Innocence of the Dead
Lost Souls Series 2
Samantha Dowling sees ghosts. As much as she hates her gift, she can’t ignore the spirit of a murdered young girl who haunts her dreams. As she digs into the death, she learns she’s not the only missing child in the city. And no one seems to be doing anything about it. Running into the very sexy Ethan Montgomery at his bookstore where she’d doing her research adds a whole new element to the mix.
From the first moment Ethan Montgomery sees Sam, he knows she’s meant to be his. Unfortunately, his soon-to-be ex-wife Gwen is determined to bring Ethan down any way she can, and his attraction to Sam is an opening she won’t pass up.
Despite her interference, Sam and Ethan’s romance blossoms. In secret. But sneaking around isn’t as easy as they thought when others discover their relationship.
And when Sam learns the identity of the murderer, it puts her in their crosshairs. Unless Ethan can get to her in time, their romance will have a deadly end.
She struggled in the darkness that surrounded her. The cold, damp dirt smothered her and clogged her nails as she fought to escape. Her eyes and nose stung from the strong smell of defecation and rotting flesh. The taste of blood in her mouth made her want to gag.
She’d been buried. Alive!
Desperate for air, for escape, she clawed at the dirt, pushing it aside in her frantic need to escape. It covered her eyes, filled her nostrils and ears. Unable to breathe, she fought desperately to find air. When her hand finally broke through the surface, she felt giddy, then gasped when a hand grabbed onto her arm. Yanked up, free of her grave, she scrambled to her knees, spitting dirt from her mouth, shaking it from her ears, gasping for breath. In the distance, a tiny voice spoke.
“Who are you?” She rubbed the dirt from her eyes, blinking away the blurriness. What she saw before her made her stomach roll and her heart clench.
Propped against a wall sat a small child, who couldn’t have been more than seven. Her eyes, a foggy white stared at her blankly and she felt them penetrate her soul. Across her neck, from ear to ear, was a gaping wound.
Horrified, she scrambled back and screamed when an arm came around her waist. Before she could comprehend what happened, something cold and hard touched her neck.
In one quick motion, it sliced across her throat.
Sam woke with a scream, her hands clutching her neck. It took her a moment to orient herself as she stared wildly across the room.
She was safe, in her bed, in her home.
As the picture of the little girl flashed through her mind, Sam began to cry.
She hated this. Hated it with a deep passion.
Why did she have to live with the dead?
The tears slid down her face, dampening her cotton nightshirt. It never got any easier to see the dead in her dreams, even after dealing with it all of her life.
Sniffling back her tears, Sam mopped her face dry. Climbing out of bed, she grabbed her sketchbook and pencil, then sat back down in bed to draw. It always helped to sketch her dreams.
Though her hand shook, Sam managed to sketch the face of the child that had come to her in her dream.
The flesh was decaying, her bones protruding and Sam even drew the maggots that crawled over the child’s dead body. She had blue eyes, beneath the fog of death, and Sam drew them as she saw them behind their milky white stare. Dirt and blood coated her blonde hair. She wore a red fuzzy shirt and blue jeans with silver gems along the seams and pockets. She had on one running shoe in white and blue, the laces untied and caked in mud and blood. Her once white socks were filthy.
One of her upper teeth was missing.
Sam paused briefly before sketching the gaping wound in her neck. The flesh had been torn open from ear to ear, nearly decapitating the frail child. Sam could taste the blood in her own mouth, and as she reached up to her throat, remembered the feel of her own torn flesh.
It was just a dream. Not real.
Decadent Publishing: https://decadentpublishing.com/innocence-of-the-dead/
Shiela Stewart is a paranormal suspense author with a writing history that stems back to her youth. Always a dreamer, wondering if her stories would ever reach an audience, she was finally published in 2006 and hasn’t stopped since. It is rare to find a stand-alone book as she prefers series stories. Her longest running series to date is her Darkness series, which is a vampire romance.
Her joy for scary suspense is evident in each of her books. She has had several accomplishments, including fighting for the top spot in the rankings with author Stephanie Myers, receiving glowing reviews as well as interviews on local television and reviews and interviews in The Romantic Times Magazine.
When not writing, Shiela spends her time with the love of her life, William, and their children and grandchildren. Her strong affection for animals is evident in the many cats she cares for.
Her favorite time of the day is at sunset.