Frost Harrow Book 3 – GHOULS – Ch.5

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Grant opened the door to his mansion and discovered Ivy’s smiling face. He smiled back and motioned her inside.

“Tough day?” she asked, apparently seeing the look of weariness around his eyes.

“Oy!” he said, turning and heading for the front parlor. She followed him in, closing the door behind herself.

“So, what happened after I left?”

“Cops, cops, and more cops,” said Grant. “And, of course, more news crews. They’ve shut down the whole site until they can search for clues.”

“Any idea how long that might take or who the skeleton might belong to?” she asked, taking a moment to hang her coat in the hall closet.

Grant shrugged. “Not really. A couple of days if we’re lucky, but if they find something else… Who knows? Kay’s helping me figure out where to shift the crews to while the project’s down. I’m hoping we won’t have to lay anyone off.” He paused and rapped his fingers against the doorjamb to the room. “As to who the deceased might be… Your guess is as good as mine—or the cops’—at this point.”

Ivy hugged him. “Oh, Grant, I’m sorry.”

He sighed and hugged back, grateful for her soft warmth. “Nothing you can do about it. I knew Green Hills was going to be a tricky undertaking, but this is not the kind of trouble I expected.” He smiled weakly. “So, how are things up at Frost Harrow?”

Ivy snickered and wrinkled her nose in a way that Grant found quite endearing. The two of them had adopted her cousin Tony’s name for the Frosts’ ancestral home. The real name of the mansion was Frost Hall, but Frost Harrow seemed to fit better.

“Not too harrowing lately,” she replied. “Things are pretty quiet at the shipping office, too, and Colin and Morgan are keeping out of trouble. For once.”

“How’s Tony?” Grant asked. He and Ivy sat down on the big silk couch in the center of the parlor.

“Better,” she said. “Much better. He and Jenni are back together again. He seems to have put his problems behind him. They’re taking things one day at a time.”

Grant leaned toward her and gave her a peck on the cheek. “The only way to live,” he said.

“How very Buddhist of you, Mr. Winslow. So, are we going out tonight, or eating in?”

“Though I’d rather go out, I should stick around here, in case something else comes up. I brought some papers home from the office, just in case the police call and need the info. You have any preferences for dinner?”

She smiled and shook her head ‘no.’ “Something that I don’t have to spend four hours in the gym later to work off.”

Grant stood and walked toward the dining room. “Got just the thing. I have Violet trying out a new set of fat-free recipes we’ll be using in the Green Hills restaurant once it’s done.”

“It must break her heart,” Ivy noted. “You know how she loves rich sauces.”

“Actually, she’s handling it rather well. I’ve even caught her trying a few on her own. Be right back.” He walked through the dining room and the breakfast nook, and into the kitchen.

He had just a few words with his cook and then returned to the parlor. On the way back he stopped at the entertainment center and put on a compact disc.

“What,” Ivy remarked when he reentered the room, “no Bobby Darin for me tonight?”

Grant smiled at her. “I thought I’d broaden your horizons.”

“At least it’s not the Coffin Nails,” Ivy said. “I think once was enough of them for me.”

Grant fluffed one of the couch’s throw pillows and leaned back against it. “Sorry you didn’t like their concert. I do think they’ve got something going for them, though.”

“Well, whatever they’ve got, it isn’t singing ability,” Ivy quipped. She listened to the complex harmonies coming from the room’s hidden speakers for a few moments. “The Beach Boys, right?”

Grant nodded. “Pet Sounds—their masterpiece.”

“I always figured you for more of a Beatles type.”

“I like the Fab Four,” said Grant, “who doesn’t? But when I need to relax, nothing beats Brian Wilson and the gang—especially the stuff from Pet Sounds to Carl and the Passions: So Tough.”

Ivy leaned back on the couch and put her hands behind her head. “They make me think of summer, and sunshine, and happy times. Too bad we don’t have a woody to cruise the beach in.”

“The beach is pretty cold this time of year.”

Ivy smiled at him. “Not in California. Want to go?”

“I thought you had work to do.”

“I do. But I can put it off. The company’s so big that Uncle Dan will hardly miss me.”

“Is that a proposal, Miss Frost?”

Ivy laughed. “No. It’s not even a proposition. Just an idea.”

Grant folded his hands behind his head, too. “A very nice idea. But with everything that’s going on, I don’t think I can get away right now.”

“It’s probably just as well,” Ivy sighed. “After buying the Saturn, I can’t really afford a vacation anyway. Not until I turn twenty-one next year and come into my inheritance.”

“Well, I bought two new cars and still have plenty left over for the both of us,” said Grant.

She leaned forward and tapped him on the nose with her index finger. “Yes. But I’d rather not sponge off you all the time, if you don’t mind, Mr. Winslow. People will start thinking I’m a kept woman.”

“As long as I’m the one who gets to keep you.” His face grew more serious. “Have you told your uncle about us yet?”

“Not yet. Soon, though. I promise.”

Grant sighed. “You can’t keep him in the dark forever,” he said, feeling a bit perturbed but trying not to be too judgmental. Grant knew what it was like to have family troubles.

“I’m surprised I’ve kept him in the dark this long,” Ivy replied jovially. She raised one dark eyebrow and whispered, “He has spies everywhere, you know.”

“Ivy, if I didn’t know better, I’d think you were enjoying deceiving your uncle Dan.”

Ivy got up off the couch, straightened her black, knee length skirt and then pulled down the bottom of her blue sweater.

“You’ve found me out,” she said. “We Frosts are an insidious bunch. If you don’t watch out, it’ll rub off on you.”

Grant stood and put his arms around her.

“That’s what I’m hoping for,” he said, pressing his lips to hers.


Read the FREE Frost Harrow Halloween stories, too!
The Weeping Ghost” (2012), “A Trace of Violet” (2013),  “Lunchroom Zombies” (2014), “Omens & Visitations” (2015), “Fata Morgana” (2016), and “At the Appointed Hour” (2017), and “Devil’s Lake” (2018), “A Walk on Witches’ Hill” (2019), “The Beast of Bay Road” (2020), “Cat Burglars” (2021)

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