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New Release | Catnaps & Crimes by Lucinda Race #paranormalcozy #cozymystery #newrelease #bookboost
Title Catnaps & Crimes
Author Lucinda Race
Genre Paranormal Cozy Mystery
Book store owner and novice witch Lily Michaels is struggling to get a handle on her new powers. The book “Practical Beginnings” is showing her random spells to learn, and her familiar, the talking cat, Milo, isn’t much help. She doesn’t need any more distractions, but when a car crashes just outside the bookstore, Lily is first on the scene. It’s more than just an automobile accident. Bullet holes can be deadly. The victim, shady real estate agent Teddy Roberts, was dead before his fancy sports car ever hit that pole. Investigating the crime scene is Detective Gage Erikson, or as Milo calls him, Detective Cutie. His crush on Lily is not-so-secret to anyone but her, but she’s acting like he’s a distraction she doesn’t need. Is he her boyfriend, or just her best friend? He just needs to keep her out of trouble while he traces clues to the crime. But a mystery is like catnip to Lily. She’s willing to admit she has a tiny bit of a reputation for investigating things she shouldn’t. She’s trying to balance her growing feelings for Gage while keeping her witchy secret from him and solve a murder. Teddy had plenty of people with reasons to do him in. Will Lily’s best protection spell be enough to keep her and Gage safe while they work together to catch a killer? Catnaps and Crimes is the second novel in A Book Store Cozy Mystery Series, although each book can be read as standalone. A sweet and clean cozy mystery with a guarantee the culprit is caught. Happy reading!
I peeked out the front door of my bookshop, The Cozy Nook, right after I heard the nails on the chalkboard kind of grating but it was metal grinding on metal. A sound that jarred my last nerve. I had spent the last hour trying to perfect a levitation spell, to no avail.
“Milo,” I called to my gray tabby cat. “Did you hear that?” If any customer had been in the shop, they’d assume I always talked to my cat like he understood, but in this case, he could. Milo was my familiar.
He slunk into the room. “What are you yelling about? I was having a perfectly peaceful snooze in the sun.”
No doubt on the kitchen counter again, but I didn’t care. My space was his space. I had come to terms with the fact that we’d be together for life, even if he annoyed me at times. But that was bound to happen in the best of relationships. “There’s been a car accident in the town square.” I pulled open the door. “I’m going to make sure everyone is okay.”
“Right. You want to investigate the scene of the accident.”
I glared at him over my shoulder. “You say that like it’s a bad thing.”
“Lily, you’re a witch, not a cop. Leave the mundane stuff to the police. Call your boyfriend, Gage.”
I sighed the minute Milo mentioned Gage’s name. “He’s not my boyfriend. He’s a friend who is a man.” I slammed the door behind me and hurried over the brick sidewalk to where a late model sports car had veered into a metal flagpole at the edge of the town square. The driver couldn’t have hit that dead center any better if there had been a bull’s-eye on it.
A few shop owners and customers had come out of the different stores to see what had happened. From where I was standing, I could see inside the car. The driver was slumped against the steering wheel and on the cream-colored leather dashboard was a fast-growing pool of red. I looked over to Beatrice, who owned Bee Bee’s Boutique and Tucker Ross from the hardware store. They were huddled together, pointing, talking, and watching. Jerilyn Busch was just going into the Sweet Spot, and Gretchen Wilson was frozen in place on the sidewalk. All around, locals were milling about, starting their day.
I shouted to anyone who would listen. “Call the police and tell them we need an ambulance. The driver looks to be hurt pretty bad.” I refocused my attention on the car and driver. Smoke was drifting up from the engine compartment and I hoped that wasn’t a sign a fire was brewing under the hood. I could light a candle but didn’t have any idea how to put out a fire. New witch here. I tried the door handle, but the door was locked or jammed. Then I tapped on the glass. Again, the driver didn’t move and I couldn’t tell if he was awake. His dark-brown fedora was pulled low, obscuring his face. I ran around the back of the car and attempted to open the passenger door, but I noticed the front fender was jammed back against the door. There was no way I was going to open it.
The wail of sirens was growing closer, and I hoped Gage was coming too. Even though he was a detective and not just a cop, he had a calming influence on everyone, including me. I beat on the driver's window again. “Hey, you need to get out of the car.” The wisps of smoke were getting bigger. What if the car burst into flames? The shops nearby could be in danger. I closed my eyes. Did any of the spells I had learned work in this situation? Would the protection spell be effective? So far I had only tried it on my aunt Mimi when she was the prime suspect in a murder investigation of the former head librarian, and then Gage when the assistant librarian was zeroing in on him after she had a break with reality. She was out to harm Gage and of course me too.
In the brief moments I was alone, I tried to decide how best to throw up a protection spell for the buildings and people. Finally, the fire truck, two police cars, an ambulance, and a dark-colored sedan rolled up, all parking at odd angles as if surrounding the scene from prying eyes.
“Gage!” I yelled. “It’s smoking.” I pointed to the hood of the car.
“Lily, are you okay?”
I was relieved to see his tall, well-built frame headed in my direction. It was sweet. His first concern was for me and not the accident victim, but after what we had been through a few weeks ago with the murder investigation, I surmised it was to be expected. “I’m fine, but the driver is another story.” I jabbed a finger in that direction. “I’ve knocked on the glass, tried to open the doors, but no luck. There’s so much blood.”
He called to the firefighters and waved his hands in the smoke's direction. “We need the jaws of life and be prepared for an engine fire.”
Emergency personnel sprang into action. I moved to the sidewalk, away from the controlled chaos. The machinery whined as they pried open the driver’s door, and fire suppressant blanketed the engine compartment. I watched as Officers Peabody and Sullivan questioned the group of onlookers, trying to determine if anyone had actually seen the accident happen. I noticed Ross Frederick coming down the street, and when he saw the car, he froze and hurried in the opposite direction.
Gage had stepped to one side and was on his cell phone. His light-brown hair dipped over his eyes. The worried expression on his face conveyed the seriousness. Several tense minutes later, the door was yanked from the car.
Two EMTs rushed forward. The first leaned in. I could see her mouth moving, but I was too far away to hear what she was saying. She eased the person back against the seat, then pressed her fingers to his neck and pulled out a stethoscope and placed the round disc against his chest. She leaned in closer and then withdrew. “Detective Erikson?”
Gage held up his finger, showing he’d be another minute. He said a few more words and then put his phone into his jacket pocket. This was the first time I noticed I was chilled to the bone. I rubbed my hands over my arms, all the while keeping an eye on Gage and the person who had checked over the driver. Dang it, I wished I had super hearing or better, a spell that would help me hear conversations at a distance. I’d have to consult my book, Practical Beginnings, to see if such a thing existed.
The expression on Gage’s face didn’t change, but in his hazel eyes, I saw the truth. I could tell the news was grim. He nodded twice. In addition, based on the fact that no one else was taking care of the man, it had been a tragic turn of events and the car crash took a person’s life.
Peabody crossed the grass to where I was waiting. Her dark hair was pulled back in a low bun at the base of her police hat. Her uniform was pressed and her shoes were freshly shined. “Lily. I hear you were first at the scene. Will you tell me what you saw?”
“How are you, Sharon?” She had only been on the force a short while and as far as I knew, no one called her by her given name except me. She seemed to prefer Peabody.
“I’m fine. Now can you tell me what you saw?” Her words came out clipped, and she held her small notepad out, pen poised, ready to capture my every word.
My eyes stayed on the car, or what was left of it. “I heard the sound of metal on metal. The crash. I ran out and went to the driver’s door, tapped on the glass, and asked if he was okay. When he didn’t answer and I couldn’t get the door open, I tried the other side. Same result. At that point, I heard the sirens, and you all arrived.”
“Did you see any other cars, like someone who might have been involved in the crash?”
I shook my head and wrapped my stiff arms around my body. I started to shiver. “No. When I came out, there wasn’t even anyone on the sidewalk. It was just the car.”
She nodded, jotted something down, and closed her pad. “If you think of anything else, you’ll call the police station?”
Peabody posed it as a question, since I had a tiny bit of a reputation for investigating things I shouldn’t. It wasn’t really my fault. I loved puzzles and had a burning desire to find the answers. “Of course I will.”
She quirked a brow as if challenging the validity of that statement, but didn’t respond before walking away. The low heels of her dark boots didn’t make a sound on the brick sidewalk, and she had her hand on the butt of her firearm, as if keeping it secured.
Award-winning and best-selling author Lucinda Race is a lifelong fan of romantic fiction. As a young girl, she spent hours reading romance novels and getting lost in the hope they represent. While her friends dreamed of becoming doctors and engineers, her dreams were to become a writer—a romance novelist.
As life twisted and turned, she found herself writing nonfiction but longed to turn to her true passion. After developing the storyline for the McKenna Family Romance series, it was time to start living her dream. Her fingers practically fly over computer keys she weaves stories about strong women and the men who love them. To date she has published over 20 romance novels and several paranormal cozy mysteries. Lucinda lives with her two little dogs, a miniature long hair dachshund and a shitzu mix rescue, in the rolling hills of western Massachusetts. When she's not at her day job, she’s immersed in her fictional worlds. And if she’s not writing romance novels, she’s reading everything she can get her hands on.
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