Dead and Dusted
Dead and Dusted
Visions & Victims Book Four
Previously in Starfall Valley…
Dead on Target
The Visions & Victims Series
The Magic & Mystery Series
About the Author
Copyright © 2021 by Lily Webb
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Previously in Starfall Valley… Dead on Arrival Re-Cap
While psychic sleuth Selena Smith was excited to give the grounds of the Kindred Spirits Inn a revamp, she didn’t expect her new gardener to become a vamp too!
Selena started digging and eventually unearthed the truth behind the chemical confusion…
… But now several prominent guests are arriving at Kindred Spirits, and someone’s about to kick up some major dust.
Though each mystery in the Visions & Victims series stands alone, the series reads stronger together.
I tore down the treacherous side of Mount Starcrest with nothing but the sounds of my feet pounding against the snow-packed surface and my hammering heart in my ears — until a thunderous crack from somewhere behind tore through the air and shook the ground beneath me, hurling me to my knees.
A sharp pain tore through my hands as they broke my fall, but I didn’t have the luxury of allowing myself to feel the injury. Instead, I wiped the fresh blood on my robes and forced myself back to my feet. No matter what else happened, I had to keep moving, keep running from the roiling, living wave of snow and debris that threatened to swallow me if I slowed down long enough to let it.
Behind me, trees snapped and buckled under the crushing weight of the avalanche as it swept over everything in its path and smothered my screams in my throat before they could leave it — not that anyone would’ve heard them over the deafening destruction nipping at my heels.
Every time my heels struck the ground, the throbbing stitch in my side seemed to grow, radiating out across my entire body and threatening to bring me to my knees for good. If it weren’t for the faces of my family and friends flashing through my mind, I might’ve given up, simply let the white wave take me — but I couldn’t doom my loved ones to the same fate.
After what seemed like a lifetime, the gothic peaks of Kindred Spirits Inn, the castle masquerading as a bed-and-breakfast I called home, finally popped into view. With my arms flailing, I shouted as loudly as my raw throat would allow, hoping against hope that someone, anyone at all, inside the inn might hear and start evacuating the guests and staff — but I never got an answer.
“Aunt Blair! Jadis! Thorn!” I cried, stumbling. “Someone, please, I need your he—”
The words caught in my throat as I tripped and collided with the rock-hard snow beneath me. Dazed, I rolled onto my back, awed by the incompatibly beautiful blue and clear skies until the rumbling that shook everything around jarred me back to reality. Terrified, I sat up like something had electrocuted me — just as a wall of snow, ice, and debris washed over me.
“Selena! Selena, wake up! It’s okay, you’re just having another bad dream!” someone shouted over my terrified screams, and I jolted back into my body, unable to believe I could still breathe. I held my hands up to my face and sobbed when I found them clean and uninjured.
“Jadis? Y-you’re alive…?”
“What do you mean? Of course, I am. Oh, you poor thing!” Jadis, my best friend, groaned as she threw her arms around me and held me close to her chest. Despite the very real feeling of her heart beating against me and the tickle of her violet curls in my nose, I couldn’t stop crying.
“It seemed so real…” I muttered, and Jadis pat my back a few times before she released me. Embarrassed, I hurriedly wiped my eyes with my hand.
“Judging from the way you were screaming, I believe you,” Jadis said with a worried frown. “What did you see?”
I opened my mouth to tell her, but immediately thought better of it when I remembered where I was and why. Despite the distance between the several tables set up in the reception room where the staff of Kindred Spirits had gathered for a meeting, the cavernous ceilings had no doubt carried my screams to everyone’s ears, and a fresh round of embarrassment flashed on my face at the realization.
“Is everything okay?” Thorn, my kinda-sorta boyfriend, called from where he stood at the front of the room.
“Yes, everything’s fine! I drifted off and had a bad dream; nothing to worry about,” I insisted, even as the image of the avalanche devouring me reappeared in my mind’s eye.
Unconvinced, Thorn tossed the clipboard he’d been holding on the nearest table and dashed to my side in a blur of robes and honey-brown hair. He rested a hand on my shoulder and kneeled to eye level, but all I saw in his powder blue irises was ice, and I shivered. “Are you sure? You seem pretty shaken up. We can take a break from all this if you need to.”
“I’m fine, I swear. I’m just a bit disoriented,” I maintained, though that was putting it lightly. I hadn’t told anyone, not even Jadis, that I’d been having the same nightmare every