Saturday, January 28, 2012

Bandit Creek Books Spotlight on Siren's Song by DL Snow

Today's spotlight on Bandit Creek Books is Siren's Song by D.L Snow

Siren’s Song

By D.L. Snow

A Bandit Creek Time Travel Romance


After giving up fame, Joss Jones just wants a normal life. Maybe she’ll find it in Bandit Creek. Or…maybe not. From the moment she moves into the old mansion she inherited, she’s stalked by a ghost who torments her before dragging her back in time to Bandit Creek, 1899.

Has she gone crazy or is this old mining town, full of saloons, gambling, whoring and fortune seekers her new reality? 

 It feels real enough as does the ghost who brought her here. His name is Morgan Hawes and he is very much alive. Is Morgan the key to Joss finding her way home or is Joss stuck for the rest of her life as the Siren of Bandit Creek?

About the Author:

DL Snow spent her youth living by trial and error. From touring with an international performing group, backpacking through northern Africa to living bohemian style in Berlin, she pursued adventure and passion from one place to the next, never really knowing where she’d end up. 

She’s been a wildlife technician, a rock climbing instructor, a tailor’s assistant (measuring men’s inseams – someone’s gotta do it!) and a high school social studies teacher.

It wasn’t until she met the love of her life, the son of a Nakoda chief, and started a family, that DL found her true calling – writing. Now, she writes about passion and adventure and is happy to say her characters never know where they are going to end up. Find out more at


Chapter One

The first time I saw him was at my grandmother’s funeral. He was at the internment, standing just beyond the periphery of the mourners, looking out of place and familiar all at the same time. I didn’t realize what he was probably because my eyes were blurred with tears. I hadn’t seen my grandmother since I was seven years old – there was some feud between her and my mother that I’d never understood – yet I wept, not because we were close but because we weren’t close and she was the last living relation I had.

It was strange that I’d noticed him at all because there were so many people at the funeral, none of whom I knew. Some of them were probably long time friends of the family, but by the way people whispered and stared at me, I was willing to bet many of them were there simply to see me, Joss Jones.

The next time I saw him was later that night.

My grandmother had left me everything; her house, an old 1983 Firebird, and whatever money remained after her hospital bills were paid. Five years ago I would have scoffed at such a measly inheritance; a run down old house and car in Bandit Creek, Montana. But I wasn’t scoffing now. In the last five years I’d given away almost everything I had so now the house and car seemed like a small undeserved fortune.

After the funeral, the lawyer dropped me off in front of the house, The Old Hawes Place, he’d called it. I don’t know why he called it that, my grandmother’s last name was Jones, like mine.

It didn’t feel right to sleep in her room and, after accidentally opening the door to my mother’s old room, I quickly shut it, planning to never step foot inside again. So that night I slept in the guest room.

Sometime between one and two in the morning I woke up. I sat straight up in bed and rubbed my eyes, trying to remember where I was. That’s when I saw him standing in the corner of the room, watching me sleep.

I screamed.

He just kept standing there. I flew out of bed, ran down the stairs, grabbed the keys to the old Firebird – which started on the third try – and booked it out of there. I drove through the night, following I-90 towards Missoula where I nearly ran out of gas. He was at the gas station, waiting for me beside the pump.

I don’t know how long I sat there but – holy shit – did I jump when someone knocked on my window. It wasn’t the ghost, it was someone else, a man with tattooed forearms and spiky orange hair.

I rolled down the window.

“Are you going to sit there all night or are you planning on buying gas?”

I blinked at him.

“You okay, Lady?”

“Can I use your phone?” I asked. “I need to call someone and I don’t have my mobile.”

“Yeah, sure. C’mon inside.”

I stood at the counter of the station while he passed me a phone. Habit dictated the one person I could turn to at a moment like this. My old agent, Amber Kincaid.

“Hello?” She picked up on the third ring. I knew she would answer because she had too many neurotic clients who needed her at all hours of the day and night not to answer.

“Amber? It’s me, Joss.”

“Joss? What the hell? What time is it?” I heard her fumbling on the other end. “It’s four in the goddamned a.m. Joss? What the fuck?”

“I need your help-”

“Hey!” the attendant interrupted. “I know you. You’re that singer. That teen idol chick who was in that accident, aren’t you?”

I turned my back on the guy and covered the mouth piece as I listened to Amber rant, “You need my help? I don’t hear from you in years and suddenly you need me?”

I cringed. “Yeah, I know. I should have called before, but I got busy with school and-”


“Yeah.” I squeezed my temples. “You know, college? That thing normal people do.”


I sighed. “Look, I just needed some time to sort out my shit, you know?”

She was so quiet I thought maybe she’d hung up. Finally she said, “What do you want?” She sounded tired and cranky, nothing like the woman who, at one time, would have dropped everything to accommodate my needs.

I cleared my throat and tried my best to explain how I’d run out of gas after leaving my house without my purse or mobile phone. My story sounded crazy to my own ears, I could only imagine how I must have sounded to Amber.

With a heavy sigh, she asked to speak to the attendant and managed to convince him to put the gas charge on her credit card.

“She wants to talk to you,” he said as he passed me the phone before heading out to fill up my tank.

I pressed the phone against my ear while hunching over the counter. “Yeah?”

“What the hell is going on, Joss?”

Pinching the bridge of my nose did not stop the tears from squeezing past. It felt like I had a nest of spiders camped on top of my head, each one taking a turn sliding down my spine and then scrambling back up again. I was pretty sure that meant the apparition was standing right behind me but I was too afraid to turn around and look. “Amber,” I whispered. “I’m losing it, big time.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean I’m seeing shit, is what I mean.” I slowly glanced behind me. He was standing right there, shaking his head as if to disagree with me.

I made some weird whimpering sound and Amber said, “Okay, just calm down. I’m going to give you a number for someone in Seattle. Can you get to Seattle?”

“Yeah, I think so.”

“Her name is Dr. Phyllis Smith. She’s a friend. She’s good and she’s discreet.”

“Is she a shrink?”

“No. She’s a medical doctor who specializes in addiction.”

“Addiction? Jesus, Amber, I don’t need rehab, I need…” Hell, what did I need? A shrink? A priest? An exorcist? What?

“Joss, take the number, okay? Then you call me when you have your shit together and we’ll work something out. I’m thinking we can set you up for a comeback – maybe a new album. Joss Jones, Older and Wiser.”

The bell over the door rang and the attendant returned.

“Okay, I gotta go,” I mumbled into the receiver.

“Wait, let me give you that number.”

I hung up before she finished and then peeked fearfully over my shoulder but the ghost was gone.

He appeared three days later while I was on the phone with a real estate agent. He didn’t speak but he did do that sad little head shake he’d done in the gas station, then he vanished. By the time I realized I was still on the phone, the line was dead.

Two days later, I found him in the kitchen reading the newspaper. I let out a yelp and he looked up before fading away. Once I got my erratic heart beat under control, curiosity got the better of me and I gingerly sat in the chair where he’d just been sitting. The paper was open to the career section and right at the top was a position for a music teacher at James Ellis School in Bandit Creek.

The ghost didn’t make another appearance until three weeks later when I woke up to find him standing at the end of my bed. This time I didn’t scream because it seemed like screaming made no difference.

I scrambled out of bed, threw on a sweatshirt and ran downstairs. It was five a.m., two hours earlier than I normally got up, but there was no point going back to sleep. It would be impossible with an apparition watching me. Besides, I’d been having the strangest dream about swimming deep underwater…like a mermaid, and I was chasing a song, like it was a school of fish. It probably harkened back to my childhood when, according to my mother, I’d watched The Little Mermaid ad nauseum.

Though the details of the dream were sketchy, I’d woken up with the song running on ‘repeat’ through my brain; Meet me in the Promised Land, where all our dreams come true, meet me in the Promised Land, I’ll go first and wait for you… It’d been so long since I written a song that, ghost or no ghost, sane or insane, I had to get it down before I lost it.

I sat at my grandmother’s piano amid the rest of the furniture which still had dustcovers draped over them. I guess I hadn’t taken the covers off because I still felt like the house didn’t belong to me, but now, in the dim light, the whole room appeared as if it was some crazy set for a horror movie.

I turned on all the lights and had the cloths stripped within minutes, leaving a pile of dusty linens in the middle of the room. Although the room looked more lived-in, the furniture was old and still had a creepy vibe. Maybe it had something to do with the apparition who sat down in one of the old chairs.

I don’t know if it was the hour, the lure of the song or the fact that I was starting to get used to having a ghost as a companion, but somehow I managed to ignore his presence as I played the tune that had materialized in my sleep. Within seconds a familiar transformation came over me and I suddenly felt like I was doing something deliciously naughty. For me, writing music was an aphrodisiac and I played until I’d completely forgotten about the eerie old furniture and the presence of a ghost in the house. I was so engrossed in working out the wonderfully haunting melody, it took a grumbling stomach for me to realize it was fully light outside.

I checked my watch. Seven o’clock. Dammit! I had to be at the school in an hour and I still had to shower, eat and dress.

Forty-five minutes later I was tearing out the door, grabbing an apple to eat on the way. I was too rushed to be nervous about my first day on the job. Even though it was on the other side of town, it only took me ten minutes to drive to the James Ellis School. When I arrived I was greeted by a grinning Paul Pettigrew, the Principal. “Joss Jones! I can’t tell you what a pleasure it is to have you join our team.”

With a receding hairline and the physique of an ex-football player, tall, broad, with a little extra around the middle, Mr. Pettigrew looked like he was in his mid-forties.

“Mr. Pettigrew,” I smiled, turning on the old Joss Jones charm, “the pleasure is mine.”

He led me back into the office, past two secretaries who stopped what they were doing to watch me pass. Once I was seated in his office, he perched himself on his desk and continued to grin like a lunatic. “I have to confess, when I heard you were looking for work, I was floored. The Joss Jones, teaching music at James Ellis School – it’s a little surreal.”

I smiled in response because, honestly, there was no other response to give.

Suddenly, Mr. Pettigrew frowned as he stared over my shoulder. I glanced behind me to see my ghost standing there.

“Er, Ms. Jones…” he paused, looking uncomfortable.

Was it possible he saw the apparition standing behind me? Was it possible I wasn’t crazy?

He pulled something out from the inner pocket of his suit jacket and unfolded it. “I wonder if you’d sign this. It’s for my daughter.” He handed me a photo of a girl with long, silver blond hair wearing a silver, sequined dress, singing onstage. It was a promotional picture of me from my Just Be Tour seven years ago.

“My daughter was such a fan.” He cleared his throat and chanted hoarsely, “Just be you, I’ll be me, be yourself, it’ll set you free…” He chuckled. “She used to play that song over and over again.”

I kept my smile plastered to my face. “What’s her name?”

“Kaylee.” He spelled her name and then added, “She started college this year.” He shook his head. “They sure grow up fast.”

It’d been years since I’d performed, yet wherever I went it was the same thing. In fact, the only way I’d managed to attend college was by keeping to myself and encouraging my reputation as stuck up and aloof. I’d hoped things would be different here in Bandit Creek. What was the point of living a normal life if you weren’t treated normally?

Mr. Pettigrew stood. “Here’s your schedule, why don’t I give you a tour of the school, let you get settled in. Tomorrow you can start classes.”

For the rest of the morning Mr. Pettigrew, or Paul as he insisted I call him, showed me around the school, starting with the music room, the gymnasium, the lunch and staff room. We finished the tour back at the office in front of the trophy case. He pointed to a picture of a football team from the 1980s. “Can you believe that was me? I was a freshman the year we won our state division.” He glanced at me and added, “Your mother was a senior that year. She was on the cheerleading squad.” He pointed to another picture and sure enough, there was my mom, with pompoms raised high and a huge smile lighting up her face.

A fist tightened around my throat.

“I was shocked by her tragic passing.”

I couldn’t look at him. Instead I simply nodded.

“I understand you haven’t performed since…”

Suddenly the hair on the crown of my head stood on end.

My vision clouded and I felt like I’d been sucked into a tunnel where Paul’s voice echoed from far, far away.

“Are you okay?

I blinked.


I pointed to the picture of a too familiar face standing tall and proud in a basketball team photo. “Wh-who is that?”

“Who? Him? That’s Kyle Copeland. One of Bandit Creek’s biggest mysteries.”

“What do you mean?” I asked quietly, never taking my eyes from the image of the smiling boy in the picture.

“He disappeared, I don’t know, nine or ten years ago. It was his senior year.”

“What happened to him?”

“I don’t know. Some think he ran away to Seattle. His parents think he was abducted, or worse. Either way, no one’s seen him since.”

My eyes wandered to where my apparition stood beside Paul. I quickly turned back to the photo, then slowly back to the ghost.

I gulped.

Paul was wrong. Someone had seen Kyle Copeland.


I was looking right at him.

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