Stars Like Gasoline
Jessika Grewe Glover
Publication date: April 24th 2023
Genres: Adult, Thriller
When Celia, a Florida art curator, purchases the haunted house of her brother’s deceased fiancé, the spirits threaten her life and her career. To rid the home of the malevolent ghosts, she enlists the help of her brother, Oscar, and Adrian, the best friend of Oscar’s late fiancé, who’d been killed as an Afghanistan veteran. The three are about to be thrown into a chasm of events involving a dead French artist, a Dutch aerospace heiress, and a missing Japanese painter who is presumed to be dead. Not to mention a stalker that begins to threaten Celia and Oscar.
The link between these events appears to be a hidden journal from the 1980s Celia discovers in the home, belonging to a dead, but revered French artist. As Adrian helps decipher the clues, an attraction burns between him and Celia, raising the stakes of the game someone is playing. A game that no one might make it out of alive.
“The blisters hurt like the devil when the water hit them, and the open sores on my ankles were screaming demons at me. The night was the kind of heat the air conditioning doesn’t quite hold the upper hand over. Every window was fogged over with moisture. A 2019 Kikumoto painting with no title was a rare find indeed. If I could only get the release for the other piece I’d found, I could bet the gala would draw art dealers and patrons from much farther than our usual guests. Strange that the Cesar acquisition had come from Fort Pierce. While it had a small arts community, the town just south of us wasn’t known for the careful upper-middle-class and bourgeois lifestyle of Vero Beach. Maybe I was tired, but it felt like I was missing vital puzzle pieces here. An anonymous donation of a huge Cesar collection, Kikumotos appearing out of nowhere, seemingly belonging to no one, and a Cesar having once been in my house but now missing.
Cabinet doors slammed in the kitchen, and a thump preceded the sound of running water. I jumped in my seat, leaving my laptop open on the small writing desk, which sat facing the front window. Goosebumps ran a race up my legs and arms, chilling every inch of me. Clenched fingers opened and closed over my phone. Screw it. I texted Oscar.
Something is in here. Don’t call Adrian. If you’re already home, no worries. Just letting you know.
As I raised my eyes from the phone screen, a reflection caught in the fogged window. Silhouetted against the arcing bougainvillea was a man, standing directly behind me. The chair crashed to the floor as I stood like a jack-in-the-box. An icy touch reached out. I grabbed at the salt from the windowsill and tossed it at the shape, watching as the aberration in the room broke apart momentarily. A Spode Blue Italian salt bowl sat on the corner of the black spindle-legged desk. I cupped my fingers into the salt granules, pulled a handful, and spun in a quick circle, entrapping myself within the purported protection circle. I chanted an old Wiccan protection spell I’d found in an eighteenth-century grimoire in Boston and watched the spirit come closer and closer to the circle.
“Elements of Day,
Rays of Sun,
Hear what I say
“Goddess of Night,
Strength of Other,
Goddess of Light,
Protection of Mother.”
God only knows why I had that memorized when I’d only seen the piece a handful of times. The Catholic side of the family would be appalled by my use of a Wiccan spell, but La Madre María hadn’t been working so far. ”
Jessika Grewe Glover is the author of Another Beast’s Skin, the first book in a contemporary fantasy trilogy. She grew up in Miami dreaming of magic and other realms in which to escape the heat. She currently resides in the Los Angeles area with her British expat husband, two kids, and the world’s fastest bulldog.
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