Romantic Suspense by Rebecca Reilly
I wrote and published Haunting Megan in 2014, but the inspiration for the story began over forty years ago.
My mother was an abusive alcoholic, and many of the events of the opening chapters came from my childhood. I woke one night to my mother standing above me with a chef’s knife in her hand. When I was twelve, I visited her in a mental facility where she was confined after she attempted suicide. Those days and nights definitely sparked the beginning ideas for Haunting Megan.
Megan comes from me more than any other character I’ve written. Her insecurities, her brokenness, and her need to protect are qualities that grew from the abuse in my childhood. As with Megan, the love of a good man helped me see my value, accept my flaws, and grow into the woman I was created to be.
After suffering years of abuse at the hands of her alcoholic mother, Megan wakes to screams, cries of murder, and the room splattered with blood. Sent to the mountains to live with the grandfather who’d once abandoned them, Megan must learn to care for her young sisters and manage Wind Hollow Lodge. Megan tries to ignore the haunting memories of her past as she struggles to live a normal life. But she can’t ignore the ghosts who terrorize her, nor can she calm the fear that her sanity is slipping away. When deputies discover the bodies of men murdered on Wind Hollow land, people start to wonder just how crazy Megan Wilson really is.
The investigation at Wind Hollow Lodge is just another case to Deputy Jason Belt—until he sees Megan. Drawn to her beauty and her wounded spirit, his oath to protect and serve takes on new meaning. But why did she lie to him? What does she have to hide?
The summer season began, and in one week the lodge went from vacant to filled to capacity. Megan pushed the vacuum up and down the hallway. She cleaned each of the fifteen rooms herself. Everyday. She didn’t want to admit it to anyone, but she liked it. Before, in San Jose, she didn’t clean. She didn’t know how. Jessica did all the housework and whatever cooking needed to be done. Here she had an important job, one she could take pride in. Cleaning rooms meant something to the success of the lodge, and she put her heart into it.
It had taken Megan a month to get comfortable at Wind Hollow Lodge. Her grandfather was a man of few words, and those words more often than not came out sounding like a growl. But he was solid. She’d never seen him lose control. He did his duty to the lodge and for them. Megan didn’t love him, but she felt safe with him. Safe was very good.
She wound the cord around the vacuum and took it to the storage closet across from her room. The smell of french fries made her stomach hurt. Damn Zoe, Wind Hollow’s cook, for leaving them on the Lodge menu. She had not been able to eat fries since the night Jessica died. The smell alone brought the vision flashing in her head of Jessica handing her a bag. But in Megan’s visions, Jessica’s hand was covered in blood.
Megan unlocked her bedroom door and pushed it open. She thought she’d find Emily eating off a plate she’d snuck from the kitchen and was prepared to discipline her wayward sister.
She faced her dead sister instead.
Megan grabbed the doorway to keep from falling. Her body shaking, Megan tried to speak or scream. Nothing.
Jessica smiled and gestured with her arm. “This used to be my room.”
Jessica’s features looked washed out like an overexposed photograph. She wore a flowing white nightgown splattered with blood. “She’s here. She’s here. She’s here,” sliced like a sharp blade through Megan’s head. The need to run out of the room and slam the door warred with the need to run in and hold Jessica to keep her close. It didn’t matter that the urge to run was stronger; her legs wouldn’t move. Megan’s fingers dug into the doorjamb splintering both her nails and the old wood.
Jessica took a step closer to Megan. She lowered her chin and her eyes sparked. “Do you know who sliced me up, Little Sister? I was protecting you, and now I’m dead.”
Megan’s brain couldn’t form thoughts, much less words. Her ears rang and lights spiraled around her eyes. She felt herself slipping away from the wall, away from everything.
“Megan,” Sarah tugged the back of Megan’s shirt. Her younger sister’s touch shot adrenaline through Megan’s body, jolting her back to consciousness. She must protect Sarah from whatever, whoever, was in their room.
Megan spun and screamed, too frightened to be gentle. “What do you want?”
Sarah backed up, startled and nearly as frightened as Megan. “I’m sorry. I just…” Sarah’s lip quivered and a tear slid out.
Megan took a jagged breath and opened her arms to her little sister. “I’m sorry, baby. You scared me and I screamed.” She held her a moment, aware enough to block Sarah’s view of the room and of Jessica. “What did you need?”
“It’s time for lunch.”
Megan nodded. “Go on down. I’ll be right there.”
Megan waited until Sarah turned the corner on the stairs before she turned around. Jessica was gone.
Rebecca Reilly is a pastor and has worked in ministry for over thirty years. A passionate reader and writer, Rebecca took on four wildly different genres for her first five books – a murder mystery at sea (Into Dark Waters), a humorous look at sex and marriage (Diary of a Christian Woman: How I Used 50 Shades of Grey to Spice Up My Marriage), a children’s chapter book on bullying and self-esteem (The Geek Club under the name Becky Reilly), and two picture books (Jammers and His Flying Bed Adventure and Heart of a Kitty). She returned to the mystery/romantic suspense genre for her sixth book (Haunting Megan), and is currently working on a non-fiction manuscript, Christian Sex and Marriage—It’s Complicated! Visit Rebecca’s Amazon Author Page at http://bit.ly/RReillyAmazonAuthor, and follow her on Facebook (facebook.com/RebeccaLynnReilly), Twitter (twitter.com/RebeccaReillyL), Goodreads, and at www.rebeccareilly.net.
Rebecca has an innate belief that if she dreams about something, she can accomplish it. Prompted by that sense of adventure, Rebecca pursued careers as a pastor, a health coach, a massage therapist, a Zumba instructor, a musical theater director/producer, and a writer – all at the same time.
An avid reader, Rebecca begins each morning in the hot tub with a good book. She then wakes her muscles and her creativity with a long trail run, grabs a cup of coffee and gets to work.
Rebecca took on five wildly different genres for her first seven books – a murder mystery at sea (Into Dark Waters), a humorous look at sex and marriage (Diary of a Christian Woman: How I Used 50 Shades of Grey to Spice Up My Marriage), a children’s chapter book on bullying and self-esteem (The Geek Club under the pen name Becky Reilly), and two picture books (Jammers and His Flying Bed Adventure and Heart of a Kitty). She returned to the romantic suspense genre for her sixth book (Haunting Megan). Her current project (summer 2015 release date) is a non-fiction work called Christian Sex and Marriage—It’s Complicated!
Rebecca has been happily married for thirty-one years, is the mother of two, grandmother of one, and lives in Northern California. You can follow Rebecca on Facebook (facebook.com/RebeccaLynnReilly), Twitter (twitter.com/RebeccaReillyL), Goodreads, and at www.rebeccareilly.net. Contact Rebecca at firstname.lastname@example.org
Web Page: Rebeccareilly.net
Book Buy Links
Amazon Author Page: http://bit.ly/RReillyAmazonAuthor
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Apple iBooks: http://bit.ly/HauntingMeganiBooks
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Diary of A Christian Woman: How I Used 50 Shades of Grey To Spice Up My Marriage
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