From the author's site:
The dead of night...The Old West town of Lily, Arizona, is home to the Gilded Lily, a former theater...and bawdy house. These days, it offers theatrical productions geared to tourists, but the recent discovery of a skull, a real skull, among the props and costumes shakes everyone up.So, who do you call? The Krewe of Hunters, a special FBI unit of paranormal investigators. In this case, it's agent Jane Everett. Jane's also a talented artist who creates images of the dead as they once were. But the Krewe always works with local law enforcement, and here that means Sloan Trent, former Houston cop and now sheriff. His great-great-grandmother was an actress at the Gilded Lily...and she's not resting in peace.Then more remains appear in the nearby desert. As they search for answers, using all the skills at their disposal, Jane and Sloan find themselves falling into danger-and into love.
Jane Everett was entranced.
She’d been to a ghost town or two in her day, but never a functioning ghost town.
But then, of course, Lily, Arizona, had never really been a ghost town because it had never been completely deserted. It had just fallen by the wayside. It had seen good times—when the mines yielded silver and there’d been a hint of gold, as well, and the saloons and merchants had flourished—and it had seen bad times when the mines ran dry. Still, it had the look of either a ghost town or the set of a Western movie. The main street had raised wooden sidewalks and an unpaved dirt street. Muddy when it rained, she was certain, but that was seldom in this area.
The car her boss, Special Agent Logan Raintree, had hired to bring her to town let her out in front of the Gilded Lily, where she’d be staying. The driver had set her bag on the wooden sidewalk, but she waited a minute before going in, enjoying a long view of the street.
There were a number of tourists around. She heard laughter from across the street and saw that a group of children had come from a shop called Desert Diamonds and were happily licking away at ice cream cones. Farther down, a guide was leading several riders out of the stables; she could hear his voice as he began to tell them the history of the town.
But the theater itself was where she was heading so she turned and studied it for a moment. Someone had taken pains to preserve rather than renovate, and the place appeared grand—if grand was the right word. Well, maybe grand in a rustic way. The carved wooden fence that wound around the roof was painted with an array of lilies and the name of the theater; hanging over the fence and held in place with old chain were signs advertising the current production, The Perils of Poor Little Paulina. Actors’ names were listed in smaller print beneath the title. She knew the show was a parody of the serialized Perils of Pauline that had been popular in the early part of the twentieth century.
No neon here, she thought, smiling. They were far from Broadway.
She’d read that the Gilded Lily had hosted many fine performers over the years. The theater had been established at a time when someone had longed to bring a little eastern “class” to the rugged West; naturally, the results had been somewhat mixed.
As she stood on the street looking up at the edifice, a man came flying out the latticed doors. Tall and square as a wrestler, clean-shaven and bald with dark eyes and white-winged brows, he bustled with energy. “Jane? Jane Everett? From the FBI?”
“Yes, I am. Hello.”
“Welcome to Lily, Arizona,” he said enthusiastically. “I’m Henri Coque, artistic director of the theater for about a year now and, I might add, director of the current production, The Perils of Poor Little Paulina. We’re delighted to have you here.”
“I’m delighted to be here,” she responded. “It’s a beautiful place. Who wouldn’t want to come to a charming, Western, almost ghost town?” -
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