SCARY MARY by Mary Monroe

Paranormal activity is one of my favorite subjects.  I have read almost all of Stephen King’s books, The Exorcist is one of my favorite movies and books, and my video library includes every episode of The Twilight Zone.

My fascination with “things that go bump in the night” didn’t just happen out of the blue.  It began decades ago on a dark and stormy night when a faceless, gravelly-voiced entity materialized in my bedroom.  It plopped down on the foot of my bed and remained there until the next morning.  I had never been so afraid in my life!  To this day, I refuse to sleep in a room alone with the lights out.  I keep a flashlight close by in case of a power outage.  Despite my fear of the dark, I frequently sit alone in front of my television at night and watch one horror film after another.

True ghost stories really get my attention and the spookier the better.  I like hearing other people’s accounts of their supernatural experiences.  But a lot of folks didn’t believe me when I told them about my ghostly encounter.  A few tried to convince me that it had been a dream.  Some of my closest friends and relatives even accused me of making up the story because “making up stories” is what I do for a living.  I have many other wonderful things in my life to let skeptics faze me.  One is having fun throughout the year.

Christmas and Thanksgiving are my favorite holidays.  But Halloween is the most fun—especially the year I wore a Shrek costume to a party.  It was the same year I’d had problems with a jack-o-lantern I’d set on my front porch bannister.  For some reason, the candle I’d placed inside to illuminate the pumpkin’s grin kept going out.  When a “psychic” neighbor (who has never accurately predicted anything for me…) told me that an evil spirit was blowing it out, I gave up and purchased a plastic jack-o-lantern with a battery-operated light inside.

In my mid-teens, I still looked twelve so I trick-or-treated with my much younger nieces until I graduated high school at eighteen.  And even now when I load up on Halloween goodies for the kids in my neighborhood, I wolf down as many as I hand out!

When I tell people who don’t know me too well about my interest in the paranormal, they are surprised because I am so meek and predictable.  Just goes to show, you should never judge a book by its cover.

In this moving, unforgettable novel from New York Times bestselling author Mary Monroe, a successful, happily married mother suddenly finds herself feeling far from joyful. But Christmas brings an unexpected chance to rediscover herself, and what happiness really means . . .

For Beatrice Powell, the holidays are usually an extra-special time to celebrate. Between her twenty-year-plus marriage, gorgeous Berkeley, California, home, and three wonderful adult children, she has everything she could desire. But change-of-life doubts are making Beatrice a stranger to herself and her bewildered family. She only finds peace volunteering at the local soup kitchen, especially helping out homeless Charles Davenport. And his sensitivity and honesty soon comfort her in ways she never imagined . . .

Charles thought he had it all—until a devastating betrayal and the shattering loss of his family drove him to living on the streets. Beatrice is the first person who’s truly cared about him in a long time. And little by little, he’s finding reasons to care about rebuilding his life—and risking a sudden, courageous choice . . .

Drawn to Charles and the temptation of a second chance, Beatrice is faced with the hardest of decisions. But his insight, secrets—and the reminder of a profound past encounter—will give her unexpected inspiration, gratitude, and the strength she needs to find her way—perhaps in time for Christmas.