Haunting Adeline (Cat and Mouse Duet, #1)

Haunting Adeline (Cat and Mouse Duet, #1)

H. D. Carlton


First and foremost, THIS BOOK ENDS ON A CLIFFHANGER. If you don’t like them, then please for all that is holy, do not read and then proceed to leave a bad review because you don’t like cliffhangers. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.

Second, this is a dark book that includes stalking, non/dub-con, graphic violence, and sexual situations.

A lot of sexual situations, guys.

I’m a woman in love with her own character, okay? I wanted to see his penis as much as possible.

So, if any of these are triggering for you, please do not read this book.

But those aren’t the ones I’m concerned about. In fact, I know those might even be appealing to some. And I know some authors don’t like to lay out the specific triggers, as they want readers to experience the book blind. I get that, but with this book, I simply would not feel right if I did not make these triggers very clear.

The last thing I would ever want to do is put a reader through any type of trauma, whether it’s new or relived. And to be frank, it’s a pretty fucked up subject matter.

So if you do not want to be spoiled and read further, then stop here.









This book deals heavily with human trafficking. Child trafficking mostly. But not only that, it deals with the conspiracy theories surrounding the government with child sacrifice and cannibalism. I am heavy-handed on the subject, but I did take great care not to go into the nitty-gritty, nasty details while also showing the reality of what goes on in the world today.

If any readers know me, they know that I don’t sugarcoat real world problems. This book is no exception.

Children do die in this book.

And while it does not happen in the company of the MC, he does see it and it is described.

So, my dear reader, if you choose to go further, it is at your own risk. But on the other side, you may find that you have also fallen in love.

We can all only hope, right?

1 (888) 373-7888

National Human Trafficking Hotline



he windows of my house tremble from the power of thunder rolling across the skies. Lightning strikes in the distance, illuminating the night. In that small moment, the few seconds of blinding light showcases the man standing outside my window. Watching me. Always watching me.

I go through the motions, just like I always do. My heart skips a beat and then palpitates, my breathing turns shallow, and my hands grow clammy. It doesn’t matter how many times I see him, he always pulls the same reaction out of me.


And excitement.

I don’t know why it excites me. Something must be wrong with me. It’s not normal for liquid heat to course through my veins, leaving tingles burning in its wake. It’s not common for my mind to start wondering about things I shouldn’t.

Can he see me now? Wearing nothing but a thin tank top, my nipples poking through the material? Or the shorts I’m wearing that barely cover my ass? Does he like the view?

Of course he does.

That’s why he watches me, isn’t it? That’s why he comes back every night, growing bolder with his leering while I silently challenge him. Hoping he’ll come closer, so I have a reason to put a knife to his throat.

The truth is, I’m scared of him. Terrified, actually.

But the man standing outside my window makes me feel like I’m sitting in a dark room, a single light shining from the television where a horror flick plays on the screen. It’s petrifying, and all I want to do is hide, but there’s a distinct part of me that keeps me still, baring myself to the horror. That finds a small thrill out of it.

It’s dark again, and the lightning strikes in areas further away.

My breathing continues to escalate. I can’t see him, but he can see me.

Ripping my eyes away from the window, I turn to look behind me in the darkened house, paranoid that he’s somehow found a way inside. No matter how deep the shadows go in Parsons Manor, the black and white checkered floor always seems visible.

I inherited this house from my grandparents. My great-grandparents had built the three-story Victorian home back in the early 1940s through blood, sweat, tears, and the lives of five construction workers.

Legend says—or rather Nana says—that the house caught fire and killed the construction workers during the building structure phase. I haven't been able to find any news articles on the unfortunate event, but the souls that haunt the Manor reek of despair.

Nana always told grandiose stories that wrung eye rolls from my parents. Mom never believed anything Nana said, but I think she just didn’t want to.

Sometimes I hear footsteps at night. They could be from the ghosts of the workers who died in the tragic fire eighty years ago, or they could be from the shadow that stands outside my house.

Watching me.

Always watching me.

Chapter 1

The Manipulator


ometimes I have very dark thoughts about my mother—thoughts no sane daughter should ever have.

Sometimes, I’m not always sane.

“Addie, you’re being ridiculous,” Mom says through the speaker on my phone. I glare at it in response, refusing to argue with her. When I have nothing to say, she sighs loudly. I wrinkle my nose. It blows my mind that this woman always called Nana dramatic yet can’t see her own flair for the dramatics.

“Just because your grandparents gave you the house doesn’t mean you have to actually live in it. It’s old and would be doing everyone in that city a favor if it were torn down.”

I thump my head against the headrest, rolling my eyes upward and trying to find patience weaved into the stained roof of my car.

How did I manage to get ketchup up there?

“And just because you don’t like it, doesn’t mean I can’t live in it,” I retort dryly.

My mother is a bitch. Plain and simple. She’s always had a chip on her shoulder, and for the life of me, I can’t figure out why.

“You’ll be living an hour from us! That will be incredibly inconvenient for you to come visit us, won’t it?”

Oh, how will I ever survive?

Pretty sure my gynecologist is an hour away, too, but I still make an effort to see her once a year. And those visits are far more painful.

“Nope,” I reply, popping the P. I’m over this conversation. My patience only lasts an entire sixty seconds talking to my mother. After that, I’m running on fumes and have no desire to put in any more effort to keep the conversation moving along.