Emerging from the bayou like an apparition, Donegal Plantation is known for its unsurpassed dining, captivating atmosphere, haunting legends...and now a corpse swinging from the marble angel that marks its cemetery's most majestic vault. A corpse discovered in nearly the same situation as that of Marshall Donegal, the patriarch killed in a skirmish just before the Civil War.
Desperate for help traditional criminologists could never provide, plantation heiress Ashley Donegal turns to an elite team of paranormal investigators who blend hard forensics with rare--often inexplicable--intuition. Among the "Krewe of Hunters" is an old flame, Jake Mallory, a gifted musician with talent stretching far beyond the realm of the physical, and a few dark ghosts of his own.
The evil the team unveils has the power to shake the plantation to its very core. Jake and Ashley are forced to risk everything to unravel secrets that will not stay buried--even in death...
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June 27, 2011
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Excerpt from Heart of Evil by Heather Graham
"Ah, dammit! I don't want to be a Yankee," Charles Osgood said.
It was there; it had finally come, and Ashley was grateful.
And the semi-drama going on here surely meant her mind had been trying to warn her that the day was not going to come without its share of trouble, because it was already proving to be one hell of an afternoon.
Morning had brought the business of breakfast, visitors pouring onto the property to spend time at the campsites. Now they were coming close to the main event of the day, the reenactment of the battle that had taken place at Donegal Plantation.
She'd never expected the real trouble to come over the sad situation of an ailing faux-Yankee.
"Dammit!" Charles exclaimed again.
Ashley thought that the man sounded like a petulant teenager, though she knew that he didn't really want to argue. Not on a day like today. He flushed as the words came out of his mouth, and cast her a quick glance of dismay. She wasn't even the one handing out the assignments, though she was the only Donegal among them now. The relish the group was taking in telling Charles his new role unsettled her a bit. Charles Osgood was the newest in the "cavalry unit" of reenactors, which meant that he got the assignment to play for the other side. Yet this seemed to be turning into a college hazing; they were all friends, and they were usually courteous to one another.
"Charlie, come on! Being a Yankee will be fun. Okay, so they were jerks--well, the ones here--who couldn't spy on a neon sign, couldn't hunt, couldn't shoot.... But come on! Being a Yank will be fun!" Griffin Grant teased.
Ashley shook her head; how could grown men be so immature?
In her mind, although she truly loved the living history that took place at the plantation, she thought the units clinging to so-called glory were nothing more than inane. The event had ended with the death of one her ancestors--not a party.
"Hey, hey, all of you!" Ashley said, addressing the men around her and using the voice she would utilize when working with one of the school groups--the grade-school groups. "I know you all like to cling to the magical illusion that the antebellum South was a place of beauty, grace and honor--where men were men. Real men, hunting, riding, brawling--but honorable. Yes, we reenact what was. But this is now, and that was then! None of you would seriously want to go back to the Civil War, and no one here is prejudiced. The slavery of any person was a horrendous way of life."
"Ashley--you're making it sound like being a real man is bad thing!" Cliff Boudreaux commented, laughing. Cliff, horse master at Donegal, was clearly amused and having a good time.
"Well, of course, Ashley, it's not like we take this too seriously," Griffin Grant said, staring back at her as if she was the one who didn't understand the question. Griffin was a striking man in his early thirties, sleek and slick, a CEO for a cable company in New Orleans, though his ancestors had lived out here, two hours down the road from the big city. "We know reality--and like it. But this is important playacting! "