◄ SCENT OF ROSES Excerpt
“I think we should turn off
the television," Elizabeth said. "No respectable ghost would appear
while we’re watching Saturday Night Live.”
He smiled. “I suppose not.
I brought some work to do. I figured I’d better keep my mind on
something besides making love to you.”
Her cheeks flushed as she
pressed the off button on the front of the set. So did other
parts of her body. “I brought a book. At least we can keep
His gaze ran over her,
letting her feel his interest head to foot, and hot sparks glittered
in his eyes. “I can think of a lot more interesting things we could
do, but I guess that’s not going to happen.”
“I guess it isn’t.” Much to
her regret. But last night had been a mistake and she wasn't going
to let it happen again. She pulled the paperback out of her purse,
a romantic suspense she wouldn’t have brought if she’d remembered
how steamy the sex scenes were. She would skip the juicy parts, she
vowed, and settled in to read while Zach pored over the pages of a
It was getting late.
Elizabeth yawned. She checked her watch, saw that it was nearly
midnight. Flicking a glance to where Zach leaned back against the
sofa, she saw that his eyes were closed, his thick dark lashes
fanned out against his cheek. His long legs stretched in front of
him and his head rested on the back of the couch. He was sound
asleep, and Elizabeth realized she was equally sleepy.
Yawning, she made her way as
quietly as possible into the bedroom. As far as she knew, the
vision--assuming there was one--had never appeared anywhere except
this room. She lay down on the bed, still fully dressed, plumped
the pillow behind her head, and closed her eyes. As tired as she
was, it didn’t take long to fall asleep.
She wasn’t sure how long she
slept or what awakened her. When she opened her eyes, the first
thing she noticed was how still the room had grown, the air thicker
than it should have been. An odd creak came from the living room,
the same sound she had heard when she was in the house before. A
few seconds later, the wind began its eerie moaning. She wanted to
rush to the window to see if the breeze was real, but she was fairly
sure it wasn’t.
She wondered if Zach could
hear it, cast a glance toward the living room, and saw that he sat
up very straight on the sofa. He could hear it, too, she thought
with some relief. At least, she wasn’t imagining things.
Her pulse beat a little
faster as the air thickened even more. She could see Zach on the
sofa, his head cocked toward another, different sound rising in the
distance, the eerie wail of a train whistle, screaming into the
blackness of the night. She could hear the ding, ding, ding of the
warning bell at the crossing, then the locomotive roaring down the
track through the cotton fields on the other side of the highway.
The track crossed the road
just north of the house and the place shuddered as the train drew
near. But the tracks had been abandoned years ago. She wasn't even
sure the rails were still there.
A chill swept through her as
Zach turned to look out the window, but Elizabeth’s attention swung
in another direction. Something cold had crept into the bedroom,
something so dense and chilling she couldn’t seem to move. She sat
frozen on the bed, her heart beating as if it tried to escape
through her ribs. Something was there--she could feel it--and an
icy fear began to well inside her. The dense air made it hard to
breathe, hard to think, and her mind seemed cloudy, her thoughts far
The chill was pervasive now,
filling the room, stretching into every corner. Her gaze went to
Zach who perched on the edge of the sofa, completely alert, waiting
to see what would happen next. The atmosphere in the bedroom
shifted. The chill remained, but with it now came the cloying scent
The smell was disgustingly
heavy, dense and putrid, a sickening odor that made the bile rise in
The fear inside her
swelled. Her gaze shot to the living room in search of Zach and it
must have shone in her eyes. She saw him come to his feet and start
moving toward the open bedroom door. Something caught her eye. A
faint, translucent light began to appear at the foot of the bed, a
wavering, eerie glow barely visible in the room. But Elizabeth was
certain it was there, and a strangled sound of fear came from her
Zach stood in the doorway,
his feet braced apart, and the minute he heard the sound, he started
toward her, his strides long and angry.
“That’s it! That’s
enough!” Storming into the bedroom, he came straight to the bed,
sat down on the edge, and pulled her into his arms.
“Oh, God, Zach!”
"Easy, baby, it’s over.
Everything’s all right. You’re safe now.” He glanced around the
room, searching every corner. “Whatever it was is gone.”