The Summer Sisters Book 1
by Teresa Keefer Genre: Paranormal Romance
Alana Summers was quite content with her life. A peaceful farm tucked in a wooded area by the lake with her pets for company. A shop in the small tourist town where she sells a potpourri of items that reflect everything about her. She's at peace. She's Wiccan.
Logan Farmer is the local sheriff. Small town boy who went to the big city and joined the police force. Then he came home where he belonged. He is deeply rooted in his Native American heritage.
Both had grown up knowing that there was more to the world that could be explained or seen. But neither of them knew that their peaceful lives could be disrupted in an instant by a legend long buried. A tale that had been told to them by Logan's grandmother when they were young along with a warning that the ancient legend could replay during their lifetime.
But was it really an ancient paranormal evil come to roost or were the recent events merely the doings of a warped human mind? Or had the human's events shaped the return of the evil?
Alana sat gazing into the fire she built earlier in the day to drive off the chill from the rain that fell steadily down and battered against the tin roof of her little cabin. Normally, she would have enjoyed the music created by the rain. It was normally a soothing sound to her. But tonight, something kept sending chills up her spine as if in warning of some impending crisis. She shivered then, as the chill became more pronounced when she thought about it. Pulling the heavy crocheted afghan around her more tightly, she scooted her chair closer to the fire and rested her feet on the thick, tri-colored fur of her mixed breed dog, Buddy. The big animal was laying on the rag rug by the hearth. He snorted in his sleep and rolled on his back to expose his belly. Part bloodhound, part St. Bernard, and part God only knew what, he still played like a puppy even though he was nearing six years old this winter.
“You’re such a silly dog, you even want your belly rubbed in your sleep.” She laughed and ran her stocking foot along his chest. The big dog was a comfort to her on nights like this. Alana wasn’t afraid to be out here, in the middle of nowhere, alone. It was just that tonight, something troubling was brewing and it was pricking at the edges of her peace.
The day had started out like most of her early autumn days. Getting up well before the sun came up, she had done some yoga, meditated and gave thanks for the many blessings life had given her. Breakfast had been a healthy combination of fruit, yogurt and granola with a cup of Irish breakfast tea sweetened with honey from the local beekeeper. After Buddy and Anastasia, her cross-eyed white Siamese cat had been fed, she spent some time cutting lavender and collecting ripe vegetables from her garden. Since the day had been sunny, she decided to leave the truck in the barn and ride her bicycle the three miles into town where she had her shop, Blessed Be.
Blessed Be was her pride and joy. A little bit of everything that Alana loved. She carried candles, potpourri and soaps made in her kitchen, herbs she grew in her own garden, used and new books, music CDs, and handmade crafts. Occasionally she would do the occasional spell or reading when it felt right to do so.
This morning the shop had been especially busy for a week day and she didn’t notice when the clouds started gathering off to the west, filtering out the sun. She did some accounting work while she ate her lunch, vegetable soup brought to her by her friend Bessie at the little diner opposite her shop, and caught up on her internet orders. When the delivery man pulled up out front to collect her shipments, he shook his head.
“Sure is a long winded storm brewing on the other side of the lake. I hope you drove to work this morning.” She looked up from her work, a calligraphy piece with an Irish blessing on recycled paper, she noticed through the front window the dark clouds that appeared to be boiling in the sky. By the time she closed the shop at five, the clouds were still hanging angrily in the sky but had not moved any closer to Lakeview, the small town that sat on the northern bank of Victory Lake.
The main street of town ended at the public access beach which boasted a smattering of guest cabins that were generally full the entire summer. As she rode her bicycle home, she kept a close watch over her left shoulder and noticed that the clouds were moving along the same path as her own. She got the first chill up her spine as she rode the bicycle down the lane to her little farm.
Sitting here now, she had a feeling something was about to usurp the peacefulness of their small town. She had circled her cabin and barn with salt, reciting the protection spell her mother taught her and her sisters many years ago while they were mere children. “It is the most important spell you must learn.” She could hear her as if she were right in front of her today, even though Rowena was tucked away in County Kildare in Ireland with Alana’s stepfather Niall Fitzgerald.
Rowena decided when the last of her daughters had turned twenty-one, it was time for her to go in search of her heritage which led her to Ireland. Alana, being the oldest of the three sisters probably remembered her father the most. Hobart Summers was a somber man, the exact opposite of their mother who was always filled with light, laughter and good spirit. He had been a good provider and when he passed from a sudden brain aneurism at thirty-five, he had left them with enough to live comfortably until they were all grown.
With her husband gone, Rowena was tired of living in the city and felt drawn to move all of them to Lakeview where she had worked as the manager to the lake cabins during the tourist season and part time at the small, local library during the off season.
Alana loved the peaceful solitude here in the country on her farm, and she relished the familiarity of small town life. Her sisters had chosen entirely different lives. Teagan was the materialistic one of the three and she had gone to college with the intent of learning something that would land her a wealthy husband and lifestyle. Not faring well on the first with a messy divorce behind her, she was a travel agent in Miami, Florida. Riana was the youngest of them, she was still finding her way in life, living like a modern-day gypsy moving every few months and doing whatever job appealed to her at the moment. The last Alana knew, she was working as a black jack dealer in Las Vegas.
Alana smiled to herself as she thought of her sisters. She missed them when they weren’t here and when they were both here for a visit, she spent most of her time and patience mediating between the younger two. Teagan always judging Riana for her lack of direction and Riana reminding Teagan that she was the one who had married a drunk playboy that had made sure she didn’t have ‘jackshit’ to show for it when they got divorced. And when Alana tried to intervene, they both inevitably turned on her and told her that she was going to live like an old maid the rest of her life if she stayed in this boring hole of a town. Rowena called weekly to check on all of them, but most of the time the only one that she could ever get hold of on a regular basis was Alana. “You are such a grounding force for our family, Alana.” That was always how Rowena ended their calls. Sometimes, Alana didn’t want to be the grounding force but it was what it was. Alana’s Wiccan element was Earth and that was what Earth did, it grounded. She reached for her tea and took a sip, enjoying the rich flavor of Earl Grey, her favorite. The fire crackled and Buddy groaned in his sleep, his back leg jumping as he dreamed of chasing some poor rabbit or squirrel in the woods. Anastasia was perched on the back of the sofa, her purring so loud that Alana could hear her from where she sat in her grandmother’s old wing chair on the opposite side of the room. The lights flickered a bit, but Alana was well prepared after spending the first winter without electric about half of the time. She had installed a propane powered generator the following spring which switched on automatically if the power went completely out.
Her cabin was cozy. She didn’t know exactly when it had been built, but she guessed probably in the early nineteen thirties when Lakeview first became a tourist spot. The property sat three miles from the town and about three and a half from the main shoreline but in this spot there was a small inlet the size of a large pond just a few hundred yards behind the barn. The main living area was open with the kitchen to the front on the right side of the entrance with a breakfast bar being the only thing that separated it from the small dining area that held a round table with two ladder back chairs.
The hand hewn, pine cabinets were plentiful and she had a laundry room off the kitchen which had yet more pantry storage. Beyond that area was her bathroom with its antique, claw foot tub and a more recently added modern shower. The sitting area of the living room was to the back of the cabin with a natural stone fireplace on one wall and bookcases tucked under the open staircase that led to the loft above. A door was in the middle of the bookcases and that door led to a small guest room where the previous owners had left twin beds.
A set of French doors faced the back, something that Alana had installed when she moved in so that she could have a good view of the woods from the covered back porch during the summer and from her living room in the winter. She used the space in the loft for her bedroom where she had put a king-sized bed in the middle of the room where the peak of the roof was. Her plan was to someday have a skylight installed in the roof above her bed so that she could see the moon and stars from her bed at night and so that the sun shone down on her every morning.
Generally, she watched television in the evening once the sun went down while she either read a book or did a needlecraft project. Her home was filled with things she had created herself and she loved books, which was evident by the full shelves under the staircase. Tonight, the satellite dish had gone on the fritz long before the rain started, so she turned on the CD player and listened to some relaxing instrumental music while she ate her dinner. Ham and cheese sandwich between two slices of homemade bread and a handful of sweet potato chips dipped in some caramel sauce.
She pondered how to fill the evening ahead. It had gotten dark early because of the approaching storm, a stark reminder that as the coming days passed by, winter would be nearer. When she consulted the earth spirits over the weekend during her Sunday afternoon ritual, they warned of an early winter and urged her to finish up the harvest as quickly as possible. However, the popcorn was not nearly mature enough to harvest and would need at least another month. The pumpkins and squash weren’t completely ripened either and her three apple trees had not fared well this year because of a late freeze that killed most of the early blooms. But she had heeded their warning and picked what she could, spending most of the afternoon on Sunday roasting sunflower seeds and stringing peppers to hang in the laundry room to dry.
The book on the table by her chair beckoned to her. It was a recent best seller by one of her favorite authors, a romance writer who threw in a little bit of paranormal for a twist. She picked up the book and tucked her legs up beneath her, the afghan wrapped around her lower body. Maybe reading something romantic would ease the uncomfortable feeling that still permeated her body.
The sound of the rain on the roof, the crackle of the fire, the softly playing music combined to relax Alana as she read and she felt her eyelids go heavy. Her breathing became shallow and the book slipped from her hands onto her lap as she dozed off. She was running through the woods toward the small inlet behind the barn. The full moon overhead lit her way through the branches of the trees that had shed a portion of their leaves. Something, someone was compelling her to come. Help. Help me. Please help me. A cloud drifted across the moon and the woods was dark for a moment but it didn’t matter, she knew these woods like the back of her hand. One of the gifts of having Earth as her own element. Her bare feet touched the damp ground, the recent rain leaving puddles in some parts of the path that weren’t covered by the trees. Why am I here? Oh, yes, the compelling subconscious knowledge that she was needed to help someone. Suddenly, the woods closed up and the path disappeared. How could this be? This was a familiar path. Where was Buddy? He had been ahead of me. She tried to call out to him but nothing came out of her mouth. Had she remembered to ground and protect herself before rushing out of the cabin in the middle of the night? She couldn’t remember. The moon disappeared completely, only it wasn’t the clouds that were covering the moon. What is it? It feels bad. Evil. Wicked. She tripped over a root that shouldn’t have been in her path and felt herself falling. Falling. Falling.
The wind picked up outside the cabin and a branch banged against the window, causing Anastasia to come off her perch on the back of the sofa and hiss. It was a chain reaction then, with Buddy stiffening up under her feet and sending out a warning growl. Anastasia growled low in her throat, a warning growl, then arched her back with the hair standing up. Buddy came to his feet and ran toward the door, barking vigorously, the sound echoing throughout the cabin.
Alana awoke with a start and took a relaxing breath when she realized she had fallen asleep and was dreaming. But something was wrong, she could sense it. Buddy was still barking furiously at the door and as she got up, his tail started wagging and he let out a whine about the same time a knock sounded at her door. Buddy whined again and pawed at the door.
She blinked the last remnants of sleep out of her eyes and got up from the chair, crossing the wood floor in her stocking feet. Reaching for the door knob she pushed gently at Buddy with her foot. “Move, you big lug. I can’t open the door with you in front of it.” The dog complied, his whole body wagging now and his tongue lolling out the side of his mouth, ready to give a serious tongue bath to whomever was on the other side of the door.
When she pulled the door open, a tall, familiar form was standing on her porch under the yellowish light. His back was to her, but she recognized the jeans clad figure with the holster at his side. Logan Farmer, the county sheriff, turned to face her and the look on his face was a grim one. “Alana. It’s not good.” He took a breath, his shoulders lifting and falling with the action. “Old Herman Monroe. I got the call about an hour ago.” He looked down at his feet for a moment and Alana followed his gaze.
The boots were covered with mud and something else. Blood. She put a hand out to touch his arm. She and Logan had been friends since they were kids and he had even dated her sister, Teagan, briefly. Very briefly. “What is it, Logan?”
When he looked up at her, his dark eyes were glistening with unshed tears. “He’s dead, Alana. His wife went to search for him when he didn’t come in for dinner and she found him in the barnyard. She thought maybe he slipped in the mud when he was feeding the livestock but when she looked closer, it looked…” His words trailed off and he appeared to be trying to compose himself before he continued.
This time, when Alana touched his arm she closed her eyes and the image came into her mind as clearly as if she had seen it herself. The old man lying in the muddy barnyard with his dead eyes staring up in fear and his throat ripped out. She pulled away, her stomach roiling and tears coming to her eyes. “An animal? How can that be, Logan?”
He lifted his eyes to meet hers. “You know how as well as I do. We all knew this was going to happen.”
The Summer Sisters Book 2
Teagan Summers has a secret that she thought she had tucked away forever. That is, until she was summoned to her home town of Lakewood to help with banishing an ancient evil that had come to pay a visit to the sleepy town. Then, she was faced with another woman whose secret wasn't so secret anymore.
Devon Brock knew he had to help his friend, Logan Farmer. Logan had helped him out too many times to turn his back and say no. However, he didn't realize that he would be called upon to pull out his law license to defend a poor woman who had killed and mutilated her husband on Halloween night. And he sure never expected to have to deal with spoiled Teagan Summers as part of it.
Devon and Teagan join forces as they work valiantly to not only defend a murderess, but to help Teagan's sisters and Logan Farmer as they battle an unseen evil that threatens to destroy the small town of Lakewood. And as they work together, they also form a tentative truce that they both know could lead to more.
Teagan stood by the door to the gymnasium and watched the dance floor which was filled with vampires, witches, zombies, a dead president or two and a variety of other costumed partiers, all oblivious to the flutter of activity brought about by the arrival of Deputy Brent Castle. Teagan could see his grim expression as he talked with Logan, whose dark eyebrows furrowed together as his deputy spoke.
Her oldest sister, Alana stood by with Georgia Monroe and Laura Hamaker and as she scanned the rest of the gym, she saw the ghostly spirit of a man weaving walking through a wall. Then she felt them. Her spirit guides, sending a prickle of awareness down her spine. She turned slightly toward the door and saw the pair of women standing off to the edge of the field beyond the parking lot of the gymnasium. Dark haired beauties with flowing peasant gowns and flowers in their hair. Her intake of breath was sharp as she watched the women smile gently and nod their heads in unison. It had been several years since she last saw them. They were the ones that gave her the strength and push she needed to remove herself from the unfortunate circumstances of her marriage. Ever present during some of the hardest days of her life. Lyuba and Nadya. Love and hope in ancient Romanian. Your strength is needed in this situation. Do not be afraid. Speak from the heart.
She watched as her sister, Riana, extricated herself from one of the older residents of their peaceful little town and looked up to lock eyes with Alana. Without hesitation or pause, she moved fluidly across the floor toward the other three women with a purposeful stride. Teagan gathered up her own skirts and made her way to the group gathered in the corner of the gym.
“What has happened?” Her green eyes darted back and forth from woman to woman. “I can feel that something is amiss here.”
“Yeah, me too. What the hell is going on?” Riana was pushing into the circle and she wasn’t being quiet or discreet about it.
Alana put a hand on each of her sisters’ arms and spoke in her quiet and composed manner. “Stop. The last thing we want is to draw attention to this situation.” She pulled them toward the main doors and urged Georgia and Laura to follow. “Let’s not draw attention over here. It’s important that our friends and neighbors enjoy this night.” She held up a finger as Riana tried to interrupt her and continued in a soft voice. “Stanley Franklin is dead and it appears that his wife may have had something to do with it.”
“Probably served the sorry bastard right. I heard he beat on Barbara all the time.” Riana let out an exaggerated growl. “I have no respect for some damn pussy that can’t pick on someone his own size.”
Logan put a possessive hand at Alana’s waist. “I don’t know what we are going to find out there. Brent said that the dispatcher said that Barbara was really calm and matter of fact when she called in and said that Stanley was dead.” He shook his head. “The paramedic that just called in said that it is a real mess. I can’t imagine what would cause Barbara to do something like this after all these years.”
Teagan, who had been quiet for the most part spoke up. “I can.” She stepped toward Logan, her mind made up despite the questions it may raise later. “I’m going with you.”
The angular face with the strong jaw tightened. “I don’t think…”
“I don’t care what you think Logan Farmer. I know how Barbara Franklin feels and I want to help her get through this.” She looked over at her older sister with a plea in her eyes. None of them knew everything that she had been through with her former husband. She had purposefully kept it that way until she had a chance to work through the issues that had left her emotionally scarred for a long time. “She needs someone who understands. And she’s going to need a damned good lawyer.”
The Summer Sisters Book 3
Riana Summers had spent most of her adult life trying to find herself. The youngest of the three Summer Sisters, she just couldn't resist sowing her wild oats and she had done it across the country. When her sister, Alana, had summoned her to come home to Lakeview because she was needed to do her part to hunt down and destroy an evil entity which had been playing havoc on her hometown, she did so with the intention of returning to her stand-up comedy gig in Las Vegas. She had no idea her brief trip home would turn to months and that she would end up finding out who she really was. Or that she would find herself face to face with a man who could get her to want to settle down.
Eric Michaels had been born and raised to be a farmer. It was what he did best. So, when the opportunity to be the foreman at a farm near a place called Lakeview, he had jumped at the chance. What he hadn't planned on was getting sucked into a paranormal nightmare. Things he couldn't even begin to fathom. Including finding himself deeply attracted to a woman who could create magic with the tips of her fingers.
As the conclusion of the Summer Sisters trilogy comes to an end, will they be able to destroy the force that had unearthed itself from its deep dark grave to destroy them?
The snow crunched under Riana’s boots as she made her way toward the cursing in the Monroe’s barn. Sounded like Eric was having some difficulty with something. She heard the clang of metal against metal and another round of cursing and she couldn’t help but laugh out loud. With a smirk on her face, she bent and gathered up a hunk of snow in her mitten covered hands and rolled it into a snowball. Maybe this would cool him off.
Quietly, she pulled open the side door and slipped inside. Metallic rock blared from the radio on the workbench and a utility light hung over the aged truck. Two boots extended from beneath the front of the truck. If she stood just right over the open hood, she could probably drop the snowball and hit something. Standing on her tiptoes, she estimated where his face might be and dropped the snowball.
“What the fuck?” Eric sputtered, and she stood back and watched as he slid out from under the truck and stood up, looking around until he spotted her standing innocently to the side of the workbench. Melting snow dripped from his face and neck.
She grinned. “It sounded like you might need cooling off.”
“Dammit, Riana. I could have hit my head on the underside of the engine.” He reached for a shop rag on the bench and wiped the snow away. “What are you doing here?”
She shrugged beneath the heavy wrappings of her coat and scarf. “I thought maybe you might need some help. Georgia said you had been out here for hours trying to get the truck to run.”
He kicked the tire of the truck and muttered another curse word under his breath. “And just how do you think you can help?”
“I worked for an auto repair shop in Texas one time. I do all the maintenance on my bike and when I had a car, I worked on it too.” She remembered the surly old biker that owned the repair shop and how he had grudgingly given her a job and then patiently taught her the things she didn’t know. He had practically begged her not to leave when she decided it was time to move on.
“Really?” He shook his head. “I don’t believe you. A girl who can fix cars? I’ll bet you dinner that you can’t get this damned piece of shit to run.”
She unzipped her coat and discarded it to a hook on the wall. The scarf and mittens were tossed carelessly on the work bench. “Move out of the way. I’ve got this.”
Riana climbed up on the front bumper of the truck and felt it creak beneath her weight. The rust bucket was falling apart but she knew Mrs. Monroe wouldn’t replace it because it had belonged to her husband. She poked around under the hood and looked over her shoulder. “Hand me the ratchet set.” She held her hand out and waited.
“Riana, there’s no way you are going to get this truck to run.”
“Give me the ratchet set and stand back. He of little faith.” She wiggled her fingers at him. “Come on, make it snappy.”
She heard him groan. Obnoxiously. But he handed her the set of tools she had requested. She climbed further into the engine of the truck and tinkered around with the ratchet. And chanted a little bit of a spell. After all, it was for good. Then she climbed down and motioned to him. “Go try it now.”
Eric scowled at her, but he grudgingly got into the cab of the truck and turned the key. With a couple of sputters, the engine came to life as black smoke came out the tailpipe. “You cheated. I’m sure of it.”
Riana grinned and slammed the hood down. “You owe me dinner, big guy.” She flipped her pigtails and walked around to the side of the barn where the animal stalls were.
Teresa Keefer is an indie romance author with an avid love of books. She started writing poetry in high school and after encouragement from a dear friend, wrote her first full length romance novel in 2007. Coming Home was finally released as a self-published book in 2011.
Teresa holds an MBA in Human Resources and attended law school for two years. She lives in rural Indiana with a menagerie of animals and enjoys the peace of working in the garden and yard of her home. She has three adult daughters and seven grandchildren and enjoys crafting, cooking, reading, and studying spirituality in her spare time when she's not writing or working at her day job. Her household includes a spoiled dog, three cats, two goats and a stubborn miniature horse.
As far as a paranormal experience...I'm actually able to "feel" and sometimes "see" spirits. I attend classes at Historic Camp Chesterfield--which is a spiritualist camp--where I am trying to develop my gifts/abilities. I am about two years in and have learned a lot of interesting things that explain some of the experiences I've had. The first time I think I actually "saw" a spirit was when I was little and kept having to have my mom sit in my room when it got dark because I could swear that there was someone standing in the corner looking at me. Now, I know there probably was! But people tend to tell little kids all that stuff is in their imagination so they quit believing. As an adult, I've seen a friend's father in the hallway of his house about a month after he passed; another friend's former girlfriend who had passed about a year previously; and one night I was at my daughter's pre-Civil war farm house trying to go to sleep on their sofa and looked up and saw a whole group of "spirits" standing in the corner dressed in Civil War garb having a discussion. I finally quit letting it scare me and decided to go with it. I'm a novice, but I do the occasional reading either using Angel Tarot and just recently Celtic Oracle. It's interesting, the more I have accepted this, the more people I have met who have the same abilities. Like attracts like, right? Anyway, you will see a little of my tendency toward spiritualism beliefs in my book A Wing and a Prayer as well as in my most recent series that I have shared with you.
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