Besides the big, black Hummer dominating the garage, there was a long worktable against one wall as well as several storage lockers and shelves filled with lots of different gadgets and tools, none of which she recognized.
Logan, the socially maladjusted hunk, was already in the front passenger seat of the Hummer. Robert was getting in the back. Presley climbed in the back seat along with Brielle while Mav slipped behind the wheel.
“Where are we heading?” Mav asked as he turned on the engine.
“Seventy-Five Sunset Drive, Moores Mill,” Robert said.
Mav punched the address into the GPS on the dash, then pulled out of the garage and turned right. As they drove down the street, Presley waited for him to ask what kind of job they were going on, but he didn’t. In fact, no one said anything. She wondered if they were always so quiet or whether they didn’t want to talk because she was there.
“Are we going to a haunted house?” she asked.
To her surprise, it was Logan who answered. “It’s a house, but it probably isn’t haunted.”
She frowned. “We’re going to a house that isn’t haunted?”
“I said we’re going to a house that probably isn’t haunted.”
That didn’t make sense. “Let me get this straight. I’m crammed into an SUV with a team of ghost hunters so we can drive for an hour to check out a house that probably isn’t even haunted? What’s the point of that?”
Logan shrugged. “Well, we could have gone to the nearest unhaunted house down the street, but I want you to feel as if you’re getting your money’s worth so an hour-long drive seems about right. I’m throwing in the crowded SUV for free.”
Presley stared at the back of his head, speechless. She leaned forward. “Wait a minute. If you think I paid seven-hundred-and-fifty dollars to have you drive me around for the weekend and show me an old unhaunted house or two, then I want my money back right now.”
“He’s kidding, Presley.”
“And if you don’t give me a refund, then I’ll…” she trailed off as Brielle’s words registered. She looked over her shoulder at the woman. “What?”
Brielle smiled. “He’s kidding.”
Presley jerked her head around to look at Logan. She thought she saw his mouth quirk, but it disappeared too quickly for her to be sure.
Beside her, Brielle leaned forward to whisper in her ear. “Remember what I said about him being socially maladjusted?”
“I heard that,” Logan said.
“Good. That way I won’t have to repeat it.” Brielle flopped back in the seat. “You can be a real jerk sometimes, you know that, Logan?”
He shrugged. “I was telling her the truth when I said the house we’re going to probably isn’t haunted.”
“Give it a rest, Logan,” Mav muttered. “You’re only going to get her spun up again.” He glanced at Presley in the rearview mirror. “What Logan meant to say in his socially maladjusted way is that we’re being paid to see if the house is haunted or not. Given the odds involved in these types of situations, it probably isn’t.”
“Isn’t that what I just said?” Logan asked. “With a hell of a lot less words, I might add.”
Presley ignored Logan and sat back in the seat, her brow furrowing. “Why would people pay you to tell them their house isn’t haunted? Wouldn’t they already know if it is or isn’t?”
“Actually, the house is for sale, so there isn’t anyone living there at the moment,” Robert said. “But someone recently purchased it and we’ve been hired by the real estate agency to make sure the place is ghost-free prior to the new owners moving in.”
“Real estate agencies pay for that?”
“Sometimes. Actually, they pay for it a lot more than you think, especially here in the Northeast where there are so many old houses. With the home market being as slow as it is around here right now, the real estate agency doesn’t want to lose a prospective buyer because there’s a spook hanging around that likes to clank about the kitchen in the middle of the night. Once a home gets a reputation for being haunted, it’s never going to sell.”
Presley tried to wrap her head around that but couldn’t. “So, what, you walk around the house, check under the bed for Casper, then collect your money when he doesn’t jump out and say boo?”
Logan’s mouth quirked. “It’s a little more technical than that, but you’ve got the basic idea.”
Presley wondered if he was teasing her again. “That seems like a sort of shady way to make a living, don’t you think? Taking money to tell someone their house isn’t haunted.”
Logan shrugged. “I don’t disagree with you there.”
She wanted to ask why they did it then, but Robert spoke before she could get the words out.
“It’s not as shady as it sounds, Presley.” He squirmed in the seat and pushed his glasses up. “I mean, it’s no different than a home inspector checking a house for leaky pipes or bad wiring, and not finding any. They use their particular skills. We use ours. Besides, we wouldn’t be getting paid for our services if there wasn’t a demand for them.”
“If it sounds as if Robert is defensive, it’s because he’s the one who talked Logan and me into doing these demonic home-inspections,” Mav said.
“In his defense, business has been better than we thought it would be,” Brielle pointed out. “There actually is a need for it.”
“Just because there’s a need, that doesn’t mean we have to charge people for it,” Logan grumbled.
Presley blinked in surprise. She’d thought a socially maladjusted guy like him would appreciate ripping off honest people.
“That’s the same kind of thinking that put your little save-the-world endeavor so deep in debt,” Robert said to Logan. “I’m simply trying to show you that you can help people and still make a little money on the side. Letting people owe you favors now and then is fine, but it doesn’t put gas in the Hummer. There’s nothing wrong with making a little profit from helping people. Especially if the only reason you charge money anyway is so you can help more people. Right, Presley?”
“Um…” Presley hesitated. She hated it when people put her on the spot. “Well, when you put it that way, I suppose not.”
Presley stifled a groan. Well, that comment certainly wasn’t going to win her any brownie points from him. Not that she wanted to win any, of course. She didn’t care what he thought of her. It was just that she was already a source of contention between him and Robert. She didn’t like the idea of adding to it, especially since she wanted to learn as much as she could in the three days she going to be with them. Her sanity depended on it.