by Heather Graham
Salem was a place near and dear to Jenna Duffy and Samuel Hall—it was where they'd met on a strange and and sinister case.
They never dreamed that they'd be called back. That history could repeat itself in a most macabre and terrifying fashion.
But, then again, it was Salem at Halloween. Seasoned Krewe members, they still find themselves facing the unspeakable horrors in a desperate race to save each other—and perhaps even their very souls.
Come to me. Please, come to me.
The words seemed real to Elyssa Adair, like a whisper in her mind, as she looked up at the old mansion.
The Mayberry Mortuary was decked out in a fantastic Halloween décor, customary each year starting October 1. It sat high on a jagged bluff near the waterfront in Salem, Massachusetts. Just driving toward it, at night, was like being in a horror movie. Dense trees lined the paved drive and it was surrounded by a graveyard. The old Colonial building, when captured beneath the moonlight, seemed to rise from the earth in true Gothic splendor.
She shivered and looked around at her friends, wondering if the words had been spoken by one of them. Vickie Thornton and Barry Tyler sat in the backseat, laughing with one another and making scary faces. Nate Fox was driving, his dark eyes intent on the road.
No one in the car had spoken to her.
She gave herself a silent mental shake. She could have sworn she’d actually heard a whisper. Clear as day. Come to me. Strangely, she wasn’t afraid. She loved the artistry of Halloween—the fun of it—and few places in the world embraced the day like Salem.
This was home and she loved Salem, despite the sad history of witch trials and executions. A lot of that was steeped in lure and myth, but the local Peabody Essex museum and other historic venues seemed to go out of their way to remind visitors of the horror that came from petty jealousy and irrational fear.
“Boo,” Nate said, leaning toward her.
She jumped with a start.
She’d been deeply involved in her thoughts and the view of the old mansion. Nate, Vickie, and Barry all giggled at her surprise.
“Do you have to do that,” she murmured.
He frowned, his eyes back on the road. “Elyssa, we’ve done this every year since we were kids. So are you really scared now?”
“Of course not,” she said, and tried to smile.
She loved Nate. They were both just eighteen, but they’d been seeing one another since their freshman year. She was young, as everyone kept reminding her, but she knew that she would love him all of her life. Despite them being opposites. She was a bookworm, born and raised in the East, red hair and green eyes. He was from South Dakota, a Western boy, whose mom had been from nearby Marblehead but whose dad had been a half Lakota Sioux. He was tall and dark with fabulous cheekbones and a keen sense of ethics and justice. He was their high school’s quarterback, and she was debate team captain.
“Don’t be silly,” she said. “Last year, I played a zombie, remember?”
And what a role. She’d arose from the embalming table and attacked one of her classmates who’d played the mortician, terrifying the audience.
Nate grinned. “That you did. And what a lovely zombie you were.”
She heard the single word and realized no one in the car had spoken it.
New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Heather Graham majored in theater arts at the University of South Florida. After a stint of several years in dinner theater, back-up vocals, and bartending, she stayed home after the birth of her third child and began to write, working on short horror stories and romances. After some trial and error, she sold her first book, WHEN NEXT WE LOVE, in 1982 and since then, she has written over one hundred novels and novellas including category, romantic suspense, historical romance, vampire fiction, time travel, occult, and Christmas holiday fare. She wrote the launch books for the Dell's Ecstasy Supreme line, Silhouette's Shadows, and for Harlequin's mainstream fiction imprint, Mira Books. Heather was a founding member of the Florida Romance Writers chapter of RWA and, since 1999, has hosted the Romantic Times Vampire Ball, with all revenues going directly to children's charity. She is pleased to have been published in approximately twenty languages, and to have been honored with awards frorn Waldenbooks. B. Dalton, Georgia Romance Writers, Affaire de Coeur, Romantic Times, and more. She has had books selected for the Doubleday Book Club and the Literary Guild, and has been quoted, interviewed, or featured in such publications as The Nation, Redbook, People, and USA Today and appeared on many newscasts including local television and Entertainment Tonight. Heather loves travel and anything have to do with the water, and is a certified scuba diver. Married since high school graduation and the mother of five, her greatest love in life remains her family, but she also believes her career has been an incredible gift, and she is grateful every day to be doing something that she loves so very much for a living.