House of Whispers: Mortlake Series Book 2
House of Whispers: Mortlake Series Book 2
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Evil rises up from the shadows of Haslam House…
As paranormal investigator Marcus Mortlake recovers from his latest battle with the supernatural, he finds himself haunted by a face from his past. His former lover calls to him from beyond the veil of sleep. But are these disturbing visions just dreams… or something far more sinister?
Meanwhile, Mortlake’s new assistant, Tara Pride, has discovered a paranormal site worthy of investigation. Haslam House has no shortage of restless spirits prowling its dusty halls, communicating with the owner’s young daughter through pictures and drawings. The spirits whisper their pleas to be saved from a dark presence, whose hunger for souls has grown ravenous over the centuries…
Vowing to rid the house of this deadly force once and for all, Mortlake and Tara prepare to do battle. But will Mortlake’s tricks and Tara’s fledging psychic abilities be enough to stop a being who has preyed on humanity since the dawn of time?
Or will their souls join the other victims, trapped for all eternity in Haslam House…
Anita was in full flirt mode during her first encounter with Carl, but the cheerful workman did not seem especially impressed. He was friendly enough, but that was it. Anita, who had gone for skimpy summer clothes that left little to the imagination, seemed miffed at not being drooled over. She giggled and jiggled, flicked her hair back, and fluttered her eyelashes. Carl joked around a little but kept working. He was clearly a man not easily distracted.
Eventually, Anita gave up and made a face behind Carl’s back. Tara, who had seen this pattern before on many occasions, wondered when her friend would imply Carl was gay. She gave it five minutes, max.
“Nice lad, but I think he might bat for the other team,” whispered Anita two minutes later, as they watched Carl head out to his van for more supplies.
“And there it is,” Tara said cheerily. “A bit trigger-happy with the judgment there, girlfriend. Maybe he’s just the quiet type and doesn’t want your boobs wobbling in his face like rogue blancmanges. Or maybe he has a girlfriend and he’s the loyal type.”
Anita had to laugh at that. She was not wholly lacking in self-awareness but always argued that, as a romantic, she had to follow her heart. They had talked about this a lot. Anita was convinced she would eventually find true love with her ideal Mister Darcy or similar. Tara, feeling a little naughty, pointed out that Jane Austen would not approve of Anita’s methods.
“She was a classic victim of patriarchal culture,” Anita responded. “If Miss Jane Prissy-Pants was around today, she’d be hurling herself at everything in trousers to make up for lost time. Mark my words!”
Tara couldn’t quite figure out the rationale behind that idea, so she let it go. Instead, she discussed ghost hunting with her friend. Anita was predictably enthusiastic and wanted to start questioning Ellie at once.
“Kids are famous for seeing ghosts and stuff,” she insisted. “Like that daft dog—they’re sensitive too. And it won’t come indoors; how spooky is that? What if Ellie’s a hotline to the undead? Save us a lot of trouble if she could just ask them what’s going on. Maybe she could tell them to bugger off and let Tim get the job done!”
Tara suggested that discussing the paranormal with a six-year-old should be handled quite gently. Anita was having none of it though. She argued that children were far more open-minded than adults because every day of their lives brought new facts, new experiences, a lot of them quite disturbing.
“And,” Anita added, “it’s nearly tea time. That means Ellie will be in bed within a couple of hours, and we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to question her.”
She headed outside in search of the girl.
“Okay,” sighed Tara, following. “But if she’s even a little upset, we’ll lay off right away.”
Ellie was playing with Trixie under the watchful eye of Sonia, who looked out from the kitchen window. Tara and Anita joined in with an improvised game of soccer, and soon, all four were yelling and running around. At one point, Trixie was rebuked for ball-hogging, but otherwise, it was good clean fun. It was a warm day, and, after nearly an hour, Tara suggested cool drinks indoors.
“I’d like to see more of your drawings,” Tara said as Sonia produced homemade lemonade. “I’m sure Anita would, too.”
Ellie was happy to show off her art. Tara made a point of being casual, not asking too many questions, just pointing to something now and again. She pointed to the mysterious lady and asked if she was around at the moment. Ellie shook her head. Tara followed up with a few innocuous questions about dinosaurs. Anita, impatient, asked if the mysterious lady was a ghost.
“The lady is scared of ghosts,” Ellie replied, surprising them all. “I don’t think she likes being one. I don’t think the other ghosts are nice to her.”
Tim came in to talk to Sonia and was sidetracked by the discussion around the kitchen table.
“Have you told them about the Romans?” asked Ellie’s father.
The girl looked up at him blankly for a moment then shook her head.
“Are the Romans the other ghosts?” Tara asked.
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