Medium Rare: Dead Man Talking by @micwit604 is a Cozy Mystery Event pick #paranormal #cozy #giveaway
Title: Medium Rare: Dead Man Talking
Author: Michelle Witvliet
Genre: Paranormal Mystery
Jennifer Flagg never considered herself more than a mediocre medium. Even her big, crazy blended family thinks her ability to talk to the recently deceased is nothing more than an annoying quirk. When an Open House lures her to the scene of a murder, she quickly discovers the business of talking to the dead is a whole lot more complicated when there’s a body still attached.
Her detective boyfriend insists she stay out of police business, the dead guy needs her help with his unfinished business, and then there’s the murderer who’s trying to permanently put her out of business.
Can Jennifer find balance between her paranormal world and her personal life? Those on the Other Side might know the answers, but they’re the only ones minding their own business.
There’s only one thing she knows for certain: Death is never the end of the story. It’s often just the beginning.
It was the big blue OPEN HOUSE sign that made me slam on the brakes and back up to make sure my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me. Even staring me right in the face, I couldn’t believe this stroke of unprecedented luck. An open house in this neck of the woods just didn’t happen. Folks in this snooty neighborhood weren’t inclined to open their doors to people they knew, much less give access to total strangers.
I parked across the street and locked all the doors with the keyless remote, hitting the lock button a couple extra times to favor the side of caution. Vehicles without the Briar Cliffs Estates medallion displayed on the windshield, or at the very least a visitor placard dangling from the rearview mirror, were rumored to vanish from these streets with more frequency than ships in the Bermuda Triangle. Just urban legends, I was sure, but I was willing to risk the slim chance that they weren’t for a peek inside that fabulous house. Just in case, I pressed my keyless remote a couple of extra times as I boldly strolled up the curved driveway like I owned not only the place but the entire street as well.
My grandma taught me a long time ago the key to going places where you don’t belong is act like you belong where you’re going. As I tried the doorknob, in spite of grandma’s lesson, I kept an ear out for snarling Dobermans all the same.
Well what do you know, it wasn’t locked. No guard dogs, no audible alarms, no S.W.A.T. team rappelling from the roof… That sure seemed like an all-systems-go to me. I did one last quick glance around before I reached the point of no return.
“Hellooo,” I called as I poked my head into the foyer. I heard scraping and a couple of muffled thumps, then the hurried patter of footsteps. Then silence.
“Hello?” I said again. “I’m Jen Flagg. I saw the sign out front. I’ve come to look at the house.” More silence.
The hairs on my neck prickled a little and sent a wary, though no less disappointed, shiver down my spine. “If this is a bad time, I can come back.”
“No, no, please come in,” a pleasant voice invited just as I was about to retreat. “Your timing is perfect.”
He sounded friendly enough, and eager, of course. I would imagine I’d sound eager and friendly too if I was the realtor selling this place. His cheery demeanor was all it took to chase away my earlier moment of apprehension.
“I’m in the kitchen, straight down the main hall.”
That sounded promising. The kitchen probably meant there’d be coffee, and maybe even cookies. The enticement of refreshments propelled me forward.
Oh man, I was Alice seeing Wonderland for the first time. I stepped through the looking glass, also known as the front door, and stared at a sweeping staircase straight out of Gone with the Wind. I counted twenty-seven. That’s how many steps there were.
I was all about the numbers, but what was Rhett thinking hauling Scarlett all the way up that huge flight of stairs just to have his way with her when he could have just as easily nailed her on the dining room table and be done with it? The age of chivalry might not have been dead way back then, but it sure as hell had to be exhausted from toting their women around like that.
My gaze traveled upward and settled on the dazzling crystal chandelier high over my head. How did one clean a chandelier suspended twenty plus feet in the air? The process escaped me. Now that I thought about it, there were a lot of things I wasn’t all that familiar with cleaning. The stove and refrigerator back at my condo came immediately to mind.
“What in the hell is takin’ you so long? Are you comin’, or what?”
Whoa. That was so not the professional tone of an eager-to-please real estate agent itching to get his hands on the hefty commission this place was sure to bring.
“Are you talking to me?” I asked, heading for the sound of his voice. I had to at least consider the possibility that the questions he posed weren’t directed at me.
He cleared up any misconception when he replied, “Yeah I’m talkin’ to you. You see anybody else around I could be talkin’ to?”
His tone was clipped and his accent was unmistakably Brooklyn Italian. I know Brooklyn Italian when I hear it. My college roommate, Luciana Valentino, was a fifth generation New Yorker.
A cold draft swept down the corridor, bringing with it a funky smell that reminded me of the Dumpster behind my condo the day before pickup in the middle of July.
I later realized a prudent person would have found the unfolding scene a little suspicious and left the premises. Not me. I moved forward with a combination of inborn caution and rampant curiosity, heavy on the latter.
I did, however, wind my purse strap around my fingers and tightened my grip in preparation to roundhouse anyone stupid enough to catch me by surprise. Any woman with a decent-sized handbag loaded with life’s everyday necessities was always armed and dangerous. I usually kept a few rolls of quarters and sometimes a .22 revolver in the bottom for additional heft, but I’d just used up my emergency ballast on a couple of weeks’ worth of laundry and the gun, well, let’s just say I didn’t presently have it with me for extenuating circumstances I’d rather not go into right now.
The moment I passed through the doorway I discovered the source of the smell. Horrified, I stumbled back, my knees buckled, and I slid slowly down the doorframe to the floor.
Cripes! The Brooklyn Italian was dead.
I know dead when I hear it, too, because they sometimes talk to me.
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If you enjoy quirky, sassy heroines and the men who love them, then Medium Rare: Dead Man Talking will tickle your fancy and your funny bone.
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Winner will be drawn on October 23, 2020.
As an only child, Michelle has been playing with imaginary friends since she was a little girl. She didn’t start documenting the exploits of her make-believe companions until she was a wife and mother of two little girls of her own. Many years and a lifetime later, those characters are still bugging her to tell their stories.
Michelle’s first published work, a Viking anthology, went the way of the dodo when the publisher went out of business. However brief and disappointing the experience was for her, it fueled her resolve to persevere, resulting in the contemporary romance, Damn the Man, a 2006 RWA Golden Hearts finalist.
Damn the Man, its sequel, and the Medium Rare Series are available in electronic and print through The Wild Rose Press.
Michelle lives in Northwest Indiana where her Medium Rare series is located.
Social Media Links:
Her website is currently under construction.