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Best Cosy Books

Christmas Spells Large Print (PAPERBACK)

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Large Print Paperback. Book 14 in the bestselling The Kitchen Witch paranormal cozy mystery series.

Marina is back in town to demand the yearly Halloween spell from Amelia.

After Alder brews up a deal, Marina changes the spell request. Amelia soon finds it wise to be careful what you witch for. Camino’s onesies are up to new tricks, and that spells trouble.

Of corpse, it goes without saying there’s the usual Halloween murder, and this one is shrouded in mystery. These are grave times. Will Amelia knock ’em dead, or will the murderer have their pound of flesh? 

LARGE PRINT PAPERBACK.

 Paperback 368 pages
 Dimensions 6 x 0.83 x 9 inches (152 x 21.1 x 229 mm)
 ISBN 9781922595850
 Publication date January 14, 2023
 Publisher Best Cosy Books

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CHAPTER 1

The first thing I saw when I opened my front door was the dark sky, menacing black clouds piled on top of one other, threatening a downpour of rain. The second thing I saw was a green and white Christmas tree standing on my porch. The bottom of it was still in its cardboard wrapper, and only the top half was showing through the plastic.
“Camino!” I exclaimed, ducking instinctively as thunder boomed overhead. “That’s one of the best onesies you’ve ever made. It looks like a real Christmas tree.” I opened the door. “Come inside.”
The tree did not respond.
“Are you having trouble walking in it?” I asked, scratching my head. Camino usually didn’t have trouble getting around in any of her onesies, even the antique chair onesies.
When she didn’t answer, I leant closer. “Can you hear me in there?” I called out.
“The whole street can hear you.” Kayleen, the annoying mail lady, jumped out from behind the Christmas tree. “Amelia, have you completely lost your marbles? Have you been drinking too much egg nog maybe? Or smoking the mistletoe?” She looked me up and down and scratched her head.
“What are you doing here?” I asked her. “It’s a Sunday.” I wrinkled my nose, wondering about the terrible smell wafting past me. Maybe one of the neighbours was using liberal applications of fertiliser on a nearby garden.
“What do you think I’m doing? Carrying the tree up your pathway, of course. It’s heavy too. I’m overloaded what with it being Christmas and all, so I’m working weekends. I should get paid more for this. And that is exactly why I’m starting my own business.”
“Surely she could have walked by herself?” I was getting more puzzled by the minute.
“Amelia,” a voice called from down by my front gate.
I was surprised to see another Christmas tree. This one was hopping up the path towards me. “Camino?”
“Yes,” the Christmas tree called out.
I looked from Camino to the Christmas tree on my porch. “This is a Christmas tree,” I said in shock.
Kayleen thrust a clipboard under my nose. “Duh! Sign for it.”
I did as she asked. She pushed on. “Did your husband buy this behind your back? He doesn’t tell you about his purchases? Is there some trouble in the marriage?” She narrowed her eyes and pursed her lips.
“Alder and I are happily married,” I said, “not that it’s any of your business.”
Kayleen simply snatched the clipboard back and stormed down the path, knocking Camino over on the way. I ran down the path and helped her up. “Are you all right?”
Camino’s branches nodded. “It’s hard to walk in this because Christmas trees have a single trunk, not two legs, you see. Some are on tripods, and some have four legs, but none have just two legs.”
I pointed to the tree on my porch. “I thought that was you.”
Camino beamed from branch to branch and then sneezed when a piece of tinsel flew into her mouth. “That’s awfully kind of you, Amelia. It’s a very lifelike one. Did you order it online?”
I shrugged. “I think Alder did. It’s pretty, isn’t it?”
Camino hopped up the path, and we both admired the tree. It was sparkling green and white. Camino gave it a little push. “It’s heavy. I don’t know how Kayleen managed to carry it.”
I waved one hand at her. “Let’s leave it for Alder. Come in and have some egg nog. It’s eggless of course, since I don’t eat eggs.”
It was Camino’s turn to be confused. “How can you have eggless egg nog?”
“Easy,” I said. “You just buy fake egg powder. Oh, and add more bourbon.”
A look of fear passed across Camino’s face. “Did you make it?”
“Yes, but it didn’t need any baking, so it’s quite safe.”
She shuddered. “Maybe I’ll try a little sip first.”
I helped Camino hop into my living room, flipping on the light switches on my way. It was awfully dark for an afternoon, thanks to the brewing storm.
“What’s the house watching now?” she asked me.
“Hallmark Christmas movies,” I said. “Thankfully, she’s watching different movies this time, not the same movie over and over again. Would you like to sit down?”
“I don’t think I can,” Camino admitted.
“Then can I help you out of your onesie?”
“That’s a good idea. I am dressed quite respectably underneath.”
I helped Camino out of the Christmas tree onesie, and we carefully laid it over a chair. Camino was dressed as a Christmas elf. I wondered why someone would dress as an elf underneath a Christmas tree onesie, but I wasn’t about to ask. Willow and Hawthorn found the onesie fascinating and stalked over to sniff it.
“This will be a nice Christmas, with no murders,” Camino said.
“Touchwood!” I shrieked. “How do you know there won’t be any murders?”
“We never have murders in Bayberry Creek at Christmas,” Camino said smugly. “We have them at all other times of the year but not at Christmas. Since you came to town, there’s been a murder every Halloween.” She smiled and nodded slowly as she spoke.
I put my hands over my eyes. “Don’t remind me! Well, at least it’s another nine months before Halloween comes again. Or is it ten months?” I frowned. “Never mind.”
Camino jumped. “Oh, I forgot. There was the murder last Christmas, of course.”
This was news to me. “There was?”
She nodded. “Ignatius Benedict. They thought it was a heart attack at the time, but then they found arsenic in his system. The local paper didn’t mention it, really.”
A flash of lightning followed by a crack of thunder stopped her speaking. The lights went out.
Camino shuddered. “Just as well it’s not night time. I hope the lights come back on soon.”
“Well, we have plenty of candles. It’s atmospheric.” I found a box of matches under a magazine and lit the nearest candle, a vanilla and caramel scented one. It was one of my favourite scents.
Camino peeked out the window. “It looks like no one else in the street has lights either. Maybe a tree fell over the power lines.”
I hurried past her and shut the curtains. “Don’t stand near a window in a thunderstorm,” I admonished her.
A loud crack of thunder made us both jump. We clutched each other. “That was spooky,” Camino said. “I don’t know why, but I’m feeling very uneasy.”
“The house is uneasy too. She turned off the TV.” I clutched Camino’s arm a little harder. “What’s happening?”
The room grew darker and darker.
The cats ran out of the room. Camino pointed over towards the fireplace which, of course, had not been on since October, given that Christmases in Australia are in the middle of summer. “A ghost!”
At first, I saw nothing, and then a shape began to form. It was a hideous apparition, a spectre, the eerily floating ectoplasm forming the figure of an old man with a long white beard and elongated, bony fingers. He floated towards, us his hands outstretched.
We screamed.