C. Marie Bowen
Passage - Soul of the Witch - Book 1
Courtney Veau has a “near death” experience, and lives for one week in her past life. When she returns to her own time, she knows how much she has lost. The memories and emotions from her time as Nichole Harris consume her mind and heart. When she discovers Nichole's house still stands, and has a room for rent, she doesn't hesitate to take it. Courtney soon finds her desire for Merril Shilo threatens her sanity, as he beckons from a past she can no longer reach.
If Courtney could find a passage back, she would never leave Merril's side.
Courtney Veau rested her shoulder against the wall beside the second floor window and looked down on the street below. The diverse Denver neighborhood had a mix of historic homes and new development. The buildings and trees along the block cast tall shadows across the pavement and foretold the approach of evening. Two helmeted bicyclists coasted past parked cars, then disappeared from view. A small sigh escaped her lips and she raised her gaze to the darkening eastern horizon. She waited for the first star to appear. Her thoughts jumped between her two great unresolved questions—why was she still here, and would he come again tonight?
Dust from the heavy tattered draperies tickled her nose as she peered between their panels. The curtains blocked the light from the passing day and left the small apartment behind her in semi-darkness. Her possessions were few. An inflatable mattress shoved into the corner by the closet. Beside the bed sat a small folding table, which held her laptop and cell phone. A sleeping bag, comforter and pillow were tossed haphazardly across the mattress, and at the foot of the makeshift bed was a large flashlight. Her suitcase lay open in the closet with her few remaining clean clothes inside; the dirty ones were tossed behind the closet door. The long shadows faded into twilight. She'd found what she came for—proof this house existed. There was no longer a reason to stay; and yet, just the possibility she might hear his voice again kept her waiting one more day.
Outside the window, night took final possession of the day. A few porch lights came on down the block. Headlights swung around the corner as a car turned onto the street and illuminated the pavement. The headlights winked off and a car door slammed.
Behind her, the room took on a familiar chill. She turned from the window and pressed her back against the heavy drapes as the echo of heavy boots pounded up the back stairs. She gasped when he ran into the room, vaguely luminescent in the darkness. He was dressed in denim trousers and cotton shirt, with a silk scarf tied loosely around his neck. Where's his hat? Had he lost it in the race up the stairs? That wide-brimmed cowboy hat was such a part of him he seemed naked without it. His hair had come loose from its binding, and he shoved it out of his face with a familiar motion. She stood close enough to read the emotion play across his face, a mixture of fear and bewilderment. His breath was labored, and his anxiety tangible as he stopped and looked right at her. Her mouth fell open in surprise and her heart tightened in her chest. Does he see me?
He took a hesitant step toward her. “Nichole?” His voice filled with horror, he whispered her name from another life.
“Yes! Merril, it's me.” Courtney stepped toward the specter.
His head turned. His attention called away from her open arms. “Oh, sweet Jesus.” Merril fell to his knees and reached for something no longer there. “Nicki, please don't go. Stay with me.”
“Merril, I'm here.” Her heart ached for him and for herself, but her plea went unheard.
Sobs shook his wide shoulders.
Her heart clenched to witness his despair. She longed to comfort him, to assure him she was there, but could not. In defeat, she sank to her knees beside the grieving apparition.
“Nicki, don't leave me. Look at me—” His hushed voice, choked and broken.
“I'm right here, my love,” she whispered, but the room grew warm and Merril Shilo faded back into the past. Courtney hung her head in the darkness and fought back tears. One question was answered, at least for now.
A Yuletide tournament
could be tragic or magical.