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  • Witches’ Secrets Paperback paranormal cozy mystery with vampires
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Best Cosy Books

Witches’ Secrets (PAPERBACK)

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PAPERBACK. Book 2 of the Vampires and Wine paranormal cozy mystery series.

Welcome back to Mugwort Manor . . .

Pepper Jasper believes she's experienced more surprises than anyone ever should, but more secrets are lying in wait for her. As if things couldn't get any worse, a guest is found murdered, and Pepper realises that danger is closer than she ever imagined. 

Lucas O'Callaghan seems to be hiding something, and Pepper makes it her mission to uncover the truth. 

As tensions rise and suspicions mount, Pepper pieces together the clues while trying to stay one step ahead of danger.

PAPERBACK Paranormal cozy mystery with vampires.

 Paperback 182 pages
 Dimensions  6 x 0.66 x 9  inches (127 x 16.8 x 203mm)
 ISBN  9781925674095
 Publication date  February 6, 2017
 Publisher  Best Cosy Books

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An early evening mist sat lightly upon Lighthouse Bay, bathing the cliff tops in pale blue. It imparted an eerie feel to the landscape, and I wondered if the ghosts from the shipwrecks below where I stood were roaming freely. I imagined them now, their long pale dresses in tatters as they floated above the ebbing tide.
I shook myself and came back to reality.
No one had been murdered for a week.
With that thought, I turned around, and stepped straight into a solid object.
Lucas O’Callaghan steadied my shoulders. I flinched at his touch, not because I found him repellent, rather because I found him too attractive for my own good. I squinted at him, a handsome man in soft focus, the mist swirling into arabesques around him.
“Did I startle you, Valkyrie?”
“Pepper, please,” I said automatically, struggling to keep my voice steady. I knew he had used my legal name simply to irritate me. I snatched my hands from his chest and looked past him at his companion.
“Allow me to introduce Lila Sanders,” he said, releasing his grip. “Lila Sanders, this is Valkyrie Jasper.”
I frowned and shook the elegantly offered hand. “My name’s Pepper,” I said hastily. “Only my aunts call me Valkyrie.”
The woman eyed me speculatively.
“Your aunts have sent me to fetch you for dinner,” Lucas continued in the same mocking tone. “They suggested I show Lila the view.”
I know what view she wants to see, I thought cattily, watching the way Lila ogled him. Aloud I said, “It’s normally a beautiful view from here. Sometimes you can see whales, and sometimes dolphins.” I waved my hand expansively past the nearby lighthouse perched high on the rocky headland, a small lighthouse as such structures go, to the pristine white beaches either side.
I knew why the woman was here. She was a journalist, working for East Coastal Life, a glossy magazine which declared itself to be a popular lifestyle publication. The magazine was doing a spread on Lighthouse Bay, and Lila had booked one of the cottages for the week. My aunts had allocated her a cottage next to Lucas’s.
A sudden gust of wind pushed me forward, and I all but landed on Lucas once more. “Enjoy yourselves,” I said, doing my best not to sound jealous, and I headed downhill in the direction of Mugwort Manor.
I inhaled the salt air as I walked, enjoying the feel of the sand between my toes and the dampness of the fog on my skin. The sudden arrival of butterflies in my stomach disturbed me, a sure sign that something was about to happen. When I crested a sand dune and came to the start of the pathway to the cottages, I put my sandals back on. It was only then that I risked a glance over my shoulder, but Lucas and the woman were nowhere to be seen. Still, the mist was heavy now. I took one more long deep breath of salt air to steady myself, and strode out purposefully.
Although I had newly moved into the Assistant Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottage, my aunts wanted me to join them for dinner at Mugwort Manor every night. I enjoyed spending time with my eccentric aunts, even more so now I had my own space. I was grateful for the opportunity to become a partner in their Bed and Breakfast business, which did not, in fact, offer breakfast. Go figure.
I walked past my cottage, smiling as I did so, on past the newly rented cottage, grimacing as I thought of the hideous theme that I had not yet addressed. Still, I had only been here a short time and there was so much work to be done, not the least of which was toning down the aunts’ peculiar decorating schemes.
As I walked past the Williamses’ cottage, my right eye twitched. This was an unreliable indicator that something was terribly amiss, unreliable in the sense that it did not warn me on every occasion. I expected Paul and Linda had another of their nasty arguments.
I picked up the pace, only too aware that my aunts did not like to be kept waiting for dinner. I had just reached the edge of the vegetable garden when Linda Williams emerged from the haze, heading for her cottage.
I had not liked Linda when we had first met, but had warmed to her. Her husband, Paul, was a rather obnoxious man, a taxidermist by trade and a sexist control-freak by nature. From what I had seen, he was overbearing and controlling.
I noticed Linda was carrying an overnight bag. I wondered why, but considered it would be tactless to comment on it. “Hi, Linda,” I said when she drew near, dismayed to see her face was red and puffy. It was clear she had been crying. She didn’t seem to have had much sleep either, judging by the dark circles under her eyes. “Are you all right?” I said, before I realised it might not be the most tactful thing to say. Since I had moved into my cottage, I had heard loud arguments on several occasions.
She nodded and clutched her bag. I stood there awkwardly for a moment, not knowing what to say. “Well, I’d better be going,” I said finally. “My aunts get thingy if I’m late for dinner. I’ll be in my cottage later, so feel free to pop in for a glass of wine if you feel like a chat.”
Linda mumbled her thanks and then left. I stared after her for a moment. Something was clearly wrong. Her impossibly white face had turned even paler, as if she had been drained of blood. I shrugged and turned back to the manor.
The back door of Mugwort Manor opened onto the vast kitchen. Sometimes the aunts had dinner in the dining room, but sometimes in the kitchen. Tonight, it was in the kitchen.
“Sorry I’m late,” I said, but Aunt Agnes waved a hand at me in dismissal, so sharply did she make the movement that her red, bat-wing glasses fell to the end of her long, pointed nose.
“You’re just in time, Valkyrie.”
“Pepper.” I didn’t know if there was any point trying to get my aunts to call me Pepper; instead they insisted on my legal name, the bane of my existence.
I sat at the table and took the offered goblet of Witches’ Brew.
The gold rim had barely touched my lips, when an ear splitting scream pierced the air.
The aunts leapt to their feet and were at the back door in a blink of an eye. I was only marginally behind them. As I peered around Aunt Maude’s ample frame, I saw Linda running out of her cottage, waving her arms wildly in the air.
My aunts moved, more slowly this time, but I sprinted past them.
Linda ran to meet me, still gesturing wildly. I grabbed her flailing arms and held them to her sides. “What’s happened?”
“Paul, it’s Paul. He’s dead!”

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