Thanks to Coffee Time Romance for hosting the ghost stories today. I live in Albuquerque, NM where the sunset across the mountains holds a mystique rich with colors and possibilities. Please enjoy the view as you join Stephanie and Bruce on a casino rooftop as the sunset conjures a ghostly pueblo: 

Stephanie couldn’t hold the gaze he gave her as he spoke the words. She looked towards the Sandia Mountains and caught her breath. The crest was rimmed in a pink that raced into a flush across the whole mountainside. As the color deepened, the outline of a pueblo village spanning northward on the mountainside appeared. She jumped up and stepped to the rail of the balcony as she heard drum beats and gourd rattles accompanying a rich, baritone voice. Outside of the village, dancers swooped in and out of complex formations with trails of watermelon light spreading out behind them.

Bruce stepped up next to her and caressed her arm from her shoulder down to her hand. He entwined his fingers in hers and said, “Do you hear their song?” She nodded, not wanting to turn away from the scene of melancholy and longing. “Why do you want to die? I promise I’ll fix your violin.”

She started to answer him, but a flash of cantaloupe orange below her caught her attention. Leaning over the rail, she saw the smoky woman from the store beckoning to her from beneath the balcony. Vapors swirled between the woman’s fingers until the shape of a violin appeared. She needed that violin. She leaned further over the balcony, holding out her hand to try to reach the offered gift. Bruce gripped her shoulder and pulled her up; she was so far over the rail, a tilt the wrong way would’ve sent her down.

“Who was that?” she asked. The sky dulled and the village faded until the mountain was a mass of gray rock. She shrugged his hand off her shoulder and bent over the rail to see if the woman was still there, but she was gone along with the pueblo. Stephanie whirled back around and said, “Where’d she go?”

“Where’d who go?”

“That woman with the violin.”

“What woman? I thought you saw the dancers.”

“I saw them too. What the hell is going on?” Her chest tightened as the gray came back to her vision.

His loose hair fell in front of his face. He flipped it back but remained silent, flicking his eyes from Stephanie to the mountainside as if he were trying to decide something. When the waiter called them to their table, Stephanie grabbed her purse and kept walking down several flights of stairs, through the ringing slot machine room and out to the parking lot until she reached her car. She churned the contents of her purse over and over and dumped it out on her car roof in search of her keys. Metal clattered, but before she saw the keys, two hands turned her around, and Bruce said, “I’m sorry. I meant to help you tonight–I’m not good with people.”

She stared at him, stared at the asphalt and mumbled, “I’m not either.”

He pulled her to his chest, but instead of pushing away, she sighed. “I just want to know what’s going on.”

He smelled like sweet smoke and sawdust, and the calluses on his fingers sent streaks of warmth down her arm. “I wish you didn’t see them. You can trust me to fix your violin, and then they won’t bother you anymore.”

Stephanie pressed her head into his chest, wanting to know more but realizing that was all he would say about it–at least tonight.

For more about A Sunset Finish please visit its page at Coffee Time Romance. For more about me, Melinda Moore, please visit my blog at

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