Mist Across the Waves
Morgan knew she didn't want to go out to sea...now she knew why.
The simple act of a surprise birthday party brings trouble from the depths off Pearl Island, and Morgan is forced to solve a murder and confront the threat to the island. It's her destiny to protect Pearl Island and it's residence, just as it's Cora's destiny to try to destroy Morgan.
The sea witch is full of trickery and malice as she tries to lure a group of ocean salvage divers with the promise of gifts from the sea. But Morgan, with the help of her friends Gabe Holleran and the Colbright sisters, plans her own slight-of-hand.
Who will win this battle? As Morgan tries to find the murderer, she also finds more about the history of Pearl Island and the roles the Seaver Family has played in the battles against the tricks and deceptions of the sea witch.
Release date: June 3, 2020
Print pages: 230
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Mist Across the Waves
Victoria LK Williams
Kathy Colbright was going to win the argument and Morgan
Seaver knew it. But Morgan played along anyways.
She had to laugh at the woman standing next to her. The chatter
was nonstop, and she wondered how Kathy did it without
coming up for air.
The two women were standing at the edge of the railing,
waiting for the ferryboat to bring in supplies from the mainland.
The warm wind coming off the ocean blew strongly,
catching the dark hair of both women. Kathy’s was long and
curly, what her grandmother liked to call gypsy hair. Morgan's
was shoulder length, and pitch-black except for a streak across
the front. The streak ran from the tip of her hair to her roots,
going in about 3 inches, and it was a vivid aqua blue. A few
months ago, she had dyed it as a quirk, but like so many other
things that had gone a little askew over the last month, her hair
had never grown out of the dye color. Instead, it intensified,
turning from a dark blue to the aqua. At first, Morgan was mortified
when it wouldn’t wash out, but now she was getting used
to it. It was becoming a talisman for her.
"So, what do you think, Morgan? Is it a good idea?" Kathy
stopped talking long enough to wait for her friend's answer.
"Are you sure your sister is the type for a surprise party?
Jenny comes across as being more ‘I need to know everything
that is happening’ kind of person. Springing a surprise on her
may not give you the results you're looking for," Morgan answered,
trying to be diplomatic.
"Oh, nonsense. It's just what Jenny needs; something to
wake her up and get her out of her rut. And what could be
more fun than a party boat?"
Morgan didn't answer. Instead, she looked out over the water
and saw the ferry making its way towards them. It still had a
distance to come, but it would be here shortly. She knew Kathy
was excited about her idea, and to most people, it would be a
great adventure. But Morgan liked to have her feet firmly on
soil. And too many things in the last month had confirmed this
inner feeling she’d had all her life. Morgan was drawn to the
water; she loved to stand on the dock or walk along the beach,
but she had a slight fear of going out in or on the water. She
would, but she was never comfortable about it. The idea of going
out to party on the boat in the evening did not fill her with
the same exuberance that it was filling Kathy.
"Kathy, you know how I feel about the water," Morgan stated,
rather than answering the question directly.
"Oh, come on, Morgan, what can one night hurt? It will
only be for a couple of hours and will be perfectly safe. After all,
the company that runs these parties knows what they're doing.
Please? For Jenny?"
Morgan burst out laughing at Kathy's pleading. As she
laughed, the sound caught the attention of the bundle tucked
inside the basket of her bike. With a slight meow, a long-haired
tabby stuck her head out of the basket, demanding to know
why her nap was being interrupted. Morgan reached out and
reassured the kitten that all was well and with a contented sigh,
she curled back up in the basket and went to sleep.
The bicycle was the most common mode of transportation
on Pearl Island. The island itself was only about 4 1/2 miles
long and 3/4 of a mile wide, and it wasn't an actual island. At
the opposite end of the island from where the women were
standing was a beautiful public beach. From that beach, you
could drive your car over the one-lane road onto the island
proper. The tourists tended to stay near the beaches, occasionally
wandering about, getting a pizza, or some of the delicious
pastries available from the pastry shop. But for the most part,
the island belonged to the residents. There were very few commercial
locations, and most people left the island to go to work
in one of the larger cities along the coast of Florida. They would
drive their car onto the ferry to go to work and then to come
home. Some even had a second residence on the mainland,
coming to Pearl Island on weekends to spend time with their
family. Houses on the island were kept up with pride, some
large, almost mansions, and others more moderate. Morgan
lived in the large beach house at the other end of the island that
overlooked the shore from one side and the private gardens belonging
to the island from the other. The beach house had been
there for decades, a family home for generation after generation
of Seavers. Morgan herself had just recently come back to the
island after being away most of her life. She'd spent her youth
playing along the shore, but when her mother passed away,
she'd been sent to boarding school in the Northeast, where
she'd spent most of her life, only returning for summer vacations
and special holidays.
"You have to agree to this, please? I have to tell the captain
when she docks the ferry. There's only one opening in time for
Jenny's birthday and I want to make sure I don't lose it. So, I
can count on you, right?"
Morgan sighed. She did not want to disappoint either of
her new friends. Ignoring the uneasiness she felt about going
out on the boat, Morgan nodded. Kathy didn't give her a
chance to say a word; she squealed with delight, giving her a
"Between the two of us, we’ll work to make this a great party
for my sister. She's been in such a funk after losing her partner.
This is just what she needs."
Morgan exchanged a look with Kathy at the mention of
Jenny's partner. It had been a rough couple of weeks for Jenny.
As the island's only police officer, she felt the weight of the responsibility
and all the extra hours from having to do the work
herself after the arrest of her partner for murder—the murder
of Morgan's aunt.
Kathy continued her chatter with more enthusiasm now
that she had gotten Morgan's agreement. Morgan let her go
on, not paying too much attention. Instead, she was thinking
about all that had happened in the last couple of weeks. Morgan
had arrived at Pearl Island expecting to be greeted by her
Aunt Meredith after being away for several years. Instead, she
came to find her aunt murdered. And Morgan was being
blamed for the murder. From that point on, strange things had
happened. It was hard to keep them straight, and it was also
hard to accept that everything that had happened was real and
not a figment of her imagination or part of some old sea legend.
Morgan was shaken from her memories by Kathy’s excited
grasp of her arm.
"The ferry is almost here. Do you want to come and talk
with Captain Rose with me?” Kathy was putting the chain
around her bike while she readied to board the ferryboat to talk
to the captain.
"No, you can handle this,” Morgan said. “Just let me know
what you need me to do. We can get together later tonight if
you want and go over the details. Come by the house; I still
have some casseroles left to defrost, and I could use some help
getting through them. Besides, I need to get this little kitten
home before she wakes up and decides to get into mischief."
"Sounds like a plan to me. I'll be happy to help you eat
those casseroles. I bet I could tell you who made each one."
"Well, there's still plenty more. Families on the island have
been very generous to me after Meredith's death. With all the
food they brought, they must've thought I didn't know how to
"No, that's just island life. We look after our own. And
Meredith was loved by everyone on the island, so of course, we
can extend that love to you and try to take care of you. You’re
just going to have to get used to it, Morgan." Kathy reached
over and gave her a quick hug and then headed towards the
edge of the dock where the ferry would land.
With a wave of her hand, Morgan turned and headed back
to the Seaver beach house.
Morgan waited until the last car had gotten off the ferry
before she left the parking area, not wanting to ride the
bike in traffic or scare Misty, her kitten. But nothing seemed to
bother the cat. Instead, she had poked her head up, letting her
paws drape across the front of the basket, watching the cars
leave with interest.
"Nosy little thing, aren't you?" Morgan asked as she reached
out and played with the cat's soft paws, giving the extra thumb
on each front paw a tap.
Once the last car had left, Morgan followed behind on her
bike. Misty sat in her basket with her head above the rim. As
she rode past some of her new neighbors on the island, they
waved. Misty was becoming a common sight in Morgan's basket.
The first time she had jumped in the basket, Morgan worried
the cat would run away when they reached their destination.
But Misty had become attached to Morgan most unusually,
almost as if she were watching out for Morgan. The woman
couldn't walk from one room to another without the cat meowing
and following her. When they went for rides on the bike,
Misty made no effort to abandon her driver. Instead, she would
curl up in the basket and take a nap or accept coos and cuddles
from people as they walked by.
It didn't take long for Morgan to ride from one end of the
island to the other. It was a beautiful day, and there was just
enough of a breeze to keep her cool. As she rode her bike up to
the front of the house, she wasn't surprised to see a young man
sitting on the steps, his violin next to him.
"Hey, Gabe, what's up?"
Morgan didn't bother to put the bike away; she knew she'd
be using it again later in the day. She leaned it against the front
porch railing and walked up to sit next to her friend. Misty accepted
a scratch behind the ears from Gabe and then disappeared
into the house through the cat door that Morgan had
installed. It seemed like the cat trusted Gabe to look after Morgan,
and she never seemed to stick around when he was there,
trusting him to pick up the slack of her duties.
"So, did Kathy talk you into it?"
Morgan looked at Gabe, not at all surprised he was aware
she had been with Kathy. It was a small community and not
much got past the occupants.
"Was there any doubt? I agreed just to get her to quit nagging."
Morgan laughed as she answered him.
"I bet." Gabe laughed out loud. "Kathy does have a way of
wearing down your resistance. Did she also rope you into helping
plan the party?" Seeing the look on Morgan's face, Gabe's
laughter intensified. He had anticipated as much.
"Well, it's for Jenny. She's been a good friend to me, and she
has been through a lot, thanks to that creep, Stanley," Morgan
answered, referring to Jenny's old partner, who was now sitting
in a jail cell. "I'm not so sure the idea of a surprise party is a good
one. Jenny's pretty good at figuring things out. Besides, Kathy
is never going to be able to keep quiet long enough to pull this
Still laughing, Morgan opened the front door, motioning
for Gabe to follow her. They automatically went to the kitchen,
and Morgan pulled out two bottles of soda, placing one in
front of Gabe without asking.
"So, Gabe, what do you think about Kathy's plans?"
Gabe took a long swallow of his soda before he answered.
"It's probably just what we need. Too many disturbing things
have happened over the last couple of weeks. I think everybody
needs a break and a little bit of fun. It’s different, which will
create more excitement and get everybody's mind on happier
Morgan nodded in agreement. Pearl Island needed something
positive. Since the murder of her aunt and the subsequent
arrest of one of their police officers, the residents had been quiet—
almost fearful. Gabe had a point; they needed something
fun to break the dismal atmosphere that had descended on the
"I think you're right. And I'll just swallow my uneasiness
and have a good time. Besides, I think I will be so busy helping
Kathy that I won’t have time to worry about my petty fears."
"Don't downplay your instincts, Morgan. You have them
for a reason, and you know as well as I do, they have kept you
safe when facing danger."
Before Morgan could answer him, her phone rang, and she
glanced down at the screen to see who was calling. She groaned
as she read Kathy's name.
"And, so it begins," she said to Gabe before she answered.
Morgan was right. Kathy had made up a list of things for
her to get working on, and she was smiling at Gabe as she wrote
it all down. Gabe started to leave her so she could talk to Kathy,
but morgan shook her head and handed him the phone as she
laughed. "Your turn. Kathy has a list for you too."
Once the phone call ended, they each had a list in front of
them. Working together, the pair began to make phone calls
and make arrangements to ensure Jenny would have the best
birthday party possible. Morgan fixed a quick lunch, and they
ate in between phone calls. Finally, around 3:30, Gabe put
down his pen and paper.
"I'm calling it quits for the day. I have a student waiting for
me for her violin lesson, and then I have some work to do. Why
don't we get together tomorrow?"
"That sounds great, but it'll have to be in the afternoon.
I've got a stack of books that need to be evaluated. They just
came in from an estate sale, and the owner wasn't sure they were
worth the money to have them repaired."
"From the peek that I took, yes, he's got some great first editions.
It will be a chore to get them repaired, but I think he'll
find it will be worth it. I love new projects like this: saving old
books and preserving history," Morgan answered.
They agreed on a time to meet the next day, and after Morgan
walked Gabe to the front door, she turned and headed to
her workroom, ready to start going through the boxes that had
arrived yesterday, full of books. She planned on working for
a couple of hours, and then she would continue searching the
contents in her library. Many books were promising to tell her
about the family's history and she knew secrets were waiting
Morgan unpacked the books, finding a few significant
discoveries at the bottom of the box. She quickly sent a
message to the owner, giving him news of her discovery. The
man didn't hesitate and told her to go ahead and do whatever
was needed to save the books. And when she finished that
batch, he had more boxes to send.
In the past, Morgan would have gone to the job and
worked on the book repairs on the owner’s site, but since returning
to Pearl island, she had set up shop in one of the large
rooms on the ground floor that overlooked the courtyard. She
had earned an excellent reputation over the years in her work
of repairing old books, and her clients didn't mind sending the
books to her at this stage. She still planned to go out and do
consultations at job sites, but for the most part, she was going
to do the repair work from the island. This was new to Morgan.
She'd never had roots before, but it felt right. The island
had called her home, and the large Seaver beach house had welcomed
her back to where she had spent her childhood.
"Well, Misty, it looks like we've got some work ahead of us,"
Morgan spoke to the cat sitting on her desk as she hung up the
phone. Ever since Misty had appeared from the mist the first
night Morgan arrived at the island, she had gotten in the habit
of talking to the kitten. Morgan was used to being alone and
liked her own company, but there was something about Misty's
presence that made her speak her thoughts out loud.
"It doesn't look like we will have time for another bike ride.
I better get that bike in the storage shed."Morgan was speaking
more to herself this time. Tucking her phone in her back pocket,
she hurried from the room to put the bike in the shed where
it would be out of the weather. The weatherman had promised
rain tonight, but then again, he had been promising rain for the
last couple of nights, so it was anybody's guess.
Finishing that task, Morgan came back in the house, put
some food down for the kitten, and made herself a quick sandwich.
Grabbing a bottle of water and her food, she headed up
to the library, where she planned to read the next family Journal.
Morgan was strict about the order she read the journals,
starting from the very first one, and working her way up to the
present, reading each of the journals her aunt had left behind.
"I'm glad to see you're reading the family's history," a
soft voice said behind Morgan.
Morgan had finished working in the library and, after a
quick shower, grabbed the book to take to her room and sit
outside on the widow's walk to read. Her room was on the
third floor, opening to the widow's walk connected to the opposite
side of the walk. From here, Morgan could see the shoreline
and would often spend time just sitting and watching the
boats coming into the harbor. She had always loved the widow's
walk, even as a child. She could remember sitting up here with
her aunt and her mother, reading books on the benches that
had been placed to give the best view and protection from the
The voice didn't take her by surprise; she'd secretly been expecting
it. It had been a couple of days since she'd heard the soft
musical tone, and she turned with a smile to see the shimmering
figure of her Aunt Meredith.
"Hello, Aunt Meredith. These books are fascinating; how
could you not read them? There's so much recorded here about
the history of the island."
"There's more than facts in those books, Morgan. You'll
find answers to the Seaver legend in there, as well. Be sure you
read them carefully; the information may help you someday."
Morgan looked back out to the sea as if it contained the
answers she wanted to ask before she looked back at Meredith.
"It's not over, is it? Cora will return as she promised."
Meredith nodded. She moved closer to sit next to her niece
on the bench. "I'm afraid so. But the more information you
have the better prepared you will be. Don't let your guard
down. That's when Cora will take advantage."
The two were silent for a moment, watching the waves
crash against the shore.
"You know, you should be writing a journal, as well. It's
your turn to write down the family's history. You need to
record what is happening to you, just as your mother and I did."
Morgan was silent for a moment and then turned to her
aunt to answer her, but she had disappeared.
She laughed into the empty night air. "You know, that's just
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