This book is one of a kind! Rasheedah Prioleau really breathed life into the paranormal romance genre. Not that it is strictly a paranormal romance, because there are so many layers to this story. It is part paranormal, part romance, and part murder mystery.
Specter Georgia is a high class American ghost town… literally. The town peacefully, (for the most part), coexists with spirits who work and play alongside live people. When several women turn up dead, the town suspects there is a ghostly serial killer among them.
The murders bring ex-partners and lovers Special FBI Agent Audra Wheeler, and Sheriff Ethan Cole back into each other’s lives. Forced to work together, secrets of the past, possibly best left buried come to light. But will the truth ever bring anyone to justice? Or are they putting each other in danger by investigating the case?
The more they uncover, the less they are willing to risk losing each other. American Specter, by Rasheedah Prioleau is full of shocking revelations, specters, mythology, and a conclusion the reader will not see coming. I give this book 5 well deserved stars!
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Excerpt: Chapter 2 (Provided by Author)
Audra’s stomach growled as she got behind the wheel of her car. She looked at
the time and noted that it was nearly a quarter to two in the afternoon. She’d hopped an
immediate flight out of Savannah to get to Specter not thirty minutes after waking up to
the call of this latest murder. She needed food and rest and decided that she should find
both, in that order.
As she drove through town, the unmistakable aroma of barbeque guided Audra to
a hole in the wall with the moniker Bishop’s. She pulled into a parking spot and hopped
out of her car. She stepped into the diner/bar/café and felt the daggers of local, loyal
patron stares on her. She made a note to find the time to buy clothes that would fit in.
Walking past in her Prada suite with silk shirt and red-soled Manolos Audra realized she
may have felt less conspicuous in a paper bag. Her heals clicked on the tile-patterned
linoleum as she walked to a table and took a seat, hiding behind the one sided plastic
A specter waitress whom Audra was sure had been a high school cheerleader,
what with her winning smile and pumped up attitude over barbeque, came to take her
“Hey, you here about Gwyn?” she asked right out. Although her skin was opaque
and slightly translucent, her voice was steady and normal with a slightly high pitch and
Southern twang. Audra lost a little of her appetite. It unnerved her how many young
specters were in the small town. She wanted to think of them as old people who’d had
their time on Earth and needed to move on.
“You knew her, Ashley?” Audra asked, looking at her nametag.
“Everyone knows everyone,” came the reply. “Awful shame, she was so nice.
Helped me every time I needed to find a book. She was smart you know. She went up to
the college on a scholarship and everything.”
“So, may I take your order?”
“Salad and water with lemon,” she ordered and felt the disapproval of her
neighboring patrons. “And… the baby back rib special with a slice of the sweet potato
pie,” she finished.
“Great choice. Put some meat on them bones.” Ashley winked before making a
show of phasing out that annoyed Audra.
Audra tried to relax and push away her discomfort with the town’s specter
presence. She thought about how ironic it was that specters had chosen Specter as a place
of refuge. She wondered, if it had been named anything else, would they have chosen it
just the same? Most specters had a reputation for sticking to big cities and towns,
concentrating in metropolitan areas where they could manifest, look normal, and try to
When the first report of a suspected specter murder came through from Boston,
she had been playing second fiddle on an international knock off and smuggling case.
The suspected specter had been thought to be from somewhere in Europe. It was fairly
certain that the specter behind it all was only intent on getting attention and jerking the
When her boss, Assistant Director Jonathan Cordero, caught wind of the murder
case he immediately pulled her into his office. He always seemed to have a soft spot for
her, probably because he was the one to investigate her sister’s attempted murder when
Audra was just fourteen.
She remembered the somber and almost haunted look that Cordero had as a
Special Agent at the time, understanding it thoroughly as the flashback took her over
She turned on her sister’s bedroom light to find her hanging in mid-air, clawing
at the burned flesh around her throat. Suddenly, whatever held her up, let go and she fell
back onto the bed.
“Water?” Ashley was suddenly in front of Audra and she rejoined the present,
clearing her throat.
“Thank you,” Audra said, accepting the cup of water and drinking it quickly.
Ashley phased out again.
Audra switched to remembering the line of questioning from Cordero and the
rounds of suspects that had led nowhere. Oddly enough, he was the one to come and find
her just before her college graduation and recruit her into the FBI.
She never thought much about why until the first victim in Boston appeared.
When Cordero took note of the similarities in the Boston case and her sister’s,
specifically the crushed windpipe and strange burning around her throat, he sent Audra
alone on the first flight out of New York to investigate.
It only seemed like a strange and creepy coincidence that the murder was in the
same town as her sister, Kendra. She wasn’t sure if she were going to take the time to
visit her or just fly in and out, until she walked into the crime scene and took one look at
the remains of Amanda Price.
A creepy chill ran over her, the crime scene reminding her of the scene she’d
walked into all those years ago. Audra remembered then with vivid clarity that she had
gone to visit her big sister for the weekend while her husband was away on business.
Kendra was eight months pregnant, nearly ready to pop, and Audra was supposed to be
on hand in case of an emergency.
Audra had been up later than usual watching television when she heard a crash
from Kendra’s room. She’d run and opened the door, immediately calling 9-1-1 and
doing her best to pump her sister’s chest until the paramedics came. Cordero had assured
her that she’d done the right thing, that she’d saved her sister and unborn niece that night.
Before Audra left Boston for New York she had stopped by the Seeds of Grace
long-term care hospital to visit her sister. She hadn’t been in nearly five years and felt a
stab of guilt as she entered her sister’s room and took a seat by her bed. She was greeted
only by the periodic beep of the machines attached to her sister.
She lifted Kendra’s hand into her own and clinched her teeth against the flood of
emotions that overtook her as she let the tears fall. Kendra could breath on her own and
her heart was as strong as any woman in her late thirties, but the attack on her life that
night had left her in a coma.
Kendra’s face, though pale and thin, looked as if she were merely in a peaceful
sleep. Audra took in her hair; still dark but dull with the lack of regimented care Kendra
had given it. Her lips were pale and dry and her body had grown painfully thin, fingers
stiff and cold. Audra had tried to will her sister to wake up, giving her hand a slight
squeeze hoping she’d react in some way. But she’d remained still, nothing on the
monitors suggesting that she was even aware of Audra.
Audra hadn’t been sure what an appropriate length of time to visit would have
been. She’d stayed for thirty minutes, said a seemingly useless prayer, and caught her
flight back home.
Audra was pulled back from her deep reverie to the present, looking up
automatically at the sound of Bishop’s door opening. She sat up in her seat as she caught
sight of Ethan. He searched the room and when his eyes landed on her he smiled.
As he walked toward her, Audra took note of the appreciative smiles other women
sent his way. He took a seat across from her and phantom cheerleader waitress showed up
with a pitcher of water, a glass, and a complimentary basket of bread rolls.
“Hey Sheriff,” she gushed. “Can I get anything for you?”
“I already ate,” he said. “But thanks for the water and rolls,” he casually
dismissed her, missing the crestfallen disappointment on her face as she faded out.
“Sheriff?” Audra asked, unable to hide her bewildered confusion. She had heard
of his retirement in the American South less than six months after his transfer but had no
idea that he was presiding sheriff over the Mayberry/Sleepy Hollow that was Specter.
“Long story,” he said.
“I bet,” she replied. “You called in the case?”
“Did you know I would be working this?” Audra swallowed.
“I didn’t until you were on your way. I thought the southern office would send
someone,” he said with a heavy sigh that Audra was not sure how to interpret.
“Don’t worry, I saw at least twenty ghosts today and didn’t start a riot.”
“I appreciate that,” Ethan said. “I know how you feel about them.”
“Do you? It’s been a while, I could have changed.”
“Somehow I doubt it,” Ethan countered.
A long silence passed between them and Audra tried to remember the last time
they’d spoken. He had been telling her something about not wanting to ruin her career
before it even started, that they were both lucky Cordero had let the affair between them
slide on the condition that one of them transferred.
Audra had had no intention of going anywhere and expected to have to fight, but
Ethan hadn’t. She had never been sure how to take the ease with which he left.
“Why are you here?” she finally blurted out.
He smiled and looked at her in a way that only he knew how in order to defuse
her natural skepticism. “You want me to leave?” he asked.
“No,” she said, maybe a little too quickly. “It’s just, I don’t believe in
coincidences, Ethan. You should remember that much about me.”
They looked at each other and Ethan nodded. “We’ll talk after lunch.” He lifted
an eyebrow and Audra realized he didn’t want to talk amongst listening citizens.
“Sure,” she said, understanding. “How have you been?”
“Miss me?” His smile broadened as Audra blushed.
Her salad arrived, saving her from having to answer or lie to him. She had missed
him. Even two years later the water under their bridge hadn’t truly settled but specter
trouble never stopped. With the serial killings she was always just busy enough not to
think about it.
“Wow,” he said eyeing the salad and water. “I thought you looked a little thin.”
Audra smiled. She had lost a little bit of her baby fat in the two years since his
departure and did a mental checklist of the physical changes to her person. Her dark hair
was not relaxed any more but natural and longer with auburn highlights that set fire to her
hair in the sun. She’d taken up swimming as a hobby since her apartment featured an
indoor swimming pool. This accounted for her slender, well-toned figure. Her usually
peanut complexion, touched by the southern sun of Charlotte and then Savannah, had
darkened in the last several months to faint copper red.
Ethan looked into her dark-green eyes and nodded. “You look good,” he commented.
“Thank you,” she said, unwilling to betray her raw feelings for him. “You look
He smiled and laughed making his dimples deepen in amusement. “Where are
you staying?” he asked.
“I haven’t found a place yet.”
“You can stay at my place.” His look was unmistakable.
“I have to get my own room,” she replied curtly.
“You can get one, but you don’t have to sleep there,” he said.
That was the Ethan she’d remembered. He never cared much for interpersonal
regulations. It’s what had gotten them both in trouble. Even though her body’s automatic
response was to jump at the proposition, she smiled politely and shook her head.
“I wouldn’t mind going by your office and telling you about the other victims,”
she offered. “Maybe you can help me find a connection.”
“Of course,” Ethan said as the waitress came with her baby back rib special and
slice of pie. She smiled, slightly embarrassed.
“Can I get that to go and the check, please?”
“Rasheedah Prioleau is a Southern African American writer with an eclectic range of writing and ghostwriting credits. After an unfulfilling stent in the corporate world she started over from the bottom as an unpaid intern at the age of twenty-six and never looked back.”
“I love to write because there are no limits. All it takes is a finite space of time and I can create a story from infinite possibilities.”
“Writers who have influenced her include: Judy Bloom, Jude Deveraux, V.C. Andrews, Octavia Butler, Stephanie Meyer, Charlaine Harris, Joss Whedon, William Nicholson, Shonda Rhimes, Quentin Tarantino, Tyler Perry, Mike Kelley, and J.J. Abrams… just to name a few.” –From Goodreads