Chapter One Only

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Chapter One

"I hate this guy," Veronica Wilson announced as she stared at the television in disbelief. "I think I'll go haunt him."

Christine Wilson punched the "off" button on the TV remote and tossed it on the sofa with a disgusted sigh. A queasy feeling started to come over her, but she tried to hide her discomfort from her sister. "What would that accomplish?"

"It'll scare the smug skepticism right out of the jerk, that's what."

"I'm not sure how that would help."

"How wouldn't it? The guy just pantsed you on live TV!" Ron moved to stand in front of Chris, doing a better job than her younger sister of not noticing that she hovered in the middle of the coffee table. "Nobody does that to my little sister. Besides, once I get through with him, there's no way he'll be able to deny the existence of ghosts. He'll have to recant." She looked over at her partner, who sat on the other end of the sofa, pointedly focusing all his attention on the semi-transparent Jack Russell Terrier curled up in his lap. "Joe, tell her I'm right."

Joe looked for a second like he'd been caught in a trap before smoothing his face into the picture of diplomacy. "The man does seem like he could use a comeuppance," he said to Chris before turning his attention to Ron. "But your sister can fight her own battles."

"That's right. I can." Chris folded her arms to underscore her statement. As much as part of her loved the idea of Ronnie going over there and putting the fear of all things paranormal into Derek Brandt, she had a feeling that would only make things worse. "No haunting."

"Oh, come on!" Ron flung her hands up in frustration. "This guy just shredded your reputation. You can't do nothing."

"I didn't say I'd do nothing. I said I don't want you to do anything. See the difference? Besides, it's not like this is the first go-round I've had with him."

"No, but it's one thing for him to pick on your paranormal club in the college paper. But you're both professionals now, and you've got a lot more to lose. And he called you a fraud on live television. He can't get away with this."

"He didn't actually call me a fraud." Chris knew she sounded pathetic even as she spoke.

To her credit, Ron didn't roll her eyes. "No, but he implied it."

"He did at that," Joe agreed.

"So if I just find out where he lives, I can personally show him just how wrong he is."

"No."

"But—"

"Ronnie, I said no!"

"Fine." Ron plopped down in the middle of the couch, right on top of the remote. Chris still wasn't sure how she did that without going right through the cushions. "So what are you going to do?"

Good question. Chris wasn't sure what she could do. Ron was right about one thing. Derek Brandt was a respected local crime reporter now, not some journalism student writing filler for a little college paper hardly anyone actually read. He'd won awards for consumer advocacy. Her Aunt Judy had e-mailed her dozens of clips from the Channel 24 website citing Brandt's warnings about products to avoid and mechanics who would rip you off and how to keep from getting mugged in the parking lot. People took him seriously.

She, on the other hand, was someone who talked to dead people and investigated haunted houses for a living. Her most recent claim to fame was her role in exorcising the city's most haunted house—a house she now called home. That, and publishing a novel that was ghost-written—literally—by her dead sister. The pool of people who took her seriously was already pretty shallow. This would likely shrink it down to the size of an inflatable kiddie pool.

Kindred Spirits by Jean Marie Bauhaus (Chapter One Only)Where stories live. Discover now