Shame the Devil

Shame the Devil

Shame the Devil
New Adult Paranormal


Verity Kline has never quite fit in since moving to Winter Harbor, Virginia after her father’s death, but all that is about to change. Everyone in Tidewater College knows Verity is psychic, but none know the details of her past. Except Nathaniel Marshall, who relocates to Winter Harbor just before a film crew rolls into town recruiting students for a paranormal reality show. No one is more surprised than Verity when she is announced as part of the cast, especially since she never signed up. 
While the other participants think the show is a typical made-for-TV fabrication, Verity knows the truth. The house and its unseen occupants are evil. The spirits and a mysterious man known only as The Director want her there to further an unknown agenda. Now Verity must do her best to battle the darkness that took her father’s life and shadows her every move, try to keep everyone alive, and decide whether the man she loves may love her to death. 
SHAME THE DEVIL is complete at 70,000 words. 

First Chapter:

Imaginations ran wild in a place like this. Creaking floorboards turned to clattering chains. Wind through gaps in the shingle siding turned to hideous moans of the damned. Something moved in my peripheral vision. I jerked, the beam of my flashlight bounced across the abandoned furniture. A wardrobe, one door missing, filled with gnawed fur coats rested against one wall. A couch, bowed at the center as if it carried the weight of a body, stretched across the other. Dust motes writhed in the light. The last inhabitant covered the furniture in white sheets, grown moth eaten and rumpled from years of neglect and teenage dares.

Like this one.

I’d seen too much in my lifetime to be scared by a little noise. Here, though, even my nerves of steel began to rust. Things called for me, at the edges of my mind. They laughed and waited. It’d been months since I’d last heard the whispers, but I knew they were out there.

Seated beside me, Tanya Yoder shifted and coughed. Her long, manicured nails clutched the battery-operated lantern so hard her knuckles turned white.

“I should never have let them talk me into this. Coming here. With you.”

I didn’t respond. I figured Tanya didn’t really want me to.

“Derek can do this ghost hunting crap on his own. If I even think I hear a rat, I’m out of here.”

“Calm down. We only have to stay half an hour,” I said, though my gut told me to leave. I didn’t want to be here when Tanya flipped out. “There’s only ten minutes left until we pack up.”

She fidgeted. “This might be normal for a freak like you, but I’ve never seen a house as creepy as this.”

You have no idea what scary is… I wanted to shake her, to explain the stronger her fear, the more attention she attracted. But it would just make her more upset. I sighed and started to get up. Tanya’s hand fisted in the back of my shirt.

“Verity Kline, don’t you dare leave me.”

“I’m only going across the room. I need to move a little.”

Her fingers twisted the material tighter. “Like hell. You’ll go over there and do weird stuff and all my hair will turn white.”

I rolled my eyes. My best friend, Karen, conned me into taking Tanya on a trial run. Her paranormal group, the Tidewater College Paranormal Society, sometimes called me in for favors. Meaning Karen wanted a friend. Mostly they were just out for a couple good scares and some beer. Not for the first time tonight, I wondered why I gave in.

Something didn’t like Tanya and me, and it grew irritated. I wasn’t worried about me. As a child, my parents never discouraged a fear of the dark. Some kids got “monster spray” and a kiss. I got a flashlight and extra batteries—I could last the hour. Tanya, though, would probably spaz at the first whispered word or phantom breeze.

Tanya glared, her eyes glistening with moisture. I sat back down. “Fine.”

“You better not tell anyone, especially Derek, I chickened out in here. I don’t want anyone to know you had to talk me down.”

The way Tanya spat the words, they must have been hard to choke out. I shrugged. “Yeah, whatever. No one really cares.”

“They care.” She flipped her hair over one shoulder. “You know they do, or they wouldn’t still tease you about that thing freshman year. I mean, no one has forgotten those screams.”

“Do you want me to leave you here?”

She shook her head and played with her necklace. “You’re really not all that nice, you know?”

I almost laughed. “I’m quiet, and I stay out of your way. It doesn’t mean I’m a pushover.”

We fell into silence and I tried not to think about the day I arrived at Tidewater College, I managed to get in the way of the wrong person. One of the seniors thought it fun to lock the weird freshman in a janitor’s closet in one of the old dormitories. It had been rumored to be haunted by the ghost of a Victorian woman who hanged herself. I could tell them it was true. But that wasn’t what had sent me screaming.

The last time I’d been locked in a closet, my father died. A presence in the darkness, or maybe just the memory of that day was too much. I screamed my head off until someone let me out. For two years, I put up with the teasing. At the beginning of my junior year, I decided enough was enough. I told my best friend about my abilities and what happened to my father. In ten minutes, half the school knew I was psychic, and I lost any chance of normalcy.

Tanya shifted behind me, scooting closer. I looked around. The shadows thickened. Great. I could make the ghost leave, or I could let him scare my companion. Either way, I knew the rumors would fly tomorrow. Glancing back at Tanya’s pale face, my shoulders drooped. Part of me wanted to watch her scream. She’d made enough people’s lives miserable. But cruelty wasn’t my style.

“What is that?” Tanya asked. Her words quivered with fear. Her breath billowed in white puffs as the temperature dropped.

I pushed a hand through my hair and stood. Tanya whimpered and grabbed at my arm, her long nails scraping the exposed flesh where I’d pushed my sleeves up.

Waving a hand through the black mist starting to form in front of us, I winced. “That’s enough, thank you. We’re leaving in,” I checked my watch, “five minutes. Take a chill pill.”

The ghost, a thin specter of an unpleasant-looking old man, drew closer. A rumpled black suit hung off his bony frame, and his skin looked like he’d been dusted with chalk. Wisps of white hair floated around him, and his thin mouth pulled down into a permanent frown. I imagined he’d been an unpleasant person when alive. He paused, clearly unsure about the new turn of events. I couldn’t fault him. Teenagers had dared each other to come here at night for decades. When they weren’t scared out of their minds, the guys tried to coax the girls into putting out in the attic. If people did that in my house, I’d be annoyed too.

Get out.

“I’d love to, but there’s money at stake, and I’m stuck with her until our time is up.”

He bared yellow teeth and moved a few steps nearer. Not my problem.

“Yeah, well, I didn’t want it to be mine either. Cut me a break.”

The ghost wasn’t totally unkind, and when I didn’t show any fear of him, his face went slack. He grumbled to himself. His dark eyes strayed to Tanya, his frown grew deeper.

“She’s not worth the effort. Honest. Just go away, and we’ll be gone before you know it.”

His empty gaze flicked between the two of us, and he shrugged. Slowly, he backed away. I glanced back at Tanya and wanted to tear her hair out. I’d helped, but now instead of being scared, she gawked at me. The mist dissipated, the temperature rose, and the spirit moved downstairs to sulk alone.

“You’re nuts, aren’t you?” Tanya asked.

I rolled my eyes. “Do you feel like you’re being watched now?”

“No.” Her eyes widened. “Holy shit, you can talk to them!”

“Amazing, isn’t it? The rumor mill actually got it right for once.” I sat down. “For the record? I’m not a witch and I don’t dance naked in the moonlight.”

My attempt at humor was lost on her. With the threat gone, she pulled a piece of gum from her pocket. She popped it into her mouth and tossed the wadded wrapper on the floor. I resisted the urge to call the ghost back.

“How much longer?”

“Only a few minutes.”

They were the longest two minutes of my life. The second hands seemed to slow as I stared at the borrowed watch around my wrist. As the last second struck, I slid the device off and told Tanya we could leave. She jumped to her feet, rushed out the door and downstairs. At the bottom, she stopped, adjusted her hair, and took a deep breath. She waited for me to get behind her, then opened the door. When she stepped out, she tossed her hair over her shoulders and strutted down the creaking front steps, loudly complaining about being bored.

Another girl looked at me and asked, “Really?  Nothing happened?”

For a brief moment, I contemplated making up a huge story about tears and Tanya screaming. But one look at her face and I caved. I nodded.

A disappointed groan swept through the small crowd gathered outside.  Karen appeared, snagging my arm as we trekked back to the fire pit behind the house Derek Anderson shared with three roommates.

“Tell me the truth. I know you, and she’s lying,” Karen said as I handed back her watch.

I glared. “You’re going to pay me back for tonight.”

“What?” She batted her eyelashes.

“Your puppy dog eyes might work on Mike, but they don’t make a difference to me. Are you trying to kill my reputation?”

Karen tittered. Beer breath tickled my nose and I sneezed. “Verity, you don’t have a reputation. That’s what I’m trying to give you!”

I pulled Karen aside as we approached the crackling fire pit. I squeezed her shoulders. Sometimes she made me want to shake her until she understood me, but tonight she’d probably just puke on my sneakers. “Karen, I’m only going to tell you this once. I don’t need a reputation. I don’t need to ‘let loose’ and get drunk. Just let me do things my way.”


“No. If you ever do that again, I will never speak to you. Understand?”

My threat must have registered, as guilt flashed over her face. I squeezed her shoulder tighter. She groaned then nodded. Her silver ankh earrings bounced with the movement. “You have no sense of fun sometimes, Verity. Half an hour in an old house never hurt anybody, right?”

Icy fingers stroked my spine. She didn’t need to know the things that happened in the wrong house. Grabbing the plastic cup from her, I took a swig of punch and grimaced as it burned my throat.

I followed her back to the fire. We didn’t belong. This was a group of the popular kids and their groupies. Karen was the token Goth, with her dark clothes and heavy eyeliner. And me – well, I was in a whole other category all my own. No matter how hard we tried, we would never really fit into this scene.

I sighed and watched everyone settle into a circle again. Behind us in the woods, the trees swayed, while the wind slithered through the fall-clad branches. For a second, I thought I heard bright, tinny laughter in the tones. I stopped, pretending to tie my shoe, closed my eyes and listened.

Goose pimples prickled along my flesh. I heard nothing, but the feeling of being seen overwhelmed me.  Something was out there; something old. And it knew me.