Moran and Moran: Death Hunter Series Book 2
Moran and Moran: Death Hunter Series Book 2
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For Shane Ryan, ghost hunting isn’t just a job. It’s war…
Still recovering from his recent tragedy, retired Marine Shane Ryan receives a call from James Moran, a well-known dealer of haunted items in New England. A robbery gone wrong has left Moran with a trail of dead bodies, and a missing box of items from his inventory. And he wants Shane to track down the thief.
There’s not much to go on, but Shane has an ace up his sleeve… he can communicate with the spirits of the dead. Their dark whispers guide him to a string of similar crimes. Each victim is a collector of the supernatural, but unless Shane can locate the missing thief, he has no way to connect them to the bloody killing at Moran’s.
As he pieces together the clues, he soon encounters Derek… a vicious spirit bound to a stolen artifact from Moran’s shop. Shane realizes he can use this bloodthirsty ghost to lead him to the thief’s lair. But there’s just one problem.
The organization behind the robberies have bigger, more dangerous plans. They’re determined to bring Shane’s investigation to an end.
And they don’t care who they have to kill to do it…
Chapter 1: Dirk’s Bar and Grill
Bill Waits stepped out of Dirk’s Bar and Grill and took a deep breath. The air was cool and crisp, a welcome relief from the stuffy air in the bar. While he enjoyed drinking when Sheila was tending the bar, Bill couldn’t stand the smell of the place. Dirk Kennedy didn’t believe in cleaning, and if the health department didn’t threaten to shut him down on a regular basis, Bill was certain Dirk would let the place fester and rot.
So long as he has a hot bartender and good-looking waitresses to bring us in, Bill thought. He took a pack of Parliament cigarettes out of his jacket pocket, tucked a cigarette between his lips, and lit it, coughing as he exhaled. I swear they pack these damned filters with glass.
He put the pack away and walked through the filled parking lot to his pickup, which sat at the far end. Bill had ended up with too many chips knocked out of the paint job to trust it next to any other cars. Plus, it’s only a matter of time before someone backs into it. Or, worse, drives into it.
The parking lot’s solitary, dull yellow lamp cast a weak light on the gathered vehicles, and Bill was thankful there was a half-moon in the sky. It offered better illumination than the lamp did.
He passed by a beat-up Crown Victoria, the sides dented and patched in places with bare Bondo. From what he could see when he glanced at it, there was a man asleep in the driver’s seat, arms folded over his chest.
Better make sure you sleep it off all the way, Bill thought, shaking his head. Friday night and the cops will be all over Route 3 looking for drunks.
Reaching his truck, Bill walked around the front end, decided he needed to go to the bathroom one last time before he took the short trip home, and stepped into the trees that ran along the lot’s edge. He was about to unzip when the hairs on the back of his neck stood up, and he felt certain someone was watching him.
Suddenly uncomfortable, Bill glanced around and was surprised to see a man standing a few feet away. Was he there before?
The stranger was short, barely over five feet, and he had his arms over his chest as he leaned against a tree. Bill rubbed his eyes. Light’s playing tricks on me. Looks like I can see right through him.
“You’re a big ’un,” the stranger stated. There was a Southern twang to his voice, and Bill bristled. He’d never met anyone from the South who he had liked.
“And you’re short,” Bill replied. “Mind if I take a leak without you watching, Popeye?”
The stranger straightened up, and in the moonlight piercing the branches, Bill could see anger creep over the man’s face. “What’s that?”
“I’m about to go to the bathroom,” Bill clarified. “I don’t want you watching. You may want to, but no, that’s not gonna fly.”
“What do you know about flyin’?” the shorter man demanded.
“What are you, drunk?” Bill laughed and shook his head. “Get out of here and go back to whatever inbred, hick Southern state you come from.”
The stranger pushed his sleeves up to his elbows and stepped forward.
Bill opened his mouth to laugh again, then he stopped.
The left side of the stranger’s face was swollen, the eye nearly closed. His black hair was cropped short on the sides and swept back on the top, reminiscent of pictures of Bill’s grandfather in the late forties and early fifties. The man’s clothes seemed out of place, although Bill couldn’t quite figure out why.
But all these fell to the wayside as he realized he could see through the man.
It’s got to be a trick, Bill thought.
The man stepped closer, his hands clenched into fists. Bill could see cuts on the knuckles and what looked like fresh blood.
“You’re a big ’un,” the stranger grinned. “Let’s see how well you fight.”
Bill blinked, shook his head, and then the stranger was there. Before Bill could react, the stranger lashed out, a small fist smashing into Bill’s nose. The pain was instant and caused him to stumble back. Bill could feel the blood burst from his nostrils, and as he tried to bring his hands up to defend himself, a second blow landed on his mouth. He felt his lips split against his teeth.
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