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Chapter One

If I can make it through living in a haunted house with a deranged psychopath, I can make through a date,” I muttered, staring at my computer screen.

I was out of excuses. The tan I picked up on my vacation had all but faded, the reconstruction of the house was done, and the book, thanks to being a hot news story, had been fast-tracked to release. Gabriel had the patience of Job. He accepted all of my excuses about why I couldn’t go out with him, but never stopped trying. Finally, his persistence wore me down, despite my fear—not of him, exactly, but of how easy he made it for me to depend on him—and despite the fact it meant leaving the house. We’d arrived at an understanding, it and I.

A knock on the front door made my stomach drop. Yes, the ghostly noises had been on hiatus since the fire, but I still expected them—old habits and all that jazz. I took a deep breath and flipped the four heavy deadbolts, then tugged the door open to find a woman standing on the porch in jeans and a parka. Her wool hat was pulled down over her ears, and dark blonde hair peeked out from underneath.

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