I raced downstairs, grabbing the baseball bat in the umbrella stand by the door. My aunt had woven protective wards around the house, and I’d maintained her spells. If Rasputin – or Tom, or whatever his name was – was a dark magician, he wouldn’t cross the property line.
Chest heaving, I charged onto the porch. Icy knives of wind pierced the loose cables of my sweater. I shielded my face with one hand.
A wiry, masculine figure loped down the road.
My hand tightened on the bat. Tom. Or was it? The blonde had been slender too, in a long-muscled sort of way.
A Christmas ornament blew down the road and stopped at my driveway.
Backing into the house, I locked the door.
I slept badly, each scrape of a branch across the house, each patter of animal footsteps on the roof sending my thoughts racing.
The next day, I sat behind my bookshop’s counter and organized sprigs of holiday herbs that had fallen from the window. I yawned, bleary eyed, over my coffee.
My eyes glazed as I swirled the spoon. I squinted at an image manifesting in the foam.
The phone jangled. I blinked, and the image vanished. I grabbed the receiver.
“You’ve reached Ye Olde Bookstore.” I’d inherited the bookshop’s name and was too sentimental to change.
“It’s McCourt. I want you to sit with a sketch artist. We need a composite of that blonde.” She heaved a sigh. “And I want you to take a look at that book.”
My elbow banged painfully on the counter, and I winced. “You do?”
“I’ll send a deputy by to bring you to the station.”
“The killer wants that book,” I said slowly. And I wanted this over.
I rubbed my elbow. “Maybe you should bring it here.”
“You’re a soft target. It would be an invite for another attack.”
I waited, holding my breath.
“I’ll come to the bookstore this afternoon at three,” she said. “With the book.”
“I won’t keep it quiet.”
She hung up.
I ran my fingers along the computer keyboard. That had been suspiciously easy. On the other hand, Sheriff McCourt really didn’t like me.
So I wanted a backup plan.
I made a call.
Next in Episode 13: Lenore finally examines the mysterious book. Things go badly.
Photo (top) by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash. Photo below by Daniil Kuzelev on Unsplash.
About the Author
Kirsten Weiss has never met a dessert she didn’t like, and her guilty pleasures are watching Ghost Whisperer re-runs and drinking red wine. The latter gives her heartburn, but she drinks it anyway.
Now based in San Mateo, CA, she writes genre-blending cozy mystery, supernatural and steampunk suspense, mixing her experiences and imagination to create vivid worlds of fun and enchantment.
If you like funny cozy mysteries, check out her Pie Town, Paranormal Museum and Wits’ End books. If you’re looking for some magic with your mystery, give the Witches of Doyle, Riga Hayworth and Rocky Bridges books a try. And if you like steampunk, the Sensibility Grey series might be for you.
Kirsten sends out original short stories of mystery and magic to her mailing list. If you’d like to get them delivered straight to your inbox, make sure to sign up for her newsletter at kirstenweiss.com
Feel free to follow her on Twitter @KirstenWeiss, on Tumblr at kweiss01, on Pinterest at KirstenWeiss, or on Bookbub, get in touch on Facebook, post a picture of this book to Instagram and tag her @kirstenweissauthor, or send her an email. She’ll answer you personally…which may be a good or a bad thing, depending on your perspective.