Carolan Ivey’s series Legends was recently re-released. Today, to entice you, Carolan shares an excerpt from the first book, Beaudry’s Ghost. I think this looks like a good one!
About Beaudry’s Ghost
For more than a century, the ghost of Union cavalry scout Jared Beaudry has haunted the Outer Banks, looking for the mad Confederate officer who stripped him of everything that mattered to him. His honor. And his life.
When his restless spirit stumbles across a modern-day Civil War re-enactment, he makes a desperate leap into another man’s body. Hoping, somehow, he’ll at last find justice.
Taylor Brannon is dead center in the middle of her worst nightmare. Her entire re-enacting unit is possessed by spirits of the dead, threatening to overwhelm the frightening psychic ability she’s fought all her life to suppress. The trigger is her second-worst nightmare—a ghost who seems hell-bent on self-destruction.
Taylor has always guarded her heart, but Jared’s powerful spirit touches her like no other. After a single passionate night in his arms, she embarks on a dangerous quest of her own: to help Jared find peace. Spurred by the singular courage of one fragile woman, Jared must decide what he wants more. Revenge he’s sought for a century, or love that will last an eternity.
Excerpt from Beaudry’s Ghost
The lock-picking tools fell with a metallic clatter to the concrete floor. Startled, Taylor Brannon froze in her kneeling position by the old trunk.
Turning only her eyes at first, then her head, then at last her shoulders, she looked around the museum’s storeroom to assure herself she was alone.
On a ragged sigh, she sat back on her heels, jammed her fists between her knees, closed her eyes and willfully refused to acknowledge the familiar tingling vibrations running through her body.
She didn’t like this feeling, like a door opening and cold air rushing in. The feeling of…exposure.
Opening her eyes, she rubbed her arms, retrieved the tools and once again bent over the ancient trunk’s rusty lock. The trunk was a donation, a leftover from some estate auction. It was so scarred and battered that no one, not even the most avid antique hunter, had bid on it.
But you never knew what treasures lurked inside drab packages. And that knowledge had kept her working at the lock through her lunch hour.
Tucking her hair behind her ears, she guided the pick into the keyhole.
“One last try, my friend, and then it’s Mr. Crowbar for you…” And, like magic, the lock fell open into her hands.
Her heart beat a little faster in anticipation, yet she steeled herself for disappointment. She set the heels of her hands on the front lip of the lid and pushed. The hinges creaked and the trunk coughed up a grey puff of dust that set her to sneezing and waving her hands in front of her face.
As the cloud cleared, she pulled on a pair of white cotton gloves. She told herself that she needed the gloves to protect the artifacts she might find inside—not because she needed protection herself.
Carefully, her tongue catching at her upper lip in concentration, she peeled back layers of white tissue paper. The scents of cedar, lavender and years wafted up to her nose.
A Civil War-era, Union-blue uniform coat lay on top, neatly folded. Sergeant, from the insignia on the sleeve, and the buttons indicated he’d ridden with the cavalry. There were several carefully mended rips in the cloth. Eagerly, she slid her hands under the folded garment and looked underneath, hoping to find the rest of the uniform intact. She found more fabric, mostly baby clothes and embroidered linens, but no more uniform pieces. No trousers, hat, or sword.
Nothing. Just the coat.
She frowned in disappointment and wondered why someone had taken such great pains to repair and store that one piece, but not the rest. She chose, for the moment, not to think about the injuries that could have destroyed the remaining pieces of the soldier’s uniform.
She unfolded the coat and spread it out on the clean, hard floor. Telltale signs told her someone had altered it to fit unusually broad shoulders and a trim waist. She smoothed her gloved hands over the fabric and smiled as she imagined this soldier’s mother doing much the same while fitting the coat to her son’s body. For a moment, voices echoed in her imagination.
“Stand still, boy, or I’ll never get this done in time.”
“Aw, Ma, nobody’s gonna care how I look when we’re routing those Rebs.”
“No son of mine is going off to war wearing something that fits like a potato sack. Now hold still.”
The imagined voices in her head faded as she turned the garment over to examine the back. Her breath caught when she found how this soldier had died—a gunshot wound. From the back, meaning his back had been turned toward the enemy at that moment. Perhaps his horse had simply spun around. Or maybe he had been running away, in which case this bullet hole was a mark of shame.
Her heart ached a little for the mother who had clearly gone to great pains to pack the uniform coat away despite what could have been damning evidence of her son’s cowardice.
Taylor held the coat a little closer to examine it. Dark stains embedded in the blue cloth could be powder burns or blood. Other faint stains on one sleeve and around the collar bore the marks of a sincere effort to remove them.
Taylor shuddered, quickly flipped the coat back over and refolded it, but as she worked something within the garment crinkled. Not finding any outside pockets, she slid the front buttons free and found one inside. A corner of yellowed paper protruded an inch, showing the edge of a postmark.
A letter. The mother lode. Troy’s going to love this. She brought her thoughts up short. Her brother was overseas on assignment with the Navy SEALs, and their last stinging words to each other guaranteed he wouldn’t be taking her calls anytime soon. She’d have to break the habit of reaching for her cell phone to call her twin every time she came across an interesting Civil War-related artifact.
A wave of regret, then cold uneasiness swept over her as she unfolded the paper, but with ease of long practice she firmly quelled it. She couldn’t remember when she’d had an impression this strong from touching an object, and the fact that it zinged right through her thick cotton gloves struck a note of concern.
She couldn’t stop now, though, not when there could be more treasures waiting in this trunk. Shutting out the warning bells in her head, she focused instead on the letter, and smiled at the writer’s clumsy attempts at decorum and spelling.
June 15, 1868
Mrs. Elizabeth B. Garrison
Little Hocking, Ohio
Dear Mrs. Garrison,
I pray I have found the right person to send this parcel to. It took some doing to find you, seeing as you have remarryed since the war.
I believe this uniform belonged to your son. With shame I admit I relieved him of it after his death. I, along with many of my companions, often collected such trophys during our service under Jefferson Davis. The posession of this prize, however, has become a weight on my soul through the years, and I am compelled to relieve my conshense of the burden.
Your son was captured in February 1862, during the Roanoke Island skirmish. He was taken on Bodie Island while scouting a rebel camp, and was killed many miles south on Cape Hatteras.
It was I, through sheer accident, who came upon him and brought him with some cheer to my commanding officer. Had I known what awaited him, I would have been more inclined to let him go without a word to anyone, and gladly have taken whatever punishment I earned.
The events between his capture and murder I will not repeat, as I have no wish to cause anyone more distress. I will tell you that he suffered mightily at the hands of my commanding officer, but be assured that your son died bravely and well.
With deep regret I cannot say where his remains lie. Hard storms have changed the lay of the island, making it impossible to find landmarks or any markers we might have left behind.
Perhaps knowing he is at peace will bring you some small comfort.
I must close here, as I have many days journey home after posting this parcel to you. I beg you do not attempt to find me, as there is little more I can tell you and it is my wish to lay the whole sorry event to rest.
But I will never forget your son’s courage. For you see, it is the curse of those of us who have no courage, to spend our lives haunted by men such as him.
The letter was postmarked Richmond, Virginia. The handwriting was round and childlike, as if the writer was unaccustomed to laboring over so many words and so many memories.
She turned the page over, hoping for some clue to the writer’s identity, but it was blank.
Murder. Murder? She shook her head. Some people might think him a victim of murder, others just a casualty of war. She made a mental note to make a copy and fax it to Troy anyway. This was just the sort of mystery that would intrigue him, and it would pull double duty as a peace offering.
Refolding the letter, she reached for the garment. Her gloved fingers accidentally touched the hole in the uniform. An odd sensation shot up her arm, raised the hairs on the back, and then settled in a hollow ball in the pit of her stomach.
She didn’t hear a voice. Not exactly. Just an incredibly strong impression of crushing fatigue, confusion and…and…she touched the hole again in spite of herself, for once leaving herself a little open to her psychometric ability.
Taylor gasped, dropped the coat and scrambled backward, her frantic breathing echoing in the cavernous room. Her gaze stayed glued to the untidy pile of blue cloth as she shakily regained her feet, fighting the childish notion that it might jump up and come after her. Then, leaving the coat untouched, she backed away and ran.
About Ghost of a Chance
Troy Brannon’s unusual gifts made him invaluable to the Navy SEALs…until he died in the line of duty. Now, he’s a ghost gone rogue, searching through time for the soul of a man lost in the Civil War. He figures a side trip to save a drowning woman won’t hurt. But as he pours his energy into her limp body, he realizes he’s made a terrible mistake.
Carey Magennis knows it’s all over as icy seawater claims her, so she’s more than a little confused when she wakes and finds the ghost of the green-eyed, lion-hearted man who saved her haunting her.
Troy knows that until her can untangle their auras, he’s along for the ride, and protecting Carey from her ex becomes his new mission. First on the agenda is not falling for her, even though she could be his only lifeline.
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About the Author
Multi-award-winning author Carolan Ivey is a North Carolina native living in Ohio with her husband, two highly opinionated dachshunds, and far too many books. A freelance writer by day, in her spare time she tries to indulge as many of her varied passions as possible: reading, traveling, winery hopping, and exploring her Scottish roots through music. She is also a Karuna and Celtic Reiki Master. If she’s not playing with her grandchildren, she’s probably out riding her motorcycle with her husband or one of her Chrome Angelz sisters. Road name is Ghost Wrider.
Find Carolan at:
Entangled Publishing: https://entangledpublishing.com/author/carolan-ivey
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/carolan.ivey.author/