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RELEASING OCTOBER 2024, Pre-Order Now! 

How far would you go to protect your secret?

As the sun sets over the quaint town of Cambria, California, Cordelia Bennett, a sprightly seventy-two-year-old librarian, hums a classic tune while tidying up the bookshelves.

Just as she's about to lock up for the night, a mysterious sound startles her. She turns. The fading light reveals a chilling presence in the shadows, and Cordelia realizes she’s not alone.

Someone else is there, watching her every move—someone with one agenda in mind—making sure today is Cordelia’s last.

What Readers are Saying about the Series:

"Makes you want to keep reading the story into the night." ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

"A strong lead character and plenty of drama, it keeps the reader engaged." ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

"Leaving you wanting to read more." ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

"I will definitely read more from this author." ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

"Kept me on the edge of my seat." ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Want a sneak peek?  Here’s an exclusive look at chapter one …

It was a rather cool day in the sleepy town of Cambria, California, the brisk frigidity of fall sweeping through the streets like snow’s first drift. Seventy-one-year-old Cordelia Bennett walked up and down the aisles of the local library, feather duster in hand, humming to the tune of Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold.” It was her fourth day as a library volunteer, and she was grateful for the opportunity. It whisked her away from the quiet of home, a home that held an abundance of bittersweet memories.

            One year earlier, Cordelia’s husband Marlon had passed away, dashing the plans they’d made to spend their golden years cruising around the world. His death had been sudden and unexpected, leaving her in a state of grief. He’d always been her lifeline, her confidant, the one person who had always made her safe.

She couldn’t travel now.

Not without her trusted companion.

It wouldn’t be the same.

Nothing would ever be the same again.

Tonight was the first time Cordelia was to close the library on her own, and it was of the utmost importance that everything went to plan. The book drop had been emptied, book returns had been checked in and reshelved, paper had been added to the photocopier and fax machine, and all laptops had been turned off and plugged in for recharging.

            As Cordelia did her final rounds, she ran the feather duster along one of the bookshelves, pausing a moment to ingest a lungful of air. Holding the breath a moment, she savored a specific aroma, an aroma only timeless, weathered books could provide. The scent had always reminded her of the subtle fragrance of a candle—earthy with a slight dash of vanilla.

            Pleased she’d checked everything off her list, Cordelia grabbed her handbag out of the cubby in the back room and made her way to the front door, stopping to switch off the lights. The sound of what Cordelia imagined was a book falling from one of the shelves startled her. She stood a moment in silence, trying to pinpoint which direction it came from, but the room had returned to silence. Cordelia went aisle to aisle, scanning the floor for any signs of book, but nothing, it seemed, had come off the shelves.

            How odd.

            If it isn’t a book, what was it?

            Taking the inspection a bit further, Cordelia moved to the reading area, thinking she may have overlooked a book left on one of the tables or chairs.

She found nothing.

She walked to the front desk, scanning the counter and the floor around it.

All was in order.

            And then she heard something else.

            A different sound this time.

            Not of something falling.

            A sound like … footsteps.

            It couldn’t be.

            She was alone in the library.

            Cordelia had been sure to lock the doors of the library after the last person departed. Then she’d checked the handle, ensuring the door was locked.

            The moon’s light filtered through the window, and Cordelia froze. She could have sworn she’d seen movement on the opposite side of the room. But had she?

            “Hello?” she asked. “Is anyone there?”

            She’d asked as more of a formality, believing her mind was playing tricks on her, until a shadowy figure stepped out from behind a bookcase.

            Stunned, Cordelia said, “You can’t be here. The library is closed now. It opens at nine if you wish to return. Come along. I’ll let you out.”

            But the figure didn’t “come along,” as she’d suggested. The figure remained motionless, confusing Cordelia even more. A thought ran through her mind. It was possible she was dealing with a homeless individual who had nowhere to go and, as such, had decided to seek refuge for the evening.

            “Excuse me,” Cordelia said. “Is there a reason you are refusing to leave? Do you have anywhere else you can go?”

            She hoped for an answer this time, but once again, she was met with silence.

            A second thought presented itself, one Cordelia didn’t want to entertain. It was enough to make her reach into her handbag, taking her time as she fumbled around, her hand coming to land on a gun. It was the tiniest of things, a gift from Marlon. She’d scoffed when he’d given it to her years before, saying she had no use for a firearm.

            Upon bestowing it to her, Marlon had said, “If the need should ever arise, all you have to remember is to point and shoot, dear.”

            The need had never arisen—until now.

            And what’s more, the gun had never been fired before.

            Cordelia didn’t even know what would happen if she tried.

            Hands shaking, she raised the gun in front of her, searching for the words she wanted to say.

            “I don’t know who you are or why you’re here, but I’m leaving now,” she said.

            “You’re not going anywhere.”

            The words had been grunted in such a way to make Cordelia believe the person she was dealing with was going through great effort to mask his voice.

            “Like I said, I’m leaving,” Cordelia said. “You should do the same.”

            “What did you see?”

            “I beg your pardon?”

            “What. Did. You. See?”

            “I’m not sure what you’re talking about. What did I see … when?”

            “You know when.”

            “I’m afraid not.”

            “What did you see here, in the library?”

            “I see lots of things each day. Can you be more specific?”

            “Stop toying with me.”

            “I can assure you, there’s no toying involved.” There was a click, a sound that made Cordelia fear she wasn’t the only one holding a gun. “You should know, I’m armed.”

            “Makes two of us.”

            “I’m not afraid to fire, if necessary. Though I’d rather not.”

            “It’s too late.”

            Too late for what?

            With the door to the library locked, Cordelia would have to turn her back on the man to unlock it, a measure too risky to take.

            “I see we’re at an impasse,” she said. “I don’t know what I saw or why it’s too late. Can we agree to disagree and call it a night?”

            “We can call it a night after you’re dead.”

            Cordelia replayed the words in her mind a few times, her heart racing as she found herself out of ideas and with nowhere to turn.

            “Do you think I’m afraid to die?” she asked. “I’m not.”

            It was a half-truth at best, but she was hoping to appeal to the intruder’s humanity.

            Maybe if she could do that, there was still a way out.

“Ever since my husband died, I’ve been a shell of the person,” she added. “He was my everything. I lived to breathe the air around him. I miss the sound of his voice, the way his smile brightened the darkest of days. And his smell … I sit in his car sometimes just so I can be reminded of it. Without him, I’ve struggled to find my way forward. But I believe even in our darkest of days, there is always a way forward. Wouldn’t you agree?”

It was quiet for some time, and then there was a loud popping sound, followed by a pain … a stabbing pain in Cordelia’s chest.

She sagged to the ground, clutching her heart as she whispered, “I’ll be seeing you, Marlon. I’ll be seeing you soon.”


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