“I couldn‟t help it!”
She bolted to her feet, fists balled at her sides.
Jonas raised hopeful eyebrows.
“Might I suggest a change of scenery?”
“Go chase yourself.”
She knew full well he was talking about the “other side.”
James thumbed up the brim of his brown felt Fedora.
“Go pester Professor Bookman. He can take it.”
“That‟s the problem! I‟ve tried scaring him, shocking him, seducing him. The man‟s unspookable!”
“He‟s a parapsychologist, for cryin‟ out loud.”
“Hired by our grand
-nephew to solve whatever mystery has you and me and Jonas chained to Laguna Vista. To
help us cross over to the next plane, blah, blah, blah,”
“A waste of money.”
Besides, she didn‟t
want to cross over. She preferred Limbo to Hades, thank you very much.
“You‟re just scared,”
“Let it go, Izzy. Whatever regret you‟re clinging to, come to terms with it and let it go. I can almost guarantee you won‟t end up dancing with the devil.”
“Jonas cheated on his wife, and he‟s not going to Hell,”
“I‟d say you‟re in fair shape, sis. So you drank. So you slept around. Big deal. It‟s not as if you hurt anyone. Not intentionally.”
She turned her back on her brothers and lit a Chesterfield, hoping th
ey wouldn‟t notice her
“I‟m thinking you‟re right, Jimmy,”
she said in a chipper voice.
“I should have shown some
restraint. I should have toyed with those handymen instead of giving them the heebie-jeebies. Then again, as Jonas has pointe
d out time and again, restraint is not one of my most glowing attributes.”
She blew out a stream of smoke and sighed.
“I suppose I could swap the professor‟s toothpaste with his muscle ointment. That could be fun.”
Jonas sighed. James groaned. She distracted herself by remembering better days. To think that Laguna Vista, the former summer home of their parents, department store tycoon J. B. Van Buren and his socialite wife, Ella, had once been the high-
society playground for some of America‟s most popular c
elebrities. Not to mention occasional politicians and assorted European dignitaries.
Now the deteriorating mansion belonged to Jonas‟s grandson, Marcus Van Buren, the reigning
CEO of the family empire. Marcus, unlike his father and grandfather, was a bit of a stuffed shirt.
Although he‟d inherited Laguna Vista over thirty years ago, he hadn‟t spent the night until recently. That he‟d stayed away so long had struck her as the ultimate snub. She was, however, willing to
forgive her grand-nephew. He was family
. Family stuck together. Besides, he‟d married that ghost
busting tomato, Daisy Malone. Izzy didn‟t appreciate the woman‟s attempts to help them cross over, but she did welcome the frequent visits of Daisy‟s numerous brothers and sisters.
Then there was Ru
fus Sinclair, Marcus‟s personal assistant. Handsome, muscular,
cat‟s meow. But Marcus and Daisy were on their honeymoon, Daisy‟s family had stopped coming around, and Rufus, to her dismay, hadn‟t been back since the wedding. That left Professor
Bookman, a man hell-bent on helping the infamous Van Buren siblings move on.
Izzy didn‟t want to move on. She wanted to go back. Wanted to do it all again. She‟d enjoyed
five glorious, hell-raising summers under this terra-
cotta roof. Sure, there‟d been so
me bad times,
but they‟d been few and far between, and Izzy refused to dwell on anything sad. Though, she had to
admit, every now and again, she did reflect on one particular evening in 1928. The night Jimmy
accidentally drove the family‟s luxury automobil
e off a bridge, ending his fast-lane life along with
hers and Jonas‟s. Kind of hard to blot
out. It seemed like yesterday instead of seventy-
odd years past. She‟d talked Jonas and Jimmy into
accompanying her to Purgatory, one of her favorite speakeasies, two nights before her thirtieth
birthday. Some might say she‟d been selfish, dragging Jonas away from his wife and one of her silly