A Charming Ghost
Book 8 in the Magical Cures Mystery Series
June Heal and Oscar Park are still in the honeymoon stages of their marriage. Things couldn’t be better. The Holiday Bazaar is about to bestow upon the magical village of Whispering Falls and the town is abuzz with the excitement of a spiritual carnival coming to town.
Cures and trouble…
Patience Karima has a little ghost that just won’t cross over and June has reluctantly agreed to help her figure out what the ghost is holding on to besides Patience’s pet ostrich.
After the head of the spiritual carnival is found dead with one of June’s potions in his clutches, The Elders place June on village arrest until they can clear her name from murder.
And troubles double…
With the help of her familiars and one particular little ghost, June uses her sleuthing skills and a little magic to try to figure out how to clear her name. One problem, she has to leave Whispering Falls to find the answers. June uncovers deep dark secrets that should be left buried and could leave Oscar a widower.
A Charming Ghost
Book 8 in the Magical Cures Mystery Series
A Charming Ghost
I wasn’t just cold. I was bone-numbing, toe-curling, potion-freezing cold. And no amount of snuggling with Oscar, and I tried, was going to drive out the chill that had crept up into my soul. Deep into my soul.
I reached over and grazed Madame Torres, my crystal ball, with the pad of my finger. Her globe flashed red lightning bolts until it settled into a display that showed it was four-thirty in the morning. She wasn’t about to show her face. My snarky crystal ball was not a morning person—I was sure it took hours for her to get all dolled up in her head turban and gobs of makeup she wore—and lightning bolts were her subtle way of telling me that she was not happy with the early morning wake-up call.
I glanced over at Oscar, my husband of two months. Only my white fairy-god cat was sitting between us with his eyes focused on me and his butt facing Oscar, which I was sure was on purpose.
My familiars, Mr. Prince Charming and Madame Torres, were still harboring hard feelings over my marriage to my best friend, Oscar Park. They were a little possessive of me.
“You too?” I asked and let out a heavy sigh.
He put a paw on my arm and I gave him a little scratch between his ears. White fur flew everywhere. He jerked away, turning toward Oscar. He jumped on Oscar’s chest using it as a springboard off the bed and darted out the bedroom door.
“Ouch,” Oscar groaned in a groggy voice and rubbed his chest before he turned on his right side and began to snore lightly.
The moonbeams dotted the walls of the bedroom through the window blinds giving me just enough light to see my handsome new husband. His black hair blended into the dark room but seeing his silhouette outlined by the moon made my insides bubble with happiness. Even after two months of marriage, I still wasn’t used to the fact that I was finally Mrs. Oscar Park, though I kept my legal name of June Heal for business purposes.
I sighed when seeing Oscar slumber didn’t ward off the soul freeze. I shivered. I glanced over to the closed blinds and wondered what kind of weather we were having. There was snow predicted and maybe that was the cold that had settled deep in my bones.
I loved how our village of Whispering Falls, Kentucky looked when it was blanketed in snow. I loved how it added a little coziness to my little homeopathic cure shop, A Charming Cure. I liked to think I helped people feel better in a natural kind of way. . .umm. . .maybe with a little help from my spiritual gift.
I’m blessed beyond belief with the spiritual gift of intuition, which helps me create the perfect cure for the customers who walk into my shop looking for the right homeopathic cure for them.
Some people might see me as a witch—a good one, mind you—but I liked to refer to myself as a spiritualist. It just sounds better. I was from the Good-Sider community of the witch world, meaning we only did magic for the good.
Meow, meow. Mr. Prince Charming stood at the bedroom door.
“I’m coming.” I peeled back the covers and tiptoed out of the room.
There was a lot to do at the shop and a lot of generic potions to be made; lying in bed wide awake wasn’t going to help get the shop ready for the town’s second annual Winter Bazaar that was taking place in a couple of days.
Oscar didn’t have to go into work until later in the day and he deserved to sleep in. He had been pulling double-duty as the sheriff of Whispering Falls and a deputy of Locust Grove, the town over, which was not a magical town like Whispering Falls.
Mr. Prince Charming’s long tail happily danced in the air in front of me as I hurried down the hall to the combination kitchen and family room of my little cottage on the hill overlooking the village. I ran my hand along my orange couch on my way to push the button to my coffee maker. A good cup of hot magical beans was what I needed to get the chill out of my soul.
I looked out the window and smiled at the small flakes of snow. The wind rushed around with snow in its breath, blanketing the rooftops of all the small shops. The smell of freshly brewed coffee danced around my nose. I sucked in a deep breath, my eyes focused down the hill along Main Street where the gaslight carriage lights flickered between the holes in the pine needle wreaths that were hung for decoration.
Puffs of smoke curled into the air and danced in grey swirls in the moonlight.
I followed the swirls to the ground and watched as a lantern swung back and forth from Eloise Sandlewood’s grasp.
She swung the chain to the right and keeping in the same time, she swung it to the left giving each shop a morning cleanse just as she did every morning by using her spiritual gift as an Incense Spiritualist.
Her long green velvet cloak dragged behind her with each deliberate step. The edges of her bright red hair peeked out from the hood, shielding her from the brisk wind and blowing snow.
Eloise was Oscar’s aunt and now mine, though I had loved her long before she became family. She happened to have been my mother Darla’s best friend during the small amount of time my mother had lived here. Darla was not a spiritualist and when my father had gotten killed in the line of duty, Darla and I moved to Locust Grove where she tried to raise me as a mortal. Oscar also grew up in Locust Grove across the street from us. I was in love with him since day one. Little did we realize we were destined to fall in love. Only he was a Dark-Sider Spiritualist which made it a little tricky for us to get married, but that was a whole other story.
It was all well and good until Darla had died and the spiritualists had come looking for me (and Oscar). Neither of us had any idea about our pasts nor of our powers.
I watched Eloise cleanse the village with loving memories of how she was able to help me understand where I had come from and share more about my mother.
Rowl. Mr. Prince Charming stood on his hind legs and planted his paws on the window. I leaned over a little more, getting a look at what he was staring at.
Eloise had stopped in front of Magical Moments, the flower shop, a little too long. Longer than usual. She was facing my little cottage on the hill.
Her emerald green eyes glowed, a red aura circled around them. It was as if she weren’t present. Her red lips moved at warp speed and the smoke from the incense burner puffed like a freight train. She gripped the chain in her hand, swinging the chain higher and higher, clinking louder and louder, echoing throughout the mountainous town.
The coffee maker buzzed, making me jump and turn away from the trance Eloise had put me in. I sucked in a deep breath and straightened my shoulders. Mr. Prince Charming jumped off the counter. And I watched him as he circled my ankles doing his signature figure-eight move.
My eyes slid back up to the window and down the hill, but Eloise was gone. The backdrop of the mountains was filled with the purple dawn just beyond the horizon, leaving me with the sudden chill deep in my soul that had woken me from slumber.
“Good morning!” I called out to Arabella Paxton, owner of Magical Moments and a florist and spiritualist who can read people by the flowers they choose. I touched the ornamental gate that lead up to Magical Moments. The iron stems of the gate turned green like the stems on flowers and blossoms of every color appeared all over the gate, creating its own little garden.
A giggle escaped my lips.
“I’m never going to get used to that.” I winked and pushed my way through, heading to the top of the steps where Arabella had just put her key into the door leading inside Magical Moments.
Every shop in Whispering Falls had an ornamental gate and front door that led you inside the magical shop. Every shop owner had a spiritual gift and Magical Moments was a perfect cover for Arabella to use her gifts.
“Isn’t it just lovely against this dreary day?” Arabella turned to greet me. Strands of her long black hair brushed against her olive complexion, sticking to her high cheek bones from the damp snowfall. Her crystal blue eyes deepened when she smiled. “Seeing you so happy does make the dreariness go away.” She motioned for me to follow her. “Come on in. I have a new flower for the season to show you.”
The inside of Magical Moments was truly magical and made me a little envious. My shop, A Charming Cure, displayed my potions on the table and mounted wall displays. But Magical Moments was an altogether different experience.
The sound of the babbling brook that ran through the center of the store gurgled and chirped. Colorful flowers grew along each side of the creek bed along with greenery, making it full and lush. The tiered black display tables were filled with premade vases of arrangements, emitting the most exotic smells.
“Over here.” She pointed to the claw-foot table in the corner. The purple vase was a staple in the center of the fancy table, but the flowers always changed.
I hurried alongside her and tucked a strand of my black hair behind my ear. I had let my hair grow out for my wedding and it was driving me nuts. I couldn’t wait for my appointment with Chandra Shango from A Cleansing Spirit Spa to get it cut later today.
“This is a flower that never needs water.” Arabella’s eyes twinkled. Her face brightened with pride.
The flower was rather bland and one I wouldn’t have chosen to purchase if I was in Magical Moments as a customer. There were four, dull, white, almost wilted looking petals jutting out from a brown center seed. They ended in sharp points. The stem was thorny and bright green.
“It’s definitely strange,” I said and watched as she snapped the flower open and held it over her mouth. A little stream of water trickled out of the green stem and into her mouth.
“It’s full of nutritious water.” She smacked her lips together.
“Wow.” My mouth dropped. I had never seen anything like it.
Sure, Arabella could touch a flower and bring it back or I could make a potion to help the life of the flower, but this was a whole new level of magic.
“Right?” she asked. Her lips came together. Her smile sent a sparkle to her eyes. “Good too.”
“And what would be the purpose of this?” I questioned trying to tap into my intuition to see if I could use it in a homeopathic cure.
“Not sure yet. But I figured if I told you, then your little mind would go to work and figure something out for someone.” She winked and pulled a couple of them out from the vase. “I’m going to make you a fabulous arrangement for your shop.”
“Oh, I’d love it. What is the name of it?” I asked.
“Blood Mercy,” she said and lifted one up in the air. She twirled the stem in between her fingers and observed it from all sides. “It’s a strange name for such a lovely flower.”
I smiled and pictured the perfect place for the flowers. Right next to the register where my customers will ask about them.
“Say.” Suddenly I remembered why I had stopped by in the first place. I followed her to the table where she kept her tools for the pruning and whatever else she needed to create the beautiful arrangements for her clients. “Is everything going okay?”
“Splendid. Why?” She plucked, snipped, and fixed the flowers in a gorgeous green vase with little bubble-like bumps all over it. The bland Blood Mercy flower really wasn’t all that ugly once Arabella dressed it in an arrangement with other flowers.
“Nothing that makes you feel like you need extra protection or a bad omen feeling?” I asked. My finger grazed over the snipped pieces as I tried to play off the question with unconcerned attitude.
“Um.” She put the last piece of baby’s breath in the arrangement and placed her hands palm down on the table. Her head tilted. Her mouth cocked to the side as if she were thinking long and hard or pulling something out from the back of her brain. “Nope,” she shook her head. “Should I be?” Her eyes narrowed.
“No!” The word rushed out of my mouth. “Oscar said there was an emergency village council meeting this afternoon and I wondered if you knew anything about it. He didn’t know and since your father. . .” I referred to Gerald Regiula, village council member and The Gathering Grove Tea Shoppe owner, her father.
“He hasn’t said a word.” She cackled. “He hasn’t had energy to talk. Baby Orin is still keeping them up at night.”
I smiled thinking about cute baby Orin. He was the son of Gerald and Petunia Shrubwood, not to mention the cutest baby in Whispering Falls. Well, the only baby in Whispering Falls and all of us spoiled him rotten.
“Hmm.” I tapped my finger to my temple. “I just might have to see what I can come up with for him.”
“Gerald or Orin?” Arabella pushed the vase toward me.
“Both.” My brows lifted and I carefully picked up the vase. “I can’t thank you enough.”
“You are so welcome.” She walked from behind the table and I followed her to the door where she flipped the sign on her door to OPEN. “You already have a line.”
Both of us looked out the door. I tucked the vase in my elbow and opened Magical Moment’s door.
“Gosh, I lost track of time.” I scurried down the steps.
“Good morning.” I called to the customers in the line as I made my way past them, under the wisteria vine and up the steps to the front door of A Charming Cure.
I put the vase on the ground and reached in my bag to retrieve the skeleton key to open my shop door.
Meow. Mr. Prince Charming stood underneath the archway where the purple wisteria vine was still just as lively as it was in the summer. Something dropped from his mouth.
I bent down to pick it up. Between the pads of my finger and thumb was a small brass bell charm.
Panic rioted deep within me as my intuition rang.