The Spirit Chaser
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance,
Publisher: Kat Mayor
Date of Publication: November 13, 2015
Number of pages: 424
Number of words: 134,300
Some places are too evil. Some places should be left alone.
Austin Cole has it made. Star of the hit television show Spirit Chaser Investigations, he has become the world’s most famous paranormal investigator. Although hard work, a talented investigation team, and favorable genetics have something to do with it, it’s his lack of fear and willingness to take risks no one else will that make Spirit Chaser Investigations cable’s number-one show.
When a ghost-hunt-gone-wrong seriously injures his best friend and lead psychic, Austin is forced to find a replacement for a team member he considers irreplaceable.
Casey Lawson can’t catch a break. She’s been on her own since she turned eighteen and is scraping by as a part-time psychic and cashier at a New Age store. When a desperate Austin Cole calls her up and offers her a position on his team, has her fortune finally changed?
He’s a control freak; she’s stubborn and opinionated. It takes time, but when they finally realize they’re working on the same side, everything clicks, both on and off screen.
Just when things are looking up, a new threat emerges. Over the years, Austin has angered plenty of demons, and one of them has set her sights on him. Now he’s the one in danger, and it’s up to the team to rescue him from the riskiest investigation of their lives.
“I got your message. I guess that means Austin tracked you down.”
“Yeah, he did, and I have some questions about that for later.” Casey threw her purse on the entry table and flopped down on the couch. “But first I want to talk about you. I saw what happened on the finale. It was awful.” Casey paused for a moment. “How are you doing?”
“Yeah, that wasn’t my finest moment.” No it wasn’t. Casey thought it was a crappy thing to do, televising what had to be the lowest point in Barrett’s life. But she understood about ratings and the Almighty Dollar. “I’m better now, though,” he told her.
“How did it get in your head?”
“She was strong. Very strong.”
“Yeah, the entity self-identified as female. She got in before I even knew I’d been attacked.” An involuntary shiver went through Casey’s spine. Barrett had always been careful. If an entity could get hold of him like that, then no one was safe.
“So, do you remember what happened?”
“Thankfully, no. I have vivid memories of everything that happened before we entered the warehouse. But after that, it’s all kind of a blur. This is what I do remember: She put the darkest thoughts of violence and rage in my head.” It had been like seeing his friends through someone else’s eyes. He had been crazy-out-of-control-angry at Gary and Luis. But the level of hate he’d felt for Austin was off the charts. Not only did he want him to suffer a slow, agonizing death, he wanted to inflict the pain and watch every excruciating moment as he slipped closer and closer to the edge. Barrett exhaled. “Anyway, the next thing I know, I’m in the hospital with a broken arm, terrified of something I can’t name or describe. You remember how I was in high school? When everything was hopeless and I was hating life?”
“Yeah,” Casey said. For as long as she had known Barrett, depression had been a daily struggle. He was the typical high school loner, a bit of a weirdo who didn’t fit into any of the usual cliques. He wandered around the halls with a sad, empty look in his eyes. The dark cloud over his head was what drew Casey to him in the first place. She was an outcast in her own right. Being the preacher’s emo daughter who spoke to ghosts didn’t win her any popularity contests. His vulnerability struck a chord with her. She wanted to take him home with her, like a stray puppy, and hold him until he felt safe and secure. But her comfort was not what he needed.
“That was nothing compared to the level of depression and despair I was feeling after the … thing”—he couldn’t bring himself to articulate the word “possessed”—“attacked me. I found out later that the doctors placed me on a suicide watch.” Barrett shook his head. “Weird. Sorry to unload on you. I’ll save the confessing and emotional vomiting for my priest and shrink.”
“No worries. I shouldn’t have brought up a sore subject.”
“No, Casey. You’re one of the few people who’ve even asked how I’m doing. My boyfriend, Derek, wants to ignore it, pretend like nothing happened. He’s afraid if we discuss it, I’ll lose it or something. I think a few of my friends are even kind of scared of me.” Barrett sighed. “Well, enough about me. What have you been up to, Ms. Lawson? Something fabulous, I’m sure.”
“Not really. I’ve been working at my friend’s store. It’s a low-stress job and not taxing on the brain. I’m kind of at an in-between place in my life right now. Trying to figure stuff out.” Casey paused and took a breath. “So, what’s the deal with this Austin dude? He tells me you’re the one who suggested me as a replacement. Why?”
“Because you’re the best. And Spirit deserves the best. They’re great people and I don’t want some attention-seeking charlatan screwing things up for them.”
“Well, if it’s so great, why don’t you want to go back?”
Barrett sighed and put his hand to his forehead. “That is a completely fair question, especially since I’m the one who gave Austin your name. But truthfully, I’m still in recovery mode. When Luis exorcised the she-demon, he got rid of my familiars, too. And I relied on them a lot.” Unlike Casey, Barrett came from a long line of seers. The familiar spirits that helped him see the future and communicate with the dead had been in his family for generations. “I mean, I can still see ghosts, but I can’t see the future anymore, and that kind of sucks.”
“So ask them back.”
“No, I don’t want to do that. After the she-devil got in, I’m not itching to open myself up again.”
Casey couldn’t blame him. “Well, even without your familiars, you’re still a million times better than most of the so-called psychics out there. And when you do get better, you’re going to want you’re fantastic job back.”
“No. I have my own personal reasons for not wanting to return that I’d rather not get into. It’s a great job, Casey, just not great for me.”
“Well, I haven’t even interviewed yet. Once Austin meets me, he might say forget it.”
“I know for a fact he has no one else lined up. The job is yours to refuse or accept.”
“I don’t know. I’m going to tell it like it is. Some people can’t handle that.”
“That’s what makes you the perfect choice. Austin is very persistent, very charming, and very persuasive. It’s nearly impossible to tell him no. And once he gets his mind set on something, he won’t stop. The team needs someone like you to stand firm, because Austin can’t see the danger and really doesn’t understand it. He’ll lead them all straight into hell without even knowing it.”
Kat Mayor is a native Texan, wife, and mom. In addition to The Spirit Chaser, she has written a young adult series, The Circle. She’s a full-time reader, part-time writer, and when she’s not kicking a story around in her head, she loves to read and review books on Goodreads.