behind the wheel. He was taken to the hospital.”
“I remember,” she said. “He wasn’t expected to live the night.”
“But apparently he did. Here’s her death certificate. The funeral notice. The media coverage of both the investigation and her funeral. There’s a single line about him in one of the tabloids, that he’s in intensive care, and that’s five days after the accident.”
“Which doesn’t prove he recovered.”
“Doesn’t prove he died, either. That’s your job. Find him whether he’s alive or buried. But…” He paused for effect. Dramatic bastard. “…he’s alive. The client is very emphatic that that’s the case.”
She was silent for a full minute, studying his face, the way his hands shuffled the copies of various reports and tucked them back in the bright red folder.
“Why me?” she asked.
He leaned back in his chair. The leather groaned beneath his weight. “Not that I want this to sound like it’s sexist—”
Which meant it was very sexist.
“—but you’ve got all the qualifications necessary to draw our man from hiding.”
If he was hiding and not dead, which was far more likely.
“Meaning I’m female,” she said.
“A female with all the attributes our man was known to appreciate. You turn heads, Gaeley.”
She hated when he used the pet name. The one her husband had called her.
“Plus, you’ve got pipes.”
“Pipes! I haven’t sung in over five years. I didn’t have pipes then, so I really don’t have ’em now.”
“You got ’em,” he insisted. “You sang at the Christmas party last year.”
“Holiday party,” she corrected, “and it was a group sing-along.”
“Yours was the only voice I heard,” he said, his grin wide and a bit lascivious.
Pig. “I gave up singing because I was merely passable at it. That means not good enough to make a living from it, in case you need a translation. And besides—”
“Bullshit. You gave it up because you make far more money being one of my hounds. There’s no besides about it. You know why?”
“I’m on tenterhooks,” she said dryly.
“Because I don’t want you to follow the money on this one, honey. I want you to follow the music. That’s how to find Jace Hastings. Follow the music.”
“You’re killing yourself.”
The man once known as Jace Hastings looked up at the woman resting her weight on her forearms atop the baby grand. Her stylishly cropped blonde locks were streaked with attractive silver highlights. As usual, her makeup gave the illusion of a flawless complexion and directed the attention toward her sage green eyes.
He cleared his throat. She gave him a look he was quite familiar with, huffed in disgust, and shifted her stance so her hip leaned against the side of the instrument instead, leaving the top once more a smooth sheet of highly polished onyx, free of obstruction.
Except for what he’d placed on the surface, that is. Sheets of wide staff manuscript paper with his sketched-in arrangement notes dancing along the lines were spread before him, a pencil resting atop the partially worked-out score. Next to the grand and within easy reach, a table held a coffee mug. A keyboard and a drink were currently all he required to feel like a whole man.
Or a close replica of one these days.
“You are such a stickler,” she grouched. “I do own this thing, so if I want to lean on it, it’s my prerogative.”
“But I’m the one who plays it, tunes it.”
“Loves it more than you do your mother,” she snapped.
He grinned at her. Ran his fingers over the keys. “You’ve never admitted to being my mother in thirty-five years, C.C.”
He played a set of chords, then switched key to play them again. “You didn’t come over here just to mar the grand’s finish. Out with it. You want a song. Which one?”
She gave him her frustrated face, the one that made her nose twitch and the lines around her eyes deepen.
“Okay,” he said, relenting. “In what way am I killing myself? With this?” He tipped his chin to indicate the nearly empty coffee mug on the side table.
“By cutting yourself off from the only thing that matters,” C.C. insisted, ignoring his attempt to divert her. It wasn’t coffee in the mug, but something with more of a bite.
“Of course, music. Your father’s a musician. I’m a singer. You can’t help but eat, sleep, and breathe music. It’s bred into you.”
Pelham Flannery laughed. “Bullshit. Both of your parents are rabid political activists. Do you care a hoot about politics, any politics?”
The answer was reluctantly given. “No.”
“Dad’s entire family are equally rabid when it comes to religion. When’s the last time he set foot in a church?”
She wilted further.
“Oh, go to hell,” she snapped.
“Already been there and have the scars to prove it,” he said trying for flippant. Just trying for it. Flippant wasn’t easy to pull off anymore.
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What’s your favorite way to combat stress?
Heading out to see a movie and combine it with either lunch or dinner with one of my writer friends is a lovely way to de-stress and talk about what we each care about the most: writing fiction! But when they aren’t available, kicking back for a marathon on Netflix or streaming some of my favorite movies also does the trick. Or losing myself in the adventures of someone else’s fiction characters is also good. All three take me out of my world and drop me in one that’s even more stressful for the characters on either screen or page.
Why is your featured book a stress busting read?
Well, Pel Flannery, the hero in GHOST NOTES, probably has stress enough (considering he’s been hiding out from a stalker who tried to kill him for a decade already) to make many people’s stress levels seem minor by comparison.
One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon US or Canada gift card.
Open internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon CA account to win.
Runs May 1 – May 31
Drawing will be held on June 1.
Beth Henderson has been a published novelist in romance since 1990 when her first romantic suspense/romantic comedy novel was published. Since then, she's had a long list of titles released through various publishing houses, and also under a variety of names. In 2021 she launched a 4-volume paranormal lite cozy mystery romantic comedy series, the Whichur-Wolfe Detection novels, all of which swept up 5* reviews. Her latest release is GHOST NOTES, a romantic suspense released by The Wild Rose Press. She also writes Old West historical romantic mysteries.
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