Today I am so pleased to welcome Ella Stainton to Joyfully Jay. Ella has come to talk to share an exclusive excerpt from her latest release, Where There’s a Kilt, There’s a Way. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Ainsley’s gaze was focused on his dessert fork in such a way it was clear that he was not paying the slightest bit of attention. Joachim forced a polite smile through his haze of mounting worry and nodded for Miss Reeve to get on with it.
She did, clasping her hands together with a grin. “I’m a trained psychographist.”
Ainsley’s head lifted and he gave her a sharp look. “Interesting. Joachim’s a psychologist, too.”
“No, Dr. Graham. Not a psychologist. A psychographist.” Ginny’s sun-warmed complexion darkened slightly. “Back home we call it automatic writing, though I do my best to control the spirits rather than let the poor little bunnies run me over whenever they have a message to share.” She raised her brandy toward Joachim without guile. “I’m sure to gentlemen of science such as yourselves, you think it’s nothing but applesauce, but I’m the real deal.”
Liselotte tittered and waved away her declaration as though that was nonsense.
As though they weren’t in the midst of discussing a murderer!
“I’ve heard of it. My dear friend Alec Barley tried dabbling in psycho-whats-it, but he was overburdened with a spirit who kept insisting he must remove a goose from the oven before he burned his flat down, so he gave it up.” Ainsley shrugged for emphasis. “Because he’s a strict vegetarian and would just as soon cook my dog Violet as a goose, of course.”
Barking out a laugh that was much too big for her rather small frame, Miss Reeve covered her mouth with her hand. “Oh, Dr. Graham, you are darb, aren’t you? I love it.”
Ainsley gave her a genuine smile for the first time. Flattery was always the way to win him over. He preened, even, not seeming to give a rat’s arse that he was about to hop into a caravan with a miller.
Joachim pounded a fist on the table. Everyone froze and he inhaled sharply. Fucking conventions of civilized dinner were daft at times like this.
Still, he unclenched his teeth before speaking. “Regardless of his relationship to the poor victim, the fact that he murdered anyone ought to have Dr. Jeppsson in prison, shouldn’t it?” Joachim’s insides twisted about Dr. Jeppsson, and he was unwilling to change the damned subject.
Liselotte widened her heavily mascaraed eyes and frowned. “In principle, I agree, but I believe that the body was never found. Isn’t that right, Mikke?”
“Precis, älskling.” Liselotte’s husband made the vile noise again. “Which is why Miss Reeve’s plan is so cunning.”
“Do you suggest that you can reach out to the victim? With your psychography?” Joachim looked round the table and included all of them in his forced smile. Because as yet, no one had made a concrete plan. “Presuming that there was a victim, if no body was ever found.”
Ginny Reeve nodded with neck-aching enthusiasm. “Now you’re on the trolley, Dr. Cockburn—exactly my thought.” She opened a small evening bag of worn black velveteen. The gold veneer was chipped on the clasp. Her voice held a hint of censure. “You must have some psychic abilities, Liselotte, to have guessed what I was going to suggest before I ever said it.”
“You told us that you are a psychographist, Ginny. I just put two and two together.” Liselotte’s eyebrows raised imperiously.
“Oh, yeah I did, didn’t I?” Miss Reeve pulled out a palm-sized notebook and perfectly sharpened pencil, and dropped the shabby evening bag back onto her lap. “Now, let’s see—” She licked the tip of the pencil and smoothed the little book open to blank pages. “Dr. Graham, would you light the candle for me, please?”
Ainsley, who didn’t smoke, nonetheless carried a book of matches in his suit jacket and complied with her wishes. Liselotte clasped her hands together. “Will this be a séance, Miss Reeve?”
Mikke cut his eyes to Joachim as if gauging his reaction. Joachim sat on his hands so he wouldn’t throw them in the air in a panic.
“Heck no, ma’am. Staring at the flame is merely the fastest means to make my mind more open to spirits.”
“This book was a total delight” — Cat Sebastian, author of Two Rogues Make a Right on Best Laid Plaids
Have kilt, will travel.
Two years ago, Dr. Ainsley Graham proved the existence of ghosts and fell in love—hard to top that. But a trip to Sweden to research at a prestigious university for the summer is nothing to sneeze at, especially since his partner, psychologist Joachim Cockburn, will be teaching alongside him. A change of scenery might be just the thing.
Their idyllic trip to Sweden is interrupted by a ghost with a proclivity for rude hand gestures and graphic curse words—and a ghastly history begging to be investigated. Life among the living is complicated, too, by a gruff professor who can’t take his eyes off Ainsley, and an enticing new job offer for Joachim.
What starts as an adventurous trip abroad turns into mayhem, murder, and…a magical moose? And everyone—well, perhaps not the moose—is a suspect in the death of the ghostly young man who brings them together to expose secrets, loves lost, and a crime that will shock them all.
Ella Stainton teaches history’s scandals to teenagers near Richmond, Virginia. She’s lived in most Mid-Atlantic states where you can catch blue crabs, as well as four years in Sweden, and a year in Scotland (where she visited lots of haunted castles with her scientist father). She doesn’t mind eating Ramen all year if it means she can hop on a plane during summer break, and has visited around 30 countries. Which equals a lot of Ramen. Ella has four fur babies and four without fur (or children, as she likes to call them). She particularly likes ’80’s Eurotrash synth music, glitter eyeshadow, and men in kilts. Even better if they are all three together.
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