I’ve occasionally mentioned that I don’t always know what, exactly, draws me into a book’s summary. That isn’t at all the case with Ani Gonzalez’s Hex Marks the Spot.
There were a few key phrases that locked me in as soon as I read them:
- The main character’s hometown is the “Most Haunted in America”;
- There’s a hellhound chihuahua; and
- A necromancer has to save the world.
Those were, without a doubt, my favourite parts of this book’s summary. And we get a glimpse of each one of them in today’s excerpt.
Want to take a look?
HOME SWEET Home
But I was staring at a house that looked anything but sweet.
It was a dilapidated Victorian structure with a Second Empire mansard roof, peeling pink paint, and broken stained glass windows. The house had several missing shingles and a lopsided front porch. It was missing a few windows too. It also had a large square turret, which caused it to resemble the house in Charmed, minus the charm.
My heart sank. Nothing, not even the newly sprung daffodils bobbing in the chilly March breeze, could make this house look good.
If the Halliwell sisters’ house had suffered a regretful encounter with Godzilla, it would look like this. Fortunately, my house didn’t have a gate to Hell in the basement. It did, however, have a scary-looking gargoyle statue glaring at me from the second-floor ledge.
“The period detail is amazing, isn’t it?” a syrupy voice chirped beside me.
I turned to look at my depressingly cheerful real estate agent, Elizabeth Hunt, and she blinded me with her trademark movie-star smile.
I stifled a groan. Before moving back to Banshee Creek to help out in her family’s real estate business, Elizabeth worked in the horror film industry. She went from fighting murderous critters on the big screen, to moving her hometown’s extensive collection of haunted houses.
That’s what happened when you moved to the Most Haunted Town in America. My hometown used to be a run-down Virginia town with a lot of ghost stories. Now, it had rebranded itself into the country’s number one paranormal destination, beating even Salem, Massachusetts. Suck it, Salem.
Though the prospect of living in a spooky version of Disneyland did not amuse me, Elizabeth was almost preternaturally optimistic about our hometown’s transformation.
I would have been willing to bet real money that she’d planted those daffodils herself.
“Yes,” I said, “the gargoyle is particularly impressive.”
Elizabeth gave a nervous giggle. “That’s a recent addition. They took it upon themselves to add it. You know how people are around here.”
Yep, I did. You learn a few tricks when you grow up in this town, like how to protect yourself against the monster next door.
A monster, which, from what I’d gathered so far, was no slouch.
“Oh, what am I doing here?” I muttered, sounding whiny even to myself.
“I know,” Elizabeth exclaimed, clapping her hands for emphasis. “What are we waiting for? Let’s go look at the inside.”
Uh, my complaint was more along the lines of “I hunt ghosts, not inter-dimensional quasi-deities.” Why couldn’t my ancestral home have an ordinary paranormal pest, like a poltergeist or a Lady in White?
But my real estate agent did not register my dismay. She hurried toward the house in a cloud of blonde hair and expensive perfume, with the unforced cheer of someone who had just unloaded a hard-to-sell property on an unsuspecting mark.
Or not so unsuspecting, in my case. I should be able to handle whatever inhabited Delacourt Manor. After all, my mundane job was to go around haunted places and make funny videos about them, but that was just reconnaissance for my magical job, which was to bash whatever inhabited those spaces, or at least render them harmless.
So this should be a breeze, no?
“Don’t look so glum, Claire.” The voice came from the general direction of my right ankle. “Just ignore the epic remodeling bill and focus on saving the world.”
About Hex Marks the Spot
Going to Hell is easy. Going back home is a different story.
They say you can never go back. I wish that was the case.
Returning home is complicated when you’re a necromancer and your hometown is the Most Haunted in America. It doesn’t help that your pet hellhound chihuahua thinks the place is a dump, and it gets worse when your high school crush is still there and still dead sexy. Literally, as he’s now a ghost.
Oh, and did I mention that I have to save the world? I tell you, going to Hell is easy.
About Ani Gonzalez
I’m a USA Today bestselling author of paranormal romantic comedy and cozy mystery (whew, that’s a mouthful!) set in Banshee Creek, Virginia, The Most Haunted Town in the USA. My books feature feisty, irrepressible heroines dealing with a host of paranormal critters (ghosts, cryptids, pagan gods…the sky’s the limit) and mysteries. They find love and laughter (and sometimes corpses) along the way, and readers get to follow them every step of the way.
I love quirky towns with spooky stories, and, thanks to my books, I get to “live” in one year-around. In real life I live in a Virginia suburb (which is sadly lacking in ghosts) with my husband, three children, two cats, and one adorable dog.