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Today’s Spooky Legends guest is Nancy Gideon, author of the Moonlight paranormal romance series from Simon Schuster/Pocket Books. The series continues with the fifth installment, HUNTER OF SHADOWS, followed by SEEKER OF SHADOWS on June 28, 2012. Our story features the Reflection urban legend. Want to win your own copy of the latest book? For an additional, non-caloric treat to celebrate Halloween, Nancy is offering two commenters chosen at random an advance copy of HUNTER OF SHADOWS! Comment below for a chance to win!
Nancy wants to know:
What is your favorite Urban Legend (Mine is “Large Marge” from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure!) or your favorite scary movie that never fails to make you jump . . . even when you know it’s coming?
The Spooky Legend “Reflection” set in my By Moonlight world
By Nancy Gideon
It was late, but Tina Babineau was reluctant to wake her sleeping son and send him upstairs to bed. They’d been watching the original version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers together, and somewhere in the middle of the movie, the eleven-year-old had drifted off, clearly not as riveted to the tense chiller as she was. Perhaps because its scare factor paled in comparison to the nightmare they’d been living for the past months here in the rambling former mobster’s fortress. The thought of pod people didn’t seem quite so shocking after discovering their own ability to transform into something far more unnatural.
They were the monsters now.
She turned the sound down to a whisper, pulled the snuggly blanket about the both of them, and switched off the light, letting the glow of the screen flicker over the deep shadows of the room.
It was nice sharing moments like these with Oscar in the small back parlor where overstuffed furniture created a cozy illusion of home. But it wasn’t their home, and when she took her son up to tuck him into his bed, all she had to look forward to was the emptiness of her own.
She took another sip of wine and let the loneliness of the night howl through her.
What had happened to the wonderfully normal future she’d begun to build with the man she loved? Oh, yeah, he’d found out his wife and step-son weren’t human. Alain Babineau, New Orleans detective, decent man, adoring husband, a man so proud and protective of his close-knit little family, had hardly been able to look at them since.
The move to the old mansion on River Road had been made to keep them safe. That’s what she’d told her son, anyway. But in her bruised and aching heart, she knew different. The door to their happy home, to their treasured life, had been closed to them, shutting them out, and her greatest fear was that it would never open again.
The big house was dark, the only other stirrings of activity far removed from their secluded spot. Its halls were steeped in disquieting silence and draped with brutal deeds past. She would never feel comfortable within them, but where else could they go? How else could she provide a sense of comfort and security for her child when all they once knew had been torn away by startling revelation and violence? Max Savoie, the mysterious half-brother Oscar never knew he had, had called them family and gathered them close in this new world of danger and intrigue, against threats both real and potential to her boy. But where was Max now that they depended upon him?
Where was the husband who’d made her so many beautiful promises?
A sudden flash lit up the grounds outside, followed by an ominous growl of thunder. The air grew instantly heavy.
Anticipating the loss of power that often came with the fierce Gulf storms, Tina reached for her son’s shoulder to shake him awake when a glimpse of movement from the veranda caught her eye. She paused, staring through the window. Was someone out there in the darkness?
She almost dismissed it, thinking she must have seen one of Max’s many guards on their regular patrol. The knowledge of their somber, well-armed presence, their weapons now loaded with special silver-coated rounds, was reassuring in Max’s absence. But hadn’t she seen one of those hulking sentinels pass by only minutes ago?
A shiver ran through her.
Cautiously, she sank down low so her head couldn’t be seen above the top of the couch, peering over its arm into the blackness beyond the floor-to-ceiling windows.
Another jolt of lightning, this time closer. There, almost out of sight behind the gathered curtains, stood a figure on the other side of the glass. A figure in sleek, unrelieved black, definitely not one of the well-dressed hired men.
She caught back her cry of alarm and turned off the television. Could he see them here inside the darkened room? Had he been out there, for how long, watching them?
Tina thought of the nerve center of the estate’s security on the far side of the massive building. Would anyone hear her cry for help?
Then she felt it, that prickle of sensation she’d recently learned was called a Glimmer. Their instinctive awareness of one of their own kind.
She touched Oscar’s arm, her urgent voice soft. “Baby, wake up. Don’t move. I think we’re in trouble.”
Dark eyes flashed open, glinting as she felt him tense, sensing the other presence. “How many?” he whispered, alert to the danger of their position.
“At least one, right outside.”
A low sound of menace rumbled up through the boy’s slight body. She quieted him with the press of her hand over his.
“No. Stay still. Maybe he doesn’t know we’re here.”
Oscar didn’t argue that that was unlikely. If they sensed him, the intruder would certainly be aware of them. How had he gotten over the high walls, onto the well-guarded grounds through the thick net of surveillance cameras? How could he have gotten so close, right up to their very door, without drawing any attention?
Unless he was one of them. One of the assassins from the North. Here for Oscar.
After a quick cut of fright tore through her, Tina bristled at the thought of her child in danger. No way would she let them take Oscar away from her again. But the two of them were vulnerable and alone, she unskilled, Ozzy just a boy.
Quickly, while there was still time, she reached for her cell phone, carefully retrieving it from the table next to the couch. Tucking it under the blanket so the illuminated face wouldn’t betray them, she made the call, refusing to believe he wouldn’t answer when he saw her name.
“Babineau.” Such a curt, impersonal response. Tina was too afraid to let it wound her.
“Is Silas with you? It’s an emergency.”
His pause relayed his own hurt that she would request aid from his new partner instead of her own husband, but he passed the phone without a word.
Tina pressed close to the phone to whisper, “Silas, someone’s outside.”
His voice lowered with an intense gravity. “Where are you? Are you alone?”
“Ozzy and I are in the back TV room.”
“Stay put. I’ll have the house security there in seconds. We’re on our way.” The connection severed abruptly.
Help was coming. Alain was coming. She closed her eyes, her arm tightening about the taut figure beside her, listening, waiting, scarcely breathing.
The silence was broken by the sound of footsteps rapidly approaching. Light flooded in from the hall, and they were quickly surrounded. Figures raced past the windows outside on the porch, chasing possible threat away, yet Tina couldn’t stop trembling. Until her husband appeared in the doorway.
He crossed to where the two of them huddled on the couch. Worry, no, fright, tightened his handsome features as he crouched down before them. His words shook slightly.
“Are you both all right?”
Tina managed a small smile and a nod, her heart knocking with something other than fear as he briefly touched his fingertips to her cheek. Such a warm, comforting gesture too quickly withdrawn.
The detective was pulled away as the men searching the grounds returned, shaking their heads, reporting that there was no sign of any intruder; no damp footprints on the porch boards, no disturbance to the yielding lawn. It was then Tina saw doubt flicker in her husband’s eyes. Did he wonder if she’d made it up just to gain his cruelly withheld attention?
Her tone was sharp. “Someone was out there. I saw him there, right outside the window. Both Ozzy and I . . . felt him.”
Alain tensed at her mention of their preternatural abilities. His expression hardened as he turned away from them, moving stiffly around the side of the couch, his back to them when suddenly, he drew a harsh breath of surprise.
Tina twisted to look up at him in alarm. “What is it?”
His face had gone pale as he looked to the windows then back at the floor behind where they were seated. “There wasn’t someone on the porch,” he said quietly.
“But I saw him out there,” Tina argued, confused by his strange expression.
“No. You didn’t. He wasn’t outside the window.”
She came up onto her knees, Oscar following suit so they could look over the back of the couch to see what Alain was staring at on the floor with such fixed horror. At wet footprints on the carpet directly behind where they’d been sitting.
“He wasn’t out there,” Alain concluded. “You saw his reflection in the glass.”
He’d been in the room.
Right behind them.
I hope you enjoyed my retelling of the classic Reflection urban legend, and that you’ll join me in welcoming NOPD detective Silas MacCreedy into my By Moonlight world as the hero of HUNTER OF SHADOWS, available on 11-29-11 through Pocket Books.
With over 50 sales to her credit since her first publication in 1987, Portage, Michigan author Nancy Gideon’s writing career is as versatile as the romance market, itself. Her books encompass genres from historicals and regencies to contemporary suspense and the paranormal. Her works have been published overseas in Romanian, Italian, Russian, Portuguese, Danish, German, Icelandic and Chinese, among other languages.
Also listed on the International Movie Database (IMDB), she collaborated on the indie horror films In the Woods and Savage with screenwriting and ADR script credits, and even played the character “Bar Extra.”
A national speaker on writing in general and romance in particular, Gideon is a Western Michigan University honors grad with a major in journalism and minors in history and communications. She’s a member of Novelist, Inc. and the Mid-Michigan, Greater Detroit, PASIC and FF&P chapters of Romance Writers of America®, and is former vice-president, published author co-liaison and award-winning newsletter editor for MMRWA.
The mother of two grown sons, one married and proud producer of her grandson and the other shanghaied into being her assistant, she also works full time for the law firm, Redmond, Redmond & Yokom.
A prolific writer, Gideon attributes her creative output, which once peaked at seven novels in one year, to her love of history and a gift for storytelling. She also credits the discipline learned through a background in journalism and scheduling writing time around diaper changes, Scout meetings, band lessons and outings to the Zoo Boo…and, of course, OCD. The due date for her third book and her second son were on the same day…and both were early! When on deadline, she turns on the laptop between 4:30 and 5:00 a.m. to get a chapter in before work.
While the pace is often hectic, Gideon, a Gemini, enjoys tackling diverse projects. One month it’s researching the gritty existence of 1880’s Texas Rangers only to jump to modern themes of intrigue and possibly a legal thriller or two. Then, it’s back to the shadowy netheworld of shape shifters, vampires and movie serial killers. When not working on her latest plot twist before sunrise or arranging medical depositions, she enjoys indulging in Netflix, hosting her critique group, and feeding a variety of wildlife on her fourth-floor balcony including a yearly family of raccoons. And, of course, reading.
Want to read more from Nancy Gideon?
Discover more about my “By Moonlight” world here or here, and to further celebrate the thrills and chills of this Trick-or-Treat season, stop over and visit my Haunted Open House. The doors will be open from Monday October 24th to Friday October 28th for spooktacular fun, games, goodies and giveaways with extra special guest ghouls and guys popping in, a costume contest fit for a demon diva, and free book download you can really sink your teeth into!
This giveaway is provided by Nancy Gideon
Two winners will each receive a copy of Hunter of Shadows (Moonlight) by Nancy Gideon
Available on November 29, 2011 from Simon and Schuster/Pocket Books
About the Book:
The secrets he knows about her could get him killed.
Transferring to the New Orleans Police Department, Detective Silas MacCreedy has a hidden agenda: to secure his clan’s place once again in the Shifter hierarchy. What he didn’t count on was stumbling upon a sexy assassin who could shred his best intentions and lead him into a dangerous dance that threatens to engage his heart.
But the ones he doesn’t know . . .
Monica Fraser knows just how to make a man beg—for his life. But she has no clue how to fight her attraction to the fiercely intense detective who seems determined to get in her way, both professionally and intimately.
. . . could kill them both.
When emotional attachments to the past and an unexpected glimpse of a different future have her questioning her deadly purpose, Nica must discover the truth about her secret abilities in order to free herself from the forces that control her. But that freedom comes with a price—trusting those she’s been ordered to eliminate.
Click HERE to read an excerpt
**Don’t forget to visit All Things Urban Fantasy today for her Spooky Legends guest blog with Theresa Meyers and a chance to win a copy of THE HUNTER**
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