Things She’s Seen
by Pat Esden
(Northern Circle Coven #2)
Published by: Lyrical Press
Publication date: October 22nd 2019
Genres: Adult, Paranormal
The coven’s under investigation. Its future is in peril. And for one troubled young psychic, the coming battle will threaten her newfound freedom—and brings back a dangerous desire . . .
Exploited as a child medium, Emily Adams escaped to grow up on the streets—and hit rock-bottom. She took shelter with the prestigious Northern Circle, intent on staying only long enough to get back on her feet. But the Circle is still reeling from a devastating supernatural attack and betrayal. And vengeful High Council of Witches investigator Gar Remillard is determined to make Em surrender the truth—and disband the Circle forever.
When Em’s psychic ability allows her to see Gar is haunted by a formidable ghost, her attempts to free him challenge Gar’s rugged French Canadian heart and rancorous loup-garou instincts. But even as their new alliance and past connection kindles into raging desire, a malevolent force rises up to destroy them—the Circle and even the High Council.
With all she’s grown to love on the line, Em must draw on her darkest nightmares and alliances with the dead to outwit and out magic a force who can imprison souls with a flick of the fingers and command legions of wraiths with one word. . .
A ghost followed me home from the school bus stop.
We had a home back then, not an endless string of hotel rooms.
I can’t recall the ghost’s name. Mine was Kate,
back before I became Violet Grace.
Before the beginning. The middle. And the end
. —Journal of Emily Adams, age 22
Memory from second grade. Massachusetts.
Em lengthened her strides, hurrying to get ahead of the crowd leaving the A.A. meeting. The last thing she wanted was for someone to offer her a ride home. Not that she didn’t like the group. Since she’d left the halfway house in Upstate New York less than a month ago and moved to Vermont, they’d made her feel more than welcome.
She picked up her pace, jogging through the slush, across a narrow street, and down the sidewalk. She totally got why the group didn’t like the idea of a woman walking home alone at night, especially someone as small and skinny as her. But she’d lived on the streets in much larger cities. She knew how to handle herself. She had a phone—and a knife, if worse came to worst. Besides, walking in the dark and slush was a good reminder of the night she’d bottomed out, of what life had been like before she chose to live sober, a choice that had led her to join the Northern Circle coven and live at their complex here in Burlington. On top of that, there was an even more vital reason for her to walk alone: During the A.A. meeting a spirit had reached out to her, begging for help. She needed to locate it and find out what was going on.
Em stopped on a curb, shifting her weight from one foot to the other while she waited for the crossing signal to change. Damp leaves shone in the gutter, their bright autumn colors darkened to brown and black. Some people might have thought this time of year gloomy, but she found comfort in everything about it: the lengthening nights and leafless trees, the pumpkins and cornstalks on the front stoops of homes and shops, all the witch decorations. She smiled. If only those people knew that all the powers they imagined around Halloween were real, that witches and psychic mediums with powerful inborn gifts were right here in their midst.
A lifted pickup truck with four doors and oversize tires rumbled up to the intersection. Country music thudded out from the open driver’s window. The driver glanced her way, camo cap pulled low over black curly hair. She couldn’t see his eyes, but she could feel the intensity of his stare, studying her as if she were someone he knew. But her gaze only stayed on him for a second before it flicked to the occupant of the passenger seat, an apparition so misty it was almost imperceptible, even to her.
A haunting, her sixth sense murmured.
Sadness gathered in Em’s chest. It was impossible to know in such a brief encounter why the ghost was haunting the guy, but she had no doubt the ghost was in turmoil over something it couldn’t resolve. That was the heart of all hauntings. In turn, the ghost’s unrest would reflect in every aspect of the man’s disposition—spikes of frustration, seething anger, restlessness…. It was a horrible situation, and the fact that hauntings weren’t common didn’t make that any less true.
As the truck moved on, the ghostly outline swiveled to watch her out the back window. Em sighed heavily. If only she were in a position to help them. But the truck was already disappearing around a corner and she needed to focus on the troubled spirit who’d reached out to her at the meeting. She was certain they weren’t one and the same. The spirit at the meeting had felt small, young—and frantic.
Traffic slowed to a stop and the crossing signal changed. Em dashed across to the other side, past a bookstore and a jewelry shop. She let her sixth sense draw her down Church Street, with its restaurants and boutiques. The tug grew more insistent, the small spirit’s pull becoming even more desperate with each passing moment.
She headed into blocks of apartment houses, bars, vacant lots. The distance between streetlights lengthened. Her focus narrowed, her vision of the world constricting into a tunnel. As late as it was, she was grateful the tug was taking her closer to the coven’s complex, closer to home rather than farther away. But what if—
She shuddered as she remembered last week, when she’d been at an A.A. meeting and felt a similar tug, only to discover the other coven members had been trapped in a fire at a nightclub. She should have left that meeting—and this one—sooner.
Something low to the ground slapped her ankle, claws digging in.
She wheeled around, backing up and glancing down.
A kitten. A ghost kitten. The small spirit that had reached out to her, she was certain of it.
It vanished into the roadside darkness, a vacant lot of rain-soaked weeds and tall grass. She followed, the tangle of plants taller than she’d expected, the darkness more encompassing. Muck sucked at her feet. Her teeth chattered from a sudden drop in temperature. Her breath became white vapor. Something was wrong here. Very wrong. One small spirit couldn’t affect the temperature like that.
Giveaway ends October 31st.
The grand prize is:
- $20 Amazon gift card
THINGS SHE’S SEEN: my playlist!
This is a playlist of the songs I listened to while writing THINGS SHE’S SEEN. Some of them like Way Down We Go and Sober by Lorde helped me get into Em’s head. Others like Saturn Rising, Some Kind of Gypsy, and Sirens Crypt put me in the right place for writing specific scenes. I Am Here reminded me of Em’s determination. Life In Her Yet speaks to the horrific past that drives her. Sick of Losing Soulmates? Well, it was the lyrics that made me chose that song. And Photograph and Lorraine are for Gar because sometimes doing the right thing hurts.
Way Down We Go—KALOE
Some Kind of Gypsy—Stu Larsen
Slow Dance In A Parking Lot—Jordan Davis
Saturn Rising—Veigar Margeirsson
I am Here—Pink
Life In Her Yet—Rag’n’Bone Man
Sick of Losing Soulmates—dodie
Lorraine—Peter Bradley Adams
Two High—Moon Taxi
Listen to the THINGS SHE’S SEEN playlist on Spotify https://spoti.fi/2OLmYNT
Character Interview With Emily Adams from THING SHE’S SEEN
Em, how about you describe yourself for us?
Skinny and pale. Quiet. I’m not bouncy and outgoing like Chloe with her pixy haircut and designer clothes. I’m more of a Goodwill and blend into the background kind of person. I did just get my 6th month A.A. medallion, I’m super proud of that.
What’s your profession?
Until recently, I’d been a professional psychic medium since I was a young child. I used to give readings in front of huge audiences, and help the police locate the bodies of murder victims. Once I even helped them solve a case involving children my own age who were murdered by a serial killer. Now I live at the Northern Circle Coven’s complex and make my living doing chores around the house, cleaning mostly.
Do you have a special skill?
Beside seeing and talking to the dead? Um. . . Not really. I don’t even know much about witchcraft, like everyone else in the coven. As far as school goes, I only got my GED a few weeks ago. I know how to survive on the streets, if that counts.
What is your biggest dream/wish/desire?
That’s easy. I want to be a poet and live in a cabin in the woods. Some place super quiet with the smell pine trees in the air and the sound of a river nearby. Serenity and sobriety, I want them. And a pet. I’ve never had one.
What’s your darkest secret?
Sorry, but I never tell my real secrets. As far as dark thoughts go, I’d be more than happy if I found out my aunt was dead.
What’s your favorite pastime/hobby?
Writing poetry in my journal. It keeps me sane and makes me feel good.
Describe the craziest thing you have done.
It’s definitely the time when my lover, Alice, and I hung out in the Royal Palm Theater in Tampa. After the theater closed for the night and the actors went home, we’d sneak back in, put on costumes and act like we were royalty instead of homeless.
Chunky peanut butter or smooth?
I really don’t care. I’m grateful to have either.
Favorite fictional character?
How about a real person? Emily Dickenson is one of my favorite people because she wrote amazing poetry and we were both born in Amherst, Massachusetts. I’d really like meet her spirit some time.
Thank you so much to Em for joining us and sharing a small peek into your character and life…
Pat Esden would love to say she spent her childhood in intellectual pursuits. The truth is she was fonder of exploring abandoned houses and old cemeteries. When not out on her own adventures, she can be found in her northern Vermont home writing stories about brave, smart women and the men who capture their hearts.
She is the author of the contemporary fantasy Dark Heart series from Kensington Books, and the Northern Circle Coven series. Her short fiction has appeared in a number of publications, including Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, the Mythopoeic Society’s Mythic Circle, George Scither’s Cat Tales Anthology, and the Fragments of Darkness anthology.