Justice for the dead and solace for the living is Baxley Powell’s creed, but she faces uncharted territory in this sixth book of the Dreamwalker Mystery Series. The Suitcase Killer has struck again, only this big city menace is now a problem for Baxley’s hometown. As that investigation heats up, a local woman is reported missing. The sheriff orders Baxley to work the missing person’s case.
Listening to the dead is familiar ground for Baxley but finding a missing young lady isn’t in her skill set. Besides, her dreams rarely follow a timeline. With the clock ticking, can this crime consultant discover a way to reach the living?
Her main source of help in the afterlife, a mentor named Rose, is unavailable. Instead, Baxley must rely on her wits and her Native American boyfriend, Deputy Sam Mayes, to find leads. Each shared dreamwalk and energy transfer binds them closer together, creating another issue. Mayes wants to marry Baxley but it isn’t that easy. They’re hampered by their community roles in opposite ends of the state.
Baxley juggles the pressure of two high-profile cases, a determined suitor, and expanding her limits. One thing is certain. Without her extrasensory sleuthing, the missing woman will die.
Excerpt:A sudden jolt propelled me to consciousness. I gazed upon a vast darkness and wheezed air into my lungs. Time passed as I steadied my breathing and slowed my racing heart. Flat on my back, I took stock of my situation.
Numb limbs indicated an extended dreamwalk, but I had no memory of any such excursion. I’d spent a quiet Sunday evening at home with my daughter and Sam Mayes, my Native American boyfriend, who was down from North Georgia for the weekend. I’d gone to sleep in my own bed and awakened here, wherever here was. Was I alone? I called upon my flagging energy to do a life signs scan. Using my extra senses, I virtually ranged out from my prone position. Mayes was to my immediate left, and from his low energy levels, as wiped out as I was. He was a dreamwalker, same as me. And from the cold energy pressing against my leg, my ghost dog watched over us. He’d bark on the spirit plane if someone or something approached, though my scan assured me we were alone. The void in my memory worried me. My debilitated condition pointed to an extrasensory event, but danged if I remembered contacting a spirit on the Other Side. Strange, because I remembered every other dreamwalk I’d ever made. Why not this one?
So much for me being an expert on the paranormal. Just when I thought I had the hang of my unusual profession of communicating with the dead, it socked me in the teeth. Crossing over to the spirit realm was something I did often, but the veil between the living and the dead nearly won this time. This had been no ordinary dreamwalk.
Instead of it being a spirit-only event, somehow our bodies had also undergone the shift. That defied the laws of physics, but here we were, body and spirit. Impossible and yet my reality. Tears misted my eyes, and I blinked to sharpen my vision. A woodsy aroma filled my nose, so we were outdoors. The darkness suggested it was night. My thoughts drifted into a self-healing meditative trance focusing on the breath. Gradually, clarity returned. As numbness yielded to tingling nerves, sensation seeped into my rigid body. Fatigue rolled in next, and with it, the riptide of bone-deep exhaustion. Despite my weariness, I took heart. This reaction was normal after an extended dreamwalk. Oliver lapped happily at my face, his whip-thin tail wagging his entire ghostly form. Good dog, Oliver, I managed as I joined him on the spirit plane. While here in spirit only, I still maintained awareness of my physical surroundings. My ghost dog materialized as a misty image of a jet black Great Dane, his body aquiver with happiness. Earlier this summer I rescued Oliver from virtual chains and too-tight collar at a haunted house. No amount of urging had prompted him to the afterlife, and his essence attached to mine. At this bereft moment, I was delighted by his presence. Oliver showed us the way home through the drift, I realized. It wasn’t the first time he’d rescued me, and I owed him so much already.
Despite my dry-as-cotton mouth, I cooed over him while I tried to pinpoint my location. Stars twinkled overhead, framed by tall oaks and pines. Not my treetops, not my yard. I heard a moan to my left. Felt the urgency as Mayes whispered my name.
With a final rub of the ears for Oliver, I integrated fully into the physical plane.
Mayes whispered again, his tone deeper and freighted with authority. “Bax. You okay?”
“Yeah.” I managed. “What happened to us?”
“Got no clue.” Sam Mayes had become a fixture in my life, though I’d only known him for three months. I wished I was in his protective arms right this very second.
“I feel like I got run over by a truck,” I said. “Last thing I remember is getting ready for bed.”
“That’s right.” His voice roughened. “I shared your toothpaste before we crawled under the covers.”
My face heated as memories surfaced. “I remember the before-sleep part fine, but between there and here is a big, fat zero. Except for Oliver. He guided us home through the drift.” I tried to sit, but my limbs weren’t fully responsive yet. I remained prone.
“I have the same mental gap. I believe we were taken, body and spirit, from your house.” Hearing the words made it real. The impossible had happened. Nothing else explained our physical displacement, the prolonged recovery time, and the shared memory gaps.
My teeth ground together as I made another connection. “Unless some other entity kidnapped us, my money’s on Rose. Her abilities go beyond the possible. I’ve never met another spirit entity as powerful.”
Allegedly, my otherworld mentor, Rose, worked undercover in the spirit realm, but she claimed to be an angel. Seeing her dark, powerful wings had made a believer out of me. That physical manifestation, her ability to do impossible feats, and her total hold on me proved she was more than a powerful spirit. She’d banished demons, fetched folks from beyond the point of no return, wrestled with selkies, quelled spirit rebellions, and more. Trouble was, Rose kept changing the rules of our association.
By sheer willpower, I managed to draw one hand close enough to study in the starlight. From the faint glow of my watch, it was three a.m. The rose tattoo on my hand was still there. Rose put three tattoos on my body to indicate the hours of my indenture to her. Rats. If she’d gone to the trouble of kidnapping us and erasing our memories, her prominent brand indicated I still owed her the hours of my life I’d willingly exchanged during life-or-death situations of loved ones.
That’s right. Rose charged for her supernatural favors, and I’d begged for her help three times. Each time the terms had been the same. A favor in exchange for an hour of my life. I’d agreed due to the dire nature of the situations, but darn-it-all if I wanted Rose to collect. With her rule-bending nature, I could turn into a mass murderer or worse on either side of the veil.
“I keep reminding you, Rose is not your friend,” Mayes said.
“Maggie Toussaint’s ability to craft growing, exquisite tension couched in interpersonal relationships, revelations, and the fine line between the Other Side and waking events enhances another story that is hard to put down: one which will attract and please both mystery readers and those seeking a walk on the wild side of paranormal abilities. Dreamed It crafts a tense, outstanding whodunit that will keep readers involved on both an emotional and an investigative level, right up to the story’s riveting conclusion.” –Diane Donovan, Midwest Book Review
“Dreamed It is a carefully crafted tale of murder and the paranormal with a unique protagonist in the person of dream-walker and amateur sleuth Baxley Powell.” Diane A.S. Stuckart, NYT bestselling author (as Ali Brandon) of the Black Cat Bookshop Mystery series “Dreamed It is a suspenseful page-turner that you won’t be able to put down.” –Nancy J Cohen, Author of the Bad Hair Day mysteries
“The very first paragraph flings you into the paranormal subplot of Dreamed It. Baxley and her boyfriend, Mayes, wake up after an extended dreamwalk that neither remembers taking. Who did this to them and why? Baxley’s powerful otherworld contact, Rose, is not answering and cannot be found. Mayes is preparing to return home from his visit when Baxley is called into work. A suitcase with a body in it has been found. Mayes knows of the Georgia cases relating to a serial killer known as the Suitcase Killer and requests permission from his sheriff to stay and assist. The impetus to solve the case ratchets up when a local woman goes missing. Dreamed It continues Baxley’s story as she learns her dreamwalking powers and her heart. This is a well written series that has continued to surprise and engage from the very first book. I can’t wait for more stories.” –Pat Dupuy as seen on Goodreads
“This is a wonderful series. The paranormal aspect is written well and captivates you from the get-go. The characters are interesting and engaging. This latest offering is one you won’t be able to put down! I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.”—Karen Kenyon on Goodreads
“This is one of my favorite series. The author has created dimensional characters that I have come to care deeply about. I find myself thinking about Baxley, Sam, Baxley’s daughter Larissa, and all the secondary characters when I’m not reading the books. Another thing I like about this is, the paranormal aspects are plausible. It requires very little suspension of disbelief to get caught up in Bax and Sam’s dreamwalks, or in Bax’s conversations with the dead people she delivers messages to, or the crime victims she helps. There is a good balance of mystery, interpersonal relationships, day-to-day living, and romance. Wherever Baxley is, is a place I want to be. I am always pleased to see a new Dreamwalker mystery, and this one did not disappoint. I am enjoying watching Bax’s and Sam’s relationship progress, and seeing Bax settle into her powers I’m envious of her support team, and her relationship with 10-year-old Larissa. I appreciate how she treats Larissa like a person, giving her a safe place to grow up, but not sugarcoating the realities of life. Baxley is someone I wish I could hang out with. I hope this is a long-running series.” – Denise Zendel on Goodreads
“I very much enjoy this series. It is just enough “out there” while still being grounded in a familiar reality. The characters are developing nicely (believably) with each story. This one was particularly creepy with so many women being the victims and the manner of their deaths. The final countdown was hair raising.” –Elizabeth Dodd on Goodreads