The Pit and the Passion

She held her gaze steady, mainly so she could delve deep, deep into those chocolate eyes. Together with his sharp, angular nose and intense, almost predatory, expression, he reminded her of a peregrine falcon on the hunt.

The Pit & the Passion

Monday, February 9, 2015

Welcome Carolyn Ridder Aspenson and Uncharted Territory

#1 AMAZON bestselling author Carolyn Ridder Aspenson brings back Angela, Fran, and Mel for another paranormal cozy mystery adventure full of the same hilariously snarky banter and heart-tugging reconnections found in Unfinished Business and Unbreakable Bonds.

Uncharted Territory, Angela Panther Novel Book 3 is currently available for pre-order on Amazon. The book can be read as a stand-alone cozy mystery but is third in The Angela Panther Series.

Just when psychic medium Angela Panther thinks she's got her gift figured out, the universe smacks her in the head with a curve ball, or three.

When an unidentified fourteen-year-old boy takes a dive off an interstate overpass, Detective Aaron Banner asks Angela to find out what really happened, and to whom. Only, the boy’s spirit has other plans for her—help another lost soul and forget about him.

But Angela's never been good at taking orders.

With the help of her dead-but-not-gone mother, Fran, and her best friend, Mel, who’s now newly single and on the prowl, Angela sets out to discover the truth about both the jumper and the girl he wants to help.

And boy, is she out of her league.

Armed with little more than their double lattes and a tiny pink bottle of wannabe pepper spray, Angela and Mel must venture far out of their comfort zone to solve two mysteries.  But will it be enough to protect them from the dark side of Atlanta and its gun-toting teens and child abductors, so they can help the dead to finally rest in peace?

As a special treat, here’s a hefty bite of the first chapter of Uncharted Territory.

Psychic mediums don't like hospitals. For us, hospitals are like shopping malls on Black Friday—overcrowded with people on a mission. Only in the hospital the people are dead. Since I'd grown to appreciate and accept my psychic gift I'd learned to despise hospitals. Forget the white, sterile walls, the incessant beeping of machines, or even the bland colored scrubs too big or too small on everyone who wore them, and a total fashion mistake if you asked me. None of that mattered to me because I was too focused on dodging the dead. It wasn't that I didn't want to help them. There were just so many one psychic medium could handle.
In recent months word about my gift made its rounds in the in-between—the place between our world and the afterlife, and I'd become a popular gal on the hospital circuit. The dead needed my help and flooded the hospital halls, vying for my attention by hovering near, and asking me questions.
"Are you her?"
"Is this Heaven?"
"The dog ate my life insurance policy two months before I died."
"The money for my funeral is in my sock drawer, inside the brown socks with the blue whales on them. I hate those socks, tell Marge to burn them but only after she gets the money."
"I need to get a message to my husband."
"Tell them not to bury me in the pink dress. I always hated that damn pink dress."
Frankly, it could be a real pain in the butt, but mostly it was just overwhelming and depressing. Yep, I hated hospitals. So when Detective Aaron Banner asked me to meet him at the front entrance to Powers Ferry Medical Center I hesitated, but since I'm a glutton for punishment and had unofficially signed on to help him when he needed me, I did it anyway.
I stood outside the front entrance, slowly pulling air in through my nose and blowing it out through my mouth. It's what I did after a good, hard run to slow my heart rate, and it was good for calming my nerves, too. And I needed to be calm for when the sudden onslaught of spirits begging for help bombarded me on the other side of the hospital doors.
Aaron kept a watchful, detective's eye on me as I went through the motions of my calming routine. He stayed back knowing not to interfere for fear of messing up my juju. He'd become familiar with my quirks and me over the few months we'd worked together and knew the drill well. Plus, I think it creeped him out a little, watching me imitate a woman in labor. When I finished I nodded, my signal to him that I was as calm and prepared as I could get. I wasn't actually calm, but I wasn't going to have an anxiety attack, either.
Brow furrowed, Aaron stood on the mat, holding the electronic door open for me. "Thanks for coming."
"Wouldn't miss it for the world." I patted him on the shoulder. "Seriously, I hope I can help."
We walked inside together, and in a flash the smell of bleach cleaner engulfed my nasal passages. I rubbed my nose, hoping to stop the scent from sticking. "Yuck."
"I hate the bleach," Aaron said. "It actually burns my eyes. If I could walk around with them closed, I would."
"Me too, but for a totally different reason."
The dead were everywhere. Hovering beside me, floating above me, and following behind me were spirits in all shapes and sizes, of all races, both genders and a plethora of ages. The hall buzzed with energy, so much so I couldn't tell what was what. I became dizzy and stopped, leaning against the main desk to gather my composure.
"You okay?" Aaron's face showed genuine concern.
"Yeah, I'm fine." I bent toward his ear. "This place is full of spirits."
His head rotated from one side to the other. "If you say so."
I straightened my arms out in front of me and clasped my hands together, stretching out my shoulder blades. "I'm fine. Let's get this over with."
We continued walking toward the elevators as a spirit hovering to my left jabbered incessantly in my ear.
"She needs the keys. Tell her they're in the basement on my workbench, under the Playboy magazine. The one with the twins in the centerfold. She'll never forgive me if she doesn't find the keys, and boy she'll be mad when she sees the magazine. I've hidden them down there for years because she never goes down there. Please, can you tell her?"
"Where is she?"
Aaron slanted his head to the right, but didn't speak.
The spirit pointed to a gray-haired woman sitting alone on the bench across from the entrance.
I held my index finger up to Aaron. "Gimme a sec, okay?"
He nodded.
The spirit and I walked over to the woman. It seemed like she was staring right through me, her eyes not focused on anything in particular. I crouched down in front of her, my eyes meeting hers. "Hi, my name is Angela. I'm supposed to tell you that…" I glanced at the spirit. "What's your name?"
"Harvey. I'm her husband."
"Got it."
I turned back to the woman. She still had the lost expression on her face. "Harvey wanted me to tell you that you'll find the keys on his workbench in the basement, under the Playboy magazine with the twins in the centerfold."
That got her attention. "My Harvey? What keys?"
I peered up at Harvey, who hovered upright. "What are the keys for?"
"The safe. It's got my life insurance policy and some money in it. Tell her I'm sorry about the Playboy."
"Harvey said the keys are to the safe and there's money and a life insurance policy in there for you."
The woman was dazed, and I didn't know if what I'd said sunk in. "Are you alone? Can I call someone for you?"
"I see him, you know. That's him, right there." She pointed to Harvey.
I glanced at Harvey, who shrugged.
I'd never experienced anyone other than a child see a spirit with me, so I wasn't sure what to say. "Oh, well…"
The woman's eyes widened and her mouth opened, but before she could speak, her head dropped forward.
"Mary," Harvey said. "Is that you?"
Harvey's wife's spirit hovered next to his.
"Well, crap." I flipped around and yelled to Aaron, "I think this woman just died, get a doctor!"
A nurse at the desk heard me and ran over. Three other nurses followed and within seconds I was pushed aside while they worked on Mary.
"It's not gonna work," I told Aaron. "She's already gone."
I nodded. "She and her husband just shimmered away."
"Jesus. You okay?"
I shook my shoulders. "I'm fine. Let's go."
We headed to the elevator again, followed by spirits and yet another one begged for my attention.
I grabbed Aaron's shoulders. "Gimme a sec, and work with me on this, okay?"
He wrinkled his nose. "Are you going to do that thing you do?"
I nodded. "You ready?"
He tipped his head down. "Ready."
I dropped my hands and focused on Aaron's face. "Okay, here's how this works. I'm here to help this guy." I pointed to Aaron's chest. "You know, the living one. All of you other people are dead, in case you didn't already know that."
Aaron tweaked his head to the left, and groaned. I ignored him.
"If you didn't, well, now you do." I pointed to the ceiling. "See that light up there?"
"What light?" a man in a hospital gown tied in the front, said. He was probably going to need some help, at least with the proper way to wear the gown because he was naked underneath it and I got a shot of something I had no desire to see.
"That's a bright light, ain't it?" another spirit asked. "Where'd that come from?"
A male spirit in a beat-up leather jacket and ripped jeans spoke. "That light's got nothing for me. I'm stayin' here."
That one stared me straight in the eye and then shimmered away. I shuddered, thinking he might be one to stay away from.
"But I didn't get to see the end of my show," a little old lady in a red robe and fuzzy green slippers said. "I don't know who killed the girl. I can't leave until I find out who killed the girl." She was distraught. I felt for her, and that's why I always read the end of a book first. In case I died, at least I'd die knowing how the book ended.
"Oh, look at that," another white-gowned man said. "That's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen."
I tilted my head toward the ceiling, and Aaron's face followed mine. I saw nothing but the ceiling and if I had to guess, I'd say that's all Aaron saw, too. "Yeah, that's what I'm told. If you see that light, go to it. You'll find your family and friends there."
The corners of his eyes crinkled and he shimmered away. At least one of them got the message.
"Will Skipper be there?" A little girl's voice peeped out from the crowd.
I flung my body around at the sound of her precious voice. A teeny little girl in a red nightgown with Sesame Street characters on it pushed her way to the front of the group. Her hair was an adorable mess of not red, more like orange curls falling to her shoulders. She had ocean blue eyes so big that small animals could swim in them. She was such a beautiful child, but the sadness on her face and tremor in her voice made my heart hurt. "I'm scared to go there, but if Skipper is there, I could try and be brave."
Oblivious to the living nearby, I bent down to the little girl, and put my face close to hers. She'd been crying, her eyes pools of ocean blue water. Her slightly transparent lip trembled. "Honey, is Skipper your dog? Did your dog go to Heaven?"
She shook her head. "He's my grandpa. He went to Heaven when I was this many." She held up three fingers.
I swallowed back the lump in my throat. "How many are you now?"
One more finger popped up. "This many."
I placed my hand on my heart. The kids were tough. "Yes baby, Skipper will be there. I bet he's waiting for you right now, too." I believed in Heaven, and because I also believed in God, I figured there was a Hell, too. I just didn't think Grandpas and Grandmas went there. Unless they were serial killers, and I was pretty sure this little girl's Skipper wasn't. "I promise you, if you go to that light, you will be happy and safe and nothing will ever hurt you again."
Her lips trembled harder. "You promise?"
I crossed my heart with my finger. "I promise."
"Okay." The little girl lifted her eyes upward and said, "You're nice," and then she shimmered away. 

Carolyn Ridder Aspenson
Book 1 in the Angela Panther Novel series, Unfinished Business is available here:

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vicki batman said...

Oh my, how intriguing about your psychic and the hospital. Congratulations on the book.

Carolyn Ridder Aspenson said...

Thanks, Vicki! I had a lot of fun writing this book. I loved going to the places I've mentioned and writing about them. Have a great day!

Melissa Keir said...

Sounds like a great series. I love the idea of the psychic and the scene in the hospital.