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Listen to the Ghost

 

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Listen to the Ghost
YA paranormal

Beverly Stowe McClure

 

Chapter One

 

Jade heard it again, the same musical sound that had kept her awake half the night. Someone was singing. The light, airy tune reminded her of wind chimes, blowing in a gentle breeze.

But that cannot be, she thought. I'm alone. Elaine is in her room across the hall. David is in his. Last night, I thought it a dream, but I'm awake now, and the voice seems real, as real as my own.

"I'm hallucinating," she said aloud, the sound of her own voice comforting. "Nobody here, but me and my wild imagination."

To prove her point, Jade sat up in bed and skimmed a quick look around the room. Early morning light shimmered through the open window. White lace curtains floated lazily over the window seat. Her luggage sat at the foot of her canopy bed where she had piled it last night. She'd been too tired after the long drive from Texas to Charleston to unpack. She made a mental note to do so after she returned from the festival.

Her paintings were stacked against the wall, next to the fireplace. The singing had ceased now. Everything appeared normal. She tapped her ear lightly. "Maybe I should have my hearing checked."

She swallowed nervously. "And what should I do about the prickly feeling on the back of my neck, as if eyes are watching me? Ignore it? Right. I probably ate something yesterday that caused a chemical imbalance in my system. Result--temporary insanity. So stop worrying, Jade Dalton. The festival awaits you."

She slid out of bed, padded to the vanity, her feet sinking in the thick white carpet, and opened her jewelry box. She rummaged through the contents, puckered her lips.

"Great," she grumbled. "My day is going from weird to puzzling to incredible. First, I hear an imaginary voice. Then my initial ring and diamond earrings vanish. Mom is going to kill me. I've got to find them."

She dug through her rings and bracelets and necklaces a second time. She took a deep breath, forcing back panic. "They're not here. Okay. Think, girl. I was wearing them when we arrived. I put them away." She scrunched up her nose. "At least I think I did. Maybe I dropped them."

She knelt, ran her hand underneath the vanity. Nothing. She rose. Her shorts and T-shirt she'd worn on the trip were in the chair. Hope flickered. She ran over, grabbed the shorts and fished through the pockets. Empty. She flung them down in disgust. "I am so in trouble. On top of everything else, I'm talking to myself. I'm in worse shape than I thought. The next thing I know I'll be seeing things."

Her words trailed off. Someone was singing again. And then she knew.

"All right, Elaine, dear former friend, fun's over. I'm not laughing. Show yourself."

The room grew eerily quiet.

"So you want to play games," Jade said, a bit irritated. "Okay, I'll humor you." Under her breath, she added, "Then I'll dunk you in the garden fountain." Jade dropped to her knees and peeked under the bed. No Elaine.

She sprang to her feet and slapped her hands on her hips. "Elaine! Answer me!"

Out of the corner of her eye, Jade caught movement. "Ha! I see you." She swung around. She blinked. She blinked again. She rubbed her eyes and stared in awe at a faint pink mist hovering over the fireplace mantel on the far wall.

Un-uh! I am not seeing what I think I'm seeing, Jade told herself. There is no pink mist or cloud or whatever. It's the sun casting a weird reflection. Even as she spoke, the pink mist flickered then vanished, like a soap bubble that's burst. Jade blinked a third time, needing to find a rationale for what she had seen or not seen. My eyes are blurry, because I didn't sleep well, because… I heard…

"Elaine's radio!" she shouted. Jade jumped up and down, clapping her hands. "That's the singing I heard. And the other noises were David huffing and puffing and grunting while pumping iron. Or the possibility exists that I am totally crazy."

She waved that idea aside. "We'll consider my mental condition later. I've more pressing matters to deal with at the moment."

Jade resumed the search for her missing ring and earrings. They were her favorites. Her grandmother, Nan Dalton, had given them to her on her seventeenth birthday last summer. She wore them everywhere. Jade pulled back the quilt and sheets. She looked under the pillows. She was rifling through her backpack on the chance she'd put them there, when her arms suddenly grew cold. She could not shake the feeling that someone was watching her.

She laughed at herself. What is wrong with me? she thought. I sound like I believe Elaine with her stories of ghosts and spirits and noises in the night. She'd say we have a supernatural being in our midst. Granny Nan would laugh and tell us she's lived in this house for years and never seen a ghost. How I wish she were here now.

When her grandparents had asked Jade and her brother, David, and her best friend, Elaine, to house-sit their Victorian mansion for the summer while they jetted around Europe, Jade had agreed for three reasons: One--Charleston, South Carolina, was half a continent away from Texas and her ex-boyfriend, Kurt Sinclair--emphasis on the "ex." Two--she loved the annual Piccolo Spoleto Festival--the ballet, the music, the crowds, and the art exhibits. Art was her passion. She had brought her best wildlife watercolors and oil portraits to show. Three, and the most important reason--she loved this old house where she had spent every summer of her seventeen years.

David, nineteen, going on thirty, had agreed because he always did what was expected of him. After all, he was Mr. Perfect: straight-A student, star pitcher on the Saxet, Texas, high school baseball team, academic and athletic scholarships to the College of Charleston for the second straight year. How did Jade know he was perfect? Their parents said he was. All her friends said he was, especially her best friend, Elaine Morrow, who had had a crush on David since eighth grade. Elaine had been thrilled when Jade's grandparents included her in the invitation. Jade knew she saw the trip as a chance to get closer to David. She also knew that even though Elaine had turned eighteen a month ago, David still thought of her as Jade's bratty little friend, the same way he thought of her.

David was responsible and dependable, and their parents trusted him. So they made arrangements with Doc Gentry, a neighbor of Granny Nan and Grandpa Jack, to keep an eye on David and the girls. Their parents would join them later in the summer. And Jade had promised to behave herself and listen to her brother.

"Speaking of bratty kids," she said as she made the bed, "I'm about as far from perfect as a person can get. The harder I try to live up to David's image, the more I realize it's impossible. Why do I bother? Dumb question. My parents expect it of me. And I am still talking to myself. I wonder what that means."

Jade was closing the lid to her jewelry box and puzzling over where she might have put her missing ring and earrings when the door creaked open and Elaine swept into the room, every golden curl in place, her navy shorts and light blue shirt molded to her tall, slender body. Jade smiled. Of course. She should have thought of it sooner. One mystery solved. Elaine must have borrowed her jewelry. They wore each other's clothes all the time. That's what friends did.

"Morning, Jade," Elaine said. "I'm ready to go to the park. I've never been to a festival. What's it like?"

"Hectic, exciting. You'll love it." Jade looked in the mirror and ran a brush through her short, cinnamon-brown hair. "May I have my initial ring and diamond earrings back?" she asked. "I'd like to wear them today."

Jade never heard Elaine's answer for the pink mist was back, reflected in the mirror before her. The mist swirled above the mantel, like a spring storm.

Jade gulped. "Elaine," she whispered, "tell me what you see."

"Where?"

"By the fireplace," Jade said, her eyes still on the reflection.

Elaine turned that way, tilted her head. "I see a fireplace. Candles. A painting."

The mist twirled faster, moved toward them, and Jade cried, "Elaine! Look out!"

Elaine spun to face Jade at the same time Jade ducked. An icy wind brushed Jade's face and then was gone. She squeaked, "Did you see that?"

Elaine's gray eyes opened wide. "I saw you scrunch down. Do you feel all right? You want me to get David?"

Jade whispered, "No. It's… I thought I saw…." She blew out a puff of air, straightened her back. "I'm okay."

"You're sure?" Elaine didn't sound convinced.

"It was probably the wind stirring up dust," Jade said.

Pink dust? She quickly dismissed the thoughts rambling in her brain, at least outwardly, and began gathering her paintings. Her hands were trembling so she could barely hold them.

"You're far from okay," Elaine said. "I'm going after David."

"And tell him what? His sister's gone bananas? No way. Besides, we'll see him in a minute. Now, help me carry these downstairs, please." Jade shoved half the canvases at Elaine. "I want to be at the park early to set up my work."

To herself, she added, "I want to get out of this house before I start hallucinating little green elves with pointed ears and toes."

Elaine nodded toward the fireplace. "What about that painting above the mantel?" She laughed. "When did you add the extra touch?"

"What painting? What touch?" Jade followed Elaine's gaze. "Oh, Kurt's portrait? Who put it there? Why didn't I notice it earlier?"

Because the pink mist was hiding it, she thought, but wasn't about to say so. Even though she and Kurt were no longer a couple, his portrait was one of her best. She had brought it to prove to everyone, but mostly to herself, that she was over him, contrary to what David and Elaine believed. She reached above the mantel to take the canvas down, but her hand froze in midair. At first, she just stared, speechless. Then her mind clicked into action, and she let out a howl guaranteed to wake anyone within a ten-mile radius.

"Ooooh! Noooo! It's ruined!"

The words had barely left her mouth before David charged into the room, barefoot, his hair tousled, a baseball bat in his hands. "Jade! What is it? Why'd you scream?"

Jade thrust the portrait under his nose. "Some joker gave Kurt a beard and mustache," she cried.

David lowered the baseball bat. He studied the painting, and a grin slowly curled the corners of his mouth. "It's a vast improvement, if you ask me," he said. "You ought to thank whoever did it. What do you think, Elaine?"

Elaine tilted her head to one side and then the other. "I do believe the mustache adds character, which Kurt definitely needs. The beard is kind of scraggly though. It could use a trim. Maybe you can fix it."

"Who asked you?" Jade snapped.

Elaine's mouth fell open. "What is wrong with you, Jade?"

"For the record, brat," David said, "I asked Elaine, and she gave her honest opinion as I did. Anyway, I happen to think the portrait you did of me is the best. You had such a great subject to work with." He gave her a gentle chuck on the chin. "So lighten up. It could be worse. You have a dozen other paintings to show, much better than this one."

Instead of sympathizing with her, David thought the incident was funny, a clear sign he was the guilty party, or at least had a hand in it. Jade crossed her arms and tapped her fingers on her biceps. "I know you think Kurt is the scum of the earth, but you didn't have to ruin my portrait."

David raised an eyebrow. "You believe I did this?"

"You and Elaine are the only other people in the house." Jade switched from David to Elaine. "You helped him."

Elaine's lower lip quivered. "You have a suspicious mind, Jade Dalton. How could you accuse us of being so mean?"

Jade bit her lip, wishing she could take back her words. Elaine was the gentlest person she knew. She'd never purposely hurt a soul. And although David was her obnoxious older brother, and he called her brat, he was not a liar. He hadn't a mean bone in his body.

"Ignore me," Jade said. "I'm not thinking straight. So many strange things have happened since we got here, what's one more? I'm confused. Forgive me for hollering at you, Elaine. I know you didn't do it. You either David."

Elaine hugged her. "Apology accepted. I'm truly sorry about the portrait, Jade, but I'm more concerned about you."

"So am I," David said. "Someone changed your painting, Jade. Since Elaine and I didn't do it, that leaves you."

Jade broke free from Elaine's hug. "Me? Why would I destroy weeks and weeks of work?"

"I haven't a clue," David said with a shrug.

"Perhaps you did it in your sleep," Elaine said.

Jade scanned the painting of the boy with the black hair and sky blue eyes--those deceitful eyes. "Anything's possible. I might have done it as a subconscious revenge thing because Kurt went out with that college girl while he promised I was his one true love. I agree with you, David. The mustache is good. It hides those lying lips."

"Your theory sounds reasonable to me," Elaine said.

"Remember, I warned you about Kurt," David said in that big-brother-I-told-you-so tone of voice. "Next time, maybe you'll listen."

Jade hated to admit it, but David was usually right. Most perfect people were, she supposed. "Maybe. Maybe not."

He tossed the baseball bat from hand to hand. "Something else, brat, you mentioned strange things have happened. What else besides the painting?"

"It's no big deal. I thought I heard someone singing, but it was only the breeze whistling in the magnolia tree outside the window."

Jade stopped just short of mentioning the pink cloud. The more she thought about it, the more preposterous it sounded. The mist was simply the morning light mingling with the dust in the air. If she had hallucinated the voice, then she had imagined the mist, as well. But her brain, which dealt in concrete subject matter, was having trouble digesting the unexplained phenomenon in the form of a pink mist or cloud. It was illogical.

"I heard someone in my room last night," Elaine said, bringing Jade back from her thoughts. "And this morning my jewelry was spread out on the dresser."

David's eyebrow shot up. "Why are you just now telling us this, Elaine? We might have a burglar in the house."

"Burglar!" Elaine clasped her hands. "I never imagined a burglar. I heard this singing and figured it was Jade. I turned on the lamp to see what she wanted, but nobody was there. I decided she'd changed her mind and left, so I went back to sleep, thinking she'd tell me this morning."

Jade's skin grew clammy. Her throat constricted. "I don't sing, Elaine, and I don't recall going to your room, though I might have, if I walked in my sleep. Is anything missing?"

"No."

"My ring and earrings have vanished. I thought you took them."

"I didn't."

Jade looked from Elaine to David. "I heard singing, too. I think we have a singing burglar."

Are you sure, brat? You know how scatterbrained you are. You probably forgot where you put your earbobs. Did you check your ears?"

In spite of David's attempt at humor, the concern in his eyes was obvious. Even though Jade's stomach was queasy at the idea of a stranger breaking in, rifling through her belongings, and watching her sleep, she could tell he was trying to protect her and Elaine from the truth. So she'd go along with his joke to set their minds at ease.

"For your information, big brother, I put them in my jewelry box. I'm positive. Almost," she added.

He scratched his head. "It makes sense. A thief broke in last night, saw your cubic zirconium, and, paying no attention whatsoever to the silverware and other valuables in the house, stole your earrings. Or else we had a ghostly visitor."

He raised his arms, flapped them up and down, danced around the room, and groaned, "Oooooh! Boo!"

Elaine clutched Jade's arm. "I thought we had a burglar. Now David's saying ghost."

"Ghost, phooey," Jade said. "You look more like a bird with a broken wing, David. And another thing, my earrings are real diamonds, not fake."

"I know, Jade. I know." He gripped the baseball bat tightly. "Call the police. I'm going to check the house from top to bottom to make sure the burglar's gone. Lock this door and don't come out until I tell you."

"Be careful, David," Jade said.

As soon as Jade locked the door, she plunked down on the bed and dialed 911. Minutes later, sirens wailed in the distance. Jade and Elaine ran downstairs to find David. He was in the kitchen, letting two police officers in. Red-and-blue lights flashed in the driveway.

Thirty minutes later, the officers met David and the girls in the kitchen. "We've checked the windows and doors from the attic to the basement," the kind-faced officer with carrot-orange hair said. "No sign of a break-in."

"We'll patrol the area," the short, stocky officer said. Then they were gone.

"No burglar," Jade said.

"Right," Elaine said.

"You misplaced your ring, Jade," David said.

"I must have," she said.

"What about the singing?" Elaine asked.

David glanced at the clock on the wall. "Whoa! I'd better hurry or I'll be late for work. Not good on the first day. Summer help, that's me, has the lunch bunch. Judging from patrons in the past, they eat like it's their last meal." He headed for the stairs.

David had worked at the Coral Reef Seafood Restaurant the summer before, and they gave him his job back this year. Like everything else David did, he was the perfect waiter, earning huge tips. Jade had given guided tours of the historic Charleston buildings last summer. She had earned tiny tips. That was the story of her life.

Nevertheless, she was grateful he changed the subject. This talk of burglars and unseen singers was making her fidgety. The police had found nothing, so she put it out of her mind, for now. "We're late, too," she said darting after him. "Will you drop us by the park?"

"Can do. But make it quick." David went into his room.

He dressed faster than Jade and had carried her canvases to the Jeep Cherokee by the time she and Elaine were back in the kitchen. Jade was embarrassed when she realized the officers had seen her in the tattered T-shirt she slept in. Elaine told her not to worry. They were gentlemen and hadn't looked too closely.

"Get a move on," David said impatiently.

Jade swallowed a quick drink of orange juice. "We're ready."

"Go ahead," David said. "I'll lock the door. By the way, did I mention I offered Matt a place to bunk for the summer?"

Jade whirled around. "You what? Who? When? Why?"

"You just answered my question. With all the excitement this morning, it slipped my mind. Tell you later. We don't have time now."

"Make time," Jade said, blocking the doorway.

"I'm telling my boss you're the reason I'm late."

"Go ahead."

David cracked his knuckles. "All right. I'll give you two minutes." His words gushed out so fast Jade could barely keep up.

"After you and Elaine went to bed last night, I noticed we were out of toilet paper so I drove to the store. On the way back, I nearly ran over this guy crossing the street. I stopped to see if he was okay, and to my surprise it was Matt Logan. You've heard me mention him. We met last year at college. We had a couple classes together, got to be good friends. He has a job at the Coral Reef. And time is up."

He made a quick move to the right, jagged back to the left in an attempt to pass Jade. When she moved with him, he said, "Out of the way, brat."

She held her ground. "Your fancy football moves don't impress me, big brother. I have some questions."

"Don't you always?"

Jade ignored that. "Is he the guy who did odd jobs for Grandpa?"

"He's the one. Actually, Matt rented a room from Gran and Grandpa. I think they're lonesome, rattling about in this big house and enjoyed his company. To pay for his lodging, Matt worked in the garden, painted, and did whatever repairs Grandpa asked him to. Grandpa told me Matt was handy with a hammer. I got to know him pretty well. Gran was quite impressed, too. She said he was the politest young man she'd ever met, hinting my manners weren't up to par, I think."

"Still, David, is it a good idea?" Jade asked. "Would Grandpa approve?"

"I called Grandpa last night at the hotel where they're staying in Rome. He gave me the okay. He suggested we could paint the shutters and weed the flowerbeds. I also let Dad know. So everybody's happy." He glanced at the clock a second time. "Now, may we go?"

Jade wasn't convinced. "Why doesn't this Matt fellow get a motel room?"

"Last question, brat, then I'm going, with or without you. The hotels are full because of the Spoleto Festival. Even if Matt wanted a room, I think he's broke. He only had a backpack and a saxophone with him. I wanted to bring him home last night, but thought I'd better clear it with the folks first. He slept in the park."

"You can't bring home every stray cat and dog and person you find," Jade insisted.

"He's a friend, not a stray." David scratched his neck. "Look, Jade, if you're uncomfortable with Matt staying here, I'll tell him. He'll understand."

David always ended up making her feel like the villain. She crossed her arms. "Do what you want. But he doesn't share Elaine's and my bathroom. He can use the one downstairs."

David gave her a friendly punch on the arm. "That's my girl." He strode outside. "Come on."

Jade rolled her eyes. "Brothers."

Elaine sighed. "Nice brothers."

The radio suddenly blasted to life with a jazzy tune.

Elaine jumped, bumping into Jade. They looked at each other.

The lights blinked on, flickered off. Elaine shrieked.

David dashed back in. He slid to a halt. "What's going on?" He glanced from Jade to Elaine to the blaring radio.

The refrigerator door swung open. An apple floated out and came to rest on the table.

Elaine screamed.

Jade grabbed her hand. "Run!"

The outside door slammed shut, preventing their escape.

Elaine shrieked again.

Jade switched directions. She dragged Elaine across the room and then back to David, who was muttering, "What in the blue blazes? What in the blue blazes?"

Jade let go of Elaine, pounded her fists on David's chest. "Do something, David."

Elaine cried, "This house is haunted! Like in the books!"

David seized Jade's hands. "Calm down, Jade. Take it easy, Elaine. There's a logical explanation."

Elaine's eyes were big as silver dollars. "Ghosts," she said. "Ghosts are among us."

The radio clicked off. Save for the tick, tick, tick of the clock on the wall, total silence enveloped the kitchen.

Elaine whimpered and clung to Jade.

That same creepy somebody-is-watching-me sensation Jade had experienced earlier sent a shiver up her spine. The quiet was worse than the noise. Her stomach rolled. "Ghosts?"

David coughed. "We'd better sit down."

No one moved.

"Stand then." David walked stiff-legged to the fridge, took out the orange juice, and poured each of them a glass. "Drink this."

Juice sloshed on Jade's shorts. David's hands were shaking as badly as hers were. She put her drink in the sink.

David scrubbed a fist over his chin. "Now then, Jade, Elaine," he said. "You're panicking over nothing. There is no such thing as a ghost."

"Then why are you shifting from foot to foot, like you stepped in a sticker patch?" Jade asked. "Why is your brow sweating? Who opened the fridge and turned on the radio? How did the apple fly through the air?"

"The ghost is responsible," Elaine said softly, her grip on Jade tightening.

"Ghosts do not exist," Jade said, echoing David.

I hope, she added to herself.

"But they do," Elaine said. "I've read stories of how a restless ghost, or spirit, wanders year after year, trapped between the world of the living and the world of the dead, searching for peace or revenge. Only when the problem is resolved can the spirit find rest."

"So why doesn't this restless spirit tell us what it wants, instead of playing practical jokes?" David asked. His voice cracked.

"Maybe he's trying to get our attention," Elaine said.

"I have a better explanation," David said. He cleared his throat. "This house is old. The electrical wiring is shot."

"That would account for the lights and possibly the radio," Jade said, anxious to latch onto any logical reason for the spooky happenings in this usually normal house. "How did the apple float?"

The look David gave Jade was anything but reassuring. "I don't want to alarm you girls, but, in all honesty, that one puzzles me. I saw it, but I don't understand it. Jade, until I figure out what's going on, I want you and Elaine to stay together at all times. And when I'm at work, call if anything suspicious happens."

"You got that," Jade said.

He tucked in his shirttail. "Providing I still have a job, that is," he said.

He locked the door. As they hurried down the driveway, Jade in the lead, anxious to get away, she tripped over her shoelace. She waved the others on then squatted to tie it. A sudden whirlwind of leaves tumbled around her, and something cool caressed her face.

It felt…almost…like…a…hand.

"Jaaaade," someone whispered.

She bolted to her feet, her heart thudding. "Who's there?"

She could see David and Elaine climbing into the Jeep. Had one of them called to her? No. They weren't even looking her way.

"Help me, Jaaaade."

She slapped her hands over her ears and ran.

 

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Author Bio

Beverly Stowe McClure is a native Texan. She lives in the country, outside of Iowa Park, with her husband, Jack, and a cat named Sugar, who isn't really sweet. She has three sons, three granddaughters, two grandsons, and another on the way. She also has a great-grandson. (She married very young.)

She earned a BSEd from Midwestern State University in 1971 and taught for twenty-two years before deciding to become a writer. Her first book, Secrets I Have Kept, was published as an ebook in 2000 by Bookmice. Her stories and articles have appeared in Wee Ones, Ladybug, Focus on the Family Clubhouse Jr., Humpty Dumpty, Jack and Jill, and other leading children's magazines.

Beverly is a member of both the North Texas and the national Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. She is currently working on two historical novels for children, as well as a couple of picture books.

She teaches a women's class at First Baptist Church. To relax she plays the piano and tries to make flowers grow under the hot Texas sun and with little water. And she's discovered many interesting ancestors in her genealogy research.

Visit Beverly's web page

 

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Listen to the Ghost Copyright 2003. Beverly Stowe McClure. All rights reserved by the author. Please do not copy without permission.

 

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List Price: $4.50 USD

  Author News

Beverly will be giving a talk on the world of publishing, Saturday, August 21, 2004, 11:00 AM CST at the Tom Burnett Memorial Library in Iowa Park, TX. Readers, writers, young people and grown-ups are invited.

Listen to the Ghost is a finalist in the Dream Realm Awards for the Young Adult category.

 

  Reviews

Jade and David Dalton are house-sitting their grandparents' Victorian mansion in Charleston, South Carolina. Two of their friends keep them company. The big house still seems a little empty until an ancestral ghost with a freakish sense of humor assails it. Modern teenagers don't believe in ghosts, at least not easily. However, a barrage of flying vegetables "The olives are attacking!" changes their minds at last.

Ghostly Phoebe died on her wedding day, the victim of a spurned lover who refused to take no for an answer. She is doomed to haunt the house forever unless the wedding rings of herself and her groom are reunited once more.

The teens barely adapt to their quest when a frightening parallel surfaces. Jade's ex-boyfriend has pursued her all the way from Texas, just to recapture her heart. When flowers and chocolates don't soften her, his methods become more direct. Soon, she's watching out her windows to avoid her stalker. Will the present- day love triangle turn out as Phoebe's did? Will the mansion soon be haunted by two ghosts instead of one?

"Listen to the Ghost" entrapped me with its light flow and its frolicsome ghost. After all, if a real live ghost is lobbing hamburger patties until all the kids cower under the table, how scary can it be? I was quite surprised when menace trickled into my mind, and shivers ran up the back of my neck. The double story line is most effective. The two threads intertwine, raising the tension stakes with each twist of the story.

If you want dripping blood and mangled body parts, you'll miss the boat here. However, if you're after a good story with a few deeper meanings and stomach churnings, you'll like "Listen to the Ghost". Ms. McClure has written a winner.

Reviewed by Jeanette Cottrell, author of "There's No Such Thing!" for eBook Reviews Weekly.
 



5 stars!

The sound of music, a pink mist, missing jewelry, a voice singing, swirl of leaves and a voice calling 'help me' set the stage for a most unexpected summer. Seventeen year old Jade Dalton, her friend Elaine Morrow and Jade's nineteen year old brother David travel from their Texas home to Charleston South Carolina to embark upon a house sitting stint for the Dalton Grandparents. David plans to work at the restaurant where he usually works while visiting his grandparents. Jade has brought art work to show during Piccolo Spoleto. The only thing that prevents Jade from thinking she has lost her mind are the confessions of Elaine and David that they too have heard the singing. Matt Logan, orphan, family acquaintance appears with his saxophone within days of their arrival. David is sure Jade is overwrought when she insists a ghost is haunting the house, a fusillade of flying burgers and trimmings convinces all four young people that something more than old house and old wiring is busy in the old Victorian mansion.

When the pink mist materializes into a girl resembling Jade the four teens are thrust into a race with time to help Phoebe, find her missing wedding rings before July 1 thus bringing her the peace she has long sought since her untimely death on her wedding day in 1923. A stalker of an ex boyfriend, Matt's discovery that he has family he never realized, and blossoming romance all play out to a satisfying conclusion.

Author McClure has produced a real page-turner of a read in Listen to the Ghost. Reader interest is maintained from the opening lines when we meet Jade puzzling over the music she hears coming from somewhere in the house. Connection is held fast as we encounter the lighthearted ghost, and is continued past the insistence of the stalker ex boy friend who just will not take no for an answer and right down to the last paragraphs as we all attend Jade's eighteenth birthday party.

Listen to the Ghost is not only tense or high-strung activity. Phoebe the ghost is a delight who 'borrows' the girls' jewelry and clothing, paints a mustache and beard on the portrait of the ex boyfriend and lobs veggies and patties at the young people. Writer McClure creates a nicely honed work filled with spine tingling action, clever scenarios, and well fleshed characters in this deftly written narrative. Forceful motivations, precarious twists of story line, first class conversation fill the pages in this exciting read.

Sure to please the target audience Listen to the Ghost has a place in the home pleasure reading library.

Reviewed by: Molly Martin
 



Charleston, South Carolina

Seventeen-year-old Jade, her older brother David and her friend Elaine, and are moving from Texas to Charleston temporarily. The teens will be cleaning and fixing up their grandparents' house while they are away. Soon Matt, David's friend from college, joins the trio. Little did the four of them know that they weren't alone in the house. Soon Phoebe, the ghost of the house, makes herself known in a big way. How? She makes all the food in the house fly around the room! If that isn't bad enough, Phoebe keeps going on about the mysterious accident that took her life. Now it's up to Jade to solve the mystery of Phoebe's death.

If you like to try to solve mysteries before the characters do, then this is the book for you! LISTEN TO THE GHOST not only has enjoyable characters but it also features twists and turns worthy of any great mystery. The plot is complex, but easy to follow, even when events of the past and present begin to mirror each other. Ms. McClure has given the each character different and distinct personalities, and by the end of the book I felt like I really knew both Jade and Phoebe. LISTEN TO THE GHOST is a well-written book that would be a fabulous addition to any bookshelf. One I know I will want to read over and over again.

Reviewed by Amanda Roberts for Romance Reviews Today.
 



Jade Dalton, her best friend Elaine, along with Jade's older brother David and his best friend Matt, are spending their summer vacation house- sitting for Jade's grandparents in Charleston, North Carolina. In addition to the house sitting duties, David and Matt are working at a local restaurant during the summer, while Jade and Elaine have brought from Texas several of Jade's paintings to show and sell during the Piccolo Spoleto festival.

But before their summer adventures begin, odd things begin to happen to Jade. She hears music that can't be explained, someone is whispering her name, but no one can be found calling her, now her diamond earrings are missing and she sees a pink mist floating overhead. She thinks she is going crazy until Elaine and David admit that they too have heard the singing. However, when the food starts flying and attacking all four teens finally believe that it's not the faulty wiring in the old house but that a ghost is present.

Eventually the pink mist turns into a young woman named Phoebe whose appearance is similar to Jade's. Phoebe is enchanting and mischievous. She adds a moustache and beard to Jade's favorite painting, wears Jade's clothes and jewelry and even warns her to stay away from her former boyfriend whom she believes is trouble for Jade.

Jade begins to lose patience with Phoebe's meddling until Phoebe finally agrees to stop creating mischief if the teens will help Phoebe find her wedding rings by July first. If they find the rings by that date Phoebe will be able to leave her ghostly form and rest peacefully and stop haunting the house. The quest to find the rings results in exciting escapades for the four teens.

I am always looking for a book which will ignite and delight the imaginations of my adolescent nieces and nephews. Listen to the Ghost fits the bill. McClure does a fine job of sparking the reader's imagination and creating suspense. She takes you on a roller coaster ride from her opening lines when Jade hears the voice of the ghost through the tense confrontation with Jade's ex-boyfriend, and ends in a successful conclusion of solving Phoebe's mystery of her missing wedding rings and a new romance for Jade. Listen to the Ghost should delight the younger adolescent readers.

Reviewed by Deb Watson for Blue Iris Journal.

 

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