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The Solitaire Ghost

Danger, tragedy, mystery, break-ins, mayhem, and a whole new concept of reality . . .

The Solitaire Ghost

Author Name:

Release Date : April 2, 2024

ISBN Number : 978-1-63632-240-7

$6.95

Kindle Reader = Mobi
Others = Epub

Description

Dorian Wild has a car, a good apartment, a junior partnership in a lawfirm, and a solid relationship. Then a seeming ghost walks out of an elevator floor and rebalances a miner’s panning dish on top of her head.

Suddenly Dorian Wild also has danger, tragedy, mystery, break-ins, mayhem, an unscrupulous megacorp on her trail, and a whole new concept of reality. Especially when it involves a nineteenth-century Irish activist called Jimmy Keenighan, who has ended up in her time and place for reasons neither of them understand.

Book 1 of the Blackston Gold series

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Chapter I

 

Dorian hurried into the elevator and juggled a trio of lunch bags to reach the button for Lewis and Cotton’s eighth-story office. As she hitched her latest barrister’s brief up under the other arm, the ghost walked out of the floor.

Afterwards, she remembered that he was tall: when their feet came level, her eyes were opposite his collarbones. Or at least, the collar of his shirt. But he was still hip-deep in the floor when the beard grabbed her eye.

It started at his ears and met above his lips, it fanned over his shoulders and reached halfway down his chest, straight at the ends, curling round his mouth. It belonged in some picture of a Victorian patriarch, but it was dark, the rich bronzed dark of red-cedar wood. A young man’s beard, live and thick as a bush.

The hair was probably the same, under the stained and bent-brimmed apology of a hat. Straw, maybe, pale and ropy, flopping down from a high conical peak. Not an Akubra, she realized as it came past her face, not a felt hat at all. Nor was the shirt an ordinary plumber or stockman’s working clothes. The sleeves were rolled, but the material was creased like canvas, blue with a broad vertical stripe, and a low round collar like something from a cowboy film.

The braces, too, she remembered afterwards. And the cut of the trousers, nothing like Levis, thick dark stuff whose waistband nearly touched his ribs, clumsy as the boots, hampering as the tools he clutched.

He had the axe and shovel and mattock bundled over one shoulder while his other arm pinned the big metal dish. The hafts were shifting in his hands as he climbed, step by step, in the empty air. He was a pace or so above Dorian’s feet when the dish slid under his elbow and fell onto nothing with a silent glittering bounce.

He trapped it against a boot. Stopped. Bent round, groping one-handed, while the other tried to control the tools. His hand found the dish, and he straightened while she stood just beside him, dumb as a doorpost, her head almost level with his waist.

He brought the dish up. Then he balanced it on her head as if she was a post, a convenient stairpost set where he could change his hold. As he did it she saw his eyes, somewhere between beard and hat. A young man’s eyes, dark as the beard’s core, set smooth under thick straight brows. Absent, worried eyes that would never heed a stairpost. That hardly saw the dish.

The weight lifted, his boots moved. And he was gone, silent as a soap-bubble, ffft.

Dorian’s legs slid her down against the elevator wall. She had time to think how ridiculously high someone had turned the air-conditioning, because she was goosebumps all over, before the doors slid open and she burst into tears.

 

o0o

 

“In here, nobody’ll hit the Legacy this time of day.” Still talking, Laura slid into the bar’s rearmost banquette. “I don’t know, Dor, I could kill you, you know. A ghost! An honest-to-God ghost! Walking up steps in the Perp-Insurance elevator! And all you can say is, I saw him. I can’t talk yetGet me a drink. If it happened to me I’d be over the moon!”

“Maybe, Laura, but Dorian wasn’t expecting it—not with an armful of lunch bags and Coke cans, anyway.” Anne sank beside them on the maroon plush. “Though,” she added thoughtfully, “they did make a lovely crash.”

“Well, I would’ve expected it,” Laura snorted. “I’ve wanted to see a ghost since I was a baby, and at work of all places, how come he turned up for Dorian, the ratfink,

 

why couldn’t he do it for me?”

“He probably will.”

“Bulldust, Anne, you’re just peacemaking again. He probably comes out once a century on a special day or something, and I have to miss it—Jeez, Dor, I really could murder you!”

“Let it alone, Laura. Dorian, are you sure that drink’s okay? Scotch on the rocks is a bit much before one o’clock.”

“No,” Dorian said. She managed to shake her head as well. Their voices wove round her, familiar as their looks: Laura’s sharp rural-Victorian accent, Anne’s softer North Queensland drawl, Laura’s red-gold mane tamed for work in a ponytail, Anne’s silk-straight black bob. The tastefully dim heritage bar wobbled, faux paneling and pendant-flower light shades swinging past her eyes. The Scotch wobbled too, deep amber in its glass, shot through with lighter flecks like dark hair with a tint of auburn. Bronzed, cedar-red.

She put the glass down with a snap. “He put that thing right on top of me—” Her voice had started to wobble as well. “I felt it. And he didn’t—he never—he thought I was a post!”

“You know, that really is weird.”

Laura, Dorian thought. Still talking, now I can hear again. Anne’s arm still lay on the banquette behind her shoulder, though the hug had eased minutes ago. Perish the thought that a Lewis and Cotton junior partner be seen receiving comfort for arrant hysterics, in a lunchtime bar.

Laura had slid over to help the back-patting. Now she sat straight, staring out over the soft pool of white wine in Anne’s untouched glass.

“What’s weird?” Anne spoke with the evenness of near irritation. “Laura, honestly—”

“Anne, listen. You can see ghosts, and maybe it’s on whatever floor or ground it is in their time, and you can get cold and scared and all that, but you shouldn’t be able to, to interact. They’re ghosts! You shouldn’t—”

“Shouldn’t what, for heaven’s sake?”

“You shouldn’t be able to touch.”

There was a pause so deep the lunchtime chatter seemed to echo fathoms over their heads. Dorian felt those eyes again, anxious, unseeing, the weight on her hair. He had put a dish down on top of her, and he was a ghost—

“Laura McFadden, that is more than enough. Keep that New Age chatter for a séance or something—”

“Anne Lee, don’t get snarky because you can’t figure it out either. I tell you, it’s not what happens with ghosts—”

“And Dorian doesn’t want to hear it.” Anne meant business this time. Dorian had rarely heard her so brusque outside court. “She’s had a shake-up already, and this afternoon Moira’ll be on her case about the Ben Morar appeal—”

“Never mind the blasted gold-mine, Anne! This is serious.”

*

About the Author: Sylvia Kelso lives in North Queensland, Australia, and writes mostly novels, in fantasy, SF and mystery/time-travel genres, with alternate North Queensland or analogue Australian settings. Two of her novels have been finalists for best fantasy novel in the Aurealis Australian genre fiction awards.

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