Win a copy of DEEP AUTUMN HEAT.
Each author participating in the Sultry Suspense Showcase will be giving away a prize to a lucky commenter on their post.
Happy Halloween, everyone! I’m thrilled (and chilled!) to be at Guilty Pleasures as part of the Sultry Suspense Showcase on the spooookiest day of the year. Seriously, I can’t think of a better day for some suspenseful talk than All Hallows Eve!
So let’s chat.
When I was growing up in small-town Connecticut, Halloween was huge. The setting was perfect—dark woods with skeletal trees scraping the gloomy sky, damp streams dotting the landscape, and bats swooping down in the near-black, their cries echoing through the night. I’m not making any of this up. It was really scary. And scarier still was the night before Halloween, also known as Mischief Night. Imagine packs of teenage boys armed to the teeth with eggs and shaving cream, roving through the town to TP houses, play “mailbox baseball”, and generally terrorize the neighborhood.
It wasn’t that we didn’t know Mischief Night was coming; it was that we didn’t know what the bad boys would do on Mischief Night. One year, the suspense really got to my parents, and my dad stood outside all night wielding a baseball bat. To hear him tell it, he saved our mailbox…and our fence…and our rosebushes. Thanks, Dad!
When I began to write my own books, it was only natural that I’d focus on what I knew: contemporary New England. But I also love a good mystery, so a healthy dose of suspense and intrigue runs throughout my Star Harbor series. The series tells the stories of the four Grayson brothers, who separately return to their Cape Cod hometown to rebuild their lives and end up finding love. Deep Autumn Heat and Blaze of Winter are available now, while Long Simmering Spring and Slow Summer Burn will be released next year. Deep Autumn Heat features sexy celebrity chef Sebastian Grayson and spunky local restaurant owner Lexie Meyers, and the book has a suspenseful scene that takes place on Halloween Night! The scene opens with Lexie and her friend Babs serving up treats for little kids trick or treating on Star Harbor’s town green. As night falls, a sinister element enters in the form of a stalker ex-boyfriend. The scene perfectly fits the Sultry Suspense Showcase theme and I hope you enjoy it.
Night had fallen rapidly, and their portion of the Green was now relatively dark, except for the dim lanterns hanging around the perimeter and the flashlights that were being held by older children and adults. Lexie flicked on the two portable gas lamps she’d brought to illuminate her table. The glow from the lamps extended only about two feet, but it was better than nothing.
The trick-or-treaters were no longer smaller children accompanied by their parents, but older children who traveled in packs. Lexie was glad that the high schoolers were extremely polite, despite the gruesome costumes they wore. She’d just finished handing out cupcakes to a group of gangly teens dressed like the Boston Patriot football team when a figure in a black leather duster and a Freddy Krueger mask approached, stopping three feet away from her table.
“Happy Halloween,” Lexie said cheerily. “Chocolate or pumpkin?”
The figure didn’t respond.
“Are you supposed to be the character from the movie Halloween?” Lexie asked, trying to make conversation.
The figure was silent.
The smile faded from Lexie’s face. She took a moment to truly size up the person standing in front of her. She’d initially thought that it was a high school student, but as she looked more closely, she realized she’d been mistaken. The shoulders were too broad, the stance too assured to belong to a teenager. She noticed that the man—she was sure it was a man—was clenching and unclenching his gloved fists by his side. The gesture was even more threatening than his silence.
“What do you want?” Lexie said, speaking firmly and loudly. “If you don’t want a cupcake, then leave.” She glanced toward Babs for support, but the older woman had disappeared.
She was alone.
The man stepped forward another foot and faced her dead on. As he moved, she caught the scent of sandalwood. It was Frank. She knew it was—the way he moved, the way his body looked—it all matched. Lexie felt a well of fear bubbling up inside her. She had to do something. Now.
“Frank, I know that’s you under there. I have mace on my key chain and I’m not afraid to use it,” Lexie said with a bravado she didn’t feel. To show she was serious, she pulled her key chain from her pocket and held it out.
He stepped forward until he was flush against her table. Lexie still held out her arm. It was shaky, but she didn’t waver in her determination. “Go away,” Lexie whispered, her hand quivering.
Frank looked like he was about to lunge over the table, when Lexie heard Babs’s voice from across the Green. She sounded like she was about fifteen feet away. He hesitated only a fraction of a second more. Then he turned and ran, disappearing into the inky blackness.
Within moments, Babs was back, carrying a steaming paper cup of apple cider. “Got it from Luke Bedwin,” she said. “He’s handing out cocoa and cider at his table on the other side of the Green.”
Lexie ignored her statement. “Where’s Cole?” she said. Her whole body was shaking, and for the life of her, she couldn’t lower the small canister of mace.
Babs turned back toward Lexie and really looked at her.
“Oh, Lord, girl, what’s happened? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
“I have,” whispered Lexie, still unable to lower her hand. She turned to Babs with a stricken expression on her face. “I saw the man who attacked me on movie night. Frank Doherty is here in Star Harbor.”
For a Halloween treat, I’m giving away one rare paper copy of Deep Autumn Heat. Just let me know in the comments section what you love about Halloween (or Mischief Night), and the awesome folks at Guilty Pleasures will enter you in the contest!
Raised in a sleepy little Connecticut town, Elisabeth draws on her upbringing to write small-town romances. Her summers spent living and working on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard were the inspiration for the Star Harbor series, which kicked off with Deep Autumn Heat and continues with Blaze of Winter. Currently, Elisabeth lives in Northern California with her husband and three children. She loves Halloween. Find her online: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
About Deep Autumn Heat: Lexie Meyers decides there’s nothing sweeter than watching Sebastian Grayson’s perfect, wicked mouth devour her coconut cake. He’s hot, he’s hungry, and he’s sizing her up like she’s the best thing on the menu. But she’s been burned in the past and flings just aren’t her thing. Too bad Sebastian can’t resist a challenge.
Worldly, famous, and notorious with the ladies, Seb had planned a weekend of fishing and relaxation with his brothers. Until Lexie, with her kissable lips and frosty “get lost” attitude, makes him want to forget his culinary empire and create some magic with her. After he fires up his charm—including challenging her to a televised cook-off to break through her resistance—it’s now hotter in the bedroom than it is in the kitchen and Lexie isn’t sure whether she’s lost her mind . . . or just her heart.
Read another excerpt of Deep Autumn Heat here.