Ghost Agents: Retribution (The Ghost Agents Trilogy)
Paranormal Cozy Mystery
3rd in Trilogy
Setting – Paris (primarily)
Mabelonia Press (October 22, 2022)
Paperback : 235 pages
About Ghost Agents: Retribution
The Bureau for Historical Preservation is under attack.
The sinister, secret organization known as The Syndicate has finally stepped out of the shadows and made their presence known with a dramatic demonstration. In the aftermath of these shocking events, Claire Abelard and her fellow agents travel to the Bureau’s international headquarters in Paris, France in hopes of launching a coordinated response to the attack.
But something isn’t right with Claire. The acumens she has relied on her whole life have gone haywire, endangering not only the mission but also everything she holds dear. As the scope of the Syndicate’s plan unfolds, Claire must use every resource at her disposal to try to stop them… but will it be enough?
Find out in this thrilling, final chapter of the award-winning Ghost Agents Trilogy.
The Ghost Agents trilogy is based on a fascinating premise: the Bureau of Historical Preservation was created to preserve and maintain the history of various locales…and the people who lived there. The energy projections of the deceased are either tethered to locales of their choice, protected and aided by the Bureau, or they are rogue, free to roam but not under the Bureau’s aegis. Someone is dispatching rogue projections, but who? Why?
Ghost Agents: Retribution follows Agent Claire Abelard (for whom being a part of the Bureau is a family affair) and new recruit Drew Mitchell to Paris, where they are trying to get a step ahead of the Syndicate, the shadowy organization behind the destruction of rogue projections and also looking to take down the Bureau. Deborde tells a gripping tale, full of intrigue, action, and plot twists. It’s a story that’s hard to put down! I recommend the entire trilogy for fans of paranormal mystery/suspense with a little side of romance.
Read on for a character guest post, and scroll down to enter for a chance to WIN the entire trilogy in ebook format!
Character Guest Post:
A Bureau Recruit’s Ride-Along
Part 3 – Sacré-Cœur
For their final stop of the night, Claire led Hugo to the Sacré-Cœur Basilica in Montmartre. Built in the early 1900s, the massive white building was one of the newer churches in Paris. The 430-foot climb to the top of hill was a challenge, but the view from the steps of the basilica was breath-taking, though that wasn’t why Claire had brought Hugo there that evening.
When they reached last of the roughly 300 stairs that led to the basilica’s grounds, the two Bureau agents paused to catch their breath.
“So,” Hugo asked, still breathing heavily from the climb, “who are we meeting here?”
Claire drew in several deep breaths, waiting for her heart rate to return to normal. “Saint Denis,” she eventually answered.
Hugo nodded. “Ah, yes, the patron saint of Paris.”
“How much do you know about him?”
Hugo thought for several seconds. “We were raised in church, so we heard his story from a young age. He was the Bishop of Paris back when the Romans were in charge. We learned he was beheaded here on Montmartre Hill, and legend says that he carried his head with him for a while before finally falling dead some distance away from here.” Hugo shrugged. “At least that is what the legend says. There are many statues of him around town, and he is always depicted holding his head.”
Claire smiled. “I’m glad you’re familiar with the story. It will make our visit tonight a little less jarring.”
Hugo’s eyebrows went up. “Are you telling me the legend is real.”
“You’ll see.” Claire led the way to the front of the church and took up a post next to one of the viewing machines mounted there. “We shouldn’t have to wait long. He usually makes his rounds about this time every night.”
A short time later, a translucent figure rounded the corner. The distinctive shape of his form left little doubt this was who they had been waiting for. Where a head should have been, there was none.
Claire took a step in the projection’s direction. It was well past midnight, but the bustling nightlife of the Montmartre District meant there were still plenty of tourists in the area. Claire needed to be careful in how she approached him so as not to attract too much attention.
“Denis,” she called out, though her voice was barely above a whisper.
The projection didn’t seem to hear her, so Claire took a step closer and tried again.
This time she got the projection’s attention. The form turned toward her, revealing the head in his hands. The projection’s eyes lit up when he spotted Claire.
“Ah, ma chère, Claire, je suis content de vous voir.” (My dear, Claire, I’m happy to see you.)
“Merci, Monseigneur,” she replied with a bow of her head.
Claire cut a quick glance at Hugo and had to resist the urge to laugh. His eyes were as wide as Claire had ever seen anyone’s eyes as he stared at the misshapen figure in front of them.
The look wasn’t lost on Denis.
“I can tell from your expression you are a sensitive with Visual Acumen,” the energy projection noted, speaking English. “And you have probably never encountered a projection such as myself.”
Hugo could only manage a quick shake of his head.
Denis lifted his head and set it back in its proper place on his shoulders. “Will this help?” He paused to gauge Hugo’s response. “Unfortunately, I will have to hold it like this, but if it helps make the conversation less awkward, I will oblige.”
Hugo shook his head again. “Oh no, Monseigneur. I would not ask you to do that.” He forced a rather unconvincing smile. “I will be okay the other way.”
“Very well,” Denis conceded, removing his head from his shoulders and turning to face Claire. “So, what brings you here to the Sacré-Cœur in the wee hours of the morning? If you are looking for a Toussaint celebration, I am afraid our local projections tend to have one-track minds.”
He motioned with his free hand toward a group of street painters a few feet away. Two living men were seated at easels, working on caricatures of grinning tourists. Behind them was a collection of a half dozen energy projections looked over their shoulders, critiquing their work.
“This is a disgrace!” one of the projections commented in French. He spat on the ground and pointed at the drawing on the easel. “Her nose is nowhere near that big.”
One of his fellow artists nodded vigorously. “This isn’t art!”
A third projection stepped forward. He paused for several seconds then took a deep breath before kicking the easel hard, sending it toppling over. The living artist jumped to his feet, apologizing profusely to the startled tourist as he collected his scattered supplies and set the easel upright again.
“Should we intervene in any way?” Hugo asked, looking from Claire to Denis then back again.
Claire deferred to Denis. He knew the projections in the area better than she did.
“This is no cause for concern,” he assured them. “In fact, it is a pretty typical night here in the painter’s district.” He shrugged his shoulders. “One would think they could learn to accept the idea of caricature drawings, but alas, we projections tend to be set in our ways.”
Claire chuckled. “That’s putting it mildly.”
“They really do not know what a caricature is?” Hugo asked, staring at the group of projections who had now moved on to critique a different artist’s work.
“They know what they are,” Denis assured him. “But that does not mean they will ever learn to like them.”
Their conversation was put on hold as a group of rowdy, and clearly drunk tourists, staggered past. Denis side-stepped the group to avoid making direct contact with any of them, though in their current condition, Claire doubted they would even feel the cold chill that would certainly have accompanied the interaction.
Denis stood on the sidewalk and watched the group as they raucously made their way down the street.
“God of mercy, we bless You in the name of Your Son, Jesus the Christ, who ministered to all who came to Him.” Denis closed his eyes and continued. “Give Your strength to those bound by the chains of addiction. Enfold them in Your love and restore them to the freedom of God’s children.”
Hugo watched the former bishop, his eyes almost as round as when he had first seen the headless projection. He looked at Claire, but she just smiled.
Denis took a deep breath and let it out slowly before turning back to face the two Bureau agents. He studied Hugo for several seconds. “Is something bothering you, my son?”
Hugo cleared his throat. “I was just surprised to hear you praying for those people.” He looked at Claire, then back to Denis. “I do not wish to sound disrespectful, but do your prayers still work? I mean, now that you are…” He made a gesture toward where Denis’s head should be.
Denis smiled gently. “I do not see any reason why my prayers should not continue to be effective. I believe the Creator is in tune with all of His creation, and that includes energy projections.” He looked back in the direction the drunken tourists had taken. “And if there is even the slightest chance that my prayers could help those in need, would that not make it entirely worth the effort of offering up the prayer in the first place?”
Hugo smiled and lowered his head. “Of course, you are right, Monseigneur. I apologize for my impertinence.”
“There is no need to apologize,” Denis assured him. “We do not learn if we do not question.” He turned toward Claire. “As much as I have enjoyed chatting with you this evening, my dear, I am afraid I must continue with my nightly duties. There is no shortage of livings in Montmartre who are in need of prayer and spiritual encouragement.”
Claire nodded graciously. “Of course, Monseigneur. Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us.”
The two Bureau agents watched quietly as the bishop’s projection shuffled off.
“I know projections are a purified version of the living person’s personality,” Hugo commented once Denis had disappeared around the corner of the building. “But I never expected them to be so intense in their pursuit of the things that were important to them when they were alive.”
Claire chuckled. “Another valuable lesson for you tonight.” She looked at her watch. “Well, it’s close to two in the morning. Are you ready to bring our little adventure to a close?”
Hugo nodded. “I would say so.” He leaned over and gave Claire a kiss on the cheek. “Thank you so much for letting me come along with you tonight. I am so glad Sophie asked you to show me around.”
About Nita Deborde
Nita DeBorde is a published author and teacher from Houston, TX. Writing and teaching are her two major passions, though traveling and being dog-mom to a crazy Staffordshire-Boxer mix named Mabel are high on the list as well.
Nita has taught high school French for more than 20 years and absolutely loves her “day job” job (about 95% of the time). She loves to travel, and not surprisingly, France is her favorite destination, though her home state of Texas runs a close second.
She is also a huge history buff, which comes through in her fiction writing, and particularly in her Ghost Agents Trilogy, a collection of genre-defying, cozy paranormal mysteries with a little sci-fi and romance thrown into the mix. Ghost Agents: Retribution, the 3rd book in the Ghost Agents Trilogy, was released on October 22, 2022.
Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads Author Page
Purchase Link – Amazon
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