To sam, my sister and best friend. Thank you for everything you do. You make me a better person. And a special thank-you to Karen, the most awesome beta reader out there. Chapter 1


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P.S. I Spook You


 

By S.E. Harmon

 

SSA Rain Christiansen used to be the agency’s golden boy. It just takes one moment of weakness, one slight, tiny, itty-bitty paranormal sighting, and all of a sudden he’s the agency’s embarrassment. His boss gives him one last chance to redeem himself—go down to Brickell Bay, play nice with the local police, and leave the ghost sightings behind. Rain is determined to do exactly that, even if it kills him.

Cold-case detective Daniel McKenna’s latest investigation is going nowhere fast. Five years earlier, high school student Amy Greene went missing after leaving her part-time job and was never seen again. Daniel is glad to finally have the FBI help that his department requested, even if it does come in the form of his ex.

It doesn’t help that Rain is pretty sure he’s falling in love with Danny all over again—if he ever stopped. Add to that the frustration of seeing ghosts at every turn while he works a case that’s stalled in its tracks, and Rain is starting to wonder if second chances and happy endings are just for fairy tales.

Table of Contents

Blurb

Dedication

Acknowledgments

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

More from S.E. Harmon

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About the Author

By S.E. Harmon

Visit Dreamspinner Press

Copyright

To my father
Thank you for giving me the gift of laughter all my life and for showing me how to find humor in the worst of situations. I’m pretty sure without you I wouldn’t be me, so… thank you. I think. All my love.


Acknowledgments


 

 

TO SAM, my sister and best friend. Thank you for everything you do. You make me a better person. And a special thank-you to Karen, the most awesome beta reader out there.

Chapter 1


 

 

THE GHOST in the elevator was back.

He was a surly teen with a dark sheaf of hair that flopped into equally dark eyes. If there was a space on his face that wasn’t pierced, I couldn’t find it—eyebrows, mouth, stretched lobes, and a strangely tasteful stud in his nose. His smooth white skin was eerily pale and probably had been pale even in life. His crossed arms and protruding lower lip signaled his mood. He was pissed. No surprise there. He was always pissed.

“Not again,” I whispered.

I could feel the difference in temperature even before I stepped foot on the elevator. Freezing fucking cold. I stepped on and faced forward with a grim expression. I tried not to shiver as I jabbed the rounded button for the sixth floor, BAU. I let out a quiet breath that misted and dissipated like cigarette smoke.

“Come on, Christiansen. You gonna talk to me?”

Not if I can help it. The floors ticked by. I checked my watch. The Rolex Daytona had been a gift from an ex, and I hadn’t felt bad enough about the breakup to give it back. My steel reflection shimmered in the mirrored elevator. Nothing strange there.

Just a man in a black cashmere sweater and tailored black trousers. A gray-checked Burberry scarf and coat. Well-polished, Apron toe-tie oxfords. Honey-blond hair that could use a trim. Widely spaced hazel eyes. Anxious hazel eyes.

I’d been at an outdoor market, hemming over fruit I had no idea how to pick, when Graycie left me one of his short, cryptic messages. Even though it had been a “get your ass here now” kind of message, I took the time to go home and change. Spruce myself up a bit. I smoothed back my hair. You should look snazzy when you’re getting fired.

“You ought to know by now that I’m not going anywhere,” elevator ghost said. I knew his name of course, but because he was an annoying little beast, he had lost that privilege. He was just elevator ghost now. Sofa ghost. Kitchen ghost, sometimes. And wherever the hell else he felt like popping up.

“I told you my parents wouldn’t like the message.”

Bit of an understatement there. His father hadn’t been pleased to get a message from the afterlife and nearly broke my nose.

“You can’t blame me,” he went on. He usually did. It didn’t seem to matter that I didn’t respond anymore.

The hell I can’t. I like my nose right where it is. I’d broken my own rule and listened to the ghost, and I wouldn’t make that mistake again. Three floors left. “This elevator is so slow today,” I murmured.

“It’s slow every day.”

As expected, the spirit cast no reflection in the mirrored doors. I looked like exactly what I was—a crazy man talking to himself.

“Do you have office hours or something? I can come back.”

I gritted my teeth. How about the first of never at kiss my ass o’clock?

“Oh come on.” Was it possible for a ghost to be annoyed? Apparently so, judging from his peevish expression. “You can’t keep ignoring me.”

“How can I ignore someone who’s not here?” I snapped and then winced. The wince wasn’t enough. I wanted to slap myself good. I’d managed to ignore him for over two months. Now he’d never go away.

“Aha.” Ethan was triumphant. “I knew you saw me.”

I pressed the sixth-floor button again.

“I’ll make you a deal. You listen to me this once, and you’ll never see me again.” At my stubborn silence, he pressed the issue. “Or maybe you’d like me to tell my friends where they can find a bridge to the living world.”

As far as trump cards went, that was, well… devastating. I could either deal with one annoying ghost or a platoon of them. I exhaled heavily. “You have until this elevator reaches the sixth floor. So I’d hurry if I were you.”

“I need you to get another message to my parents.”

“Well, that was easy.” I folded my arms. “Hell to the no.”

“Come on,” he whined. “You’re a medium. I’m a ghost. I tell you my unfinished business. You fix it. Then I can get the hell out of here. That’s the way these things go.”

Yeah. Tell that to Shawna Paul’s parents, otherwise known as the reason everyone thought I was unstable. She was the first ghost I tried to deliver a message for. Her father pulled out a shotgun on me. Ordered me off their property. The mother called and reported me to the bureau. Then I got some nice quiet time in the departmental psychologist’s office to think about what I’d done.

I shook my head. “No. Absolutely not. And I’m not a medium,” I added for good measure.

“Obviously not,” Ethan grumbled. “Because I’m still here.” Underneath all that attitude, he sounded confused. Sad. “Why am I still fucking here?”

“I don’t know. You’re the ghost, not me.”

“I need to tell them I’m at peace.”

I sighed and turned to face my ghostly stalker. That ought to make scintillating footage for security later on. “Ethan. You’re going to have to trust me on this. They probably wouldn’t even believe me.”

He slid down the elevator wall until he was sitting, legs pulled up close to his chest. He wrapped his arms around skinny-jean-clad legs and stared at the floor. It was another moment before he could speak again. When he did, his voice was flat, controlled, matter-of-fact.

“I’ve been the good son my whole life, you know. Or at least my parents thought. Having them think I just up and ran off….”

“You’re the one who decided hiking alone was a good idea.”

“Like I knew there would be a bear?” he snapped. “It wasn’t exactly an easy death, you know.” He let out a deep breath and rubbed his eyes hard. He looked older than seventeen in that moment. A lot older.

“I’m sorry,” I said quietly.

“I can’t fix what happened. But I can’t have them looking for me for the next ten years. They need to move on. Use my college fund and get that cabin in Alaska they were always talking about and stop wasting it on private detectives. It’s the last thing I can really give them.”

“Ethan, I—”

“It’s just a stupid message. Why the hell did you get this gift if you’re not going to use it to help us? It’s not like I have a lot of choices of people to talk to. I really am… dead.” He swallowed, as though processing it all over again. “I’m dead,” he repeated.

“I’m sorry,” I said again, a little helplessly. If he was a figment of my imagination, he was a pretty vivid one. “I’m sorry for what happened to you—that you don’t have a chance to do it all over again. But this is where it ends for you and me, Ethan. I cannot go back to those people, face them, and tell them I saw your ghost.”

I shuddered just thinking about it. “Do you know what size boots I’d need for that kind of shitstorm? It would be the end of my career.”

“Fuck your career,” Ethan said, his voice hard. “In fact, fuck you.”

“Fuck you too,” I snapped. My tether was fraying super thin. The last thing I needed was to get reamed out by a flippin’ ghost. If there was really a ghost. The elevator doors soundlessly slid open on the muted hub of activity that was the BAU, and I stalked through.

Of course Ethan followed, paced me as I walked, and sent the temperature of the room plummeting. I was proud of myself. I didn’t scream as I made my way across the floor… mostly because getting tased in a federal building held no appeal. Neither did being left twitching on the floor in front of my coworkers. With that in mind, I even managed to accept a few nods and waves directed my way.

There are no ghosts. It’s anxiety. I just needed to take my pills and rest. The pills would only keep the visions away for so long, but I’d take any reprieve I could get. As Graycie’s office came into view, I poured on speed. As though I could outwalk a ghost.

“Running away?” Ethan hissed.

“If necessary.” I paused, one hand on the knob of Graycie’s office door. I could not come into my supervisor’s office, fresh off a two-month administrative leave—psychiatric leave—and be caught talking to a ghost. Or myself. That made me desperate. Desperate people did desperate things. And if that meant threatening a ghost who might or might not actually be a figment of my imagination, then so be it.

I looked around to see if anyone was watching. Coast clear. I leaned down and pretended to brush something off my shoe. “If you ever want me to help you deliver a message, and I do mean ever, then you had better keep quiet,” I said quietly, barely moving my lips a scintilla of a centimeter.

“I’m not trying to cause you any trouble,” Ethan said, clearly insulted.

“Well, then shut your ghostly yap,” I responded.

I yanked open the door and slipped inside. I shut it on Ethan’s face, as though that would protect me.

“I’ll see you around,” Ethan called through the tempered glass. It wasn’t a friendly sounding promise.

“If you don’t get wiped out by a ghost bus,” I mouthed. Judging from the expression on Ethan’s face, he’d heard just fine.

Chapter 2
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