Winner of the 2016 Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence in Mystery/Suspense in the paranormal category.
Someone is killing the residents of San Rey.
Graham is the sixth generation Doran to become sheriff of the sleepy central California coastal town. As long as a Doran has been sheriff there’s been no crime in San Rey, and Graham is counting on that peace and quiet when he returns home after years as an LAPD detective. But when he’s called to the scene of the murder/suicide of an old friend, he sets into motion a series of events that rocks the tiny town, and the only way to catch a killer will be to face his own dark past.
Buried secrets must be told.
Erin December has always felt like an outsider in close-knit San Rey. She comes from a family with unusual psychic abilities, which makes her an outcast in the small town. She’s spent her entire life keeping her own ability a secret—until the day she loses control of the visions, and is forced to watch a brutal murder through the killer’s eyes. Erin becomes the key witness to the first murder the town has seen in sixty years. But to help find the killer, she’s forced to reveal her biggest secret to the last person she thought she could trust—Graham.
To stop a murderer with secrets he’s killing to protect.
The December’s aren’t the only ones in San Rey with psychic abilities. As Graham and Erin’s attraction grows so does the killer’s need to protect his own secrets, turning his power on Erin and her family. Graham will do anything to protect Erin. But how do you catch a murderer who has the power to kill with his mind?
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~Excerpt from A Deep and Dark December~
Taking a deep breath, Erin knocked. If her vision were true, no one would answer. Please let Greg answer. Brushing the shards of flaked gate paint from her fingers, she was tempted to just pull out her cell phone and place the call she’d started at the office. But that’s not how it worked. If her vision was real, the scene had to play out exactly as she’d seen it.
She felt stupid calling him Mr. Lasiter instead of Greg. He was only a year older than she was. She’d had a stupid unrequited crush on him her freshman year of high school. And now she was standing on his dilapidated porch, supposedly waiting for him to open the door so she could take the keys to his home. The home he’d grown up in. She shouldn’t feel guilty about that and yet she did.
Mr. Lasiter?” She rapped on the door again. “Hello?”
Inside, the house was silent. Outside, the only sound was the whoosh of wind, lifting the curling ends of her brown hair, bringing with it the briny tinge of the ocean and a chill that bit right through her wool coat. Just like her vision. If Erin was smart she’d follow her instincts and run back the way she’d come. But she had her father’s practicality and a bank balance that didn’t allow for fear.
She had to see this through.
Still no answer. She’d hoped so hard that what she’d seen would be as wrong as the way it had come to her. She closed her eyes and silently chanted the words of protection she’d been taught as a child, mentally drawing a shield around herself. Focusing her energy, she took three deep breaths, letting each of them out slowly, preparing herself for the possible reality of what she’d only seen in her mind.
never wavered. For a moment, she didn’t know what to do. The wrongness poked at her.
Careful what you wish for.
Maybe there was a key. She searched the usual places—under the doormat, above the door, the light fixture, a dead potted plant—there.
Dusting the dirt from the key, she revealed a floral pattern. It was one of those novelty keys Fine’s Hardware had started carrying some time back. Erin had one herself. She dug her key ring from her pocket and compared the near identical house keys. The irony wasn’t lost on her. If it wasn’t for her job with Kavender Investments, Austin or Ramie himself might have knocked on her door with a check to exchange for the key to her house.
She pocketed her keys once again and fit the dirt-smudged key from the planter into the lock. It fit, turning easily in the knob. The door creaked on rusty hinges, the curse of coastal living.
Hello? Mr. Lasiter?” Her voice echoed off the walls of the near empty room.
Daylight made a weak effort to invade the space, casting no shadows. It was colder here, but not cold enough to mist her breath. The air lay still and ripe with wariness, as though the house had not yet made up its mind to accept her. Or maybe she was the one who refused to accept what had been so clear in her vision. She didn’t want to go into the house, didn’t want to be the one to make the discovery.
The layout was different from what she’d seen in her mind. Almost a mirror image, except for a door where there should have been a hall, and a fireplace where there should’ve been none. The differences were disorienting. It took her a moment to get her bearings. Different. Everything was so different from what she’d seen.
Why? What does it mean?
She called out for Greg again. No answer. She should leave. Right now. But her feet propelled her farther into the room as if controlled by someone or something else.
She swallowed at the lump of dread in her throat. She’d been drawn to the door at the far end of the room just like her vision and now there, standing before it, she couldn’t seem to stop her shaking hand from reaching out to open it. A noise from the other side made her flinch.
She swung the door open slowly, revealing the room inches at a time. “Greg? It’s me, Erin, fr—” She let go of the knob, clamping both hands to her mouth. The door continued on its own, exposing the scene.
Greg knelt over the body of a woman sprawled out on the floor in a thin pool of blood.
Behind him, the kitchen wall was dotted and streaked with more blood. He slowly raised his gaze. “I didn’t do it.” He swayed back and forth. His eyes, dull with shock, stayed on Erin’s. “I didn’t do it.”