About the Book
When Cassie Taylor talks, ghosts listen. She wants to heal their souls so they can leave earth. Brooding songwriter Luke Rivers wants to give his recently found daughter a normal home, but he discovers his new house in small town Wisconsin is haunted by a ghost with an attitude. His ghost whisperer has an attitude too—even before someone tries to kill her.
He wants conventional; she wants acceptance. No wonder she thinks men are hard and dead people are easy.
Sitting at a wooden table in Luke Rivers’ library, Cassie thinks if anyone could see them, they wouldn’t have a clue that the stud in a bomber jacket sitting kitty corner from her wasn’t flesh and blood. She hadn’t seen Joe for a while, and he looks different... Troubled, despite his crooked smile.She frowns. There aren’t many people she loves, and he’s one of the few. Dead or alive.Taking a deep breath, she puts on the smile. Aimee is waiting. Time for the interview.Cassie: Thanks for sitting down with me. You never talk about yourself much. You’re so... good looking. I bet when you were alive you had a ton of women after you. (gives him a warning look) But don’t get a big head about it.J: (shakes his head) You compliment me and knock me down at the same time. You got a problem, girl.C. Woman not girl.J: (leers at Cassie’s breasts then tilts his head to look at her hips) I’ve always known you were a woman.C: (almost punching him on the arm, but drawing back before touching him) You’re trying to make me hit you, aren’t you?J: (grinning) All the girls want to touch me.C: Sure, all the girls love a man-sized popsicle. Don’t think you’re going to sidetrack me. Tell me about yourself.J: (the spark leaves his eyes and he leans back in the chair) I hate these questions. I was a cop. A husband. Mary died of leukemia. I survived. People do. I don’t know why I didn’t go to Heaven, or whatever the hell it is, but here I am.C: You’ve been a ghost for about sixty years. All of the other ghosts I’ve met were here because they didn’t know they could leave. Or they had unfinished business. None of that fits you. And you told me you hadn’t even tried to go to Heaven—J: Maybe I didn’t tell you the whole truth.C: (eyebrows slashing together) What do you mean, maybe? Either you did or you didn’t.J: I sent a few messages to God. Nothing happened. I think they went to his spam box. (laughs but with no humor)C: (shivers, her voice a whisper) How does it feel?J: Like God’s forgotten about me.C: (rubs her goosebumpy arms) Aw, Joe—J: No pity. It’s not a big deal. I think he’s teaching me a lesson.C: Sixty years is a loooong lesson. What did you do to make him—or her—so mad?J: (he grins, fake as hell) Who knows? I wasn’t the best husband. I never cheated on Mary. (his brows lower, his expression fierce) I’d never do that. But I went out with the guys after work. Left her alone too long. And when she was sick... (turns his head, his mouth a line)C: (leans forward and sees his eyes glisten—but that’s impossible; ghosts don’t cry) You okay, Joe?J: (turns back with his usual life-is-good-for-dead-people grin) I’m always okay. Let’s talk about something else. We’re here to entertain readers, not bring them down.C: Subject changed but we’ll talk later. You’re not getting off that easy. (glances at a sheet of paper on the table) On with the interview. You’re getting your own book now. I heard Edie say so. What do you think she’ll do to you?J: No clue. I hope she doesn’t put me through hell like she did to you.C: She’s got a vicious streak. But it all turned out well at the end. Happily ever after.J: Not ever after. Some day you’re going to die.C: Am I? You didn’t die. Just your body. The real you...you’re still there. And I’m the one that helps dead people go to Heaven. I can help you. Why don’t you let me?J: No, I think maybe...I need to stay to learn things.C: What have you learned already?J: To never take anyone for granted.C: You’re talking about Mary again, aren’t you? It all leads back to Mary. You think she’ll be in the next book?J: (his expression tortured, he shrugs, trying to look nonchalant and failing) When she was dying, she promised that she’d come back to me. But it’s been sixty years. (looks at the ceiling) Mary... (voice breaks and he pauses before continuing in a hushed tone) I can’t wait much longer.C: (stands, arms out) Oh Joe, I didn’t know you felt this way. I—J: Interview is over. (gets up from the chair and turns from the table, from Cassie)C: Joe! You’re scaring me. Come back!J: (strides toward the bookcase) Sorry. I got a story to tell, and it’s sixty years overdue. I might not even wait for Edie to get off her butt and start typing.C: (drops arms) Good luck, Joe. (her voice wistful) Love you.She waits until Joe disappears, then heads back to the hall and her happy-but-still-not-perfect life. Smiling, because she’s sure she’ll see Joe again. But her eyes are grave and a bit sad, because it won’t be an easy road for him. It never is for fictional characters. She wants to blame it on the author, but part of the blame goes to readers. They love to see characters reach the end of their rope...and then the rope starts to fray.She decides to ask Luke to write a song. He can call it The Mean Reader Blues.
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