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Authors: Jennie Bentley

Spackled and Spooked

BOOK: Spackled and Spooked
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Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page



Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22



Home-Renovation and Design Tips

Unannounced House Guest

Without Derek here, the place was eerily quiet. I started humming, but stopped when I realized I was singing the theme song from the
Twilight Zone

I’d been at it for about ten minutes maybe, when I heard a sound. And then another. Footsteps. I stopped, holding my breath.

“Derek?” I tried. “Is that you?”

But no, how could it be? I’d put the security chain on the door; he couldn’t have gotten in. So who was coming down the hallway toward the bathroom . . . ?

“Derek? If you don’t stop scaring me right now, I’ll kill you!” A little ribbing is OK—I’d come to expect that from him—but this was going too far.

“Derek? Dammit, say something, OK?”

Nothing. And yet the steps kept coming closer. Soft, inexorable steps on the fluffy carpet in the long hallway. Any second now, whoever was outside would be visible through the open door. I turned to face the opening, my legs stiff. I gripped my wallpaper scorer so tightly that my fingers hurt, and prepared for battle.

Berkley Prime Crime titles by Jennie Bentley


Published by the Penguin Group
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South Africa


Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.


PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Neither the publisher nor the author is engaged in rendering professional advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, projects, and suggestions contained in this book are not intended as a substitute for consulting with a professional. Neither the author nor the publisher shall be liable or responsible for any loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or suggestion in this book.




A Berkley Prime Crime Book / published by arrangement with the author


Berkley Prime Crime mass-market edition / August 2009


Copyright © 2009 by Penguin Group (USA) Inc.


All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form
without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in
violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.


eISBN : 978-1-101-10595-5


Berkley Prime Crime Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
BERKLEY® PRIME CRIME and the PRIME CRIME logo are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.


Just like last time, a lot of people had a hand in making this book what it is, and in helping me survive the ordeal of getting it here. Thanks, hugs, and kisses to the following:

My agent, Stephany Evans, for support and encouragement, and for sticking with me through it all.

My editor, Jessica Wade, for continued belief in me and for allowing me to continue the journey with Avery and Derek.

My publicists, Megan Swartz with Penguin Group (USA) Inc. and Tom Robinson with Author and Book Media, without whom this book would be nowhere.

To Rita Frangie and Jennifer Taylor, for an outstanding cover.

My long-distance critique partner, Jamie Livingston Dierks, for reading every word of this manuscript, twice.

My other critique partner, Myra McEntire, for hot chocolate and conversation, some of it when I really ought to have been writing instead.

Fellow writers Hank Phillippi Ryan, Tasha Alexander, Diana Killian, and Kelli Stanley, as well as the rest of the ITW Debut Authors and assorted Sisters and Brothers in Crime, for helping me navigate the choppy waters of the publishing biz.

My Facebook friend Jennie Puplett nee Bentley, for approving my use of her maiden name.

Everyone who read the first DIY,
Fatal Fixer-Upper
, and liked it—especially those of you who took the time to say so, to me or someone else.

My family and friends, near and far, who know the real me and love me anyway. Particularly my husband and my two boys, for putting up with my often crazy schedule, and for developing a real liking for frozen chicken nuggets and microwaveable vegetables. You allow me to do what I love, and I couldn’t be more appreciative!




“There is no such thing as ghosts,” I said firmly.

“Glad to hear it,” my partner in grime answered.

I squinted up at him, suspiciously. Not only is he quite a lot taller than me, but I was kneeling on the floor of my Second Empire Victorian cottage, putting the finishing touches on a chair I was reupholstering. He lounged in the doorway, scuffed boots crossed at the ankles and sculpted forearms crossed over his chest. “Why is that?”

He grinned, causing crinkles to form at the corners of his cornflower blue eyes. “Because you won’t freak out when I tell you I bought a haunted house this morning.”

“You did
?” I said, right on cue. He chuckled. I rolled my eyes. I love the guy—sort of—but his sense of humor can be a little trying at times. Especially those times when I’m the brunt of the joke, like now.

Derek Ellis and I had been business partners for just a few weeks and romantically involved for a few more. I had known him longer, but it had taken us a while to get to the point where we wanted to be this close.

Our joint venture, which had started out as Derek’s venture, was a home repair and renovation business head-quartered in the small town of Waterfield, Maine. We both lived there, although not together. I had inherited my aunt’s house the previous May, while Derek lived in a converted loft above the hardware store downtown. It has exposed brick, concrete kitchen counters, lacquered Scandinavian cabinets, and a whole lot of other things he won’t allow me to put into Aunt Inga’s—well,
house because it would mess with the original 1870s mojo.

BOOK: Spackled and Spooked
10.25Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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