Sunday, November 06, 2016
Healy Harrison of #TheGhostandtheBridegroom #TheGoodTheBadTheGhostly by Patti Sherry-Crews @CherieGrinnell
RW: What’s your story/back story? Why would someone come up with a story about YOU?
HH: My name is Healy Harrison. I grew up in a large well-to-do family. It’s hard to admit this about myself, but I was a strange young girl—introverted and socially awkward. My one attempt to be part of society left me heartbroken when the man I thought I’d marry rejected me. After that experience, I moved to St. Louis where I lived alone in a boarding house. I took a job as an agent at the PSI agency who deal in paranormal occurrences. You see, I can talk to dead people. I’m very good at my job. I suppose that’s why someone would come up with a story about me.
RW: Can you tell us about your hero?
HH: I met Aaron Turrell while on a case in Arizona. Aaron is a Pinkerton detective. He is a handsome man, who is a little rough around the edges. Not the sort of man I thought I’d fall for, but did I ever!
RW: What problems do you have to face and overcome in your life?
HH: My ability to see ghosts has been both a curse and a blessing. When I was young, I thought I was a freak and seeing dead people everywhere terrified me. The safest thing for me was to stay in my room and read books.
RW: Do you expect your hero to help or is he the problem?
HH: Aaron makes me feel things I never felt before. Through him I’ve discovered another side of myself. He opened up a new world to me. I’ve even stopped seeing dead people since falling in love with him. And he helped me in a practical sense when the case I was working on and the case he was working on became one and the same. He saved my life both literally and figuratively.
RW: Where do you live?
HH: I was raised in Missouri and moved to St. Louis after having had my heartbroken. I liked the anonymity of a big city while I made a fresh start, living on my own. Now I live in Flagstaff.
RW: During what time period does your story take place?
A. The late 1800’s.
RW: How are you coping with the conflict in your life?
HH: I don’t fit in, which is why I preferred to live alone in a rented room in a boardinghouse. I learned ways to control my encounters with ghosts, and I’ve turned my curse to my advantage by choosing a profession where I can help others who are haunted by unsettled spirits. My job is my life. Or it was until I met a certain tall, dark, and handsome Pinkerton detective.
RW: Those are all the questions we have for you. Thank you for speaking to us.
About the Author:
Patti Sherry-Crews lives in Evanston, IL with her husband and two children. She writes both contemporary and historic romance. Under the name Cherie Grinnell she has written a series of steamy romances set in Dublin and Wales. She likes to include armchair travel with her books.
Patti studied anthropology and archeology at Grinnell College and the University of North Wales, UK. After college she opened an Irish and British import store, which gave her an excuse to travel to the British Isles for the next fifteen years.
Now she works from home and devotes much of her time to writing.
Life is looking rosy for Abbott Foster when he brings his new bride to his ranch in Arizona. But when he is unable to consummate his marriage due to a malevolent spirit in the bedroom, he is forced to call in Psychic Specters Investigations.
Agent Healy Harrison doesn’t want to accept this case. She has her own demons and likes her quiet life, lived in the anonymity of St. Louis. But Tucson is where she finds herself—with instructions to “Have an adventure! Have a romance!” Things get interesting when she meets handsome Pinkerton detective, Aaron Turrell. Is this the romance she’s meant to have, or when their two cases intersect, will it drive him away?
The air burned as hot as a fever out here on the porch. The windmill in the yard creaked and creaked. Tumbleweed rolled past, carried on the same breeze turning the windmill. The porch smelled like hot, old wood.
Healy pinched the bridge of her nose, dislodging her glasses. Over the layer of perspiration covering her face, a fine coating of gritty dust stuck to her skin. She’d gone so parched; she had to work her lips off her teeth—where they were stuck—to utter a word.
“Yes, we’ve already established that fact, and as I’ve already had this conversation with the ranch hand you sent to fetch me, I’m finding this conversation about my gender rather tedious.”
He studied her with his gray eyes. “You’re a woman.”
“Oh, my…now that we’ve ascertained I’m not a man are we going to have to now go through this whole process again, establishing I’m a woman. I suggest we move on from this topic and talk about your problem, Mr. Foster.”
He ran a hand through his sandy brown hair. “I can’t talk to you about this. I thought you’d be a man. This is a delicate matter.”
“Mr. Foster, I assure you I’ve seen everything. There isn’t anything you can tell me I haven’t heard before. What is happening to you has happened to many before you.”
“That’s just it. I’ve heard about it happening to other men, but it’s never happened to me before.”
“Ah, I see. Well, this too is a common reaction. Many don’t believe in ghosts until they experience the phenomenon themselves. You’re not alone.”
He looked down. “I’m not talking about ghosts.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I can’t talk to a young lady about this.”
“You can! Nothing you say will shock me.”
“Are you a…spinster?”
Healy huffed. “I don’t see how my marital status is relevant, but yes, I am not a married woman.”
“So you don’t have experience….”
“Please, I have traveled a long way under the most trying circumstances to help you. You’ve already paid the agency, and here I am! Let’s just start at the place where you encountered the haunting?”
Abbott sighed. “In the bedroom.”
“You’re lucky in that sense. Some ghosts follow people around and make all kinds of mischief.”
“Naw, you ain’t catching my meaning.”
“Aw, all right.” He took a long pause, studying his boots before he looked up again. “I’m a newlywed….”
“Yes, but here’s the crux of the matter. The ghost will not allow me to…consummate my marriage.”
Healy felt her face burn red. “Oh, I see. Well, that is a new one on me. Never heard of that one before. How is it that the ghost has power to stop…the act?”
“Ever since I brought Erline—that’s my bride—home, things don’t work right.”
She put a hand on his arm. “Are you sure you’re consulting the right expert? Have you talked to your doctor?”
His face went beet red with frustration. “It’s having a ghost in my bedroom gumming up the works.”
“You have to be more specific. I need details.”
He shuffled his feet in the dust on the boards of the porch. “I think about Erline all day. She’s so pretty. I can’t wait to go to bed. I get in next to her all cocked and ready to fire—and she’s eager too--I can tell, but then when I put….”
Healy put up her hand. “I don’t mean those kinds of details. Tell me about the ghost.”
“Oh, well, it always starts the same way. First there is this god-awful odor like rotten flowers.”
“Olfactory manifestations. Very rare. Interesting. Go on.”
He looked proud of himself for a minute for having a rare haunting. “After I smell the odor a shape appears in the corner. A big, black shadow.”
“Oh, this is bad. Very bad. Black shadows are extremely malevolent.”
“It gets worse.”
“Worse than a black shadow? You’re wise to call in a professional.”
“The shadow moves. It walks, or floats—or whatever those things do—and comes and stands right next to the bed, and the creature points at me! Things shrink up down south at that point, if you know what I mean.”
“And your wife, does she see the ghost?”
“No, she don’t! I’d think I was going loco but the dog knows the ghost is there too. It ran away and won’t come home. Stays with the neighbor.”
“Interesting. Animals are sensitive. Does your wife believe you?”
“She does not entirely believe me. At first she did, but now she thinks it’s her. She is beginning to think I don’t desire her.”
“Don’t worry, we’ll sort this out. I have a high success rate. May I come in?”
“Yes, pardon my bad manners.”
He stepped aside and opened the door for her. The minute she walked through the threshold, Healy felt cooler—and not just because she was out of the sun.
“You, Mr. Foster, have a ghost in your house all right.” She ripped off her glasses. “Let’s get to work.”
The rancher’s boots clacked on the hardwood floors behind her as he followed her into the interior of the house.
“But, it ain’t in here. We have to go to the bedroom.”
Healy held up her hand to silence him, her heart humming like it did in the presence of spirits. “Its presence is all over. May I sit down? I have a few questions for you.”
He indicated a small cane-bottomed maple chair set at a side table. She sat down and he took a seat across from her, wincing with pain as he did so.
“Are you all right, Mr. Foster?”
“Got a little indigestion.” His eyes opened wide. “You look different without your glasses.”
She waved him off. “I need to ask you some questions. How long have you lived here?”
“And no hauntings up until this time?”
“Not a thing.”
“Has anything changed recently—aside from bringing home a wife? Like have you been…?” She tried to remember what Cato said. “Have you been doing any digging? Possibly in an Indian burial ground? Or mining?”
He looked at her with a puzzled expression on his face. “I’m a rancher. I’m not digging mineshafts or anything like that. Just move cattle around. That’s all I do.”
“Bear with me; I’m trying to eliminate the obvious. Any recent deaths here?”
“Not recently, but….” He stood up. “Miss Harrison, my wife, Erline.”
Healy turned in her seat to see a pretty blond in a bright blue satin dress, Healy thought too fancy for daywear on a ranch.
Erline tilted her head back and looked down her nose at Healy. To put things on a different level, Healy stood up. She had a head over the rancher’s wife, so now Erline had to look up at her. Healy extended her hand and the other woman gave her the briefest touch. Healy almost recoiled from the chill coming off her fingers. “I understand congratulations are in order. Congratulations on your recent nuptials.”
Erline spoke without a hint of warmth. “You’re welcome. I’m a lucky woman.”
“It sounds like you’re not from around here.”
“No, I’m from Ohio.”
“Really? Your accent sounds more southern.”
Erline narrowed her eyes. “I’m from southern Ohio.”
“Of course, that explains it. You do understand why I’m here, don’t you?”
“I’m not sure I believe in all this, but if Abbott thinks it’s necessary….”
“It is necessary. Even in this room, I can feel a presence in the house. And now that you’ve joined us, perhaps I can see the bedroom.”
Erline and Abbott exchanged looks before the woman spoke. “If you think that’s necessary.”
“I do think it’s necessary.” This woman sure doesn’t want to do anything unnecessarily.
Healy followed the couple down a long hall. The plaster walls stretched out devoid of decoration, so when Abbott flung open the door to the bedroom, it surprised Healy to find a room looking like a lady’s boudoir. “Nice room,” she commented.
“I made a few changes,” said Erline.
Before even stepping into the room, Healy felt a cold, invisible fog surround her. She shivered. A foul scent filled the room. She and Abbott looked at one another other. He raised his eyebrows.
“Yes, I smell it too,” she said.
“I never smelled it during the day before.”
“Perhaps the ghost doesn’t like you,” Erline said looking at Healy.
“You don’t smell that?” she said to Erline.
Erline threw her a contemptuous look. “I do not.”
Abbott looked at her with concern. Healy realized she was shaking harder. Hostility poured off the walls in this room, and despite the chill in the air, sweat bathed her body.
“There is a mean-spirited presence in this room. I may need to….”
Healy’s knees buckled and her eyes rolled back into her head. The last thing she was aware of was Abbott Foster grabbing her around the waist before she hit the floor.
Find Patti on the Net:
Buy Link: http://mybook.to/GoodBadGhostly