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Authors: Terri Reid

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Darkness Exposed

BOOK: Darkness Exposed
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Darkness Exposed
A Mary O'Reilly Paranormal Mystery [5]
Reid, Terri
Terri Reid (2011)
Rating:
****
Tags:
Mystery, Romance, Fantasy

Jeannine appeared in the room across from Mary. Her face was streaked with tears and she was visibly trembling. "Mary, I remembered," she cried. "I remembered and it was awful."
The time has finally come for Mary to investigate Jeannine's murder. As all clues point to someone in Bradley's old neighborhood, Mary and Ian move into the former Alden residence and pose as newlyweds to set Mary up as bait for the killer. With Stanley and Rosie at their side, they expose the darkness hidden in the depths of Bradley's old neighborhood.

Darkness Exposed - A Mary O’Reilly Paranormal Mystery (Book Five)
by
Terri Reid
PUBLISHED BY:
Terri Reid
Darkness Exposed - A Mary O’Reilly Paranormal Mystery (Book Five)
Copyright (c) 2011 by Terri Reid

All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the author’s work.

The author would like to thank those who have contributed in the creation of this book. The editors: Ruth Ann Mulnix, Jan Hinds and Debbie Deutsch. The invaluable assistant: Sarah Reid. The medical consultants: Dr. Craig Johnson and Martha Johnson, PT. And the patient husband: Richard Reid. Thank you all!

****
Darkness Exposed
Prologue
Sycamore, Illinois (8 years ago)

Jeannine Alden wiped the counter in the kitchen for the fourth time. She bit down on her lower lip, glanced at the clock and then looked longingly at the staircase to the second floor. Really, she was only five months pregnant, she wasn’t an invalid. She could probably paint the whole room before Bradley even got home from work. She could open the windows so the fumes wouldn’t be too bad.

She could already imagine Bradley’s arguments. What if you fell off the ladder? What if you strained yourself opening the windows? What if the fumes were worse than you thought? What if? What if? What if?

She quickly sat down on a stool next to the breakfast bar and got a kick in her rib for the effort. Grinning, she rubbed her hand gently against her swollen abdomen. “Oh, so you want to have a say in the matter too?” she cooed to her unborn child.

Her unborn daughter. They were going to have a baby girl.

Sighing, she remembered the look on Bradley’s face as they watched their daughter move on the Ultrasound’s screen. She smiled as he stared, awestruck, at the little squirming body. He looked down at her, tears filling his eyes, and placed his hand on her belly. “She’s beautiful,” he said, “just like her mother.”

She sighed again. How could you not love a man who said things like that?

Glancing up the stairs again, she slumped back against the stool. And as soon as he said those lovely words, the awe was replaced by a fierce protectiveness. “You need to take care of yourself,” he said, “I don’t want you doing any heavy housework or any lifting. I’ll take care of that.”

She remembered the radiologist grinning behind Bradley’s back and winking at Jeannine. Yes, she knew she would eventually get around his overprotective attitude, but it wouldn’t be the day after the ultrasound. So, painting the nursery was going to have to wait.

A tall glass of icy lemonade sat at the end of the counter. She had poured it and another when one of her neighbors had dropped by for a quick visit. She wondered if Bradley had put him up to it, just to be sure she wasn’t overdoing. She wouldn’t put it past him. Reaching for the glass, she drank deeply. Pregnancy made her so thirsty. But then, of course, she knew soon she would have to rush to the bathroom. It seemed to be a never-ending cycle - liquid in - liquid out.

The thought of the going to the bathroom seemed to signal to her bladder, so she slid off the stool and started towards the hall when a knock on the back door stopped her. She turned and saw another neighbor, Mercedes Wasserman, peering through the break in the door’s white cotton cafe curtains. “Jeannine, Jeannine, are you home?”

Groaning inwardly, Jeannine turned back to the door. Mercedes was the worst gossip in the community and never had a nice thing to say about anyone. She sincerely hoped Bradley hadn’t enlisted Mercedes help in checking on her throughout the day. She would probably end up saying something rude to her and it would end up all over the neighborhood. She pressed the buttons to disarm the alarm, grabbed the door knob, she schooled her face into a pleasant expression and opened the door.

“Mercedes, how nice to see you,” she lied pleasantly.

Mercedes leaned forward and pecked on each of Jeannine’s cheeks. “Darling, don’t you just look radiant,” she gushed. “Pregnancy certainly agrees with you.”

“Thank you,” Jeannine replied. “I’d love to ask you in, but…”

Mercedes slipped past her into the kitchen and placed a Longaberger basket draped in a red gingham check on the counter. “I actually baked for you,” she said, her voice raising an octave to an annoying trill, “Wholesome, whole grain blueberry muffins. Yum.”

She unveiled them, took one out and handed it Jeannine. “You know how important it is for you to get your daily requirements of fiber,” she coaxed. “Go on, try it.”

Jeannine politely took the pastry, silently noting that it weighed much more than she would have guessed. She hefted it in her hand. “Wow, that’s solid.”

Mercedes nodded. “Oh, yes, I used whole wheat, wheat bran and psyllium,” she said. “You’re not going to get any more fiber than that.”

“Have you tried them?” Jeannine asked hesitantly.

Mercedes shook her head. “Oh, no, darling, I could never eat something so bulky with my petite figure. But with all that extra weight you’ve put on, no one would even notice a couple muffins.”

She giggled. “Darling, you could eat a dozen!”

“Really, Mercedes, don’t hold back on my account,” Jeannine said.

“Oh, I didn’t mean it that way,” she quickly recanted. “I mean, well, it looks good on you. Really! I wish I could carry weight like you do.”

“Thanks, Mercedes,” Jeannine replied, wondering if she would leave a mark if she whipped the muffin at Mercedes. “But, really, I just ate.”

“Oh, no, you have to at least try it,” Mercedes said, hopping on to one of the bar stools. “I’m not leaving until you do.”

Jeannine immediately bit into the unappetizing muffin and just as quickly regretted it. The rough and dry texture was combined with an overly sweet taste. She chewed slowly, praying she could swallow and keep it down.

“Oh, do you like?”
Jeannine pasted a pleasant smile on her face, nodded, and continued to chew.
“I’m slightly jealous of you,” Mercedes admitted. “I’ve always wanted a baby, but for some reason, I can’t get pregnant.”

She leaned closer. “Although, truth be told, I’m sure it’s Harvey’s fault,” she said with a shrug, “He’s just not…well, you know…well loaded. But I’m sure your Bradley is…”

Jeannine choked and Mercedes passed her the unfinished glass of lemonade.

“I should have warned you that you should only eat them with a drink close by.”

Jeannine nodded her head and silently decided the kind of drink that would make these muffins palatable was not on her list of approved beverages while she was pregnant. She sipped on the lemonade and winced, the tart taste intensified by the sugariness of the pastry. Finally, she closed her eyes and swallowed, praying it all stayed down.

“Thank you, Mercedes, that was so…refreshing,” she said, “And very thoughtful of you.”

But when Jeannine looked up, Mercedes seemed to be swimming in front of her. Jeannine grabbed the side of the counter, hoping for the wave of dizziness to pass.

“My dear, are you all right,” Mercedes voice seemed to come from far away. “You look positively green.”

Jeannine thought she detected a pleased note in Mercedes voice. “I’m fine,” she said, taking a deep breath and willing the lightheadedness away. “It’s just nap time. I must have overdone today. You’ll have to excuse me, but if I don’t take my nap, Bradley will be furious with me.”

“Are you sure you don’t want me to stay?” Mercedes asked. “I could make phone calls while you slept?”

“No, no,” Jeannine insisted, nearly pushing Mercedes out the door. “Really, I’ll be fine.”

Once the door was firmly closed behind Mercedes, Jeannine leaned her head against the wall. The dizziness was increasing. She felt like the floor was moving beneath her. Something was wrong; she had never felt like this before. She needed to call Bradley. She needed him to come home.

She remembered her phone was on the table next to the couch. Using the walls, counters and furniture for support, she slowly made her way to the living room. She collapsed onto the couch and reached for her phone. Bringing it to her, she realized she couldn’t see the numbers clearly. She tried to dial anyway, but she couldn’t bring her fingers to press the right buttons.

The room was starting to sway and she had to close her eyes to keep from getting sick. She laid down on the couch, her hands over her abdomen, tears streaming down her face. “Bradley,” she called out weakly. “Bradley come home, I need you.”

###
Owww, my head, Jeannine thought as she opened her eyes. How long have I been asleep?

Her vision was still blurry and she felt exhausted. She didn’t even have the strength to sit up. She slowly turned her head and couldn’t see anything. It must be nighttime. I must have slept into the night. But why didn’t Bradley wake me up?

“Bradley.”
“I’m sorry, but Bradley won’t be coming to help you.”
The voice was coming from behind her, but it sounded slow and deep.
“Who are you? Why do you sound funny?”
She knew she should panic, but she couldn’t seem to make her body react.
Soft laughter filled the room. “My voice is just fine, my dear. I would guess the drugs are having an effect on your hearing.”
“Drugs? I can’t be on drugs. The baby…,” she said.

“Oh, don’t worry about that,” the voice responded. “I’m going to take very good care of you and the baby. We don’t want the baby to be hurt. We want a nice healthy baby.”

“But, Bradley. I want to see Bradley.”

She heard the scuffle of feet across the room. She sensed a body standing over her, but her vision was too blurred for her to see who it was. She felt her shirt being lifted, her stomach exposed to the cold, damp air that surrounded her and then felt a hand slowly caress her abdomen. She shivered and tried to recoil, but her body wouldn’t move.

“Please,” she pleaded. “Don’t hurt my baby.”

“Oh, darling, I don’t want to hurt your baby,” the voice replied, as the hand continued to stroke her skin, “I love the baby. I love our baby.”

Chapter One

Mary O’Reilly awoke with a start. Someone was banging on her front door at the unheard hour of…she glanced at the clock on her bed stand. Nine o’clock! Crap! It’s already nine o’clock?

Mary was a former Chicago police officer who had been shot in the line of duty several years ago. She actually died on the operating table and started her final journey down a long tunnel toward a light. Before she reached the light a voice called out her name and gave her a choice. She could continue to the light, or she could go back to her life and her family, but things would be different. She chose to return and soon found the promised change was the ability to see and communicate with ghosts. After recovering from the surgery, she decided to move to the small town of Freeport, Illinois, open a private investigation agency and solve cases involving ghosts.

BOOK: Darkness Exposed
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