- N. N. Light
Scarlet at Crystal River by @OverbeckRandy is a Mystery/Suspense pick #paranormal #mystery #giveaway
Title: SCARLET AT CRYSTAL RIVER
Author: Randy Overbeck
Genre: Paranormal Mystery
All Darrell Henshaw wanted was to enjoy his honeymoon with his beautiful wife, Erin, in the charming town of Crystal River on the sunny Gulf Coast of Florida. Only a pair of ghosts decide to intrude on their celebration. And not just any ghosts, the spirits of two young Latino children. Unwilling at first to derail the honeymoon for yet another ghost hunt, Darrell finally concedes when a painting of the kids comes alive, weeping and pleading for his help.
When he and Erin track down the artist, they discover the children’s family were migrant workers the next county over. But when they travel there, their questions about the kids brings an attempt on their lives and puts Erin in the hospital. Torn between fear and rage, Darrell must decide how far he will go to seek justice for two young children he never even knew.
Darrell ran harder, finishing the loop and circling back to Erin. She was so engrossed in her paperback he managed to sneak up behind her. He leaned and in and grabbed another long kiss.
She kissed him back, smiling. “Now that’s better than a little fictional romance.” She got up and stretched her long legs.
“You ready for some waves?” he asked.
“If you’re up to it, let’s do a mile or so on the sand first.”
“You’re on.” Darrell gave a gentlemanly wave of his hand.
“I’ll race you.”
Erin took off like a shot, and Darrell hurried after her. Since the beach was small, they covered the same ground Darrell had a few minutes earlier, passing the family sandcastle builders, another jogger, and the same strolling couples. As usual, she was quick, and he had to hustle to keep up, using some fancy footwork to sidestep sunbathers as they ran. When they got to the north end of the beach where Darrell had turned to double back, Erin headed for a little spit of land that strutted out into the water. He looked beyond and saw what she was headed for. Accelerating, he passed her.
Ahead, at the far end of the beach, a pair of young kids, he’d guess about six, sat in the sand as the waves rolled over their legs. Their small hands busied with a primitive sandcastle. One had long, brown hair tied into pigtails, and the other had a full head of brown hair, unkempt and in need of a trim. He came up to them and stopped, Erin a few seconds behind.
The kids wore street clothes, not swimsuits, but he didn’t think much about it. Then he noticed something about the young boy. His right leg was stuck out at a grotesque angle, as if it had been broken and never set. Both kids giggled at the gurgling water that rolled up around their bare feet and pooled in the makeshift moat they’d dug around their sand creation. The castle was crude, a nearly round construction with seashells sticking up like turrets. The two kids glanced up, caramel eyes wide and pleading with half smiles of white teeth.
In unison, they said, “Ayudaños?”
“Huh?” Darrell said.
“Cute castle, huh?” Erin stared at the sand and looked up at Darrell. “I wonder who made it?” Her eyes roamed around the area. “Out here on this spit of land it isn’t going to last very long.”
“Those kids—” he started, pointing to the pair. When he looked down, the sandcastle sat alone, the gulf water flowing around the construction and into the crude moat.
His glance darted out to the waves, thinking they’d abandoned their work and ran into the water, even in their street clothes, though he wondered how the boy could have run.
No girl or boy.
Oh, God! The same two kids? “You vill have two visitors.”
“What’d you say?” Erin asked, her gaze meeting his.
The ghosts. Erin hadn’t seen them!
Shit, he couldn’t tell her. Not now. Not here.
“Nothing,” he managed around the lump in his throat and glanced back down at the sand.
There at his feet, the crude sand construction they’d been working on, complete with the three blue seashells sticking out of the top, sat alone on the sand. He reached down and grabbed one of the small seashells as the prickle on his neck returned and sizzled. Then he sensed something else, something ominous. No, not ominous, malevolent. More of Natalia’s warning came back to him.
“I see a malevolence, a great danger lurking nearby.”
A big wave rushed in, rolling over their ankles and leveling the mound of sand, leaving the beach empty. As if nothing had ever been there.
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What makes your featured book a must-read?
SCARLET AT CRYSTAL RIVER has all the ingredients mystery lovers seek—characters they will love and hate, a captivating backstory to the murder, a resort setting to die for (excuse the pun) and, of course, a great whodunit. Not to mention, mystery lovers who pick up SCRLET AT CRYTAL RIVER will crave justice for two murdered children, almost as much as Darrell.
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Runs August 9 – August 18, 2022.
Winner will be drawn on August 19, 2022.
Dr. Randy Overbeck is a best-selling author of the award-winning series, The Haunted Shores Mysteries, each a cold case murder mystery wrapped in ghost story served with a side romance, set in a beautiful resort location. He is the author and voice of a new podcast, “Great Stories about Great Storytellers,” which reveals the unusual backstories of famous authors, directors and poets. He is also a speaker in much demand, sharing his multi-media presentation, “Thanks Still Go Bump in the Night” with audiences all over the country. More info about his novels, programs and podcast can be found at his website www.authorrandyoverbeck.com .
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