The Guidance - By Marley Gibson


For those who have provided me with guidance:

To Deidre Knight, the best agent evah, who is always there when I need her. I appreciate your knowledge, support, and, most of all, your friendship. You were there, it happened!

To Julia Richardson, an amazing editor, who graciously went on a ghost hunt with me and saw what it was all about. You're the best at what you do and I'm privileged to work with you. And to the entire team at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for all of their support and efforts.

To Maureen Wood ... these characters wouldn't exist if it weren't for you. 'Nuff said.

To Jessica Andersen and Charlene Glatkowski, who are just an e-mail away anytime and always pick me up no matter what. Thanks for the confetti cannon.

To Wendy Toliver and Jenn Echols for their insightful critiques and for making me feel like I was writing something really special. Read all of their books ... they're amazing!

To my special chicas who need no explanation as to why they're being thanked here: Kristen Painter, Melissa Francis, Gena Showalter, Maria Geraci, Louisa Edwards White, Elaine Spencer, Pamela Harty, Roxanne St. Claire, Kresley Cole, and Jill Monroe. Love you guys! Mean it!

To my awesome friends in the paranormal community who have shared so much of themselves with me: Patrick Burns, Chris Fleming, Jason Hawes, Grant Wilson, Michael and Marti Parry, Mark and Debby Constantino, Scotty Roberts, Bill Murphy, Chip Coffey, Tim Dennis, John Zaffis, Donn Shy, Kathryn Wilson, and Ron Kolek.

To my boss, Matt Raynor, for too many things to list, and to all the folks at work who support and encourage me and lend me their names for characters. To the real Rebecca Asiaf, for her amazing friendship, memorable lunch hours, and being the first fan of this series.

And, as always, to Mike Gibson, for who he is and all he's done.

* * *

To's Dave Schrader, my own personal paranormal

cheerleader: Thanks for the support and friendship.

When can we go UFO hunting?

And to his daughter, Keila Schrader,

for being such a sweetheart.

You both rock!

* * *

For what is faith unless it is to believe what you do not see?

—Saint Augustine

Chapter One

Only two months in to being a ghost huntress, and I do believe this current case takes the freakin' cake.

I'm sitting in the living room of one Mrs. Millicent Lockhart of 859 Crow Lane here in Radisson, Georgia. Mrs. Lockhart called my team and me in to help find her deceased husband. And I don't mean, like, to connect with him spiritually—although, as a still budding psychic, I'm able to do that—she wants us to physically find his missing body. Literally. I'm not exactly sure how she lost him, but anyway, here we sit in the very prim and proper living room of an old carriage house on the grounds of a sprawling mansion.

Talk about it being the best of investigating times and the worst of investigating times ... No, no, no, Dickens already used that line. We'll have to figure this one out on our own.

"More lemon tea bars?" Mrs. Lockhart asks, nudging the crystal serving plate toward me. Even with a deceased and misplaced husband, she's still a Southern lady and the quintessential hostess with the mostest.

"No, thank you, ma'am," I say politely. My friend, neighbor, and fellow ghost huntress Celia Nichols rolls her eyes, but then she reaches out for another one of the tart treats. It's her third. This isn't a tea party, though. It's a ghost investigation. Or at least it's supposed to be.

"These are delicious," Taylor Tillson says. She sits daintily with her ankles crossed and her long golden tresses perfectly in place. Taylor always looks like she just walked off the pages of a magazine, even when we're in full ghost-hunt mode. She wipes her hands on the starched linen napkin and continues. "I just have to make sure I don't get any of the bonté délicieuse on my camera when I start taking pictures."

Two years of French. What are you gonna do with her?

Rebecca "Becca" Asiaf lets out a long sigh and taps her foot impatiently. Her digital recorder is poised in her left palm, and I can tell she's ready to get this puppy going. Her silverringed thumb, with its black nail polish, waits to hit Record. Obviously, she's as eager to get on with this investigation as I am. Niceties with our hostess aside, we've got work to do.

But this feels more like a social obligation with a great-aunt or something. The four of Copyright 2016 - 2021