Home > The Bad Boy of Bluebonnet (Bluebonnet #4.5)

The Bad Boy of Bluebonnet (Bluebonnet #4.5)
Author: Jessica Clare

Jessica Clare - Bluebonnet #4.5 - The Bad Boy of Bluebonnet

The Bad Boy of Bluebonnet (Bluebonnet #4.5)
Jessica Clare




Emily Allard-Smith lay in bed alone and stared up at the ceiling, listening to the sound of footsteps shuffling overhead.

This was the third night in a row that she’d heard someone walking upstairs. It had happened five times in the last month.

She looked over at the clock on her bedside table. 3:32 AM. She rolled onto her back again and stared up at the ceiling for a bit longer¸ debating.

Get up and check it out? Or barricade herself in her room and wait for dawn?

Another scraping noise came from above, and the fine hairs on the back of Emily’s neck stood up. All right, that decided things. The noise was definitely coming from above, and the only guests she’d had in her bed and breakfast had checked out last night. She was alone in the big, spooky Victorian. Her one tenant of the moment, Elise Markham, was gone more than she was here, and tonight was one of those nights where she was gone. Things seemed to be quiet when Elise was in residence.

So naturally, the moment she was out, the ghosts started up again.

God, she hated this house. Turning on a light, Emily winced as it flickered. Stupid wiring. Stupid house. The room seemed to dance with ominous shadows, and Emily swung an arm under the bed, grabbing her emergency kit: a crucifix, a rosary, and a baseball bat.

With that in hand, she sat back amongst the pillows in her bed, clutched the items, and waited for morning.

Why on earth had she ever bought a haunted house? She must have been insane.

“Bluebonnet PD,” a voice said on the other end of the line. “How can we help?”

“Hi,” Emily said brightly, tucking the phone against her shoulder as she kneaded dough on the counter. “It’s Emily Allard-Smith. Listen, I know it’s early, but I was wondering if someone could stop by and check my place out?”

“Hullo, Miz Allard-Smith,” the man on the other line said. “Another ghost?”

She gave a self-conscious laugh. “Well, I don’t know if it’s a ghost for sure, but I heard someone moving around in my attic. What if someone came in and set up shop upstairs? What if it’s a vagrant?”

“Ma’am, there are no vagrants in Bluebonnet,” he said patiently. “We’re not a big enough town.”

“I know.” She did know that. Just like she was pretty sure it was a ghost, and the police wouldn’t be able to help her. But still…she didn’t have anyone else to call or depend on. She was on her own…and she was more than a little unnerved. “I just figured I was making this big batch of chocolate croissants and thought, well, Charley loves these, and I was wondering if he could stop by—“

“Chocolate croissants?” The man on the other line said, suddenly interested.

“That’s right. You think someone can come by? I made extras for you boys down at the station.”

“Well now,” he said pleasantly. “I’m sure someone can swing by at some point this morning. I just—” the phone rattled on the other end. “Hang on—”

More wrestling on the other end, and then the speaker switched. “Em? That you?”

Luanne. Her sister seemed to live at the station now that she was employed there as office manager. Emily sighed. “Hey Sis.”

“What on earth are you doing calling the police department at six in the morning?”

“The usual,” Emily said, getting her rolling pin and viciously squishing dough underneath it. “Couldn’t sleep.”

“More poltergeists?”

“Actually poltergeists aren’t really ghosts,” Emily explained. She knew way too much about this sort of thing, more was the pity. “Poltergeists are just energy manifestations of a troubled subconscious.”

“Ummm, yeah. Okay. That sounds like Braden talking.”

“Who do you think taught me so much about the paranormal?” Emily smacked the rolling pin on the dough.

“So why don’t you call the super-famous Braden Smith and tell him you have ghosts and you need them gone?”

Why couldn’t her little sister just stay out of things for a change? “Because Braden’s team doesn’t actually get rid of ghosts? They just investigate and take pictures for their stupid TV show. They wouldn’t know what to do if they actually found one. And I have one and I need it gone.”

That, and Braden wanted to put her sweet little bed and breakfast on his Spooky Society show and she was having none of that. He wasn’t interested in her as much as he was interested in helping himself. He’d happily show up…until she said that she didn’t want the Peppermint House on television. Then he’d be ‘really busy’.

She knew the drill. Her ex-husband was a jerk. No big deal, lots of ex-husbands were jerks. “Listen, Luanne, I realize you mean well, but I know how these things work, and I’m telling you that there’s a ghost. I hear footsteps at night. The lights flicker. I know the signs, all right? I have a ghost, and I want someone to come by.”

“And what do you think old Charley is going to do? Wave his nightstick at it?” Luanne sounded amused.

“What about Hank?” Hank was Luanne’s boyfriend. He was tall, quiet, and reassuring. “Maybe he can just come and take a peek in my attic? I’d feel better if someone looked at things.” Mostly she just wanted someone to come by and distract her, because this was a big, creepy old house that made lots of unexplained noises and she was here alone.

Always, always alone.

It was depressing if she thought about it for too long, so she tried not to think about that sort of thing.

“I’ll send Hank by on two conditions.”

“Name them.”

“One, that you call a carpenter to get your lighting checked out, because I’m pretty sure you don’t have ghosts.”

Emily rolled her eyes. “I don’t need a carpenter. I’ve been watching lots of wiring videos on YouTube and I know what I’m doing—“

“Humor your little sister,” Luanne said, a hard note in her voice. “I worry about you.”

She wasn’t the only one. Emily sometimes worried about herself. “Fine, fine. What’s number two?”

“Number two is that you send enough chocolate croissants this way for your favorite sister.”

Emily laughed. “I think I can manage that.”

Hank found nothing in the attic, of course. Being that he was a rather nice, obliging sort of man, he checked all of her rooms in the big Victorian (six), all of the closets (nine), and even the crawlspace under her porch. There was nothing out of the ordinary. No dead bodies. No vagrants. No ghosts.

Emily thanked him profusely and sent him back to the station with double helpings of chocolate croissants and some red velvet cupcakes she’d made (because she knew Old Charley liked those quite a bit). For the rest of the day, she cleaned up her kitchen, baked some fresh lemon poppy seed bread in case she had visitors, and then went back to work scraping wallpaper min one of the back bathrooms.

In the last two years, the ramshackle three-story Victorian had seen vast improvements. It had been a wreck when she and Braden had bought it, but with time – lots of time – and effort, it had turned into a fascinating project and a fun place to live. If she ever got done remodeling, it’d look downright beautiful, but there was always more to be done. Not that Emily minded – she loved home improvement projects.

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