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Baby Spells Trouble (EBOOK)

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Ebook. Book 17 in the bestselling The Kitchen Witch series of fun paranormal cozy mysteries.

Amelia and Alder's baby has finally arrived. Alder's former family friends come to town to see the baby at the same time Camino releases a set of dinosaur onesies. 

Sure enough, somebody is murdered. The culprit does not stick out like a saur thumb. Add that to sleeplessness, and Amelia is soon a nervous rex.
Can Amelia and friends solve the murder? You can bet Jurassican! 

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CHAPTER 1

I was sitting in the bath. This wasn’t unusual—I did enjoy a good soak in a steaming hot bath, maybe with a few candles, a glass of wine, and a good book. However, there was no hot water in the bath, no candles on the windowsill; I hadn’t drunk a glass of wine in almost a year, and having the time to read was now a thing of the past.
Alder and I had no living relatives. That was the mantra I was repeating to myself as I sat in the bath.
“Alder and I have no living relatives.”
But if that was the case, why were Alder’s relatives coming to my house?
It had been a shock when Alder had confessed to me on the eve of our wedding that he had a great aunt, an aunt he had kept a secret from me.
I hoped these new relatives weren't going to be as bad as Alder’s great aunt. After all, Aunt Bertha Bunyons had framed Alder for murder, her own murder at that.
I shook my head. The hot water had long since run cold. The bubbles had dissolved to nothing, and the candles had burnt down hours ago. My fingers were wrinkled like prunes, and I didn't want to know what other parts of me resembled wrinkled prunes too. Still, I refused to budge from the bath. I’d discovered quickly that being a mother meant hunkering down in the bathroom while my baby daughter slept so lightly in the adjoining bedroom that if I even thought of tiptoeing around the house, her eyes would snap open and she would start screaming. Really screaming.
There was a light tap on the window.
"Yes?" I hissed, drawing back the curtain and opening the window. The cold air blew in, making my shoulders tremble.
“It’s me. I’ve bought you adult nappies,” Alder replied in a booming voice.
In the other room, our daughter woke up and wailed.
“Thanks, Alder,” I grumbled, figuring I had water in my ears. I pulled myself out of the bath and picked up a towel.
Alder opened the bathroom window and climbed through, looking flushed but pleased with himself. “I didn’t want to wake Arabella, so I didn’t come through the front door. By the way, it took me forever to find the adult nappies. I kept calling them adult diapers to the person who worked there, but we don’t call them diapers here in Australia. We call them nappies.” He thrust a packet of adult nappies at me.
“True. Oh wait, what? Adult nappies? Why did you buy adult nappies?”
Alder appeared confused. “You said to go and buy the biggest packet of nappies I could find. I thought adult nappies would be the biggest.”
I brushed the hair out of my face and sighed. “Go and change your daughter,” I told Alder.
“What are you going to do?” he asked sweetly, patting my back. He’d kept patting my back ever since the birth, which he hadn’t handled very well. He had fainted in the delivery room, and all the nurses and the doctor had to keep stepping over his unconscious body.
“I want to hear about these relatives you were keeping a secret from me just like you kept your aunt a secret from me.” I didn't care that my tone was accusatory. “Why are they coming here?”
Alder's left hand clamped firmly over his eyes, and he let out a long, low sigh. “Amelia, you know why. I've already told you. And I wasn't keeping my aunt a secret from you. I was going to tell you about her. We were estranged for years."
"But you weren’t estranged from these relatives for years," I countered, "yet you failed to tell me about them."
"I wasn't keeping them from you," Alder said. "I've told you that a thousand times already. I don't even think of them as relatives. I didn't invite them to our wedding. They were Aunt Bertha’s relatives by marriage. In fact, I don't remember any of them, only Hortensia.” He shuddered as he spoke.
"Then why are they visiting?"
He shrugged. "Amelia, we’ve been over this before. Hortensia wants me to do some investigative work for her."
I threw up my hands. "Why you? A long-lost relative by marriage she hasn't seen for years?”
Alder shrugged one shoulder. “She doesn't trust anyone else. She doesn't want it to go public."
Arabella wailed again. Alder hurried through the bathroom door.
Ten minutes later, myself, Alder, and our daughter, Arabella, were all splayed on the couch, half-asleep. Even Willow and Hawthorn were fast asleep. I expect the sound of the baby crying night and day was tiring even to cats.
The house was an absolute mess. Camino had volunteered to come over and help us clean, but cleaning wasn’t exactly her strong point, and she had ended up decorating the place with giant inflatable dinosaurs. Her inspiration, so she said, was that the house was currently watching the latest movie in the Jurassic Park franchise.
The last thing Alder and I needed was more mess, but I couldn’t say that to Camino, because she was so thrilled with her decorations.
I knew she liked dinosaurs, but I didn’t know she liked them quite that much. I could hear her laughing in the kitchen as she stomped around in her giant plastic dinosaur onesie. Alder loved dinosaurs too, but he wouldn’t have worn a onesie Tyrannosaurus if he had been offered one, no matter how much fun it would have been to stomp around in our kitchen with Camino.
“I still don’t understand why Camino bought dinosaurs for Arabella,” Alder said, his speech slurred. Neither of us had slept for what felt like a million years. “I don't think Arabella has shown any interest in them.”
“Hatching Soon,” I mumbled in reply. “That's the name of the baby discount store where Camino got all this dinosaur stuff. She never could resist a bargain. Besides, they’re fun, and babies like colour.”
Alder groaned, "What we need is pasta and salad. We’ll have a lot of mouths to feed when Hortensia and the other relatives visit. They’ll go completely crazy over Arabella. People love babies so much, especially ones that haven't made a mess on anyone yet."
"She makes a mess on me all the time, and I still love her."
"That's because you’re her mother, and you find her charming even when she’s projectile vomiting."
I grinned. “I find you cute when you’re projectile vomiting, and I'm not your mother.”
"That was one time! You know I get seasick."
I sighed. Arabella was the cutest baby in all of human history. I was slightly biased, sure, but a warm feeling of love and joy filled me whenever I looked at her. How could she be more adorable? My heart ached whenever I saw her; I was so filled with love. I understood why Alder’s relatives would want to see her. I wondered if they could bring us some chocolate. And some more chocolate. And maybe ice cream.
“Don’t worry,” Alder said then. “I’ll call Thyme and ask if she can bring over some food. I don’t want you to stress. I’ll organise everything.”
Three hours later, we had managed to get off the couch. Thyme had arrived carrying container after container of food, and Alder had managed to wrangle all the inflatable dinosaurs into the living room cupboard, just so these people didn’t think we were obsessed with Jurassic Park.
“So you have never met them before?” Thyme asked Alder.
“I met the twins when we were all really young,” Alder said, “but I haven’t met Uncle Matthew, their family friend. Hortensia said he’s an interesting character.”
“Oh.”
Alder sighed. “Uncle Matthew wears a safari suit. Everywhere.”
His words conjured up the image of an elderly man with a bushy white moustache dressed in khakis and a white linen shirt with the sleeves rolled up. He was standing on the deck of a sailboat, leaning on a thick wooden cane. The cane only added to his distinction, creating the image of an elderly, dapper sea captain.
“Wow.”
“And the twins, Posy and Peregrine, were always causing trouble as children and still are, last I heard. And then there’s Hortensia’s granddaughter, Jane, who recently lost her mother, so Hortensia said.”
I tried to imagine what Posy and Peregrine looked like as children. I pictured a tiny little girl with braids and a smock dress reaching out to a snub-nosed little boy with tousled golden blond hair.
I had already heard about the relatives, so I zoned out as Alder explained them to Thyme.
“What about Uncle Matthew? Is he Posy and Peregrine's father?”
“No. Uncle Matthew isn’t their father. He was a friend of Jane’s father. Posy has a son who will be coming as well. His name is Maccabee.”
“Thank goodness you brought food, Thyme,” I said.
Thyme jumped to her feet. “I’d better go and sort it all out.”
She hurried back into the kitchen, and I looked at Alder. We had been thinking about the godparents for a couple of months now, but we had yet to reach a conclusion: Camino or Thyme? And would Ruprecht be a good godfather? It was so stressful to think about, and if we thought about it too much, I was sure that we’d never come to a decision. So instead, I just pretended that I didn’t want to choose at all.
There was a knock at the door. Alder and I cringed at the sudden sound. Thankfully, Arabella did not wake up, and Alder was able to pass her to me without a fuss. He went to open the door, but before he could say hello, his wild family piled into our messy little home.
There were Posy and Peregrine, twins, both in their thirties. They were so alike, with large, dark eyes and brown hair. Following the twins was a boy. He looked about ten or twelve.
“Maccabee has a nervous disposition,” Peregrine explained as he clapped Alder on the back. “Say, old sport. You don’t happen to have any dinosaurs here, do you? It’s just that Maccabee is absolutely terrified of them. One time I gave him a dinosaur toy, and he screamed the house down.”
“No dinosaurs here,” Alder said in a high-pitched voice.
I experienced a sudden rush of relief that he had managed to squeeze all of those dinosaur inflatables into the cupboard. I don’t know how he had managed. There were so many of them.
“Uncle Matthew is right behind us,” Posy explained. “This must be your lovely wife and daughter.”
I was not able to get off the couch, but I managed a wave and a smile.
“Yes,” Alder said proudly. “This is our daughter, Arabella, and this is my wife, Amelia.”
“Can I hold her?”
“She’s a bit big,” Alder replied, confused.
“Not me,” I said. “Posy wants to hold the baby.”
Alder turned bright red. “Obviously. Of course I knew what Posy meant.”
I handed Arabella to Posy, happy to have free arms for a moment, and smiled as Posy and Peregrine cooed over the baby. On the other hand, Maccabee was not the least bit interested in Arabella.
“Here is Uncle Matthew now,” Alder said suddenly.
He opened the door again, and the most dashing man I had ever seen in my whole entire life stepped into the room. He was less dapper sea captain and more Indiana Jones. He wore his beige jeans like a cowboy, low slung, along with a linen shirt and a red bandana tied around his neck. His blue eyes were full of curiosity and adventure.
“Alder,” Uncle Matthew said, squeezing him into a hug. Uncle Matthew was not too much older than Alder. I guess I had assumed he would be a million times older.
“And this must be the gorgeous Amelia Spelled.”
“Yes,” I squeaked, blushing.
Alder raised his eyebrows.
“Amelia Spelled. Really, what a beautiful name!” Uncle Matthew exclaimed. He took my hand and kissed it. “I’ve heard so many wonderful things about you.” He winked.
I giggled. “You have?”
“Yes, but I see that my nephew has downplayed your beauty,” he said, leaning towards me.
My heart raced.
“That was very bad of him.”
I tried to stammer a response, but I was completely tongue-tied.
“What’s the matter?” Alder asked, frowning.
“I… well… I just…” I didn’t know what to say.
“Oops,” Posy said, breaking the tension.
We all looked to see that Arabella had woken up and spat all over Posy’s shirt.
“I am so sorry,” I said, embarrassed. “Let me fetch you something to get that off you.”
Alder hurried over. “Amelia, where did you put your adult nappies?”
Everybody stared at me. “He means the baby’s nappies,” I hurried to say. “I’ll fetch some paper towels.”
“We don’t have any left.” Alder scratched his head. “I ordered some this morning on same-day supermarket delivery, but they were out of stock, along with the toilet paper and jalapeño hummus and your adult nappies.”
“It’s fine.” Posy handed Arabella over to her brother. “Relax. Peregrine will take this sweet little baby, and I’ll find myself a hand towel. Are they in the cupboard over there?”
“Yes,” I said, shooting Alder a glare. “Take whatever towel you want from the cupboard.”
Posy threw open the cupboard door and the chorus of helium dinosaur balloons whooshed out, swirling around her head in a whirl of colour and movement. For a moment Maccabee examined the balloons, his face growing paler and paler. His nostrils flared, his mouth opened in horror, and the screams began.

Series Order

1) Miss Spelled
2) Dizzy Spells
3) Sit for a Spell
4) Spelling Mistake
5) ExSpelled
6) The Halloween Spell
7) Spellcheck
8) The Halloween Love Spell
9) Spell It Out
10) Wedding Spells
11) The Halloween Pumpkin Spell
12) Sweet Spell of Success
13) The Halloween Onesie Spell
14) Christmas Spells
15) The Halloween Truth Spell
16) The Halloween Time Spell
17) Baby Spells Trouble
18) The Halloween Camping Spell
19) Spell of Silence
20) The Halloween Cat Spell
21) The Halloween Mystery Spell