USA Today Bestselling Author
Childhood dreams can come true—so can nightmares…
Lacey always dreamed of a trip to Pompeii but never thought it would happen, until her cousin calls out of the blue, asking if Lacey would like to replace their photographer on their archeological dig.
Sebastian wasn’t expecting Lacey to be, well … Lacey. But he’s intrigued from the start, and then he sees what she can do— even before she does.
As the images of the past rise in front of Lacey, taxing her artistic ability to document them, strange events start happening. Without reason, the atmosphere on the dig shifts to something supernatural that scares her, intrigues her, then consumes her.
For Sebastian these events all bring back memories of the worst dig in his life, and he can see history repeating itself. He needs to stop it this time. He must protect his team and his friends, but especially Lacey … before everyone dies—just like they did last time.
Now I have to confess, I hadn’t read this series because I wasn’t sure about the whole Psychic thing. I love Dale’s other series so I decided to try for this ARC and I am very glad I did.
Lacey has always wanted to go to Pompeii having been fascinated by a documentary about the eruption when she was just a child. Now the opportunity arises when the photographer on a dig there quits and her cousin, Chana, gives her a call.
With school out, Lacey is able to take advantage of this opportunity and things start getting interesting almost immediately.
What he really wanted was to see what Lacey saw. He stopped at the edge of the dig, turned and called back, “Chana, come here please.”
She raced over.
“What’s the deal with Lacey again?” He watched the color blanch from her face. He shook his head. “It’s fine that she’s here. I just don’t remember what the arrangement was.”
“She’s a middle-school history teacher, out for the summer holidays. I told her how we had lost our photographer, and she volunteered to come. She’s really, really good. But she’s not a pro, and we’re not paying her,” she said very clearly. “But we are covering her costs.”
He shot a glance toward the woman who, even now, was absorbed in a pattern of rock on the ground just off to the side. The mystery of what it was, what it had been, remained buried beneath the ground. Her aura was cream-colored and glowing brightly, even from a distance … “Okay, that’s fine.”
“I’ll keep an eye on her,” Chana said quickly. “She’s my cousin. She’s really doing this as a favor for us.”
He nodded absentmindedly. “I said it’s all right. I do want to see the photos she takes.”
“I didn’t get her to sign a nondisclosure agreement,” she said quickly. “If that’s something you want.”
His mind contemplated the issue. “I’ll think about it. Depends on how willing she is to share her photos.”
“She does this for the joy of it,” Chana said. “For the love of the world around her. She has a very unique insight into everything.”
“And why is that?”
Chana lowered her voice. “I honestly think it’s because she spent years caring for her dying mother— tried to make each moment count before she lost her. No treatment was working, so they knew the end was inevitable, and yet, every day they tried to do something to make that day special. After her mother passed away six months ago, Lacey continued the practice. And coming here has been a dream of hers since forever. All I ever heard from her was how she wanted to see Pompeii.”
He’d taken a step away when he heard that last bit. He spun around and looked at Chana hard. “What do you mean?”
He watched as his team leader shrugged her shoulders. “Honestly? She saw a documentary when she was young, like six or seven. Since then it’s all she’s talked about.”
“And this is her first time here?”
Chana nodded. “I really want to make it a good visit for her. She deserves that. She’s a good person, and she spent a lot of years of her life making her mother’s life easier.”
He kept his thoughts to himself, but he couldn’t keep his gaze off Lacey. What did she see behind that lens of hers? Did she see the people of the past? The death and disaster? The good? The evil?
Voluntarily taking that walk of grief with her mother was difficult. He’d only seen one person do it well— his own mother had nursed his sister to her early end. It took a lot of spirit, a lot of heart, but it could also break someone. And the breaks could be hidden inside where no one knew. That could make them weak, make them easily accessible, make them susceptible to all kinds of dangers. All kinds of evil.
He could admire what she’d done, but she needed watching.
A lot was going on here that nobody knew about, that nobody understood because they couldn’t relate to the dark forces underneath. But anybody who had been called from halfway across the world, with a need instilled at such a young age— well, that meant that person needed to be here. He didn’t know why. But he’d find out. His visit just became open-ended. He didn’t dare leave the site or Lacey alone …
Things were happening. Or maybe evil Mayan god-driven things were happening considering people were doing things they weren’t aware of. He’d seen the anomaly before— starting, as a young man, at a Mayan ruin dig where there’d been similar incidents to what he saw here. Only back then, things got much worse, starting with accelerating verbal squabbles among the crew, for no good reason, but they saw the negative energy coming from one very strong and powerful male energy who was very, very, very angry … ending with several deaths.
The locals blamed Kisin, the Mayan god of death. Sebastian didn’t know what to call it. It was a violent nightmare he was desperate to get out of and by the time it came to a stop, there were only a couple of them left alive.
Deaths that had haunted him ever since. When he’d heard about the incidents on this site, his heart had damn-near exploded in his chest. That was partly why he’d been so angry that his team hadn’t contacted him. They didn’t understand the danger. And they definitely didn’t understand how the darkness underneath was attracted to the light above.
The darkness especially liked the innocence, the energy, the purity of someone like Lacey. More than liked— it fed on it …
Dale Mayer. Unmasked (Kindle Locations 479-517). Valley Publishing. Kindle Edition
As Lacey takes more photos and also sketches areas of the dig. Sebastian realizes that what she is seeing, not only in the photos but portraying in her sketches was uncannily accurate of the past, not the current status of the ruins.
Plenty of strange and unusual occurrences, even stranger people and a possession that will surprise the living daylights out of you. All entwined in the beautiful tragic ruins of Pompeii.
I couldn’t put this book down and I will definitely be reading more of this series.
5 Contented Purrs for Dale!
Click the Cover for Buy Links
Dale Mayer is a USA Today bestselling author best known for her Psychic Visions and Family Blood Ties series. Her contemporary romances are raw and full of passion and emotion (Second Chances, SKIN), her thrillers will keep you guessing (By Death series), and her romantic comedies will keep you giggling (It’s a Dog’s Life and Charmin Marvin Romantic Comedy series).
She honors the stories that come to her – and some of them are crazy and break all the rules and cross multiple genres!
To go with her fiction, she also writes nonfiction in many different fields with books available on resume writing, companion gardening and the US mortgage system. She has recently published her Career Essentials Series. All her books are available in print and ebook format.