Read Krewe of Hunters The Unseen Online

Authors: Heather Graham

Tags: #Murder, #Paranormal, #Fiction, #Romance, #Suspense, #Thrillers, #Psychics, #Espionage

Krewe of Hunters The Unseen

BOOK: Krewe of Hunters The Unseen
6.37Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

age 1

The Unseen P

MIRA HC (Production Run) 04/12 8313298

IN PROCESS EDITION - JAN. 10, 2012

9780778313298_HCPL.indd 1

17/10/11 10:33 AM

Also by HEATHER

Also by HEA

GRAHAM

THER GRAHAM

BRIDE OF THE NIGHT

AN ANGEL FOR CHRISTMAS

THE EVIL INSIDE

SACRED EVIL

HEART OF EVIL

PHANTOM EVIL

NIGHT OF THE VAMPIRES

THE KEEPERS

GHOST MOON

GHOST NIGHT

GHOST SHADOW

THE KILLING EDGE

NIGHT OF THE WOLVES

HOME IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS

UNHALLOWED GROUND

DUST TO DUST

NIGHTWALKER

DEADLY GIFT

DEADLY HARVEST

DEADLY NIGHT

THE DEATH DEALER

THE LAST NOEL

THE SÉANCE

BLOOD RED

THE DEAD ROOM

KISS OF DARKNESS

THE VISION

age 2

THE ISLAND

GHOST WALK

KILLING KELLY

THE PRESENCE

DEAD ON THE DANCE FLOOR

The Unseen P

PICTURE ME DEAD

HAUNTED

HURRICANE BAY

A SEASON OF MIRACLES

NIGHT OF THE BLACKBIRD

NEVER SLEEP WITH STRANGERS

EYES OF FIRE

SLOW BURN

NIGHT HEAT

* * * * *

Look for Heather Graham’s next novel

THE UNHOLY

Available from MIRA Books

wherever books are sold.

MIRA HC (Production Run) 04/12 8313298

IN PROCESS EDITION - JAN. 10, 2012

9780778313298_HCPL.indd 2

17/10/11 10:33 AM

age 3

The Unseen P

®

MIRA HC (Production Run) 04/12 8313298

IN PROCESS EDITION - JAN. 10, 2012

9780778313298_HCPL.indd 3

17/10/11 10:33 AM

®

Recycling programs

for this product may

not exist in your area.

ISBN-13: 978-0-7783-1329-8

THE UNSEEN

age 4

Copyright © 2012 by Slush Pile Productions, LLC

All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including xerography, photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, is forbidden without the written permission of the publisher, Mira Books, The Unseen P

225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, Ontario M3B 3K9, Canada.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

For questions and comments about the quality of this book please contact us at [email protected]

MIRA and the Star Colophon are trademarks used under license and registered in Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, United States Patent and Trademark Office and in other countries.

www.Harlequin.com

Printed in U.S.A.
First Printing: April 2012

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

MIRA HC (Production Run) 04/12 8313298

IN PROCESS EDITION - JAN. 10, 2012

9780778313298_HCPL.indd 4

17/10/11 10:33 AM

New_Recycle_Logo.indd 1

7/29/08 10:41:25 AM

For Kathryn Falk, Ken Rubin, Jo Carol Jones, Sharon Murphy, Lisa and Chris, Barney, and the Cumbess family in memory of “Maw.” And to all the great friends I’ve made

who live in and love the Great State of Texas!

age 5

The Unseen P

MIRA HC (Production Run) 04/12 8313298

IN PROCESS EDITION - JAN. 10, 2012

9780778313298_HCPL.indd 5

17/10/11 10:33 AM

age 6

The Unseen P

MIRA HC (Production Run) 04/12 8313298

IN PROCESS EDITION - JAN. 10, 2012

9780778313298_HCPL.indd 6

17/10/11 10:33 AM

Galveston Island, Texas

Spring, 1835

The moon that night was enchanting. Rose Langley walked barefoot on the beach, looking up at the splen-dor in the sky. She had no idea what had caused this beautiful spectacle; she just knew she’d never seen anything like it. It was a large and shimmering half crescent, and behind it, like a silent and glowing echo, was a second half crescent. Once upon a time, she might have gone to her tutor, Mr. Moreno—so old, soft-spoken and wise—and asked him where such an intriguing sky had come from. He would have studied it and perhaps told her that one of the other planets was aligned with the moon. Or, perhaps, he might have said it was an illusion created by cloud cover or by tiny dewdrops in the air that didn’t quite become rain.

But, of course, she couldn’t ask Mr. Moreno anything.

IN PROCESS EDITION - JAN. 10, 2012

9780778313298_HC.indd 7

11-12-01 3:55 PM

8

She’d given him up, along with anything that resembled decency and a respectable life when she’d become convinced that her father was cruel and unreasonable, inca-pable of seeing what a wonderful, illustrious man Taylor Grant would prove to be.

She’d run away from the gentility of her home in New Orleans, certain that Taylor loved her and that her world with him would be wonderful.

She tried to think only of the moon and feel its enchant-ment. But she could hear the men back at the saloon. Pirate’s Cove—an apt name for a saloon, since Galveston Island had first been settled by the pirate Lafitte. Lafitte was long gone. Older men, remnants of the pirate’s day, still sat in the bar, where they drank and cursed and spoke of the days of Spanish rule and French rule, Spanish rule again and the coming independence of Texas. It was all talk. Galveston was a rising port city, and there were plenty of ill-gotten gains to be found here. Maybe a few of the men would be leaving to take up arms for Texas, but for the most part, they were lecherous miscreants who seemed to sit around all day drinking, smelling worse and worse by the hour.

And they’d get Taylor drinking, and he’d have no money, and he’d convince them to pay for her services—and convince her that they’d pass out as soon as they were alone with her. They generally did, though not always quickly enough… . She winced, staring up at the moon. She would feel sweaty and horrid, and the stench of them would stay with her long after they’d passed out, and even walking into the waters of the bay would not erase that stench.

She could hear the laughter and the curses and the bawdy IN PROCESS EDITION - JAN. 10, 2012

9780778313298_HC.indd 8

11-12-01 3:55 PM

9

remarks. And sometimes, she could hear the feigned laughter of one of the saloon whores—women who were mostly old and used up, who poured on the perfume and accepted small amounts of money and whiskey or rum for their quick services.

Taylor had turned her into one of them.

Tears stung her eyes. She tried to pretend she’d never left home and she was just a young woman walking on a beach beneath a whimsical moon. But it didn’t change a thing.

And it couldn’t ease the pain that suddenly filled her.

She still loved Taylor. After everything he had done to her. She was
such a fool!

“Rose!”

The sound of his excited cry made her turn. Taylor had come out of the saloon, and he was running toward her.

She saw, as he breathlessly reached her, that his eyes were glittering.

His excitement, however, was no longer contagious to her.

“What is it, Taylor?” she asked him.

“Finally! Finally, I’ve made the play that will get us out of here. Rose, my darling Rose, look at this!” He produced a ring.

She remembered jewelry. She remembered
good
jewelry, like the cross her father had bought on a business trip to Italy, and the beautiful little pearl-drop earrings her mother had given her on her fourteenth birthday. She’d never owned magnificent pieces, just the gold and semiprecious gems that were the cherished items of a young girl on a working plantation.

IN PROCESS EDITION - JAN. 10, 2012

9780778313298_HC.indd 9

11-12-01 3:55 PM

10

Still,

she

knew
good jewelry.

And this piece was far more than simply
good.
It was probably worth her father’s entire plantation. The glowing illu-mination of the strange moon picked up on the brilliance of the diamond in the delicate gold setting. The diamond was multifaceted, shimmering with an assortment of colors; it had to be five carats, if not more.

And it seemed to have a life of its own. It was almost as if the fiery brilliance of the gem burned in her hand.

Rose stared at Taylor. He’d been drinking, but he was sober. His beautiful blue eyes were on her with tenderness, and his lips—weak lips, in a beautiful but weak jaw—were curved into a loving and tremulous smile.

Yes, despite all that he had done to her, he loved her, really loved her.

“Where did you get this?” she asked.

“I started playing poker, and the other fellows had taken their winnings and moved on, and I was still playing with old Marley—you remember, the decrepit old man who says he sailed with Lafitte. He put this on the table, and he said Lafitte himself had called it the Galveston diamond. Once upon a time, it belonged to the Habsburg kings! It came off a Spanish ship Lafitte took in the days before the War of 1812. Rose! Marley swears Lafitte gave him the diamond, although he likely stole it. But that doesn’t matter. He had it—and we have it now. It’s the key to our salvation. We can go anywhere. You never have to be with those old bastards again, and we don’t have to sleep on a beach. We can get married, buy horses, join the Texans, make a land claim—”

“Taylor, Texas is going to war! We have to get out of IN PROCESS EDITION - JAN. 10, 2012

9780778313298_HC.indd 10

11-12-01 3:55 PM

11

here. And we’ve got to do it tonight—before someone realizes you have this.” Rose felt his excitement, but despite its beauty, there was something about the gem she didn’t like. She wanted to go—right then. And she wanted them to sell the stone—at whatever price. They’d have to be paid enough to get by, but after that… The most important thing was that they escape now. Quickly. She was willing to leave what paltry items they had in the tiny room that was all they could afford and just run down the beach. Along with her own growing excitement, she felt a growing sense of danger.

Was it the diamond? Was it warning her—or was it causing her fear?

“Oh, the others don’t know about it, and even if they did, the thing is supposed to be cursed,” Taylor said. “It seems the princesses or whoever had it died young. I’ve got a bit more in winnings. We’re going to buy horses and get out of here. We’ll leave at first light. And if we can’t buy land, we’ll go back east. We’ll go to Virginia or maybe all the way to New York!”

For a moment, the curious moon appeared to be lumi-nescent, shining down on them with the sweetest of bless-ings.

And then she heard a commotion, coming from the saloon.

BOOK: Krewe of Hunters The Unseen
6.37Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Underdog by Marilyn Sachs
Outside The Lines by Kimberly Kincaid
Peony: A Novel of China by Buck, Pearl S.
Severed Key by Nielsen, Helen
Goated by the Gods by Sheri Lyn