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Authors: Juliet Madison

Haunted Ever After

BOOK: Haunted Ever After
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Haunted Ever After

Juliet Madison

Haunted Ever After
Juliet Madison

Mixing romance, humour and a sparkle of magic, Juliet Madison is back with a new full-length novel about a bride-to-be, a mystery and the stripper next door

When bride-to-be Sally Marsh attends a weekend away with her bridesmaids, the last thing she expects is an uninvited guest: the ghost of her fiancé’s ex-girlfriend.

Red is quirky, loud and distracting, and Sally is soon desperate to find the reason behind her presence, so she can rid herself of her embarrassing shadow before the wedding day. Unfortunately, the ghost is reluctant to share the reason for her existence, but very enthusiastic about Ty, the surprise hen’s night stripper who keeps showing up at awkward moments.

Time is running out for Sally, but it’s also running out for Red. By the time all is revealed, Sally will be tested to the limits, and go above and beyond everything she’s ever believed in order to ensure not only her own happy-ever-after – but Red’s as well.

About the Author

Juliet Madison is a naturopath-turned-author with a background in dance, art, internet marketing and perfume sales (yes, she was one of those annoying people in department stores who spray you with perfume). Nowadays she prefers to indulge her propensity for multiple careers by living vicariously through her characters. She likes to put these characters into extraordinary situations and take them on a challenging journey to discover their true passion and inner strength, weaving in some laughs, tears, romance and sometimes a touch of magic along the way.

Living near the beach on the beautiful south coast of New South Wales, Australia, Juliet spends her time running her internet business, raising her son, writing as often as she can, and doing her best to avoid housework.

Juliet is a proud member of the Romance Writers of Australia and she loves to interact online with readers and writers. You can contact her on Twitter:
, on Facebook:
, and through her website
, where readers can also download some free short stories.


As this is my sixth book with Escape Publishing, I’d like to once again say thanks to Kate Cuthbert and the team at Escape and Harlequin Australia for continuing to publish my books and support me as an author. Thanks also to the cover design team who always create such magical covers for my stories, and to my editor Belinda Holmes for making editing fun.

Thanks to my loyal readers for buying my books, telling your friends about them, and having fun with me online in between writing sessions. And thanks to those bloggers and book reviewers who’ve taken the time to read and thoughtfully review my work.

Special thanks to my critique partners Alli Sinclair and Diane Curran for always being there to brainstorm with, laugh with, and talk writers’ stuff! Also to my other friends in the writing community; it’s great to interact with you each day and get feedback on names, titles, plot twists…etc. Thanks!

To my mum, thanks for always reading my first drafts and giving honest feedback, sometimes at short notice and with time limits! And to my son, Jayden, for putting up with my often crazy writing schedule, late dinners, and noisy tapping at the keyboard when you’re trying to sleep. It’s payback for those early years.

For Sally, and others who’ve been taken from this world far too young

May you always be remembered


About the Author


Bestselling Titles by Escape Publishing…


‘Hello, is anybody there?’ My voice quivered as I pulled open the bedroom door and stepped into the dark embrace of the hallway. God, I sounded like one of those stupid people in horror movies who never turn on the lights and walk directly into the path of a three-eyed monster or serial killer.

I crept along the hallway, wincing as I stepped on the dreaded creaky floorboard then shook my head at the silliness of it. I’d called out to the possible intruder and I was worried about a creaking floorboard? I reached the entry to the kitchen and felt around the corner of the wall for the light switch, then hesitated. What if someone was waiting for me, ready to pounce when I switched on the light? No, the sound was coming from beyond the kitchen, possibly the laundry. A dull thumping, whirring, and an occasional shrill like a bird on helium. I’d put the dishwasher on the heavy-duty clean cycle before bed, but it couldn’t be that. It sounded like my clothes dryer was on.

I don’t remember turning it on.

Who put it on?

Did Greg’s flight arrive early and he decided to do laundry the moment he got home?

I scrunched my face in confusion. Greg
did laundry and flights were more likely to be late than early.

I drew in a deep breath and flicked the switch. The granite benchtops glistened and the white floor tiles glowed under the light. I squeezed my eyes shut at the sudden intrusion on my retinas then snapped them open and scanned my surroundings. No serial killer visible in the kitchen, and the dining and living areas were as I’d left them — perfectly clean and tidy.

Maybe it wasn’t the dryer making that noise. It
windy, it could be that tree outside the laundry flapping against the wall. That would explain the thumping. And the whirring…well, wind whirred, didn’t it? And the shrilling could be a bird, not on helium, obviously, but simply upset by all the wind.

I tiptoed through the kitchen, angling my ear towards the sound. Whirr, thump, shrill, whirr, thump, shrill. Definitely my dryer. Although I hadn’t heard the high-pitched squealing before, maybe there was a problem with the spinning mechanism or something.

My mind tried to rationalise but my body knew the truth. Heart pounding at twice its normal speed, nerves shaking like my electric toothbrush, and despite being winter, sweat glued my pyjamas to my back.

Something was wrong.
wrong. And not just the idea that an intruder might be inclined to do a spot of laundry whilst awaiting his prey.

Damn, where’s a convenient baseball bat when you need one?
The victims in horror movies always had one at the ready. My eyes darted around for the nearest object with weapon potential and I silently cursed the fact that all my sharp knives were in the dishwasher. Always the way. Could have done with the bonus set of steak knives from that Kitchen Whiz infomercial I saw last night.

I plucked a wooden spoon from the utensil holder, then cringed. What was I supposed to do with this — stir the intruder to death? Smack his bottom like a naughty child? I grabbed an egg whisk for good measure and crept towards the laundry. Maybe I could poke him in the eye. Light from the kitchen shone through, enough to see if anyone was in the room. I clutched a utensil in each hand, as though about to play drums with a set of pots and pans, and arched my body to the side, peering into the laundry.

Something was spinning inside the dryer, as suspected. I crouched slightly and crept towards it. As I squinted, the sight before me came into focus, and I flinched, realising what was inside.

My pounding heart practically cannonballed out of my chest and I jumped backwards, the ironing board falling from its wall hook onto me, followed by the broom and mop. ‘Argh!’ I screamed, fumbling around on my butt and trying to stand among all the household equipment toppling around me. ‘Argh!’

I grabbed the fallen broom and jabbed it at the power point to turn off the dryer. The machine continued working. ‘How on earth?’ My eyes wide open, I gripped the broomstick with shaky hands as heat pounded through my bloodstream. Tentatively I reached towards the circular door, and was about to yank it open when it burst open by itself. I gasped and fell back against the equipment.

My breath froze high in my throat as my mind tried to comprehend the sight in front of me.

A woman.

A pale, semi-translucent woman in purple polka dot pyjamas flew out of the dryer and sat herself on the edge of the machine. ‘That was the most fun I’ve ever had in my entire life! Oops, I mean
!’ She tidied her messy mop of curly hair and tucked red strands behind her ears. Her eyes looked straight into mine and I shook. ‘I was wondering when you’d come and say hello.’

‘Who…what…’ Words snap-froze on leaving my voice box and icicles of fear took their place.

She jumped off the machine and stood in front of me. I scrambled to my feet, mumbling, ‘No, no, no…this isn’t happening!’ I waved the spoon and whisk frantically like I was trapped in a spider web. ‘Go away, go away! It’s only a dream. Wake up, Sally, wake up!’ I lurched through the doorway and dashed around the corner to the kitchen, running through to the living room, squealing like a little girl and waving the utensils. I shoved the egg whisk into my pyjama pants pocket, then the wooden spoon but it fell out, and dug the key in the lock of the front door.

‘Hey! Don’t leave me here all alone!’ the woman shouted. Then laughed. ‘Well, if you really want to, go right ahead.’

I flipped my head sideways. She sat on the dining table with her arms crossed. I turned the key and pulled at the door handle, but it wouldn’t budge. I tried locking and unlocking it again. ‘Open, damn it!’

‘You might as well give up. It’s not going to open,’ she said.

Panting, I turned around and my eyes homed in on another possible route of escape — the sliding door to the patio. Except I’d have to get past Psycho Ghost Woman to get to it. The door that opened to the outside from the laundry was the only other option, but I didn’t know if I could
go into that room again. I pulled at the door one last time. It remained shut.

‘I told you, it won’t open. Didn’t you believe me?’ She pouted as though I’d hurt her feelings.

My mind visualised the route back to the dreaded laundry. I should be able to make it around the corner without being caught.


I sucked in a few sharp breaths and ran, through the living room and around the corner into the kitchen, the egg whisk falling from my pocket on the way.

‘Argh!’ I skidded and stumbled backwards. The woman was at the open doorway that led to the laundry, hands on hips, obstructing my escape route.

‘You can’t get out this way either.’ She shook her head.

I turned and ran towards the patio door, but as I reached for the handle she appeared there too.

There was no running from this crazy bitch. I was trapped.

A glimmer of hope overshadowed the fear as I eyed the phone on the kitchen counter and lunged for it. It flew from the charger and onto the floor. I dove to pick it up but it shot from my grasp and into the living room, like one of those plastic frogs that you press and they spring up and land a metre away.

My iPhone! In my room. Why didn’t I grab that as soon as the bloody thumping/whirring/shrilling woke me up? I knew the woman might just teleport or disapparate or whatever again, but what could I do? I had to try. I dashed into the hallway and into my bedroom, slamming the door behind me. Ha! I’d beat her. I tugged the charging cord from the iPhone and dialled Greg’s number.

‘Hi, you’ve reached Greg Simons. I’m either in a meeting, on a plane, or playing a very important game of golf, which I’m most likely winning. Leave a message and I’ll call you back as soon as possible.’

BOOK: Haunted Ever After
9.59Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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