Krewe of Hunters
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Heather Graham has written more than a hundred novels. She's a winner of the RWA's Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Thriller Writers' Silver Bullet. She is an active member of International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America. For more information, check out her websites: TheOriginalHeatherGraham.com, eHeatherGraham.com, and HeatherGraham.tv. You can also find Heather on Facebook.
Excerpt from book:
The meeting Dustin Blake had been asked to attend was being held at the General Bixby Tavern, just off the I-95 South exit in northern Virginia.
Dustin knew it well. He'd often stopped there when he was a kid and his parents had taken him to D.C.a place they'd both loved. Being historians, they would have lived at the Smithsonian if they could. At the time, he'd thought that the tavern's owners had hired an actor to portray General Bixby. Bixby had been kind to him and full of information.
Dustin remembered being humiliated and hurt, as only a kid could be, when he'd discovered that there was no actor and his parents were concerned about his invention of imaginary friends. Then, of course, he'd disturbed them both by knowing things only the generalor a much older person, and an expert on the Civil Warwould know.
That had led to a number of sessions with a psychiatrist.
Dustin had then made the sage decision to agree that General Bixby was an imaginary friend. That had brought about deep thought on the part of his parentsand it had also brought about his sister. His extremely academic parents had worried that an only child might be given to such flights of fancy because he was lonely. So they'd set forth to add to their family.
That was all right. He loved his sister.
He pulled off the interstate and took an exit that led nowhere except Old Tavern Road. Soon he pulled his black SUV into the lot at the tavern and parked. For a moment, he sat and stared at the building.
What was now the General Bixby Tavern had actually been built during the American Revolution and been called the Wayfarer's Inn. During the Civil War, it had been renamed for the gallant Union generalthe kind "imaginary friend" who had, while he was alive, braved heavy artillery to save both Union and Confederate soldiers. This was when a fire had broken out in the nearby forest. While many a leader might have sat atop his horse far from the carnage, Bixby had ridden right into the inferno. Wounded after dragging at least twenty injured men from the disaster, he'd been brought to the tavern where he'd died, pleading that the nation settle its differences and find peace.
He really was a fine old gentleman. Dustin knew that well.
He exited the car and headed up the old wooden steps to the broad porch that wrapped around the tavern. This many years later, the tavern was still basically in the wildernessthe closest town being Fredericksburg. Winter was approaching and there was a little coolness in the air, heightened by the thickness of the woods around them. Only its historic importance, and the plethora of "ghost hunters," kept it from falling into ruin.
When Dustin stepped inside the dim tavern, he blinked at the change of light. He wondered instantly if the meeting had been planned so he'd have a few seconds of disorientationa time during which he might be observed and not observe in return.
As his eyes adjusted, he saw General Bixby seated at the bar. The general nodded gravely at Dustin, indicating a group across the room.
Dustin nodded in return, then moved toward the others. He saw David Caswell stand; he'd been sitting at a corner booth. Caswell wasn't alone.
"The paranormal elements are integral to the unrelentingly suspenseful plot, the characters
are likable, the romance convincing...."-Booklist on Ghost Walk