Hidden Secrets – Leighann Dobbs

Morgan Blackmoore had a secret, and she was terrified that her sisters might discover what it was. For the first time in her life, Morgan felt isolated, her dark thoughts eating away at her and driving her to retreat from the people who were closest to her. As she looked out the window of the old family cottage that she and her sister Fiona now used as their shop, Sticks and Stones, her thoughts were bleak like the early winter that had descended upon their seaside town of Noquitt, Maine. Normally being here at the cottage made Morgan happy but not today. Set off the beaten path, the cottage was nestled in a forest filled with old gnarled trees and wildlife. If she walked to the back edge of the property, she could see the Atlantic Ocean. The briny smell sometimes wafted into the cottage itself, and Morgan swore that she could occasionally hear the waves crashing amidst the creaking of the old pine floors and the sounds of the cottage settling. Inside, it was largely the way it had been when they were kids. Same lovingly worn floors, same beadboard walls, even much of the same furniture. They’d made a few changes to make it suitable for a shop. Morgan had set one side up to mix her herbs, Fiona the other to fashion her healing gemstone jewelry. A large counter made from old scarred wood ran along Morgan’s side of the shop with an old-fashioned cash register to ring up purchases. The holidays were fast approaching, so right now the place was decorated with lots of red bows, holly, and pine garlands, the fresh scent of which tickled Morgan’s nose and complemented the gentle fall of powdery snow that dusted the branches of the pines surrounding the cottage. Morgan turned away from the window and attempted to focus on her work. A new batch of herbs had just arrived, and she wanted to put them away in her antique apothecary chest for easy access.

Currently, the bags and boxes were scattered across the big counter, where she usually mixed her poultices and ground her ingredients with the large stone mortar and pestle nearby. Across the room, Fiona tinkered away at her long worktable, using her jewelers’ tools to fashion moonstones into a new bracelet. Her long red curls hung down, pooling on the table as she bent over to work the jewels. Her sister’s incessant humming of Holiday tunes would normally be welcome in early December, but today it only put Morgan further on edge. With a sigh, she stuffed the new ingredients into the chest then got to work mixing a fresh batch of a general healing ointment. As she blended together aloe vera, peppermint, thyme, and rosemary, she did her best not to worry, all the while casting furtive glances at Fiona to try to deduce if her sister suspected her secret. Fiona was diligently working away, seemingly oblivious to Morgan’s inner turmoil, and Morgan relaxed a bit. Then she glanced at their cat, Belladonna, who sat atop an antique velvet chair as if it were her throne. Her snow-white fur reflected the scenery outside the window, and her ice-blue eyes—the same exact color that Morgan and her three sisters shared—gazed back at Morgan with a far-too-perceptive intelligence. From the narrowed feline stare, it almost felt like Belladonna knew Morgan’s inner thoughts.

She frowned and pushed those thoughts aside, concentrating on her work instead. “So, what’s your take on Jolene and Mateo?” Fiona asked about their younger sister out of the blue, jarring Morgan from her anxious thoughts. “Uh, I think it’s good,” Morgan said, adding healthy helpings of chamomile, marigold, sage, and lavender to the mix. All the lovely smells wafted around her, soothing her frazzled nerves a bit. Having something else to think about besides her own problems helped too. What better topic to distract her than their love lives? All of the Blackmoore sisters had been lucky enough to find their mate. Morgan had Luke Hunter, Fiona had Jake Cooper, Celeste had Calvin Reed, and now Jolene had Mateo. “They’ve gotten a lot closer since the mission on Rune Island, and I for one think it’s great.” “Me too,” Fiona said. “Mateo’s a good guy.

He’s saved our butts more than once.” “True. And he’s obviously smitten with Jolene.” Morgan ground the herbs to a fine powder then scooped in a dollop of cream to make it into an ointment. Mateo had been a bit of an enigma until just recently, seeing as how he’d just turned up randomly one day. They’d all been suspicious of him in the beginning, and rightly so. They’d been battling their archnemesis, Dr. Bly, at the time and had wondered if Mateo might’ve been one of his spies. He wasn’t, of course, but since then, he’d proven himself to be a good guy, if still a tad mysterious. He had a tendency to leave on missions without much explanation or warning.

“Good thing she got over the whole business of owing him for saving her life in Salem.” “Yeah.” Fiona straightened and rolled her shoulders. She’d been bent over that worktable for at least an hour, peering through a magnifying glass as she carefully fitted each stone into its setting using a pair of tweezers. Morgan had no idea how her sister didn’t end up a hunchback sometimes, or cross-eyed. Give Morgan a handful of herbs any day over a crick in her neck and a migraine from squinting too much. “I can understand her not wanting to be beholden to the guy, but I’m glad she stopped avoiding him and finally let nature take its course.” “Hmm.” Morgan stirred the pulverized herbs and other ingredients together then scooped the mixture into a jar for safekeeping until it was needed. “She’s stubborn though.

It won’t be easy for them. Jolene hates to admit her feelings.” “True. Maybe that’s a good thing though. I mean, I like Mateo and all, but I still don’t think they should rush into anything. She’s too young to settle down. Let them take it slow.” Fiona stood and stretched then walked over to her toolbox to search through the endless array of tiny screwdrivers and minuscule tools of her trade. They all looked the same to Morgan, but Fiona knew each and every one and was very particular about her tools. Which was fine, since Morgan felt the same way about her herbs.

Her sisters sometimes teased her by saying she had “many flavors in her spice rack,” but all the different plants had their place and their purpose. They could save lives or take them, hurt or heal, bring joy or sorrow, all depending on how they were used. Morgan loved her herbs. Or at least she used to. She screwed the lid on tight to the new container of ointment then set it under her counter, joining the neat rows of other concoctions already there. With winter upon them, she’d stocked up on soothing creams for muscle strains and joint pain, knowing how the cold tended to aggravate people’s arthritis. “I’m just concerned that with Mateo disappearing all the time on missions, things between them won’t progress like they should. Developing a relationship means spending time together, learning about each other, sharing hopes and dreams for the future. His work makes that difficult.” Mateo Ortiz worked for the global paranormal tribunal, a group that investigated cases of otherworldly interference and abuses of power in the human world.

That meant he was one of the good guys and that he was gone a lot. Jolene deserved a man who could put her first, be there when she needed him. Considering things that way, maybe Mateo wasn’t the best choice for her youngest sister’s mate after all. Then again, their tiny town of Noquitt, Maine, wasn’t exactly crawling with eligible single guys either. Especially ones who wouldn’t blink twice at a girl with some “extraordinary” abilities. As she took her hand away from the jar of ointment, Morgan waited for the telltale tiny flicker of magic that she always got from one of her mixtures, but it didn’t come. She frowned and turned away, her stomach knotting tighter. Morgan sighed as she tidied up her counter, double-checking all the tiny drawers in her cabinet to make sure her stock was in good order. She kept them all in alphabetical order for easy tracking. Acacia, Balm of Gilead, Boneset, Chickweed, Eucalyptus.

She stopped to make a note to order more of that one. Lavender, Peppermint, Rose. The work calmed her and helped her refocus. She willed her thoughts back to Jolene and Mateo, but soon that turned into thoughts of their missions, which ratcheted up her anxiety again. The missions were the reason that Morgan was all worked up. The reason for her secret. Because on those missions, the sisters often had to use their paranormal gifts to fight enemy paranormals. Like the last mission to Rune Island. It had been successful but not because of Morgan. Because that was when she’d felt her powers starting to weaken.

She’d been no help at all, but luckily her brand of intuition and herbal healing hadn’t been called on much and her sisters hadn’t noticed. At the time, she’d hoped it was just temporary, like a cold or the flu, and her powers would return. But that was months ago, and if anything, she felt even less powerful now. Please don’t let it be permanent. She closed her eyes and whispered the silent prayer to the heavens. Her sisters depended on her when they were called into danger to help the world of the paranormals. They worked as a four-person team, and her gift of intuition was critical in helping them anticipate the enemy’s next move. The last thing she wanted was to put them in any danger. And if her sisters found out, she was terrified they’d be disappointed in her. She was the oldest and should set an example, be a leader.

Without her gifts, she couldn’t do either. Worse, she never wanted to be labeled the “useless one.” She still had a lot of years left. Thirty-five was hardly decrepit, but still. With a fourteen-year gap between her and Jolene, she sometimes felt more like a surrogate mother than a sister. Belladonna jumped down off the chair and wandered over to Morgan, twining about her ankles and sticking close to her side. The cat had been doing that a lot lately, which was strange, almost like she was trying to tell Morgan something or comfort her in her time of need. Like the feline knew there was something wrong with her, that something was happening inside Morgan, something bad. Or maybe Belladonna was scared Morgan would screw up and wanted to be there to pick up the slack. Whatever it was, she’d always secretly suspected there was more to Belladonna than just a normal house cat.

It couldn’t be just coincidence that the cat shared the exact same eye color as the sisters, right? Morgan finished making her list of supplies for reorder then began straightening the display shelves in the store. With winter on their doorstep, they didn’t get as many patrons as they did in the busy summer tourist season, but still. People depended on her remedies for all sorts of things. She and Fiona had built a reputation in the natural healing community because their products were extremely powerful due to their unique gifts. Even people who didn’t believe in paranormal powers made special trips to their store. People came from far and wide to purchase her herbal wares because of their potency. Of course now that her gifts were gone, who knew how potent they’d be? As she fiddled with jars and polished the display cases where Fiona’s jewelry sparkled in the front windows, Morgan couldn’t help wishing she had someone to talk to about all this. But she couldn’t risk telling anyone. If word got back to her sisters, that would not be good. Sure, they would be kind and understanding, but Morgan wouldn’t be able to stand the looks of pity that would inevitably come.

In her desperation to find out what was wrong, she’d even tried visiting the local paranormal healer, Clementine Vega, sneaking out of the shop the day before when Fiona had had a morning appointment. Morgan was just about to go in the back to get another couple of jars for new ointments for one of the displays when the front door of the shop opened, and in walked Sheriff Donna White. A tall, sturdy woman, she was scowling, as usual, from beneath the brim of her hat. At least she was marginally better than the last sheriff they’d had, though. Sheriff Overton had had a vendetta against the Blackmoore sisters for reasons unknown, but as far as Morgan knew, Donna White had no beef with them. Until today, apparently, if her dour expression was any indication. “What can we do for you today, Sheriff?” Fiona asked, looking up from her work. “I think you know,” Sheriff White said, tone as brisk as the freezing air outside. Fiona gave her a flat look, her tone snarky. “Sorry.

Nope. How about an amulet? Or maybe some chamomile poultice to help loosen you up a bit? I think Morgan just got in some fresh St. John’s wort. Hear that’s great for fixing crappy attitudes.” Sheriff White glared at Fiona for a second before fixing her attention on Morgan. “I don’t want any of your questionable goods. I’m here to interview a person of interest.” “Person of interest?” Morgan scrunched her nose. “Interest in what?” Fiona frowned and walked over to stand beside her sister. “Yeah.

In what?” Sheriff White gave them both a disparaging glance. “In the murder of Clementine Vega, that’s what. She was killed yesterday. I’ve got witnesses who say they saw Morgan’s beat-up old Toyota at the scene of the crime.” MORGAN’S CHEST SQUEEZED TİGHT, and she gripped the edge of the counter to keep from passing out. Clementine. The healer she’d gone to see the day before on the sly. Dead. Oh, that wasn’t good at all. “Wait a minute!” Fiona moved to stand between the sheriff and Morgan.

“I’m sure my sister had nothing to do with that. Why don’t you tell us exactly what happened?” “And why doesn’t your sister tell me exactly what she was doing there?” Sheriff White countered. “She wasn’t there,” Fiona said before Morgan could answer. “She was here at the shop. All day. Working.” She turned and glanced over her shoulder at Morgan. “Right?” Stuck between a rock and a hard place, Morgan nodded. “Yes. I was here at the shop.

” If she let slip that she’d closed the place and made an emergency visit to the healer, then she’d have to explain why, and she wasn’t ready to go there. Not yet. Maybe not ever. Besides, Sheriff White couldn’t be doing more than grasping at straws. When Morgan had left Clementine’s place yesterday, the woman had still been alive and fine. “That so?” Sheriff White asked, her tone skeptical. “Anyone around here who can vouch for your whereabouts? Customers perhaps?” “No.” Morgan’s shoulders slumped slightly. “It was slow yesterday. Only a few people came in after Fiona left.

Not locals either. Tourists I think. I’d never seen them before.” Belladonna sniffed around the sheriff’s ankles, rubbing lightly against her, leaving a trail of white hair stuck to the woman’s dark-brown uniform pants. If she hadn’t been so nervous, Morgan would’ve chuckled at her cat’s rudeness. Go Belladonna. “It doesn’t matter if no one can vouch for her being here at the shop,” Fiona said, continuing to defend her sister. “Morgan’s got no reason to kill Clementine. They barely know each other.” “People do all sorts of crazy things for all sorts of crazy reasons.

” Sheriff White scowled down at the cat hair on the hem of her uniform pants. “Hey, cut that out. I just had these things dry cleaned.” Belladonna blinked up at the sheriff with innocent eyes, and Morgan could have sworn she saw a flicker of a smile tug at Sheriff White’s lips. Go figure, the sheriff was human after all, and she liked cats. Of course only the most hard of hearts could resist Belladonna’s cute face. But then the sheriff’s face hardened, and she glanced up, pinning Morgan in place with her gaze as Fiona scooped up Belladonna into her arms. “Are you accusing my sister of murder?” “Not yet.” Sheriff White gave a small, mirthless smile. “Like I said, she’s a person of interest.

” “Just because someone said they saw a Toyota parked out in front of Clementine’s house?” Fiona snorted. “Plenty of people own old Toyotas these days.” “True.” The sheriff’s smile widened a bit. “But not many people have been accused of murder before, like Morgan here. Have they?” The vise grip on Morgan’s chest tightened even further. Yes, she had been, but those charges had been false. Drummed up by Sheriff Overton. The real killer had eventually been caught. Morgan had never killed anyone in her life—well, unless you counted those evil paranormals on their missions.

But they deserved it. “That’s crazy! Sheriff Overton—” Fiona started before Sheriff White cut her off. “Save your breath. I checked the records, and I know what happened back then. But I still say you girls aren’t as innocent as you seem. I intend to prove that for myself.” “You can’t prove anything. And maybe you should have looked a little harder,” Fiona continued, not backing down an inch. “Morgan didn’t kill anyone. Those accusations were false.

There’s a lot of beat-up Toyotas in this town. I suggest you start finding them.” “Oh, I intend to.” Sheriff White headed back to the front door and opened it before turning back toward them. “You better hope there’s another vehicle out there that matches the witness’s description too. Because this won’t be like the last time you were accused, Morgan Blackmoore.” She glanced at Fiona and sneered. “Your sister won’t be able to take up with one of our police officers to get you out of trouble this time.” Sheriff White tipped her hat and opened the door, letting in a blast of frigid air. “You ladies take care now.

” With that, Sheriff White walked out of the shop, leaving Morgan and Fiona to stare after her. “ C C H A P T E R T WO an you believe the nerve of that woman? Just because I date Jake does not mean that’s why Morgan wasn’t charged with murder,” Fiona said, her tone indignant. The Blackmoores had congregated in the cozy sitting room off the kitchen after dinner that night. A fire crackled in the old brick fireplace, which was about the only indication that the house was three centuries old. Though most of the house had its original antique charm and was loaded with furniture from generations past, Morgan’s mother, Johanna, had decorated this room in a more beach-modern decor. Overstuffed furniture, sky-blue throw pillows, and muted colors made it cozy and comfortable. Giant starfish and other sea-themed accents made it reminiscent of summer. A stark contrast to the howling wind and snow swirling against the window panes. Sounded like another nor’easter was blowing in. The beams in the three-hundred-year-old roof creaked under the onslaught.

One of the hazards of living on a cliff above the Atlantic Ocean in Maine: the weather could be harsh in winter. “I’m beginning to think the new sheriff’s no improvement at all over the last one,” Celeste said from where she was sitting on the sofa beside their mother. Her short blond hair was still damp from having spent the afternoon outside shoveling, and her cheeks were red. Her ice-blue eyes flashed with agreement at Fiona’s indignation. “Yeah, we need to watch her,” Jolene said, curled in her overstuffed chair, her long brown hair cascading over one shoulder, thick pink fuzzy socks on her feet. “This tea is delicious, dear,” their mother said to Morgan, her amber eyes sparkling. She was the only Blackmoore without blue eyes, as those came from the girls’ father’s side. There was no evidence of the white in her long ebony hair that had been there when they’d first recovered her from a remote island after she’d been presumed dead for years. The time at home, here in Noquitt, had restored her energy and her zest for life. “Blackberry, yes?” “Yes,” Morgan said, taking a sip from her own mug.

The fruity fragrance wafted around her, helping to soothe her frayed nerves. She tried to focus on the conversation, but her attention kept straying to Belladonna, who’d continued to watch her with an accusing glare. “I picked the berries from the garden last summer and dried them for the tea. I’m glad you like it.” Despite the bright fruity flavor on her tongue, Morgan’s stomach still knotted with guilt over how she’d lied to Fiona and Sheriff White earlier. She wished they would change the subject so she didn’t have to continue to do more of the same to the rest of her family, but no such luck. Morgan snuggled down beneath her blanket and consoled herself with the knowledge that she couldn’t dare tell them the truth—that she had been at Clementine Vega’s yesterday. Besides, the time for confession had passed, walking right out the door with Sheriff White earlier. If she changed her story now, it would only make things worse. Best to let everything blow over, which it would once the real killer was found.

“Poor, poor Clementine,” their mother said, shaking her head. “Such an awful thing.” “Hmm,” Celeste said. “She was one of the few people I felt like I’d actually gotten to know around here. Good lady. Fun tarot readings.” “Yeah,” Morgan said, hoping her response would deflect attention away from her. In truth, Clementine Vega was one of the more welcoming souls within the small paranormal circle in Noquitt, Maine. They were a tight-knit community that kept to themselves, for obvious reasons. The sisters hadn’t even known there was such a community, much less who was in it.

Newcomers were met with suspicion until they were proven worthy. And while the Blackmoore sisters weren’t newcomers to the town, they had just started believing in their own powers, and therefore, the paranormal community was just starting to reach out to them as equals. Morgan looked up to find everyone watching her expectantly. Shoot. They must’ve asked her something, and she’d missed it. Unsure what to say, she went with the last known topic. Clementine. “It’s too bad. She was the only magical healer in the county.” To regular folks in town, Clementine Vega had appeared to be a fiftysomething fortune teller and reiki healer.

To the paranormal community, however, she’d been the one they’d sought out to help them heal supernatural issues. Speaking of that… Celeste frowned. “You don’t think this has anything to do with Dr. Bly, do you?” The sisters all exchanged a look. “Maybe we should look into that,” Jolene suggested. Fiona shrugged. “Then again, it could just be a regular murder.” “Yes, it probably is,” Morgan agreed, perhaps too quickly in her haste to steer her siblings away from any paranormal involvement. The last thing she needed was for her sisters to look into the paranormal motives. “Let the police handle it.

People do get killed for regular reasons, too, and Clementine did readings for lots of people.” “That’s probably true, but one can never be too careful when it comes to Bly,” Johanna chimed in. “The guys should be here soon. Maybe they’ll know something about what happened to Clementine.” “The guys” consisted of Luke, Mateo, and Jake. Jake Cooper was Fiona’s boyfriend and used to work for the sheriff’s department—thus Sheriff White’s snide comment earlier. Now he ran the local detective agency where Jolene worked. Calvin Reed, Celeste’s boyfriend, was the fourth member of “the guys,” and he was an antiques dealer and ran the local pawnshop. He wouldn’t be there that night though since he was out of town on a buying trip. Luke Hunter was Morgan’s boyfriend, and he worked for the same secret government agency that hired the sisters to help fight in their paranormal battles.

Funny how that had worked out. They’d dated in high school, years earlier, then he’d gone off to the military, and she’d stayed home in Noquitt. They hadn’t seen each other again until he’d returned to town to try and recruit Morgan and her sisters for his government agency because of their skills. Now, she and Luke were right back where they’d left off prior to their high school breakup—well, if you didn’t count all the magical gifts that Morgan hadn’t known she’d had back then and the fact they were both quite a bit older and a whole lot wiser. Still, if the paranormal community was involved in Clementine’s murder, Luke would know about it. And if a paranormal was responsible, then hopefully he and his agency would soon unmask the true killer, and everyone would forget about Sheriff White’s witness statements saying that Morgan’s truck had been seen at Clementine’s house. Paranormal involvement was a double-edged sword though, given that if there were supernatural shenanigans at play, then the sisters might end up corralled into the fight against the bad guys, and with Morgan’s powers still on the fritz, she might not be able to help. Her heart lurched. It was her worst nightmare. Her sisters in peril and Morgan helpless to save them.

Clementine’s words from the day before repeated in her head… You have strayed from your core. Your gifts are not to be taken lightly. Morgan had no idea what that meant, but Clementine had promised to work out a solution for her, some steps she could take to get her gifts back. Steps she’d never get now because those instructions had died along with poor Clementine. The front door opening announced “the guys’” arrival. Over the past year, Johanna had insisted they simply walk in. They visited often enough, and Johanna was probably sick of having to answer the door every time they came over. Morgan heard the rustle of coats being hung on the coat rack and the thudding of boots being placed in the boot tray, and then Luke and Jake appeared in the doorway. “Hey, everyone,” Jake said as he took a seat beside Fiona. Luke shook the snow from his hair, his cheeks and nose red from the cold.

He sat on the arm of Morgan’s chair, leaning in to give her a quick kiss before glancing over at Jolene. “Mateo’s finishing up a phone call. He’ll be in in a sec.” Jolene shrugged, pretending like she didn’t care as she started picking up the mugs and small plates they’d used for snacks to take into the kitchen. Morgan didn’t need her intuition to tell her that Jolene cared about where Mateo was and what he was doing a lot more than she let on. “Any new assignments from Dorian Hall?” Johanna asked from across the coffee table. Dorian Hall was Luke’s contact in the agency and the one who usually doled out their assignments. “Nope.” Luke draped his arm across the back of Morgan’s chair. She resisted the urge to snuggle into his heat as she sipped her tea.

Best to keep a clear head during this conversation, and cuddling with Luke was endlessly distracting. “Everything’s quiet around here right now. In fact, last I heard, Dr. Bly’s focusing on something in China. Why?” Fiona proceeded to tell him all about their visit from Sheriff White today while Morgan took a deep breath and forced her tense muscles to relax, even as Luke’s frown deepened to a scowl. His hand dropped from the back of her chair to her shoulder in a show of solidarity. “The sheriff all but accused Morgan of the crime just because a witness said they saw an old Toyota there,” Fiona said, her voice edged with outrage as she looked at Jake beside her. “Can you believe that?” “From our stellar local sheriff’s department? You bet,” Jake scoffed. “And that’s flimsy evidence if I’ve ever heard it. There have got to be hundreds, if not thousands, of beat-up old Toyotas in this area.

Sheriff White can’t possibly think she has a chance of making an arrest on that alone. It could have been anyone driving that vehicle. Did she mention anything else that specifically linked Morgan to the murder?” “No. Of course not.” Morgan scowled at him. Jake had been a cop during the last time she’d been accused of killing someone. That’s how he and Fiona had met. Morgan had been innocent that time, too, but somehow these situations kept plaguing her. Ugh. She could be in real trouble if Sheriff White wanted to pursue this.

She’d inadvertently left evidence behind—fingerprints, hair—that could directly link her to Clementine’s house. “We just seem to be her favorite target.” “Hey,” Jolene called, poking her head in from the kitchen. “You guys want some coffee while I’m up?” At Luke and Jake’s nods, she disappeared back into the kitchen. Morgan could hear her getting mugs out of the cabinets as she yelled out, “Jake, if you want, I can look up all the red Toyotas registered with the DMV in our county. See if anything comes up that’s close to the year and make of Morgan’s car. If so, we can take it to Sheriff White as proof it could’ve been someone other than my sister’s car that witness saw yesterday. I’m caught up on everything, and I’ve got plenty of time to look things up. The only case we’re working on right now is the nightly mystery noises coming from Mrs. Tower’s shed on River Road.

” “Look what things up?” Mateo asked, walking into the room. His hair glistened from the melted snow, and he shook himself, sending droplets everywhere. Jolene came back from the kitchen with steaming mugs, and her face brightened at the sight of him. Morgan bit back a smile. Her sister might pretend that whatever was happening between her and Mateo was no big deal, but Morgan recognized that special glow when she saw it. It was the same glow she saw in the mirror each time she thought about Luke. She was glad her sister had found someone special. Jolene proceeded to fill Mateo in on what had happened to Clementine and the sheriff’s visit to Sticks and Stones earlier as she handed out the coffee then went back to get Mateo a mug. “Wow, I don’t know if I would write this off as a normal killing so fast,” Mateo said, his expression concerned as he took the mug from Jolene. “The fact Clementine was paranormal means we can’t rule out one of our own killing her.

Maybe not Dr. Bly, since he’s in China, but someone else. His absence shouldn’t lull us into a false sense of security. We still need to be vigilant about what happens here in Noquitt.” “I think it’s better that you girls be prepared, just in case,” Johanna said. “And it won’t hurt to have Jolene do a bit of recon.” Jake nodded. “Fine. Maybe we can go out to Clementine’s place tomorrow and look around. Between Jolene’s gifts with auras and Morgan’s intuition, they should be able to sense any lingering evil paranormal energy there.

That way we’ll know what we’re up against. I’ll make sure to find out when the police will be done.” “I’m down for that,” Jolene said eagerly. “Me too.” Morgan forced a smile. Fat lot of good her intuition would do her, but of course she couldn’t let her sisters know that. If they wanted to check out Clementine’s, she’d have to go along and pretend like she just wasn’t feeling any vibes. Hopefully no enemy paranormals would be there, because the last thing she needed was to end up in some sort of fight. And hopefully, they’d go during the day. Less chance of danger then, right? “Let’s do it.

” “Cool.” Jake pulled Fiona closer to his side. “I’ll check with my old contacts at the sheriff’s department first thing in the morning and see what I can find out about when the crime scene will be cleared. Safer for us to check it out when we know we won’t be caught breaking in by the cops. That probably wouldn’t help Morgan any. I’ll let everyone know.”

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