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Morgana Best

A Ghost of a Chance (PAPERBACK)

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PAPERBACK. In Book 1 of this USA Today Bestselling cozy mystery series, Laurel inherits a funeral home and discovers it's a dead-end job,

Nobody knows that Laurel Bay can see ghosts. When she inherits a funeral home, she is forced to return from Melbourne to the small town of Witch Woods to breathe life into the business. It's a grave responsibility, but Laurel is determined this will be no dead-end job.

There she has to contend with her manipulative and overly religious mother, a wise-cracking ghost, and a secretive but handsome accountant.

When the murder of a local woman in the funeral home strangles the finances, can Laurel solve the murder?

Or will this be the death of her business?

 

PAPERBACK.

 

 Paperback 158 pages
 Dimensions  6 x 0.36 x 9 inches (152 x 9.3 x 228 mm)
 ISBN 9781925674040
 Publication date  October 9, 2015
 Publisher  Best Cosy Books 

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CHAPTER 1

‘The wages of sin is death!’
I jumped when I heard the blaring ringtone of my mother’s mobile phone. Sure, we were outside a chapel, so it was an appropriate setting for such words, I supposed, but it was my father’s funeral.
The service had just ended, and my mother was busy complaining to her captive audience about the minister’s words. “This was a good opportunity for Pastor Green to witness to the unsaved,” she said for the umpteenth time. “He spoke about nothing else but my husband, Larry, yet he calls himself an evangelist!”
I sighed and turned back to accept the condolences of people I had never met. I’d left home for university and had done my best not to return home from Melbourne since. Witch Woods was a small town in New South Wales, a two to three day drive from Melbourne. I’d grown accustomed to the hustle and bustle of city life, and that was one of the reasons I’d planned to stay in town for only a week or two, max. The main reason was my mother. For the sake of my sanity, I could not live with her day in, day out, for too long.
It also didn’t help that I was able to see and speak to ghosts. A funeral home was not a good place for a person with such abilities, for obvious reasons. You would think a major city like Melbourne would be full of ghosts, and you would be right, but I was good at not letting on that I could see them. Ghosts always leave you alone if they think you can’t see them.
However, in Witch Woods, the people, living and dead, knew me, so it was hard to pretend. The one saving grace was that most people crossed over to the other side as soon as they died, and it was only the ones with unfinished business who remained on this earthly plane.
My childhood had not been easy. My mother had been horrified that I spoke to my imaginary friends, which is what she called them, although she knew the truth. The ability to see ghosts happened to the daughters of every second generation in Mum’s family. My grandmother had told me this when I was around ten years of age, just before she died. However, my own mother was in denial. She had taken me to child psychologists and even had me on medication for a while, until my father had put a stop to it. I had soon learnt not to speak to ghosts in front of anyone.
My mother’s voice snapped me back to the present. “All we like sheep have gone astray,” my mother said to a Goth teenager, who was backed up against a wall with no visible means of escape. “I’m not upset about my husband, as he’s in a better place. But do you know where you will spend eternity?”
“Err, no,” the teenager said, looking around frantically.
“Mum, Pastor Green wants to speak to you,” I lied. The teenager shot me a grateful look and hurried away. I wouldn’t fare so well. I knew I would pay for that later.
I was developing a nasty headache, and the noise level didn’t help. There were so many people, I suppose because everyone knew Dad as he had the funeral home, and everyone from Mum’s church appeared to be here as well.
Mum appeared at my side. “Liars and perjurers do not inherit the kingdom of God,” she said loudly, pointing to me, and everyone turned to look.
My face burnt hot with embarrassment. I beat a hasty retreat and headed for the door that led to the kitchen, intending to refill the coffee pot. We generally served coffee, tea, cold drinks, and snacks to attendees after a funeral. Just as my hand closed around the doorknob, someone cleared their throat loudly behind me.
I swung around to see an elderly man, a cranky expression on his face. His clothes were old fashioned, like from fifties movies. His trousers were somewhat baggy, and he looked unkempt. He was wearing a frown. “Who are you?” he barked at me.
“I’m Laurel Bay,” I said, extending my hand to shake his.
He backed away and looked at my hand. “Bay?” he repeated. “Are you Larry’s daughter?”
I nodded. “Yes.”
The man stepped forward and narrowed his eyes. “I haven’t seen you around before.”
Here we go again. I’d have to go through my life story one more time that day. “No, I went to Monash University in Melbourne and stayed in Melbourne. I’m only back for Dad’s funeral. And you are?”
“Ernie Forsyth.”
I nodded. “Nice to meet you. Well, if you’ll excuse me, I’d better get back to work.”
Before I had a chance to leave, Ernie snorted rudely. “Work! Do you call this work? Does anyone around here actually know how to run a funeral home properly? Do you have any idea what your mother does with the profits? I’ll have you know that I used to run a very successful funeral home, until I retired to Witch Woods. I gave your father my advice many a time, but he just wouldn’t hear what I had to say.”
I rubbed my temples. I didn’t need this right now. “Well, thank you, Mr Forsyth, but—”
He cut me off. “You can call me Ernie.”
“Okay, Ernie.” I looked past Ernie to see two elderly ladies staring at me.
“Are you okay, dear?” the taller one said as she walked over to me, straight through Ernie.

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