In the spirit of Halloween, I am releasing a gothic e-novella called The Chalet for 99 cents! It will publish tomorrow. Without futher ado, here is the cover, the blurb, and an excerpt!
Blurb: When Madeline honors her mother's dying wish, and returns to The Chalet, she discovers the true secret of the old mansion; a seductive spirit whose undying love has waited decades to claim her for its own.
Excerpt: Days later, I found what Jackie had taken from the house, when she was away at a baby shower for a friend. It was a diary. At first, I thought it was Madeline’s, as that would make sense, with how much my mom revered her. But it was not. This diary said it was the property of a Victoria Centaurian. After reading a few pages, I understood that this was the person that Martelli had bought the house from decades ago. The entries were dated in the mid-50s. At first, I’d thought by her name that
Then, the disappearances started. At first,
had been bitter, sure that the guests had skipped out on the last season
without paying. Then her entries began to hold not only mounting confusion, but
Today the Singers went missing. Malcolm and Sara had arrived two weeks previous, with their two indoor cats. (
Victoria went on for
another whole page about their apparent wealth, and how she had warned them
about letting the cats outside The Chalet, lest the wolves eat the cats. The
Singers had remarked on the odd boxes they had brought with them filled with
clay litter, a new invention that Victoria
had never seen before).
I checked their rooms, on the ground floor, but their luggage was still there. I think I knew then, but still, I used the cellar drop down stair from the 1st floor. There were the litter boxes, as I expected. But no cats. I know Malcolm and Sara would never have left without them. They are gone, like all the rest.
Most unsettling to me,
hadn’t reported these disappearances. Of her guests, only one group in ten or
so vanished. She would clean the rooms, put aside the personal affects for her
yearly yard sale, and pocket any money she found. Most of the time, there was
not just enough to cover the bill, but easily twice or three times as much. And
while Victoria evidently felt sorry for the people, her cold businesslike
solution was chilling to me as I read of her covering up person after person,
telling anyone who inquired that she had seen them to the train in town.
Donald might have been drunk most of the time, but after a few years of this, he began to notice that not everyone who came to The Chalet left. And he finally confronted his wife one night. However, instead of Donald bringing the horror into the light,
hardly needed to convince him to stay silent. He eagerly cooperated in her
coverups, even going so far as to begin dumping the cars for some of the
patrons that now drove themselves to The Chalet. Yet he was Victoria’s downfall, as Donald was the one
who gave up the secret of the family’s sudden solvency to Mitch one night, when
they were drinking. Mitch might have been as drunk as Donald that night, but he
had never been one to pass up opportunity, even when it involved a family
member. He confronted his sister the very next night, telling her he wanted
half her profits, or he would go to the police with what he knew.
Donald hadn’t turned over all the vehicle contents to me, like he’d promised. He had kept a gold pocket watch belonging to George Fishburne. The man’s initials were on the back, clear as day. Mitch dangled it in front of me, like a hypnotist with a simpleton. He had taken it from Donald when the man passed out. He was going to use it as proof against us.
I waited until Mitch was asleep. Then I went to the center of the bedroom floor, and went to my knees. I prayed for help, and offered anything, if only the hell I’d been living these years with Mitch and Donald would end.
She didn’t have long to wait for an answer.
A light appeared to me in the darkness. It was a little girl. As she came closer to me, I recognized her. It was my sister, Kate, who had died here years ago.
“Kate?” I said.
“No,” Kate answered, her voice a man’s, her smile far too cold for a child’s face. “But I did not want to frighten you, Victoria. Not when you have done so much to help me.”
This thing, whatever it was, had taken those people. But that wasn’t my concern, not now. “Can you help me?”
“Of course,” the thing that was not my sister said. “But I want your help in return,
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