Ghost Meets an Angel [Shannon Delaney Paranormal Mystery Series, Vol. 3]
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by Elizabeth Eagan-Cox
Description: Gavin turned to me and queried, "This isn't the first time you've seen ghosts, is it?" --And so begins Shannon Delaney's assignment to write publicity for the Spotted Coyote. As the right spot for Grub, Spirits and Conjuring, it's an entertainment venue that's a re-invention of an Old-West Saloon in California's historic mountain town of Julian. The Spotted Coyote is more than what Shannon bargained for when she discovers the century-old murder of little Sarah Morghan. Sarah's ghost will not be denied, leaving Shannon no choice but to pursue haunting clues that pair jumping rope rhymes with rare books, treasure lore with a ghostly angel and an uncanny connection to the Scottish paranormal author, Robert Louis Stevenson. Assisting Shannon is Francisco Zavala, Alex Blackthorne and Shannon's very own spectral guide; phantom magician from the 1800s, Eric Blackthorne.
eBook Publisher: ebooksonthe.net/ebooksonthe.net, 2009 ebook
eBookwise Release Date: December 2009
6 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [246 KB]
Reading time: 157-220 min.
Gazing up and down the main street of Julian was like taking a look back in time. If ever there was an Old West town alive and thriving in this modern world, Julian is it. I walked over to my target and stood in front of the Spotted Coyote. The sign up on the tall false front declared that this was "the right spot for Grub, Spirits and Conjuring!" Stepping up onto the oak plank front porch, I peeked in the window to the right of the door and spied a man arranging something behind the long mahogany and brass-appointed bar. Fifteen unoccupied bar stools opposed the bar. Should I tap on the window to get his attention?
"You must be Miss Delaney?"
I jumped and spun around.
"Hey now, I didn't mean to rattle you." The tall, blonde and blue-eyed cowboy tipped his hat to me.
"You didn't," I stammered, all the while summarizing in my mind that when Rosario had described Gavin Longstreet as being the reincarnation of how the actor Robert Redford looked as the Sundance Kid...... she was on target. I offered my hand, "Mr. Longstreet, I presume?"
"Hmm......" He took a long look at me, "I guess I can't fault Sister Rosario Santiago for sizing me up, for your sake, anyway." He shook my hand and released it. "Let's mosey on in." Longstreet stepped forward and unlocked one of the heavy oak doors to the Spotted Coyote. "After you, miss."
"This venue is much larger than I imagined!" Longstreet said nothing. I looked around at the spacious interior. "This must be much larger than Old West saloons really were?"
"I'd say so," Longstreet smiled. "Let's have a seat over here and we'll get started." He walked a few paces over to one of twelve round oak tables and pulled out a ladder- backed chair. I took the hint. He remained standing. "Miss Delaney, would you care for some refreshments?"
"Coffee, with milk, no sugar."
Longstreet nodded acknowledgment and walked away. I heard him say something to the man behind the bar and then he returned and took a seat across the table from me. Taking off his hat, he placed it on the chair to his right.
"I'm not related to him," Longstreet announced.
"To whom?" I asked.
"Robert Redford, the actor who played the Sundance Kid."
I smiled, "Well, you have to admit, you do have an uncanny resemblance. And to be honest, I had to rent the movie to know who Rosario was referring to."
"So, you're not an Old West fan?"
"That's not fair," I defended my ignorance. "I'm just not familiar with the really old western movies. Shouldn't my coffee be ready?"
He laughed and made a motion to the barkeeper, who made haste to bring my coffee over. "Oscar, meet Shannon Delaney, our publicity writer and newest member of the Spotted Coyote family."
Oscar set the coffee in front of me, "Much obliged to make your acquaintance miss. I'm Oscar Altenwald. If you need anything, see me first."
"Thank you," I smiled at Oscar, then opened up my notebook and took out my pen. I sipped my coffee, "Excellent coffee." I gave Longstreet a no-nonsense direct stare. If he wanted to be cheeky about this meeting, then I could be all business.
"Alex said you would be all business like." Longstreet met my look with a grin.
"Oh, and what else did Alexander Blackthorne have to say?"
"He said you're the best and that I shouldn't mess with you. So let's get down to business. First off, call me Gavin, we use first names around here, if that's okay with you?"
"Sure, fine by me, call me Shannon." I sipped more coffee.
Aside from Oscar, and myself we have Vera Sheridan, she's our biscuit shooter...... that's Old West lingo. In other words, Vera is the head chef and she oversees the kitchen. Then there's Ralph Gonsalez, he's the stage manager, and our regular wait staff is cowboys Jack, Sam and Pedro. Also on the wait staff is senoritas Rosalie, Valerie and Maggie.
I jotted down the names and looked up at Gavin. "Are these their real names?"
"Yep." He folded his hands and kept them on the table. Vera's still in the process of hiring kitchen help, she'll be in later today if you want that info. And Ralph has a couple of his nephews who help out with the stage equipment and operations, he'll have that info if you need it."
"More to the point, Gavin, do you want everyone named in your publicity brochure? And what about the performers?"
"Hmm, good point. No, to your first question. ''Bout the performers," Gavin's attention strayed over toward the stage, he seemed to be surveying the stage with his eyes. Turning his attention back to me, he said, "For now, we'll leave that part alone. Other than myself as the Cowboy Conjurer, I'm still making up my mind about the performers."
"How do you mean?"
"Well, we'll have magic entertainment, I do sleight-of-hand, but I wanted some variation, but keep it true to the Old West theme. I was thinking of a mime act, a juggler, that sort of thing. Some acts are showing up a little later, stick around and you'll catch them auditioning on the stage."
"That sounds like fun!" the bright tone in my voice surprised me. "So...... you don't have this all worked out?"
"Gavin unlocked his hands, "No, not quite. But it will get there, that I am sure of." Some clacking noise sounded from the kitchen, we both turned in that direction. "Must be Vera, she would've come in the back way." Gavin stood up. "This would be a good time to show you around the place."
I spent the next thirty minutes following Gavin around the Spotted Coyote. I met Vera and was totally charmed by her appearance and manner. I guessed her to be close to sixty, very tall, thin and agile. Her close-cropped curly hair was a shade of flax blond that made it impossible to tell if she dyed it. Vera struck me as person who led a very active life. I gathered by the way she spoke of her plans for the kitchen and menu that her retirement was not on the horizon any time soon.
Next I met Ralph and several of his nephews. They were so busy going back and forth with equipment for the stage that I had to settle for a nod in my direction. Ralph stopped very briefly to tell Gavin that a few potential performers would be here within the hour. After a tour of the kitchen, its storage area, the public bathrooms and the performers' off-stage dressing room, Gavin led me out to the front to the table we were at earlier. In the corner of my eye I could see a prospective performer had arrived early and was practicing up on stage. I gave a quick look in that direction and discovered it was actually two mimes. And adult woman and a child, or much shorter adult, both were done up in vintage pioneer costume and white-faced mime make-up. I was entranced by their mimed version of the old parable about a princess and a pea.
Gavin knocked on the table with his fist. It startled me, how rude! Then I saw he was signaling to Oscar to bring more coffee. Oscar poured refills. I looked over my notes.
"Gavin, I think I have enough preliminary information to start brainstorming ideas for publicity. And as much as I would like to stay and watch the performers try out, I should be on my way. I have one more question?"
"What's the story behind the name of the Spotted Coyote?"
"Emily," he answered without an explanation.
I could only wonder who Emily is. I took the last sip of my coffee, gathered my notebook and stuffed it into my tote bag. "This should be all I need, for now." I stood up.
"I'll see you out." Gavin stood up and we walked outdoors. From the porch we said our good-byes. As I stepped off the porch, I caught an idea and turned around, Gavin did to.
"Anything else?" he asked.
"Yes," I said. "I think the mime team that's up on stage right now...... well, they're quite good, don't you agree?"
Gavin gave me the oddest look.
I stepped closer to him, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to try and influence you. But," I hesitated for a moment, "you seemed to want my opinion, and well, they are quite good." I smiled, hoping he didn't think I was trying to tell him how to run his business.
He squinted in the sun's glare that ricocheted off the front windows. "Shannon, what did you see that I didn't?"
Now it was my turn to look confused. "Gavin, how could you miss them...... the two mimes up on stage? They were miming a variation of the old parable about the princess and the pea?"
Without so much as acknowledging me, Gavin turned on his heels and strode back inside. "Shannon!"
I dashed after him, and to be sure, the mimes were still on stage, repeating the routine. Gavin was staring at the stage. I stepped in close to him and whispered, "Give them a chance, they are really good."
He looked at me and smiled, "I would Shannon, if they were actually there. That stage is empty." I stared at Gavin and then turned my eyes to look at the stage. Gavin was correct, the stage was bare.
He turned to me and queried, "This isn't the first time you've seen ghosts, is it?"