I’m so pleased to welcom Brenda Whiteside to the blog today the day after her latest book released. Okay, Brenda, tell us about MYSTERY ON SPIRIT MOUNTAIN.
The past never sleeps.
The truth never dies.
Only Harlan MacKenzie can sense the troubled history of the Big Purple House. When he’s hired to restore the historical mansion, he doesn’t foresee the secrets—secrets that entangle his family in deceit and murder.
Phaedra is selling the house that has been in her family for decades. As her friends-to-lovers relationship with Harlan escalates, she puts her values on the line and chances losing him.
After a stranger comes to town, weaving her web of deception, hell-bent on correcting an old grievance connected to the house, dark revelations of the past implode the present. Harlan and Phaedra are thrown on a dangerous path, not only risking love but possibly their lives.
As soon as Harlan crossed the threshold, he was sheathed in a gray cloud. His calf muscles tensed with a message to walk away. His head spun. He braced himself on the wall until the dizziness passed. When the room quit spinning, he imagined giving himself over to the mood of his surroundings. His body hummed with sensuality as if teased by sexual temptation. He strolled farther into the room, his breathing shallow and fast. “What the—” A spike of anger knocked out all pleasant sensation. He wanted to lash out. At what? He gripped his tape measure, took two quick breaths, and rolled his shoulders. Find some control. He widened his eyes as if to see more clearly and pivoted in a circle. Four walls. A window looking out on the side of the house. I’m missing something. He rotated in a circle again. Four walls. No closet. His throat constricted.
Dark. Sensual. Hidden desire. Secrets. Fear. I need air.
As if in a fog, he squinted and found the door. In the hall, he inhaled, bent with hands on his knees, and closed his eyes. “Son of a bitch.”
Gradually, his heart rate normalized. He took slow steady breaths. He had no way to decipher the overload of impressions the closet, the stairwell, and now this room gave him. He righted. I have to find out. Whatever happened in this house he felt certain tied him to its past.
The Wickedest Town in the West turned ghost town, turned hippie haven, turned tourist mecca…that’s the inspiration for my latest series, The MacKenzie Chronicles. Although I’ve renamed my city Joshua, Arizona, anyone familiar with Jerome, Arizona will recognize the setting within my stories.
What once was a raucous little town hanging on the side of a mountain, inhabited by the men who worked the mines, the wealthy who owned the mines, and the ladies who lived in the cribs and entertained both, became a ghost town by 1950.
In the 1960s, hippies discovered Jerome and squatted in the abandoned buildings. But they also bought the homes, improved them, and turned the town into a center for art. And the city does literally hang on the side of the mountain. Three main roads are stacked like stadium seating.
Today, the town flourishes with artists, wine tasting, historical settings, and restaurants. The residents prefer to keep the town looking much like it did in the 1920s when the mines pumped out the minerals that made millions.