New York Times bestselling author Meghan March goes back to New Orleans and the world of Lachlan Mount with a dangerous and bold new anti-hero.
The thing about ghosts is they’re supposed to stay dead.
That’s exactly what I am, but I can’t stay away from Magnolia Marie Maison for one more day, let alone another year.
We’ve already got fifteen of those between us.
As it stands, she’ll want to kill me as soon as she lays eyes on me. And knowing her, she’s completely up to the task.
But I’m a man on a mission, and I’ve got everything riding on this.
So, here I come, Magnolia. This ghost is ready for whatever you got.
After all, there’s only one way I want this to end—’til death do us part.
Release date: March 10, 2020
Publisher: Meghan March LLC
Print pages: 266
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“One card. You know the drill. I’m feeling strong energy coming off you today, Magnolia.” I pause midstride between the Saint Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square as Madame Celeste waves me over to her rickety card table. She has a shop a few streets over, but she sets up out here more than I think an elderly woman should. But then again, what the hell do I know? It’s not like I could stop her anyway. Stubborn woman. I guess like recognizes like. “You’re only saying that because I didn’t stop to say hi. I’m in a hurry,” I tell her, my eyebrow popping up. Celeste and I go way back. She’s been a fixture in the Quarter for as long as I can remember. “Come see. There’s always time for what the cards have to say.” My heels click on the stone pavers as I close the distance to her table. “I have an appointment, Celeste. I can’t fuck around today.” When something gleams in her otherworldly pale blue eyes in response, I huff out a breath. “Fine. Two minutes. One card. But I can’t be late.” She holds out the deck, and I knock the top and shuffle quickly. “Your life is about to change, chère.” My brow creases. “You haven’t even flipped over the card,” I say, giving her my best side-eye. Despite my words and the warm, sunny day, chills skitter up my spine, unleashing a raft of goose bumps along my exposed skin. Celeste smiles, revealing the gap between her two front teeth. “I don’t need the cards to feel the winds of change. You’ve been out of sorts for too long, Magnolia. The universe feels your energy and the questions you’ve been asking. Your answers are coming. All will be revealed.” I tip my head to the side and release another long breath of annoyance, but inside, I’m tense as hell. Celeste shouldn’t know this shit. And, really, I shouldn’t be buying into it. I’m a woman of the world, and no deck of cards is going to tell me what will happen in my life. I’m in control. That’s the way this works. Yet, here I sit. “You don’t need to give me the tourist song and dance, Celeste. Just flip the damn card.” “You feel it too,” she says, and her eyes seem to glow. There’s only one other person I’ve ever seen up close who had eyes that did the same trick, but they were a different color. And we don’t think about him. Not fucking ever. “Right now, all I feel is how much I don’t want to be late to this meeting I need to get to.” She winks at me and flips the card. The Devil. “Jesus fucking Christ, Celeste.” I cut my gaze away from the card to her face. “You stop me and then flip over the Devil card?” There’s no hiding my discomfort in this moment. I scrub my hands up and down my arms to chase away the damn chill I shouldn’t be feeling in this sunlight. “You shuffled the deck, Magnolia. You brought the card up. You can deny it all you want, but you feel it too, don’t you? The unease that’s been dogging your every step? You’re letting everything that’s happened to you eat you alive, and it’s gotta stop.” The woman sits up straighter and pulls back her thin shoulders. “It’s time for change. You can’t keep going on the way you are. You gotta make a choice.” The twisting knot in place of where my stomach used to be tightens to the point of discomfort. I’ve been carrying the weight of shit my whole life. That’s nothing new to me. But Celeste is right. The last couple of years, shit’s been getting real heavy. Grief. Betrayal. Rage. Heartbreak. Celeste hit the nail on the head—just like always. All those feelings swirling inside me have been slowly eating me alive. A girl like me can shake off a lot, but even I can only handle so much. Shooting and killing a man the way I did . . . it’ll fuck you up. I stare into Celeste’s eerie eyes and force a smile to my crimson-painted lips. Bravado has always been one of my most valuable assets, a talent I can’t live without. “That’s enough, Celeste. I’m fine. Shit always works out in the end.” She shakes her turban-covered head slowly from side to side. “Change is coming whether you want it or not. I know you like to dance with the devil, but watch yourself, girl. He always demands his due.” The hair rises on the back of my neck as I stand up. “Take care of yourself, Celeste. I’ll see you later. I gotta go.” Her hand snakes out to grab my fingers, and I tense at her bony grip. “All I want is for you to find peace. Peace and love, chère. Now go, but watch yourself. Those winds of change are blowing strong. I feel it in my bones.” With those foreboding last words, Celeste releases my hand, and I flex my fingers to shake off her predictions. I back away from the table, turning in the direction I was headed, making my way through the crowd of tourists who’ve gathered in front of musicians playing a tuba, a trumpet, and a trombone. Static rushes in my ears, drowning out the sound of the brass playing “When the Saints Go Marching In.” With my arms wrapped tightly around my middle, I pick my way across the gray stones beneath my feet, careful not to catch a heel in the cracks. What the hell was that about? Change is coming whether I want it or not? As if that’s news. It’s the one thing I can always count on—shit changes. Someone slams into me from the side, and my purse strap yanks against my shoulder. “Not today, motherfucker,” I bite out as my grip tightens, and I lock eyes on a kid who should definitely be in school. Then again, around that age, I wasn’t either. His eyes go wide before practically bulging out of his head when he gets a good look at me. I’m attractive. I have a body built for sin and a face to match. My silky dark hair flutters in the breeze as I tilt my head at him. “You hear me? Not today.” The kid’s head bobbles like one of those toys on a dashboard, and as if by magic, his hand releases my purse strap. “S-sorry, ma’am. I wasn’t watching where I was going.” I spear him with a don’t-fuck-with-me glare. “Right. And I was born yesterday.” He licks his lips and drops his gaze to my tits before backing away slowly. “You’re fucking hot.” At least this, he says to my face. “Get your ass off the streets before you get picked up for all the shit you’ve done.” He nods, but it’s unlikely my words will change a damn thing. The sorry excuse for a petty thief breaks eye contact after another beat before trotting away through the crowd. Probably off to find an unsuspecting victim. At least it wasn’t me. You can’t save them all, Mags. You can’t save them all. With that truth echoing in my brain, I start marching again, my focus on getting to this meeting before I’m actually late. Tardiness isn’t something Mount tolerates, even from his wife’s best friend. Him marrying Keira has definitely made my life easier, but it’s clear where my bread is buttered, and I show proper respect. No one wants to wake the beast that man can be, especially not me. I’m all about self-preservation. As I move to cross the street, dodging pedestrians, something catches my attention through the plate glass window of a building on the other side. An eerie greenish-gold gaze collides with mine. Not. Possible. Blinking, I spin around in the middle of the street, then rush toward the window to get a better look. It can’t be him. Not now. Not after all this time. That’d be like conjuring a damned ghost. A small crowd of tourists blocks me as they gather around three boys drumming on five-gallon buckets, but I sidestep them to stare through the glass. Those haunting eyes I thought I saw? They’re gone. And the seat where I thought I saw them? Empty. Again. It’s not the first time I’ve thought I saw the man those eyes belong to, but I’m always wrong. He isn’t coming back for you, and he never was. You’ve had fifteen years to get that through your damn head. You’d think I’d learn. But old habits die hard, especially my habit of looking for him in every face I see. “Change is coming.” Madame Celeste’s words filter through my head as I stand on the sidewalk, staring at people eating brunch in the restaurant. The scent of rich spices waft around me, and I swear I hear his voice. “Some things don’t happen twice in a lifetime, Magnolia. You’re one of them.” Those words are from the past. Fifteen years ago, I let myself forget who and what I was, and I made the ultimate mistake. I fell in love. Then he left and never came back. My heart has been black ever since. Maybe Celeste is right. Maybe the devil is coming for me. Too bad it won’t be the one I still think about in my weakest moments.
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