A big storm is brewing, there’s a killer on the loose, and the ghosts of Myrtle Beach are restless. Psychic medium Simon Kincaide and his sexy cop boyfriend, homicide detective Vic D’Amato have their hands full helping the Grand Strand brace for rough surf, driving rain and high winds as a winter storm roars toward shore.
Everyone’s on edge, and rumors are rampant about sightings of Blackcoat Benny, a ghostly omen of danger, and worse, the Gallows Nine, the spirits of nine infamous criminals hanged back in the 1700s, a harbinger of disaster. Rough tides wash the wreck of an old pirate ship into shallow waters, high winds threaten to damage an old mansion with a dark past, and the citizens of the beach town hunker down to ride out the storm.
As the skies grow dark and the sea turns wild, several men from prominent local families end up dead under suspicious circumstances. Simon’s premonition confirms Vic’s gut feeling—the killing is just getting started. As Simon tries to reach out to the spirits of the murdered men to help the investigation, he’s attacked by malicious ghosts that don’t want anyone getting in the way of their long-overdue vengeance.
With the storm hammering the coast, and new victims piling up, Simon is certain that the sins and secrets of the past are coming due, and that the murders have a supernatural link. Vic and Simon race to stop the murders against an unholy deadline, but as they battle rising tides and risen ghosts, can they save the intended victims without getting trapped themselves.
Trigger Warning: Mentions of suicide (not main characters)
“We need more pirates. Pirates sell.”
Simon Kincaide, owner of Grand Strand Ghost Tours, looked up with a chuckle. “Especially dead pirates. Or should I say ‘dread’ pirates?”
Pete King, Simon’s assistant store manager and part-time tour guide, rolled his eyes. “Both. I’m just saying, we could switch up the scripts and add more pirates to the ghost tours. Especially with the new wrecks the hurricane exposed. That’s all everyone seems to be talking about these days.”
Simon nodded. “I think you’re on to something. I have some good pirate ghost stories, but they’re pretty well known. Why don’t you do some research and see if you can come up with some that aren’t as familiar?” He grinned. “Let me guess—you’re itching to try out a new pirate costume?”
“Guilty as charged,” Pete replied. “You know the tourists love that stuff.”
“Oh, believe me. I know!” Simon used to do all the tours himself, but during the past year, business had grown enough for him to promote Pete and bring him in to expand the number and types of tours offered. Pete did his tours in full costume and made it more of a performance, fitting since he was finishing up a degree in drama. Simon had been a folklore professor before coming to Myrtle Beach, so his tours stuck to the facts and history. Both types of tours were popular.
“People say that the new wreck was a pirate corsair, pretty notorious in its day,” Pete went on, obviously thrilled with his topic.
“Don’t get your hopes up too much—around here, everything is a pirate ship until proven otherwise,” Simon joked. “Seriously, the last time a good wreck washed in, everyone was sure it was Blue‐ beard’s ship until it turned out to be a garbage scow!”
“Shh!” Pete teased. “Leave me my fragile illusions!” he added, throwing an arm across his face and pretending to swoon.
Ten in the morning on a late January Monday meant Myrtle Beach was quiet. The snowbird tourists were likely still sleeping or enjoying breakfast. Not like the summer when walkers and joggers practically crowded the beach and boardwalk at dawn. And with a storm forecast, it was likely to stay quiet.
“I’ll go pick up some coffee,” Simon offered. “Somehow, I don’t think you’ll get overwhelmed with customers while I’m gone.”
Simon wandered down to the railing and looked out over the Atlantic. Wind blew his shoulder-length brown hair and stung his hazel eyes as he looked out over the whitecaps and the rough surf. He loved the ocean like this, wild and powerful. Simon took a deep breath of salty air and listened to the pounding waves.
Tourists might not be on the boardwalk, but the weather never stopped its resident ghosts. Simon watched two children in old-fashioned clothes skip several yards, then vanish. A translucent old man on a bicycle laden with possessions rode past, giving a ghostly jingle of his bell. On the steps to the beach access, a dreadlocked young man leaned on his elbows and stared out at the water that took his life, in no hurry to move on.
Most people couldn’t see the ghosts, but Simon could.
Morgan Brice is the romance pen name of bestselling author Gail Z. Martin. Morgan writes urban fantasy male/male paranormal romance, with plenty of action, adventure and supernatural thrills to go with the happily ever after. Gail writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy, and together with co-author hubby Larry N. Martin, steampunk and comedic horror, all of which have less romance, more explosions. Characters from her Gail books make frequent appearances in secondary roles in her Morgan books, and vice versa.
On the rare occasions Morgan isn’t writing, she’s either reading, cooking, or spoiling two very pampered dogs.
Other books include Witchbane, Burn, Dark Rivers, and Badlands. Watch for more in these series, plus new series coming soon!