GUESTS ARE SEEING THE DEAD AT ETERNAL REST BED AND BREAKFAST.
Eternal Rest Bed and Breakfast seems quiet after Emily Buchanan sends the resident ghosts on a mission to find her late husband’s spirit. When she begins hearing strange noises, Emily doesn’t think it can be paranormal. After all, there are no ghosts left in the Victorian mansion. Right?
Emily realizes she bought more than a mirror when she finds herself face-to-face with a ghost trapped inside it. The ghost’s story leads Emily to an historic mansion that has been wreathed in mystery for years.
As the suspects add up, so do the number of threats Emily and her friends are receiving. Someone among the living desperately wants them to give up the search for clues. Emily worries even more about her safety when she finds out something evil is lurking just outside the town of Oak Hill…
SCENIC VIEWS, the fourth novel in the Eternal Rest Bed and Breakfast series by paranormal cozy mystery author Beth Dolgner.
Scenic Views by Beth Dolgner
SERIES Eternal Rest Bed and Breakfast | GENRE Adult Paranormal Cozy Mystery
PUBLISHER Red Glare Press | PUBLICATION DATE March 1, 2022
KEEP READING TO SEE AN EXCERT!
An Eternal Rest Bed and Breakfast Novel
© 2022 Beth Dolgner
The cardboard box started to slip out of Emily’s grasp, and she froze in place. She had just put one foot on the next stair up, her back leg holding her weight as well as that of the box full of antiques. Carefully, Emily tried to wiggle her fingers back into place. She felt the contents of the box shift, and she rocked back slightly to keep it balanced.
“It’s okay,” she told herself, her voice a higher pitch than normal. “You’re not going to fall down the stairs. The box isn’t going to fall down the stairs, either.”
It did just that.
The heavy items inside slid a little more to one side, enough that Emily knew it was either drop the box or give up her solid footing and go tumbling down the stairs herself. She tried to control the box on its way to the ground, hoping it might balance on one of the stairs, but it ripped itself out of her grasp and went bouncing down toward the hallway below. Emily winced each time the box clanged against a step on its descent. Thankfully, she hadn’t even made it halfway up the stairs yet, so the box didn’t have too far to fall before it came to rest with one last thud that echoed through the hallway.
Emily groaned as she walked down to inspect the damage. She absent-mindedly brushed a lock of light-brown hair, which had escaped her ponytail, out of her face while grumbling, “I should have taken Trevor up on his offer to help.”
The box had landed upright, the tape across the top flaps barely clinging to the cardboard. Emily sat on the bottom stair and gave the tape a tug, then held her breath as she opened the box. Nothing looked broken at a glance, and Emily was glad she had mostly bought pieces that could take a bit of a beating. The iron lamp didn’t have a shade or a bulb yet, so it was fine. The brass bowls she had gotten to put potpourri in were similarly undamaged. Emily continued inspecting items and was relieved to find the only casualty was a cut-glass flower vase that now had a chip in the rim.
Well, Emily thought, I can turn that side to the wall and make sure a well-placed leaf covers it up.
Leaving the box where it was, Emily gathered up the bowls and the vase and carried them up the stairs. She knew she should have broken up the load to begin with, and she chastised herself for not being smarter. Again, she realized it would have been prudent to accept Trevor’s help. He had been so sweet to offer, yet Emily had stubbornly refused his assistance. She wasn’t even sure why.
Emily had just finished her third run up the stairs when her cell phone rang. She sank into a chair in one of the front guest rooms and answered with, “Are your ears burning?”
“Oh, are you gossiping about me?” Trevor asked teasingly.
“No, I was just kicking myself for not letting you help me move these new antiques into the house. I just dropped a whole box-load down the stairs. No major damage, at least.”
“Want me to come over?”
“No. I’m about done now. I just have to lug that big mirror up.”
“The full-length gilt floor mirror that you said is so heavy it could probably survive a tornado?” Trevor asked.
“Yeah, that one.”
“Seriously, Emily, I’m happy to come over and help.”
The logical side of Emily’s brain was fighting with her emotional side. Yes, it would be easier to have Trevor’s help, but at the same time, she didn’t want to seem… what?
I don’t want to seem like I need a man to help me get through life.
The unexpected thought hit Emily hard, and she was silent for so long Trevor finally said, “Emily, you still there?”
There’s nothing wrong with asking a friend for help, Emily told herself. Even as she was thinking that, she heard herself saying, “Yeah, I’m still here. Don’t worry, I’ll be fine. I’ll put the mirror down on each step. It will be slow-going, but I won’t get tired or off-balance that way.”
Emily could hear the concern in Trevor’s voice as he said, “Okay. Well, I was calling again to ask if we can move tomorrow’s lunch to one o’clock. I know we just made our plans half an hour ago, but I found out we’ve got a client coming in the morning, and I think the meeting will go past noon. Does that work for you?”
“Of course. I’ll see you at one! Then you can lecture me in person about doing this all by myself.”
Emily said goodbye and hung up the phone, still trying to figure out her strange feelings. She had been so grateful for help right after Scott died, accepting offers for everything from taking out the trash to help cleaning guest rooms. She wasn’t sure what she was suddenly trying to prove to the world.
“And, goodness knows, I need help,” Emily said out loud. Her guests at Eternal Rest Bed and Breakfast that weekend had checked out by noon, and Emily had cleaned the rooms—all four had been booked—before she had driven into Oak Hill to shop at Everything Old is New Again. She wanted to spruce up the rooms a bit, and she could easily justify the expense since business was so good. The ornate floor mirror had been a real splurge, but it was such a perfect fit for a Victorian home that Emily couldn’t pass it up.
Emily grabbed the now-empty box from the foot of the stairs and took it out to the recycling bin next to the back steps. She had already unloaded the mirror from the back of her car, where it had barely fit, and moved it to the bottom of the steps. She had to wrap her arms around it in an awkward sort of bear hug to lift it, and as she had promised Trevor, she moved it up onto just one step. She repeated the process three more times before it was up the back steps and inside the house. Progress, Emily told herself. Eventually, she had the mirror in place in one corner of the guest room just above the parlor. The room had felt off to her ever since one of her guests, Jaxon Knight-MacGinn, had snuck out from there one night, only to get himself killed. It was like some lingering negativity, either from Jaxon’s personality or from the events surrounding his murder, was still there in the room. Even after saging the house to clear out negative energy, Emily still felt uncomfortable in the space.
The mirror helped the room feel refreshed and different. Emily tilted it so it reflected the sunshine into the room. The brightness of the reflection and the shine of the gilt frame instantly improved the atmosphere.
With all the antiques she had bought finally in place and the rooms ready for the next round of guests, Emily felt satisfied but also sticky. It was only late May, though it seemed that summer had decided to show up early. The humidity had made hauling the antiques sweaty work.
By the time Emily was showered, dressed in fresh clothes, and settled onto the antique sofa that provided a view out of the parlor’s front windows, it was already late afternoon. For the past month, Emily’s life had been a hectic cycle of having guests, cleaning rooms, and welcoming new guests. In all that time, she had only had four nights to herself, not counting the resident ghosts.
Those nights had felt absolutely glorious, and she was looking forward to having the next two nights all to herself, too.
Instead of worrying about not making any money on those guest-free nights, Emily was grateful for the physical and mental break. Business was great, and Emily wouldn’t have a single quiet night in June or July. Eternal Rest was completely booked for those two months, giving Emily a feeling of both satisfaction and security.
Emily heard the sound of a car rounding the circular driveway, and she stood, stretching her arms up above her head before moving to the front door. She walked onto the front porch, where her best friend, Sage Clark, was already climbing the steps. Sage was wearing a turquoise gauze dress and a giant straw sunhat that completely covered her pink spikes. Her bright-yellow sunglasses completed the ensemble.
Emily snickered. “You going to the beach?”
“I’m happy to search the coast for Scott, if you like,” Sage answered airily.
Emily’s playful smile faltered. “We’ve tried so many times, Sage. I don’t know how many more failures I can take.”
Sage had reached the porch, and she put one hand on Emily’s arm. “Hey, don’t think of it like that,” she said firmly. “Trying to find Scott’s spirit somewhere beyond the barrier”—Sage lifted her hand to wave vaguely—“is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Our past trips haven’t been failures. Think of them more as trips to make the haystack smaller.”
Emily gave a little shrug. “Except the needle is constantly moving through the haystack, and we don’t know in which direction.”
Sage narrowed her eyes and gave Emily a long look. “What’s going on? You feel strange.”
Emily knew Sage was referring to her energy. Having a psychic medium for a best friend was useful, especially since Emily lived in a house filled with ghosts, but sometimes Sage’s perceptiveness was uncanny.
There was no point in lying. Sage would see right through that. “Trevor called earlier when I was at the antique store,” Emily said. “He offered to come over and help get the things I bought up into the guest rooms, and I refused. He called later, and I refused again, even after I dropped a box full of things down the stairs. I’m not sure where this sudden independent streak is coming from.”
“You’re still accepting my help,” Sage pointed out.
“We’ve been friends for ages. It’s different with you,” Emily said.
Sage pursed her lips. “You’ve proven in the two years since Scott died that you’re capable of handling a lot on your own. It’s important to remember that just because you can conquer the world all by yourself, it doesn’t mean you should. It’s good to accept help from time to time.”
“As usual, you’re absolutely right.”
“I know! And I’m here to help you right now. Let’s go look for your husband!”
BETH DOLGNER writes paranormal fiction and nonfiction. Her first book was the nonfiction Georgia Spirits and Specters, which is a collection of Georgia ghost stories, followed by Everyday Voodoo. Beth made her fiction debut with the Betty Boo, Ghost Hunter paranormal romance series, set in Savannah, Georgia. In addition to writing, Beth also gives presentations on Victorian death and mourning traditions as well as Victorian Spiritualism. She’s always up for going looking for ghosts, too, just like her characters. You can usually find her haunting the historic cemeteries around her home in Berlin, Germany.