Liz Levine is convinced her recently deceased husband is engineering the sequence of events that propels her into a new life. But it’s sea captain Edward Barrett, the husband that died over a century ago, who has returned to complete their unfinished business. Edward’s lingering presence complicates all her plans and jeopardizes a new relationship that reawakens her passion for life and love. What are Captain Barrett’s plans for his wife, and for the man who is the new object of her affections?
Liz opened the lid of a large trunk affixed with shipping labels dated from 1865 to 1875. Inside, neatly folded, were women’s clothes, hats, and shoes. She examined a night chemise that resembled a long slip with lace trim. “This is English linen, Irish lace though.”
Mae didn’t answer. Liz peeled away layers of yellowed paper. Silk and velvet dresses with coordinating hats and high button shoes were stored in their original boxes. Undergarments, corsets, garters, and hosiery were wrapped in linen bags. The aroma of lavender lingered in a sachet tucked in the corner.
“You won’t be findin’ this clothin’ in the Sea Captain’s Thrift Shop,” Mae hung the dresses in the closet.
They arranged the intimate garments in the antique dresser. Liz left the shoes and hats in the trunk and pushed it against the wall.
“How could no one have noticed these for so many years?” said Liz. “It’s too damp up here to leave them out. I’ll donate them to the Brewster Historical Society and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.”
“Keep this nightgown, Miss Lizzy.” Mae hung it on a hanger over the closet door. “The sachet kept it fresh and the wrinkles will come out in time. A real lady lived here. The best of everything.”
Liz watched the girls fluffing pillows and turning down covers on the four-poster bed. Another moment of déjà vu diffused through the room.
The characters have convincing backstories, which maintained my interest until the last page.
–Andrew Richardson, author of The Footholder’s Tale
Mike and Liz Keeny are newlyweds, new parents, and the proprietors of the Barrett Inn, an 1875 Victorian on Cape Cod, which just happens to be haunted. By their own ghosts. The Inn had become an annex of Purgatory, putting Mike, Liz, and their infant son in danger. Selling the historic seaside bed and breakfast was the only answer, one that Liz and her own tortured specter refused to consider. Were they doomed to follow the same path that led to disaster in their previous lives? Was getting out, getting away, enough?
Silk rustled as she ran her hands over the dress. The lavender scent deepened as Elisabeth swirled around inside, Her mind went numb as the ghost took control. She slipped out of her clothes and stood naked in front of the mirror. She put up her hair, preening for her husband, before she stepped into the middle of the deep green skirts and pulled them up over her waist, slipped her arms into the sleeves, and twisted them behind her back to fasten the buttons. She used the buttonhook to do up the shoes, then peered out into the hallway.
Liz bundled the sweat suit into her arms, along with the soap and paper goods, and hurried to the attic door. It wasn’t until she placed her hand on the banister and started up the steep staircase to the roof that Elisabeth’s needling eased. Like an addict in the throes of withdrawal, just the promise of being up there, her spirit communing with the long lost sea captain, offered relief.
Definitely a good, engrossing read that is worth a look. I enjoyed it and thought the concept was fresh and entertaining.– Kate Colbert, NetGalley
Storm Watch (coming in 2017)
Mike and Liz thought they’d gotten control of the specters haunting the Barrett Inn. But things get very complicated when they’re the ghosts from your past life. The Category Five Hurricane bearing down on Cape Cod appears to be headed directly for them–or has it been spawned from inside them?
Either it was age or too much on his mind, but forgetting your morning routine was like getting lost in your own back yard. Mike was in the parking lot before he realized he’d forgotten to stop for tea. There was some water and soda aboard the Whaler-warm of course-some stale snacks too. The sun peeked through a bank of puffy white clouds, giving the hint of a beautiful day to come. But to the west, a dark expanse rolled over itself like a giant octopus, its tentacles undulating, slapping the shit out of the cottony sky. “Damn ghosts.”
Everyone that subscribes to my newsletter for updates on the Unfinished Business series will get a PDF download of Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts. This anthology, edited by Rayne Hall, contains a short story version of Breakwater Beach.
Listen to Sir Elton sing The Bridge for a taste of what this series is all about.