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Best Cosy Books

Christmas Spirit (PAPERBACK)

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Paperback. Book 1 in the Prime Time Crime series. Paranormal Women's Fiction cozy mysteries.

Live. Laugh. Lava.  

Prudence Wallflower is a human volcano, and like Pompeii, she is about to blow.

But hot flashes are only one of Prudence's problems. She is a clairvoyant ... who has never seen a ghost. Despite Prudence connecting people with their deceased loved ones through the impressions she receives from the dead, her professional reputation is on the edge of eruption.  

But when the ghost of a gorgeous detective appears and demands Prudence solve a murder, it's her romantic life, not her reputation, which is about to explode. 

PAPERBACK.

 Paperback 248 pages
 Dimensions  5 x 0.56 x 8 inches (127 x 14.4 x 203 mm)
 ISBN 9781925674118
 Publication date  December 20, 2015
 Publisher  Best Cosy Books

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CHAPTER 1

“I do not want to go into a retirement home.” I was aware I was speaking too loudly to the patronising young man on the other end of the phone. I had called my bank with an insurance inquiry, and the consultant was trying to talk me into a reverse mortgage. Of all the nerve! “I’ll have you know I’m only two years older than the Millionaire Matchmaker!”
“Who?” the voice said.
I shook my head. “I’m younger than Kris Jenner! Would you put her in a retirement home?” I hung up.
I cracked open a bottle of chilled water and washed down an aspirin. I had been taking more and more aspirin as the tour wound on. It had been my longest tour to date, countless stops in a packed three and a half month stretch. I had done my thing in gymnasiums, libraries, conference rooms in hotels, anywhere I could book.
I am a clairvoyant medium. I get impressions from the dead. I cannot see ghosts, but I get senses, feelings from those who have passed on. I ‘hear’ what they are telling me as words in my head, not audible words. Sometimes it comes in sentences, and sometimes it is simply impressions. This is not the case with everyone who has passed on, mind you, only those who choose to come through. I cannot initiate contact with anyone. It is always the deceased who choose to contact me.
On a good day, I can make contact with many of the deceased in one of my shows. The dead continue to surround those they loved.
But my current tour was different. I was finding it harder to get impressions. This, no doubt, was due to the fact I was all burnt out—and I don’t mean from the hot flashes.
In fact, it had reached the point where I dreaded going onstage. I put myself under too much pressure, desperate to make connections for the people in my audience so I could offer them some comfort. I was pushing myself so far that it was becoming an effort.
Christmas was only a week away, and I was anxious to get home to my two cats, my garden, and my own bed. I tried not to think about how hard it had become to do a reading. I didn’t want to think about what my life would be if I couldn’t get impressions from the dead. I wasn’t qualified to do anything else. I was in my fifties, and I was certain employers preferred to hire young jobseekers.
My last night happened to be in the best setting on the tour. It was a large room with a stage and chairs bolted to the floor for the audience. Usually those who came to see me had to sit in uncomfortable folding chairs. Yet on this, the last stop of the tour, I even had a room backstage.
I would have been in a good mood if I hadn’t decided to do some admin stuff and sort out my insurance.
The knock on the door startled me. “Come in.”
A baby-faced stage manager peeked in. “It’s time, Mrs Wallflower.”
I grimaced. I hated being called Mrs Wallflower. “It’s Ms!” I said through clenched teeth. It made me feel old, and it reminded me that I was divorced. I took a quick look in the mirror and then closed my eyes. I took three quick breaths and then one long one.
Even though what I did was real, it still carried with it a sense of entertainment. I commanded a whole room, often hundreds of people at once. I had to have a stage presence, and the whole thing more often than not made me nervous. The breaths were a ritual, one designed to calm me. Once I was on stage, the nerves always faded and I usually enjoyed myself.
When I reached the stage, the lights were up. I never had them dimmed, as what I did required me to see the audience. There was hearty applause, something that always made me somewhat uncomfortable. I waved and went to a stool next to a microphone on a stand. I picked up the microphone and held it to my mouth. “Can everyone hear me?”
There was a sea of nodding heads. I knew the ticket sales were three hundred and ten people, a pretty good crowd for someone like me, considering I didn’t have my own TV show. “Let’s get started then, shall we?” I said, and the show was on.
I always started each show with a quick introduction. I told them who I was and what I did. I told them about the first time I had ever felt an otherworldly presence.
I was a child in school, and a girl had lost her mother in an accident. When she had come back to school, I had felt her mother with her. Her mother wasn’t upset about dying, not for her own sake at least, but she told me she was distressed about her daughter going through the rest of her life without her. I had told the girl all of this, and she had never spoken to me again. That was when I learnt not everyone was receptive to the fact that I could communicate with the dead.
And then, as was the next step in all of my shows, I walked slowly across the stage, hoping a deceased person would come through. Anyone. I always feared that it wouldn’t happen, but it always did.
I had closed my eyes, and now I opened them. There was a man close to my age, sitting four rows back. He was wearing thick-framed glasses and was balding. He looked me straight in the eye.
“Sir, your wife has passed,” I said. It wasn’t a question, but I needed him to confirm it for the others in the audience.
He nodded. “Yes.”
“She’s showing me that it was recent.”
“Two months ago,” he said.
“You were married for a long time,” I added. “Is that right?”
“Since we were eighteen.”
I took a moment and let the woman send me more. “She was sick for a long time, but now she is at peace.”
And with that, the guy burst into tears, and someone next to him patted his shoulder. It hurt him, of course, that his wife was gone, but it was clearly a relief to him to know she was no longer in pain.
Feelings rushed to me, impressions of the dead. Sadness, joy, all of it. The spirit of a young woman came forward. I knew she wanted to speak with her mother. I looked at the left of the stage and swept my arm over the area. “It’s someone in this area,” I said. “It’s a woman. Her daughter passed recently. It was sudden and unexpected. The daughter is around thirty years old and has blond hair.” Again, I only received impressions, but this one was coming through strongly.
A short woman stood bolt upright. “That’s my daughter, Barbara!” she exclaimed.
“There is a big tree behind your house,” I continued, “and she’s waiting there, with her old pony. He has a long scar down one side.”
The woman gasped. “Yes, that was her old pony, Harry. She had him when she was a child. He had a long scar down one side from being caught in a fence. We buried him under that big tree!”
Everyone gasped.
“And you have her ashes sitting on the TV,” I continued.
“Yes!” the woman shrieked, and the crowd continued to gasp. “Do you know how she was killed? She was found in her house. The police didn’t come to any conclusions.”
Impressions flooded over me. The daughter did not want me to tell her mother about a big argument she’d had with a man just before she passed. He had not killed her, as far as I could tell, but there was more to it, and the daughter didn’t want her mother to know.
“She hasn’t told me specific details,” I said, “but just know that she’s at peace, and she’s happy. She’s with James. Who is James?”
The woman collapsed into her seat. “Oh my gosh!” she said through her tears. The woman sitting next to her patted her on the arm. “Three years before I had Barbara, I had a miscarriage, and we were going to call the baby ‘James.’ Barbara didn’t know this as a child, but she had an imaginary friend she named ‘James.’”
I nodded. Barbara had come through strongly, and not all came through as clearly as this. Sometimes I surprised myself as much as I surprised the audience.
I did what I could, moving around the audience. It took me a while to get another read, but then three came all in a row after that. Sometimes people came to my shows just to argue with me, or try to get me to mess up in the hopes of revealing me to be a fraud. To my relief, this hadn’t happened in this show.
Time was getting away, so I wrapped up the last reading I was going to do. A woman in the audience believed that someone had killed her son on purpose, and the son wanted her to know, after all these years, that she was wrong. It had truly been an accident. Sometimes things happened, and there was simply nothing anyone could do.
“Thank you,” the woman said.
I nodded and smiled. I was about to say goodnight to everyone, when a voice called out. “Can you hear me?”
My eyes scanned the audience, but I couldn’t see who had just spoken. “Who said that?”
The voice came again. “Can you hear me? Can you see me?”
I turned. Standing on stage with me was a ghost, full-bodied, yet shimmering eerily under the bright lights of the auditorium.
My blood ran cold. All my hair stood on end.