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The Hotel’s Secret by @growwithstacy is a KU Event pick #thriller #suspense #ku #giveaway
Title: The Hotel’s Secret
Author: Stacy Claflin
A creepy old hotel, a newly blended family, and a murderer on a rampage… Chris and Vanessa have seven kids between them, and they can’t fit everyone into either of their homes. So they pack up and move to Recluse Island, where they’ve inherited a hotel. Locals say the building was an asylum for the criminally insane decades earlier — and that the previous residents never left. But ghosts are the least of their problems.
Before the family has time to settle in, the kids discover a mysterious death threat. All of the hotel staff is suspect… until one of them is found dead. Now nobody is safe.
Chris and Vanessa will defend their family at any cost. When the twin daughters discover one of the hotel’s most dangerous secrets, there may be nothing anyone can do to protect the girls.
The ratty red shag carpeting called out to a decade long gone. The peeling, flowered wallpaper was at least as old. A few stray items, such as pens and a stray sock, reminded Chris how long it had been since any of the owners had resided in the hotel.
Liz’s mom had grown up here, but she’d fled as soon as she graduated. Never brought Liz for vacations. Curious, Liz had insisted on family vacation when the kids were younger, but as they got older they were more interested in theme parks and tropical beaches. Liz’s grandparents had died before she was born, so the family residence had been empty for over forty-five years.
“Are we there yet?” asked one of the twins.
“Almost,” Chris said. He still couldn’t tell them apart half the time. Winter was more surly than Summer — fitting, given their names — and that was how he could tell them apart the other half of the time. Vanessa was sure he’d be able to see the differences before long.
“Is this place haunted?” Hope asked, her eyes wide.
“Yep,” Blake said. He and Dustin shared a mischievous grin.
“No, it isn’t,” Chris said. He shot his boys a warning glare. “And don’t get any ideas.”
He was going to have to keep them busy with outdoor activities. If they were occupied and tired, they wouldn’t have the energy to bother their new stepsister.
Hope turned to him. “I thought this place was supposed to be a luxury hotel. It looks more like a haunted house.”
Chris put his hand on her shoulder. “The main part of the building is completely redone. But this part, where the family and staff live, hasn’t been updated in some time.”
“In the last hundred years?”
“Not quite that long.”
“I’m not off by much.”
“It’s been a few decades.”
“Is that something we can fix?” she asked.
“We can certainly look into it.”
His stepdaughter visibly relaxed.
“Once we get settled in, I’ll give you all the full tour. But for now, let’s check out our new home.”
The reactions were a mix of joy and disdain.
When they came to their door, he dug out the key and unlocked the knob. It stuck and resisted, but finally twisted, allowing him to open the door.
A whiff of a musty odor smacked him in the face. Clearly the cleaning staff hadn’t touched the living quarters. It was fully furnished with antiques, but everything in sight was covered in piles of dust. Nobody had thought to cover anything with sheets or open the windows.
Some of the kids gagged while others held their noses. They all complained.
“It’ll be fine,” he reassured them. “We’ll air it out and call for cleaning services.”
“Why didn’t you do that before we got here?” Blake asked.
“I assumed it’d be taken care of. My bad.”
The twins were the first to rush in. One turned to him. “Where’s our room?”
“You kids have your pick of any on the second floor. There are nine total. Your mom and I will take the master bedroom, which is down here.”
The kids ran past him. After only a few moments, they called out their claims.
Vanessa slipped her hand into his. “Seems to be going well so far.”
He coughed from some dust. “Yes, but I’m surprised nobody bothered cleaning before we got here. Marcia knew to meet us.”
“It isn’t a problem. Might be good for everyone to work on it together.”
“I’m not sure the kids will like that.”
“Doesn’t mean it won’t be a good bonding activity.”
She gave him a kiss. “Let’s see our room.”
He returned the kiss heartily, then led her down the hall.
The movers made noise behind them as they brought in boxes.
It would be a tall order to go through both family’s things and figure out what to do with the items already here. Some of the furniture looked like it would sell for a lot of money. Maybe they’d decide to keep some of it and get rid of what they’d brought.
He had no attachments to any of it, so he’d leave it up to everyone else.
Vanessa pulled him down the hall. “Is this the master bedroom? Look at that dresser. It’s to die for.”
Chris stepped inside and took in the large room. Everything looked turn-of-the-century or from the Victorian era, or maybe older. He didn’t know much about that sort of thing. Given his experience with construction, he could tell if a building was designed in the last thirty years or not, and which decade in particular. That was about it.
While his wife gushed over the furnishings, he fought with the windows, which had likely been shut for the last four decades.
From upstairs, one of the girls screamed. Footsteps thundered above them.
Another scream. That sounded like Anya.
“Dad, get up here now!”
Chris exchanged a worried look with Vanessa before bolting from the room.
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Stacy Claflin is a USA Today bestselling thriller author who has published more than 75 novels, including Girl in Trouble and The Perfect Death. She has always been curious about the human mind, and in her quest to learn more, she earned a degree in Psychology. Her favorite course was Abnormal Behavior, which has been useful in writing fiction.
Her love for thrillers goes back to her early childhood when she fell in love with Unsolved Mysteries and America’s Most Wanted. When Stacy was five, she got mad at a babysitter who wouldn’t let her watch the evening news. These days, she spends her free time listening to true crime podcasts or watching documentaries on the subject.
She has been telling stories for as long as she can remember, and as child would often get into trouble for trying to convince friends her wild tales were true. Now she puts her creativity to better use by writing page-turning stories that leave readers begging for more.
Stacy occasionally dabbles in other genres, so as you peruse her library of works, you’ll find some romance and paranormal tales, all with strong suspense elements.
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