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Also by Nellie H. Steele

Shadow Slayers Stories

Stolen Portrait Stolen Soul

Cate Kensie Mysteries

The Secret of Dunhaven Castle

Murder at Dunhaven Castle

Holiday Heist at Dunhaven Castle

Maggie Edwards Adventures

Cleopatra’s Tomb

Shadows of the PastA Shadow Slayers Story

Nellie H. Steele

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2020 by Nellie H. Steele

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

Cover design by Stephanie A. Sovak.

Created with Vellum

For my parents, Paul and Stephanie



Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33


A Note from the Author

Stolen Portrait Stolen Soul Synopsis

Stolen Portrait Stolen Soul Excerpt


A HUGE thank you to everyone who helped get this book published! Special shout outs to: Stephanie Sovak, Paul Sovak, Michelle Cheplic, Mark D’Angelo and Lori D’Angelo.

Thanks to Kaddour Boukaabar who graciously agreed to review my French phrases and provide feedback and corrections. Thank you for making sure my French was correct and sounds like a native speaker!

Finally, a HUGE thank you to you, the reader!

Chapter 1

Josie bolted upright from her sleep, drenched in sweat. She gasped for breath, her heart pounding. Glancing around, she recognized her surroundings. Her breath began to slow; she swallowed hard. She was at home. She had fallen asleep sitting on the couch next to her cousin, best friend and roommate. After hours of tossing and turning in her own bed, she snuck into Damien’s room to see if he was awake. Dragging him from his slumber to the living room, they lounged on the couch, talking for a few hours about anything and everything on her mind before she dozed off somewhere between solving world hunger and expressing her craving for ice cream.

She glanced over her right shoulder. Damien was asleep on his side, facing her, left side leaning against the back of the couch, his head buried in his chest. He would likely have a stiff neck, Josie thought. He stirred a bit, groggily asking her if she was okay, still half asleep.

“Yes, I’m fine,” she answered, standing.

He pushed himself up, becoming more awake. “Did you have a bad dream?” He must have noticed the sweat on her brow and her elevated breathing earlier.

“Yeah, I’m fine though, go back to sleep. I’ll tell you in the morning.”

Damien took a deep breath, too tired to argue, and lay back on the couch. Apparently, he had no desire to go to his own room. He was asleep before she left the room. Josie returned to her own bed, feeling the cold sheets press against her as she lay down. It gave her a chill since she was still soaked with sweat.

She laid awake, still a little riled from the bad dream. It was a recurring dream that she had several times before. In the dream, she was running through a dark cave or cavern; the walls felt cool and damp to the touch; she was out of breath, terrified, being chased by something or someone. She clutched a book in her hands; she looked back over her shoulder, hearing something behind her then pushed her tired body to run forward away from the noise. She awoke before she ever reached the end of the cave. Each time it was the same, each time she woke up in a cold sweat, and each time she had trouble sleeping afterwards. She did not understand the meaning of the dream but it was so vivid that it felt as though she were living it.

Her friends, including her cousin, Damien, told her it must be a reaction to some stress in her life, perhaps with work or family and that she should try to relax, maybe get a massage or do some yoga. Nothing made it easier when the dream reoccurred; it was so intense that it would terrify her all over again. Even after waking up and realizing that she was in her own bed and her own home, the unsettled feeling that she had during the dream remained and she always had trouble going back to sleep afterwards.

As usual, Josie laid in bed pondering everything about the dream and learning nothing. The next thing she knew, her alarm was screaming at her. Groggily, she pushed herself up to sitting, looking at the clock. It was 4 a.m., her normal wake-up call. Most people wouldn’t even consider getting up at this absurd hour but Josie did it daily. An avid jogger, Josie liked to pound the pavement before most other people started their day.

She considered hitting the snooze button but decided she’d feel worse if she didn’t get up now. Sleepily, she made her way to the kitchen to make her normal breakfast of oatmeal. She put on a pot of coffee. Even though she didn’t drink coffee, she prepared the pot for Damien whenever he crawled out of bed. She noted on her way to the kitchen that he must have dragged himself back to bed during the night since the couch had been empty this morning. She also set a bowl of oatmeal in the fridge for him to eat when he got up.

With her morning chores completed, she headed back to her bedroom and changed into her jogging clothes. She finger-combed her blonde hair back into a ponytail with the loose curls touching the nape of her neck after being pulled up. Grabbing her water bottle, she headed out the door for

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