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Kimberly Loth Books

Circus of the Dead Book Ten

Circus of the Dead Book Ten

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Juliette can’t seem to shake the gloom that has been following her around with the death of a friend—one Juliette herself murdered—and her boyfriend barely speaking to her, the only thing she has to look forward to is a visit from her bff, Callie.

Things start looking up after Callie arrives. Luca forgives her and the case she and Samuel have for the month seems easy.

But when she and her friends find a dead body, everything changes and suddenly they’re all in danger from a monster that Callie and Benny know all to well….

Synopsis

Juliette can’t seem to shake the gloom that has been following her around with the death of a friend—one Juliette herself murdered—and her boyfriend barely speaking to her, the only thing she has to look forward to is a visit from her bff, Callie.

Things start looking up after Callie arrives. Luca forgives her and the case she and Samuel have for the month seems easy.

But when she and her friends find a dead body, everything changes and suddenly they’re all in danger from a monster that Callie and Benny know all to well….

First Chapter

Within the past two weeks, the weather has gotten so much colder. It makes me miss the Louisiana heat and humidity a bit. Not enough to move back but enough to wonder how I’ll get through this winter, which has only begun.

My mood matches the weather, gloomy and gray. As much as I’ve tried to get over Serena’s death, it’s not happening. More times than I can count, I relive those moments when I wrapped her leg in that anchor and watched her fall into the depths of the lake. In the end, she was a horrible person. It’s just so hard to even think of the creature on that boat as Serena. It was as if something purely evil possessed her body that night. While the right thing was to make sure she didn’t imprison Samuel for eternity and kill any more people, I can’t believe I killed her.

Daisy pops her head up, and I pet her golden fur. “I’ll get over it, eventually.” She cocks her head and gives me the biggest smile. I don’t even have the energy to give her one back.

My phone buzzes, and I pick it up to read.

I’LL SEE YOU TOMORROW!!!

I smile, for the first time in a long time, as I read Callie’s text. She and Benny are coming to my little island, and it couldn’t come at a better time. 

I need my best friend. 

I pull Daisy’s head into my chest for a big hug. “I can’t wait to see them.” 

Daisy’s glistening eyes agree with me.

One benefit of all the craziness surrounding Serena is that her studio is closed until further notice, so I don’t have to work while Callie and Benny are here. A tiny pain surges through my heart at the shuttered business. 

I killed a woman, and my dreams, all in one night.

Another text comes through before I have the chance to answer Callie’s. My stomach tightens at Samuel’s name.

Ruben has something for us. New-moon-related.

I groan and quickly type a reply to Callie about how excited I am that they’re coming to visit, and then I rush to throw some clothes on. Admittedly, I’ve been almost completely MIA regarding the private investigation stuff these past couple of weeks. Samuel’s understood, but he needs me back at his side. Or, it’s his way of checking to see if I’m okay. 

I make it to my bathroom sink and meet my tired eyes in the mirror. Tears instantly blur my face, and my chest tightens. I killed one of my best friends. The mentor I idolized. 

I am not okay.

I hold myself up over the sink as sobs rack my body. I’ve pushed everyone away since Serena died. Sometimes I desperately want someone here with me, but then in the next second, I want to be alone.

I sniffle and take a deep breath, forcing myself to calm down. I have to pull myself together. Samuel needs me. He just lost his girlfriend, and we have work to do. I try not to think about how he’ll take the news that Callie and Benny are coming to the island. I imagine it will make him uncomfortable. After all, he imprisoned them on the Death Circus Island, and Callie killed him. I’m sure none of them want to see each other again. 

Not sure how I’ll break their visit to him yet. 

Fully clothed, teeth brushed, and hair acceptable, I head out to greet the day. Since it’s already eleven a.m., I do not stop by the coffee shop. I wonder if Laurel has noticed my absence. I would assume so since she notices everything.

I lean against my building and shoot Samuel a response to come get me. The cold air fills my lungs, and I must admit it feels good to be out of my condo. I haven’t made it out in the last two weeks. I’ve spent the time in my pj’s with the lights off, eating ramen…if I had the energy to get out of bed. 

A red Porsche pulls up alongside me, and Samuel opens my door.

“I’d ask you how you’re doing, but I already know the answer.” He doesn’t move. Just watches me with large, concerned eyes as I buckle my seatbelt.  

I sigh. “Yeah. I would ask you how you’re doing, but I’d guess you’re doing about as well as I am.”

“Yeah.”

We hold each other’s gaze for what feels like forever. It feels good to be with someone who understands. My heart aches for him. Over the past five months, I’ve realized Samuel is a completely different man than the one I grew up with, and this Samuel deserves to be happy. The fact that the first person he opened his heart to turned out to be one of the creatures he’s hunting must be devastating. 

We remain in our silent, sorrow-filled cocoon until a car parks in front of us and shakes me out of my thoughts. 

“Ruben actually called, hey?” 

Samuel blinks a few times and clears his throat. “Yeah, not entirely sure what that means for us, but at least we’ll get an early look at the situation.” Samuel puts his blinker on, and we head into traffic. 

“Where are we going?” 

“The bank.”

My eyebrows rise. “The bank is the site of our new moon attack?” If this has to do with our line of work, it just seems like a strange scene for a midnight murder.

Samuel shrugs. “Something happened at the bank. Ruben said he’d tell us when we get there.”

“Strange.”

Samuel nods a silent agreement. 

I notice my phone sitting in my lap, which reminds me of Callie and Benny coming to visit tomorrow. I need to tell him, and there’s, really, no good time to do it. I glance sideways at Samuel as I rub my hands over my pants. We stop in front of the bank, which is surrounded by yellow tape. 

I grab the door handle and contemplate whether to bring up my visitors. Samuel has been through just as much crap lately as I have, but there’s no changing the fact that Benny and Callie will be here soon. I have to tell him.

I’m going to rip the bandage off.

“Callie and Benny will be here tomorrow.” I get out of the car and close the door. Without looking back, I slide under the yellow tape and enter the bank. 

Once I’m finally surrounded by cops and Chief Ward, I chance a look at Samuel. He hasn’t moved. Just sits in his car, looking straight ahead. Expressionless.

I can’t imagine the emotions he’s holding inside.

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