Title: Mystery on Spirit Mountain (The Mackenzie Chronicles Book 2)
Author: Brenda Whiteside
Genre: Romantic Suspense
The past never sleeps, and the truth never dies.
Only Harlan MacKenzie can sense the troubled history of the Big Purple House. When he's hired to restore the historic mansion, he doesn't foresee the insidious secrets—secrets that entangle his family in deceit and murder.
Phaedra is selling the house that has been in her family for decades. As her friends-to-lovers relationship with Harlan escalates, she’s forced to choose between her way of life or his, even though she risks losing him forever.
After a stranger comes to town, weaving her web of deception, hell-bent on correcting an old grievance connected to the house, dark revelations of the past implode the present. Harlan and Phaedra are plunged into a dangerous mystery, risking their love, their future, and their lives.
“There is something about the house.” Talking to her about his sensitivities regarding the house would be simpler than broaching the subject of his…feelings for her. “First, how do you take your steak?”
Like your lips. “Then I think we’re about there.”
“Great. I’ll get the baked potatoes from the oven and the salad. Unless you’d rather eat inside.”
“Out here is fine.”
She moved away then paused. “Want to tell me about the house first?”
“Let’s talk while we eat. I’m starving.”
Once the food covered the round wooden table and their wine refreshed, Phaedra resumed the conversation where they’d left off. “Now, what’s the problem with the house?”
“I don’t know.”
She chewed slowly and fixed him with a puzzled expression.
He poured blue cheese dressing on his salad. “The house is structurally sound. No worry there. You need a new roof, but it’s not to the leaking stage yet. I’m experiencing…odd sentiments. Like the house is hiding something or protecting someone.”
Her forehead smoothed, and her puzzlement vanished. “Why am I not surprised?”
“You get what I’m talking about?”
She cut her steak “Probably not.”
“You’re a MacKenzie. You’re all a little odd.” She spoke around chewing her food.
The wine in his mouth went down roughly, and he laughed. “That’s a glowing assessment.”
“It’s not a bad odd. Like Magpie is fond of saying the universe talks to you. Or her anyway. Elidor has other voices in her head. I’m guessing houses communicate with you.” Shrugging, she scooped potato onto her fork. “I love you guys. You’re…colorful.” She tilted her head, popped the healthy bite into her mouth, and chewed through a beguiling smile.
He should’ve known the roadblocks the house threw up wouldn’t surprise her. She’d known his mother, had been damn near part of their family for decades. Cutting his steak, he avoided her gaze. Yeah, part of the family. But she didn’t give off family vibes any longer. Dory intuited his passion over the phone. How did Phaedra feel?
“Is the house telling you to get the hell out and leave it alone? Threatening you?”
Chuckling, he wiped his mouth and leaned on the table. “No, it doesn’t work like that. I’m feeling sadness and…something disguised or hidden.” He still wasn’t sure about the dizzy episode on the stairs—Dory’s dark energy comment?
“Hmm.” She kept eating, nodding to encourage him to explain further.
“Do you know anything about the original owners, the Herseys?”
“A little, I guess. Like what?”
“I found out today Lilac Hersey’s maiden name was Lambert. My mother’s middle name was Lambert. Seems like a freakish coincidence. And with the vibrations I’m getting…”
“You think you could be related to the Herseys?”
“No idea. We know next to nothing about my grandmother’s side of the family, the Biddingtons. Mom’s mother, whose middle name was also Lambert, died when she was two. Her father’s parents, the Muses, raised her. We had contact with that side some, but not the Biddington side.”
“Time to do some family tree research.”
“But how quirky is it my mom, Susie Muse, would end up in Joshua, decades after one of her relatives lived here? And mining moguls to boot. You’d think that kind of family history would be talked about.” He pushed his plate back. “More than a strange coincidence.”
“The universe does work in strange ways.”
“Or so Susie Muse told me many times.” He quirked a smile.
Phaedra clasped her hands under her chin and sighed, her crystal blue gaze going dreamy.
“What?” She dropped her hands to the table then diverted her attention to the lush backyard.
“You were looking at me like…”
Like you’d like to kiss me. Like I’m not just your buddy. Standing, he rounded the table and gripped her arms, bringing her to stand.
She didn’t resist. In fact, her chin came up, and her shoulders relaxed into his grip. “So, are you going to…can you still work on the house or—”
“I don’t want to talk about the house. I want to talk about you, me, the way you look at me—like just then.”
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Mystery on Spirit Mountain, book 2 in the romantic suspense series, The MacKenzie Chronicles, by award winning-author Brenda Whiteside, returns to Joshua, Arizona—an 1800s mining community-turned-ghost-town, reborn hippie haven, and now a tourist town clinging to the side of Spirit Mountain—and only the MacKenzies can unlock its dangerous mysteries. Continue the page-turning adventure with Harlan who can “feel” the mysteries of the Big Purple House.
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Brenda Whiteside is the award-winning author of romantic suspense and romance. She's penned a couple of historicals and straight romance, but she's found villains and danger make a good story that much better. After living in six states and two countries—so far—she and her husband have settled in Central Arizona. They admit to being gypsies at heart so won't discount the possibility of another move. They share their home with a rescue dog named Amigo. While FDW fishes, Brenda writes.
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