Something Wicked Online - Angela Campbell

Chapter One

She’d only been at the restaurant five minutes and already a freaking ghost had zeroed in on her.

Crap. Crap. Crap.

Alexandra King jerked her gaze away from the tall man in the corner near the bar—the one wearing a double-breasted black coat with a gray vest underneath—and drummed her fingers against the table top as she waited for her waitress to bring her a bowl of she-crab soup and Caesar salad. The white cotton shirt the man wore was too long for his arms and erupted in ruffles at his wrists. His hair curled below a low Derby hat, and he looked as real as any flesh-and-blood man in this place.

Except for the bloody gash at his throat.

She couldn’t help it. She risked another glimpse in his direction. Still watching her, the dead man tipped his hat and winked at her.

Pushing out of her chair, Alexandra shoved her way through the small crowd of people gathered for a Wednesday evening outing at the Southend Brewery and Smokehouse in historic Charleston, South Carolina, and headed toward the sign marked Restrooms.

This stylish specter made about the tenth dead person she’d seen since checking into her room at the inn forty minutes ago. Thankfully none had shown more than a passing interest in her…so far.

She glanced over her shoulder to see if this ghost was going to make a pest of himself. He didn’t seem to be following. Good.

Derby Hat Guy was behind the bar now, pouring himself a draft, unseen by the bartender shuffling around him. Stifling a chuckle, she ducked her head and pretended to find the floor interesting. She’d learned long ago that if she ignored dead people, nine times out of ten, they would do the same. It was the ones who didn’t that gave her headaches as they chipped away at her mental barrier, made her lose sleep, and do stupid stuff like fly hundreds of miles to hunt down a person she didn’t know.

A vibration against her right hip distracted her, and she dug her phone out of her pocket. Glancing at the caller ID, a smile tugged at her lips as she saw her newest—and possibly closest—friend’s picture on the display. She leaned against the wall outside the ladies room and focused on the call.

“Hey, Hannah. Did you get my text?” She’d sent a quick one as soon as she’d landed to let her friend know she had arrived safely.

“Yep. You made it there okay? No problems with the flight or getting checked into the hotel?”

“The flight was surprisingly easy, and the place you chose for me to stay at is incredible. More like an apartment than a hotel.” Much better than the dumps where she usually stayed anyway. It had been her fortune, meeting Hannah Dawson three months ago. Not only was the woman richer than sin but she had a generous heart that extended to her friends and anyone she assessed had a dire need.

In this case, that had included Alexandra on both counts.

“Good. I wish I’d been able to come with you. You’re doing me as much of a favor as yourself.” Hannah’s voice lowered a notch. “Zach is still being stubborn.”

Alexandra resisted the urge to roll her eyes. When wasn’t Zachary Collins stubborn?

She’d come to appreciate just how pigheaded the man was when she accepted a job working for him at his private security and investigations agency a few months ago.

The steady paycheck was hella nice, and she loved using her gifts as a psychic medium to help people. Already she’d assisted a family in finding their runaway daughter and helped a desperate single mother locate the good-for-nothing ex-husband who owed her thousands in child support.

Dead people could be so full of useful information.

But she and Zach had butted heads more than once—usually over the fact he refused to use their resources to track down his younger brother and make amends for something—what, she had no idea.

None of her business. She got that. She was fine with that. She would’ve stayed fine with it, but Zach’s dead mother had taken up residence in Alexandra’s new apartment and refused to leave until her two sons had been reunited. Every time Alexandra lowered her guard, oh look, there was Rebecca Collins again, harping on about her sons. Zachary this. Dylan that. Nag, nag, nag.

Stupid ghost was driving her insane.

“Yeah, well, tenacity must run in the Collins family,” Alexandra told Hannah. “I’ve been trying for weeks to get his mom to cross over, or at least