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In Malevolent Delusions, Ariana is a ghost with seductive powers that no man can withstand. And when she sets her sights on the unsuspecting Josh, her persistence overtakes his resistance. When a wicked combination of torment and lust intertwines itself around Josh’s mind and body, his life begins to spiral out of control. Realizing that this secret is making him sick, Josh finally reaches out to others for help. The ultimate spiritual battle finally begins with the help of every resource Josh can pull together and he vows to fight as if his life depends on it… because it does. But unfortunately for Josh, a good fight is what makes Ariana turn up the intensity on her quest to control and destroy his life!
This book is the first in a trilogy. The second one, Lily will be out soon!
She had been sitting by the window, listening to the voice in her head for a long time
now. She had all but lost track of time since the day he had died, but she somehow
knew it had been longer than it seemed. She looked across the room at her sister.
Olivia sat in the recliner, reading a romance novel. Her long brown hair pulled back
in a ponytail, and her reading glasses perched on the end of her nose. Although she
hadn’t thought of it until now, Susie knew she was lucky to have Livie here with her.
She would have probably ended up in a psychiatric ward by now if not for her sister’s
loving care. Again, not something she had even thought about until now. Her sister was
the only reason she had ate, or washed her hair or even got out of bed and dressed
every day since he had died. Olivia had given up her own life in New York two years
ago to come to California and care for her sister. She had known then that if she
hadn’t, Susie would have ended up locked in a padded room, or worse yet, dead from
either self-neglect or suicide. Susie’s youngest son Jake had left for college last year,
and Olivia had known also that if she hadn’t stayed here, that Jake would have. She
feared that if he had stayed, he would somehow have gotten sucked in to his Mom’s
depression. Susie remembered the day Jake left, the way a person remembers an old
movie they had seen years ago. Jake had kissed her cheek and said that he loved her,
a stray tear running down his face. Susie had tried to say goodbye, and that she loved
him too, but each time she tried to speak, the noise in her head became all but
unbearable. She would become so aware of it that nothing outside of her head was
able to register. She sent her baby away with a blank stare, and sometimes when the
voices weren’t so loud, she wondered if he could ever forgive her. There were times,
when the voices subsided so much, that she thought she might be normal again. Then, she’d begin to remember that night; the night that the detective and the chaplain
had shown up at her door to tell her that Josh was dead. Susie of course had not
believed them, and demanded to see his body. They tried to dissuade her, but had
finally given in, realizing it was going to be the only way to convince her. They asked if
there were someone who could go with her, but she declined, not wanting to bother
Jake, as he was out on a date, and she knew this would all turn out to be a horrible
mistake. She rode to the morgue with the chaplain, trying to get him to see that this was
all a mistake. He just sat with his eyes on the road in front of them, quietly
acknowledging her with nods and shakes of his head.
When they arrived at the morgue, they had Susie stand in a room with a large glass
window. She stood there, trying to prepare herself as they had said she should, for
seeing something so terrible she couldn’t even imagine it. The whole time though, she
knew that whatever she was going to see would not be her son’s lifeless body. She
watched quietly as the curtains from the other side of the window were drawn open,
and a morgue tech slowly uncovered the gurney in front of him. Susie gasped in horror
at the tangled mound of flesh and bone before her, appalled yet again that they were
trying to convince her that this was her son. She suddenly began screaming at them
that this was not her son. Her son was a beautiful, healthy twenty-year-old man with jet
black, curly hair that spent more time in his eyes than brushed off his forehead where
he tried to keep it. He had beautiful green-gray eyes like his father. The man that
although Susie hated, she wished was here right now to tell these people they were
wrong. That thing on the table was not her son. Her son had been tall and handsome.
He had played football in high school and gone to all of his proms with the prettiest girl
in school. He had been a talented graphics artist at one time, and although he’d had a
few problems over the past year or so, Susie had known they were only temporary
and Josh would end up back on top again. Things had not always been easy for her
little family, but they had always gotten better. If that thing on the table was her
beautiful boy, that would mean that nothing would ever be better again, and then what?
The men closed the curtain between Susie and the morgue, and gently eased her
down onto a cold metal bench in the “viewing room.” The chaplain tried to console her
by asking if there was someone he could call to come and be with her. She looked at
him with her tear stained face and said,
“You don’t understand, I’m upset for whoever belongs to that
person in there, but it is not my son!! That is not Josh and I don’t know
why you would try to lead me to believe otherwise.”
The detective, looking like he had just taken a healthy drink of spoiled milk, handed
her a manila envelope.
“Please take a look inside Mrs. Collins,” he told her sadly, “I think
it will be what you need to see to believe us that this is your son. I am
so very sorry for your loss.”
Susie stared at him for a moment, wondering why these people were being so cruel.
Why would they want to convince a mother who loved her son beyond reason that he
was dead? Slowly her gaze turned downward to the hand she held the envelope in.
Ripping it open angrily, she allowed the contents of it to spill out on the floor beneath
her. She sat there, in some form of shock, as she watched Josh’s things spin out
across the floor. She saw the wallet she had bought for him last Christmas. She saw
the picture of Jake he carried in his wallet, the one he used to say he showed to people
when he needed a little sympathy, as they would always feel sorry for him when they
saw he had a “retarded little brother.” She smiled a little at this memory. She always
knew he carried it because he loved his brother, but as they had both told her a million
times, bantering the way they did had only been “how we show our love.” His California
driver’s license had landed face up, his beautiful face staring up at her from the floor.
She had a flash of memory of how happy he had been that day four years ago when
the license had arrived in the mail.
Finally, Susie’s eyes settled on the one thing that convinced her that she was
suddenly caught in her worse nightmare, and was going to never be able to get out,
Josh’s St. Christopher medal lay next to his license. She could read the words “St.
Christopher Protect Me” on it. This made her angry, and she began to cry again,
screaming and sobbing and hoping against hope that God would let her wake up from
“Why God? Why? What did he ever do to deserve this? He was a
good man, a good son, a good brother, and a good person! What Kind
and Just God could allow this to happen? Why?”
She crumpled the envelope in her fist and threw it across the room, rocking back
and forth, and railing against God like a mad woman. As she sat there, the poor
chaplain at a loss how to comfort her, something clicked off inside her head. Maybe it
was the switch that controlled her powers of speech and reason, she wasn’t sure, but
she could feel the click nonetheless, and knew her life and the lives of her family would
never be the same.
Eventually, the detective ended up getting a hold of Jake on his cell phone. All he
told him was that his mom was at the city offices and he needed to come pick her up.
This frightened him enough that he called Dan. They both came down to pick her up.
The detective and the chaplain were forced to once again impart the grave news of
Josh’s death. Susie sat there, silent, staring into space while a part of her subconscious
was screaming out at her for not comforting her youngest son. He had idolized his older
brother and she knew he was ripped apart inside. She couldn’t find the strength
though. She sat there, silently, listening to the buzzing noise in her head which would
with time get louder and more powerful and eventually evolve into Josh’s voice. She
could hear Dan asking the officer how this had happened. She could hear both he and
Jake sobbing with grief as they were told that Josh had committed suicide, by jumping
off of the downtown hotel.
On the way home, she had sat in the backseat of Dan’s Cherokee, staring out of the
window and listening to the soft buzzing noises in her head, mixed with the occasional
sound of a sob or a sniffle from the front seat.
Olivia had come to town on the red eye the next day, and she and Dan had planned
the funeral and the wake. All Susie could remember about the day they buried her son,
was that the buzzing noise in her head became louder and more intense, as his coffin
was lowered into the ground.
Now, as she sat here looking across the room at her sister, she tried to recall the
years in between. She had brief, hazy memories of things, but most of all, all she knew
was that the buzzing had turned into a whisper, and the whisper into a voice, and the
voice into a scream that demanded she listen. In all of that time, Susie didn’t mutter a
single word aloud. She still occasionally screamed at God in her head, and she cried
inside when Jake would call and beg her to talk to him over the phone, and once in a
while, she would even talk back to the voice in her head, but never out loud. She went
through the motions of her daily routine with much prompting and even nagging from
first Jake, and then Olivia. They took her to Dr. Leoni and to the psychiatrist he
had referred them to religiously, but all either of them could say was that they believed
Susie was experiencing a “Conversion episode” brought on by the tragic an unexpected
loss of her son. They were unable to say if or when Susie would be able to talk again,
or if she’d ever be back to the way she was before Josh had died.
Susie pushed away the memories, and trying hard to block out the noise in her head
she said aloud,
“Olivia, do you believe that people can reach out from beyond the grave?”
Her voice sounded foreign to her own ears, and must have to Olivia as well. Her
sister looked around the room, not quite sure if she had heard anything at all, or just
“Livie,” Susie began again, “did you hear me?”
Dropping her book from her hands, and looking as if she had seen a ghost herself,
Olivia stood and all but ran across the room to her sister.
“Susie? Oh my God, you did say something didn’t you! I have to call Jake!” She
turned to reach for the phone on the table next to where Susie sat. She was surprised
yet again to feel Susie’s firm grip on her wrist.
“No Livie, don’t bother Jake. Talk to me, please. Tell me if you
believe people can communicate with the dead.”
“Okay,” Olivia said incredulously. “I’m going to sit down in this
chair here, and talk to you about ghosts, after you haven’t uttered so
much as a word in two years. Doesn’t make much sense to me Sis, but
nothing really has for the last couple of years so I’ll go with it, for
Olivia sat down across from Susie,
“Thank You, Livie,” Susie said. “Now, my question?”
Olivia looked hard at her sister, trying to figure out if Susie had really gone off the
“No, Sue, I don’t believe in ghosts if that’s what you mean. I think if it was possible
for the dead to talk, Mom and Dad would have come to us all those years ago and
explained why they went away. Or how about Grandpa, Sue? You and he were closer
than any two people I’ve ever known. If the dead could communicate, don’t you think
he would have touched base with you a few times?”
The look on Susie’s face made Olivia realize that sarcasm was far
from what her sister needed right now.
“I’m sorry, Sue,” she said “I just don’t understand why you would wait two years to
speak, and then want to talk about something like this. I know for a fact that Jake would
be ecstatic to hear from you. Won’t you let me call him? We can talk about this all later
if you want.”
Susie looked at her sister, and sending chills down Olivia’s spine,
“Josh talks to me Livie. He’s been talking to me for a long time, but I couldn’t
understand what he was saying until now. I know this sounds crazy, and it sounds even
crazier coming from a person who hasn’t spoken for the past two years, but I hear him
inside my head, and today, I heard what he had to say very clearly. Livie, Josh says
that Jake is in trouble if he comes here. He says we need to make sure that
Jake stays away from here. We have to tell him to stay in L.A., and not come home. He
can find a good job there, Livie, there’s really nothing for him here anymore anyways,
Olivia couldn’t believe her own ears.
“Nothing for him, Sue? What are you talking about? What about you? Me? Dan?
Jake needs his family. He’s been away for over a year. He wants to come back. He
wants to see you and his dad. Dan’s already got him an internship with that
construction company downtown, and rented that little house for him out by the river.
Sue, he’ll be here tomorrow and he’ll be real happy you’re talking again, but it’ll break
his heart to hear you say you don’t want him here.”
“It’s not that I don’t want him here, Livie. He’ll be in danger here, don’t you
Susie’s eyes were pleading with her sister to understand.
“I can’t lose another son.”
Olivia stood up, and pacing the floor said,
“I’m sorry, Sue, I don’t understand. I think maybe your poor mind is playing tricks on
you. I don’t believe Josh is talking to you, and I don’t believe Jake will be in danger if he
comes here. I think maybe I should call Doc Leoni and see if he can see us today,
She said this softly and laid a hand on Susie’s shoulder. To her surprise, Susie
knocked her hand away. Looking at Olivia with her eyes blazing she said,
“I will not let her take another one of my boys, Livie! I will die before I let that
Olivia’s face registered genuine confusion as she said
“Who Sue? Who are you talking about? Josh killed himself, Susie, remember? No
one took him away. He was sick, hon, you had called and talked to me about it
remember? He had been sick for a long time. I know you blame yourself because you
wanted to help him so badly and couldn’t, but that’s just nonsense Sue. Josh’s death
was a horrible tragedy, but there is no one to blame here.”
Susie stood up from her chair, and looking out the window said,
“I can feel her, Liv. Josh used to tell me he could feel her, and now I understand
what he meant. She’s out there in the cottage waiting for Jake.” She turned then, and
facing her sister with a look of pure hatred in her eyes she said, “I won’t let her have
him Livie. I will find a way to stop her this time! It is my fault that Josh died. I didn’t
believe him when he was alive. I let all of his doctor’s convince me he was sick. He’s
giving me another chance to believe him, and I won’t fail him this time. I will send that
murdering bitch straight back to hell where she belongs before I let her harm another
one of my boys!”
Olivia, more frightened now than she had ever remembered being said,
“Who, Susie? Who are you talking about?”