Excerpt from “The Ghost”

TheGhostblogtourbadgeSo you’ve probably heard me rave all this year about Christine Rains‘ paranormal series The 13th Floor. Though I’m not usually a reader of paranormal romance, these are among the best books I’ve read in 2013. Today I’m part of her blog tour marking the release of the final book in the series, The Ghost. Although each book is its own story and stands on its own merits, you probably want to go and read them from the beginning, especially as The Marquis is free!

Here is an excerpt from The Ghost, with inline comments from the author, rather like those Director voiceovers you get on DVD movies. Fun.


Setting up the scene: Chiharo and Jeremy find a spirit that survived an attack the monster that’s killing people in the building. They want to question the tortured spirit, but most of his essence is gone.

“Adam.” Chiharo whispered his named and then cleared her throat to say it louder. “Adam. It’s okay. It’s over.”

A portion of the mist swirled in her direction. His head? Did he hear her? (It took me a few days to come up with how this scene was going to go. A powerful ghost talking to a lesser ghost. How could I do it? I eventually decided to go with how it might be if a psychic were speaking with a spirit.)

“Adam.” All the books said to remind the spirit of who they were. Help them focus. “Adam Creel. We’re here to help you. My name is Chiharo. I used to live on the eighteenth floor. Two guys live there now. One burps a lot. Remember being in the elevator with him last week? He laughed when his burp echoed in it. You laughed with him as not to offend, but later you told your mom you thought it was gross.” (I thought humor like that might trigger a powerful memory in a teenage boy.)

The mist thickened slightly, forming a barely recognizable facial structure. The mouth moved. (Chiharo and Jeremy are fully formed ghosts. She’s in full color while Jeremy is less powerful and gray.)

“You’re doing it. Keep talking.” Jeremy urged her on and rested his hand on the small of her back.

The gesture took her out of the moment with Adam. The coolness of Jeremy’s palm and the imagined weight of it was immensely vivid. There was no open back to her dress, but it felt like skin on skin. Technically, there wasn’t flesh either. Just their energies mingling to form these impressions. It was far more sensual than she anticipated. (I loved writing the small things between Chiharo and Jeremy. Touches are so much more than simple touches between ghosts.)

“Chiharo. Are you okay?” Jeremy’s voice made her blink and brought her back to the situation at hand.

“Yes, fine. Just a bit unnerved.” A huge understatement! She held out a hand toward Adam. “It’s okay, Adam. Just focus on the words. You can speak. No one can hurt you now.”

The fuzzy shape of a teenage boy moved toward her. Not exactly floating, but something between that and crawling. A brumous limb shot out, and an icy chill claimed her hand.

“Something in the room! I couldn’t see it! I couldn’t hear it! It just had me, and I couldn’t get free. I fought so hard, but it had me. I couldn’t get away.” Adam’s cry sounded like the scratching of mouse trapped in a tin can. Tiny, squeaky, and frantic. “Help me, help me, help me!” (I had Adam speaking gibberish at first, but I didn’t like the way it sounded. There’s a portion of him still there, and he needs to get this message across to Chiharo. Language is ingrained to us and so I believe he could still talk so she understood him.)

“It’s all right. Adam. We’re here. The monster is gone.” Chiharo really hoped the fiend was gone. Fighting the urge to steal a look around the room, she kept her gaze upon Adam. “Do you remember anything? You didn’t see or hear a thing? No warning?”

“Nothing! It just suddenly had me. Please help me. Where’s my mom?” Adam blubbered. A lost little boy. Too young to die.

Chiharo’s chin quivered. “No one else is here. I’m sorry. It’s just us. We’ll take care of you. You’re safe now. Do you think you can get up?” (Chiharo is protective of the tenants of her building. She especially relates to Adam being an only child and a bit different from his peers.)

“Mom. I want my mom.” Adam didn’t move, but his grip became fiercer. “I can’t move. My legs. It ripped off my legs and drank me. It drank me!”

“It drank your blood?” Chiharo gasped.

“I knew it was that bastard vampire!” Jeremy whooped.

Chiharo nudged Jeremy with her elbow, not taking her eyes from Adam. “Tell us what happened so we can help you.”

“It drank me. Not my blood. Me!” Adam screeched. He said something more, but Chiharo couldn’t understand him. His anguish muddled his words. (I wasn’t sure how to put what the fiend did to Adam. It stole his essence, drained him of his being. I wanted to stick with something basic. Something a terrified boy could explain.)

“What did he say?” Jeremy poked her.

Chiharo threw him a stern look. She knew he wanted it to be Kiral. Just another reason to hate his murderer, but she wasn’t going to let him have it. “Adam said it drank him, not his blood. I don’t know what it means. He’s not making much sense. You can’t hear him?” (It’s not a secret that Kiral killed Jeremy five years ago. Before Kiral changed and sought out his redemption. Jeremy thinks the monster killing people could be Kiral, but Chiharo is certain it’s not.)

“Nothing. I can see his smoky lips flapping, but it’s like having the TV on mute.”

Her contact with Adam’s hand must’ve given her the channel to speak with him. The new ghost had no form now. The trauma was too fresh. Adam needed time and that was something none of them had.

“I don’t think he’s going to be able to tell us anyth—” A bright flash of light cut her off. She held up an arm to cover her eyes. Spots danced behind her lids. Jeremy cursed beside her.

When Chiharo could see again, there wasn’t a trace left of Adam’s spirit. Not one wispy strand.

“Dammit! He went into the freakin’ light.” (This part wasn’t something I planned. It happened as I wrote the story. I love being a pantser! Chiharo and Jeremy briefly talk about the light, but neither of them ever saw the light. I don’t get overly philosophical. I deleted a few paragraphs so it wouldn’t be. Perhaps if the situation weren’t dire, they might have a long talk about the afterlife. As it is, they have much more important things to worry about!)


About The Ghost:

Chiharo Black lives with six supernatural tenants in a haunted building’s mysterious thirteenth floor. Of course, no one knows she’s there except the cats. Being a ghost can be a bit frustrating and lonely, but it isn’t as bad as her mother made it out to be.

Until another ghost intrudes on her territory. Jeremy Emerson wants revenge on the vampire that killed him and won’t stop until he has it. To top it off, a nightmarish shade sneaks in and leeches the energy from the building’s residents before setting its sights on Chiharo and the thirteenth floor. She can’t decide which one is more frightening: the one wanting to eat her soul or the one who might win her heart.

Chiharo must convince Jeremy to stand with her against the hellish parasite. If they cannot work together, the greedy fiend will not only drain their energy but everything that supports the thirteenth floor’s existence.

Christine Rains

ChristineauthorsmallChristine Rains is a writer, blogger, and geek mom. She has four degrees which help nothing with motherhood but make her a great Jeopardy player. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s going on adventures with her son or watching cheesy movies on Syfy Channel. Christine is a member of Untethered Realms and S.C.I.F.I. She has twenty-one short stories and eight novellas published.

Contact Christine via her Website, Facebook, Goodreads or Twitter as @CRainsWriter

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