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New Release | Scares & Dares: A Paranormal Witch Bookstore Cozy Mystery #newrelease #cozymystery



Title Scares & Dares: A Paranormal Witch Bookstore Cozy Mystery


Author Lucinda Race


Genre Paranormal Cozy Mystery


Book Blurb


It’s Halloween in Pembroke Cove, Maine, and witch-in-training Lily Michaels, with the help from her magical and non-magical friends, is determined to give the town a haunted house event they’ll never forget. There’s an extra reason to celebrate too, the engagement of Lily’s best friends, Nikki and Steve. Of course, Lily’s boyfriend, Gage Erikson—a.k.a. Detective Cutie—will be helping, too. A few weeks earlier they finally went on their first date, it only took fifteen years after they graduated college to admit they were more than just friends. They’re not ready to jump into the marriage pool, but working together on the haunted house will be a great change of pace from solving murders. But scares and dares don’t always add up to fun. With cauldrons, and potions, and vampires popping out of coffins, everyone thinks the dead clown on the floor is just part of the haunted house festivities. Until it turns out he’s really dead. With so many people in disguise, and magic and spells abounding on All Hallows’ Eve, no one is above suspicion. Lily, with her clue chalkboard, is always ready to solve a puzzle, but Gage is worried about her safety. As Lily and Gage race to unmask the murderer, will the clown-killer get the last laugh?

Scares and Dares is the fourth 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!

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Excerpt


“Halloween is four days away.” Pointing at the calendar on the wall, I looked around my kitchen at my boyfriend, Gage; my best friend, Nikki; and her guy, Steve, who were relaxing around my table. We were done stuffing our faces with meat lovers and extra-cheese pizza. “I know it’s late in the game, but we’ve been tasked with taking over decorating and running the haunted house on All Hallows Eve. But if we’re going to be successful, we have to come up with a foolproof plan. Everyone in Pembroke Cove expects to be scared out of their boots after dark. So, we need to have two versions, one for the kiddos and an adult-orientated theme.”


Gage ran his finger around the edge of his glass. “That doesn’t give us much time to bring in volunteers and build the sets. I can reach out to Corbin Marks, and maybe with a little help from our favorite witches, my mom and your Aunt Mimi, along with you ladies, we can get it done in plenty of time.”


My familiar, Milo, stalked into the room and looked at the two dogs—Brutus, a great Dane Gage had adopted and Murphy, Nikki’s retriever—snoozing in front of the door. “My dear witch,” he grumbled good-naturedly, “you should have told me we were having guests. It appears I’ve snoozed through most of the fun if the sleeping dogs are any indication of what happened in here.”


Over the last few months, I had gotten used to my cat talking to me and the only person in the room who could hear him besides me was Nikki. Both Gage and Steve were non-magical and what they heard was Milo meowing whenever he spoke. I scooped him off the floor and held him close to my chest, nuzzling his head. “We’re planning the haunted house. Any good ideas?”


“Now, why would I have any thoughts on that subject. I don’t like anything that is scary. Humans are looking to get spooked when they don’t even realize right in their own backyards are witches, wizards, and a few other paranormal creatures.”


I gently turned his head to look at me. “Wait? What did you say?”


Milo tapped my cheek with his soft paw. “Put me down on the floor. I have things to do and if you would read more of your book, Practical Beginnings, you’d know all that our little town has to offer.” He did little to keep the frustration from his voice.


Before I did as he asked, I had to know, “What do you mean others?”


“That’s for me to know and you to find out.” He wriggled out of my hands and stalked from the room without a backward glance.


Gage gestured to Milo’s retreating form. “What was that all about?”


“My familiar just informed me there are other paranormal beings living in Pembroke Cove and not just witches and wizards.” I gave Nikki a sharp look. “Did you know this?”


She shrugged but didn’t look at me. “It’s no big deal and nothing to worry about. Most of the time it’s just witches and the occasional wizard hanging out, and if anyone does come around, it’s in the spring.”


With her noncommittal response, I figured it was a topic of conversation left for another day, especially if we have five or six months before anyone showed up. But what kind of paranormals could there be? Maybe my book, Practical Beginnings, would shed some light on the topic. And when the guys weren’t around, I could get Nikki to open up.


“Alright then, let’s talk about what we can use from last year.” I got up and grabbed my laptop from the counter and sat back down. “I talked to Alice and Bea who were both on the committee last year, and Bea sent me some pictures of what they stored in the shed at the animal shelter.” I tapped a few keys and turned the screen so my friends could see it. “We’re going to hold it at the grange hall like it’s been in past years, but I’m hoping we can have a hay bale walkway and place some skeletons around with spooky music and cobwebs. In the entrance we could have a mural that looks like an old mansion with ripped wallpaper that has fallen into disrepair or something.” My ideas were starting to flow so I kept going. “Then we can have areas with different scenes; some will have people as props, like the table with the domed platter and when the dome comes off, it’s just a talking head. It goes without saying spooky music and spiderwebs are everywhere inside. Then I’ll ask if Aunt Mimi could have a witch area with a cauldron, stirring up potions, and Nate could be her ghoul.”


Nikki grinned. “They’ll jump at the chance.”


I nodded. “I’d like to have a couple of vampires popping out of coffins, a mummy or two that’s animated or real, and maybe some people in armor that move around to scare folks.”


Gage rubbed his hands together. “A magic mirror and crystal ball are both good options. My mom would be happy to help.”


My enthusiasm seemed to be contagious.


Steve said, “What about doors opening and closing and candles everywhere?”


“Battery operated,” Gage interjected. “We don’t want to have to call the fire company. If we don’t get enough volunteers, the animated props can fill in where we don’t have live bodies too.”


“There should be jack-o'-lanterns everywhere. I’ll bet Marshall Stone will donate to the cause and maybe he’ll even help carve.” Nikki sighed. “I love carving faces.”


“I’m sure with your kitchen witch abilities, they’re a work of art.” I snapped my fingers as my gaze slid to my witchcraft book. “We need a fake spell book that opens and closes on its own; Aunt Mimi can cast a spell for that. Maybe with a funny, but fake incantation on the page in case someone reads it.”


Nodding, Gage said, “Some well-placed lifelike rats and other critters that move, covered with glow-in-the-dark paint. And I’ll even buy some roses for my girl and she can let them die before using them at the entrance of the haunted house.”


I could feel the frown appear when I remembered our most recent death in town where the local rose grower had been killed. But I didn’t say anything to cause anyone to go down that sad path. “I think we have a lot of good ideas. Let’s write them down and see who we can line up to donate or volunteer to help.”


Gage went to the pantry closet and pulled out my clue chalkboard. A chill raced over my arms when I thought about the last few times I had used it, for the three murders in town. But this time it was going to be used for a happy occasion and that would kick the bad vibes right to the curb.


“Good idea. We can take pictures on our phone so if you find something that will work, text me and I’ll add the information to our master list.” I took the chalk from Gage’s fingers and jotted down all the ideas we had come up with.


Nikki surveyed the list and smiled. “This is a good start. Now let’s see about getting people to help. Like Lily said, we don’t have a lot of time to make this happen and I want to do all we can to give this town the most memorable haunted house ever.”


I flashed Gage a look. “Do you think Dax will help out since his investigation seems to have gone cold?” Dax Peters was the most recent, temporary transplant to our small town. He was a big city federal investigator on the trail of a real estate scheme that had infiltrated and had, in some ways, been responsible for two people dying in Pembroke Cove. The head librarian had been forcing people, who had secrets to hide, to pay bribes, and then a real estate agent was swindling people out of profits from selling their homes. All for hefty kickbacks from an unknown Mr. Big. Squaring my shoulders, I pushed all of those worries from my mind. We had fun to focus on and lots of it. The kids both young and old alike were looking forward to the haunted house.


Gage tapped out a text on his phone and it quickly pinged with an incoming message. He grinned. “Dax loves Halloween and he’d love to help. Should I ask him to come over?”


I looked at our tiny committee of three plus me. “The more the merrier but see if he’ll swing by The Sweet Spot and pick up a box of pastries if they’re still open. I’ll make coffee.”


Nikki smiled. “If I had known your sweet tooth was kicking in and you wanted dessert, I would have baked.”


Glancing at the wall clock, I saw it was after they typically closed. “On second thought, just tell him to come on over. William will be closed by now.”


With a quick nod, Gage set his phone aside. “Dax should be here in about fifteen minutes.”


“Has he finally moved out of the motel?” Steve asked.


“Not yet, but last week, when he stopped in the bookstore, I asked him if he was thinking about making our little cove a permanent home, but he’s still on the fence. I’m sure it’s hard to uproot your life and move from a place where you live an anonymous life to a place where everyone knows when you sneeze.”


Gage raised an eyebrow as if asking me to expand on my conversation with Dax. I shrugged and said, “It was no big deal. With no leads to follow up on, he’s been reading a lot more.”


“There is a library,” Gage grumbled and I had to smile.


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Author Biography


Award-winning and best-selling author Lucinda Race is a lifelong fan of fiction. As a young girl, she spent hours reading cozy mystery and romance novels and getting lost in the fictional worlds. While her friends dreamed of becoming doctors and engineers, her dreams were to become a writer—a 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 novels, she’s reading everything she can get her hands on.


Social Media Links




Lucinda’s Heart Racers Reader Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/118597305361578



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02 Eki 2023

Thank you, Lucinda, for sharing your new release with us! I just started reading it and it's so good.

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