Christine Pope
Christine Pope
Christine Pope
Christine Pope

Sample Sunday - Higher Ground

It's Sunday, and I have a new release on Wednesday, so you know that that means -- it's time for a Sample Sunday! This excerpt is from Higher Ground, the seventh novel in the Witches of Canyon Road series. It comes out on Wednesday, August 21st (although you can pre-order Higher Ground now...just scroll to the bottom to see all the links).

Just as Ava was about to click the power button on the remote, someone knocked at the front door. Frowning, she set down the clicker and wondered if she should ignore the knock — she wasn’t expecting anyone, and so that meant the unwelcome caller was probably a solicitor of some sort. Since it was way too late in the year for Girl Scout cookies, she didn’t see how it could be anyone she really wanted to see…not that she’d actually allow herself to consume a Girl Scout cookie after all the work she’d put in trying to lose weight the past couple of years.

Then the doorbell rang.

Obviously, whoever was out there wasn’t one to give up easily. Ava permitted herself an eye roll but got up from the couch and went down the hallway to the front door. It had a beveled glass insert in its upper third, although she couldn’t see much, only the dark silhouette of someone tall enough to blot out the light coming in through the glass.

Hoping she wasn’t making a huge mistake, she unlocked the door and slowly opened it. The contrast of the bright sun outside against the dark hallway behind her made her blink, so for a moment, she couldn’t exactly see who was standing on the front porch. Then her eyes adjusted, and she realized she was looking up at probably the most gorgeous man she’d ever seen in her life, with chiseled features and sooty black hair and dark eyes surrounded by a ring of fabulous lashes.

For a second, all she could do was stare at this apparition. But then she managed to say, “Can I help you?”

His expression was puzzled, as if he hadn’t expected to see her standing there. “I very much hope so,” he said, his English fluent but clearly accented. Mexican? Maybe, but she thought his accent sounded slightly different from that of the Mexican kids she’d gone to school with, even though she couldn’t say exactly how. “This is 322 Hillside Avenue, is it not?”

“Yes,” Ava replied slowly. For some reason, she felt reluctant to admit to such an obvious fact, despite the number being spelled out clearly in fancy tiles on the green-painted eaves just above them.

“Tony Castillo’s house?”

Now she could only stare at the stranger, brows pulling together. “It was his house,” she said. “I live here now.”

“And you are…?”

Should she tell him? Ava hesitated for a few seconds, then gave an inner shrug. If the stranger thought Tony lived here, had his address, then they must have been acquainted in some way. With Tony, it was hard to know how they might have known each other, exactly, since her brother could strike up a conversation with almost anyone, anywhere. This godlike person could have met Tony at a party, at a bar downtown, a gallery opening…who knew?

“I’m his sister Ava,” she said, figuring she might as well tell the unknown man the truth.

At once, the stranger smiled, and something in his posture seemed to relax, as though he’d feared she would be someone completely unknown to Tony, and therefore someone he had no reason to talk to.

“Hello, Ava,” said the stranger. “My name is Gabriel Escobar.”



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