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A Ghost of a Chance (Book 4 EBOOK)

A Ghost of a Chance (Book 4 EBOOK)

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A bad day with coffee is better than a good day without it.

Running a private investigation business in the seaside town of Firefly Bay should be a pretty easy job. One where I call the shots—figuratively speaking because to put clumsy little ole me in charge of a firearm is just asking for trouble. After a hectic few months, all I’m after is an easy day, where my cases add up to nothing more strenuous than deciding if tonight’s takeout is pizza or tacos (or both).

Should have known my day was going to go to hell in a handbasket when someone switched out my coffee for decaf (seriously, who does that?) and my main squeeze, Captain Cowboy Hot Pants, aka Detective Kade Galloway’s ex-girlfriend and internal affairs investigator, Savannah Mcintosh, turns up to work a case.

Before I can say café latte, Galloway’s dodging my calls, I’ve got a raccoon on my hands who’s decided mi casa es su casa, my ghostly best friend has a crush to die for, and local teenager Kira Melendez has turned up missing.

So much for an easy day. I have a sneaking suspicion my life is about to become a whole new level of crazy.

Join Audrey Fitzgerald in the Ghost Detective series, a paranormal cozy mystery featuring a cat, a ghost, and a murder to solve.

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Give me a quick list: what can I expect?

  • Cool Powers and Magic
  • Slow Burn Romance
  • Snort Worthy Hilarity
  • Hot Cop
  • Small Town
  • A Cat!
  • Cozy Mystery

Want a sneak peek? Read a sample

Pushing down the knot of dread in my chest, I wondered, yet again, if I were ready to face what this day had to throw at me. I had been summoned to Firefly Bay Police Department to give a formal statement regarding my encounters with Officer Ian Mills. Mills, in my opinion, was a dirty cop, and I didn’t make that allegation lightly. Not after what happened to my best friend and former detective, Ben Delaney.

Ben was framed by a dodgy co-worker and ultimately forced out of the career he’d loved. And that had started my love-hate relationship with the police. Hate for what they’d done to Ben, love because now I was dating a super-hot cop, Detective Kade Galloway, aka Captain Cowboy Hot Pants.

I know. I’m as surprised as you are, to be honest. I mean me? Date a cop? Ludicrous. But I guess stranger things have happened—believe me, they really have! It helped that Galloway was involved in a secret investigation into corrupt law enforcement officials.

Now, after months of what looked like little to no progress, an internal affairs investigator had turned up. The entire station was in an uproar, except for Galloway, who was in on the whole thing. And the IA investigator, obviously.
Blowing on my cup of joe, I looked out the back window toward the woods that bordered one side of my property. It still felt odd to think of this house and land as mine. It was Ben’s.

Only he’d died months ago, leaving me… everything. His house. His car—let’s not get into me totaling it one night while being chased by gun-wielding bad guys. The good news is I got a new car. It’s a metallic, sporty blue Honda CR-V, and it is divine. I also inherited Ben’s private investigation business, and that’s how I ended up here. It felt like a dream, but I really was a brand-new PI, with a beautiful house and a healthy bank balance.

“Second thoughts?” Ben’s ghost appeared by my side, startling me. I jerked, and coffee sloshed over the rim of my cup.

“Dude!” I snapped, giving him the side-eye. “How many times?”

“I can’t help it! I’m a ghost. I make zero noise.”

I took a sip of the scalding liquid, ignoring the spill but promising myself I’d wipe it up later, and eyeballed the thick clouds rolling in. A storm was coming. Not only could I see it in the gray skies outside the window, but I also felt it in my bones. Dark and ominous. Either that or I had arthritis, and I’d like to think that I was too young for such an affliction at twenty-nine. I stared at the hand not holding the coffee cup then opened and closed my fist a couple of times. I stretched my fingers out until I felt the pull and strain on muscles and tendons before curling them back in tight. Nope. No pain. Not arthritis, then.

“What are you doing?” Ben asked.

“Checking for arthritis,” I replied absently, my eyes drifting back to the woods. That’s where he’d died. Where I’d found his body.

Ben followed my gaze and sighed. We’d been over this countless times. Ben had had the opportunity to cross over but had opted to stay, and I worried. I worried that he’d committed to living his life as a ghost. The only person who could see him and communicate with him was me. Was that enough? And then I worried that he’d eventually leave. I’d long since decided that ghost Ben was better than no Ben at all, and despite not being happy about his death, I’d accepted that this was our new normal.

And as my best friend, Ben sometimes knew me better than I knew myself. “Worried about Galloway’s new partner?”

I lifted one shoulder in a half-hearted shrug. Good question. But not the right question. Somewhere between last night's karaoke rendition of Man, I Feel Like A Woman and my sixth shot of tequila, I’d hit upon what was really bugging me, and despite appearances, it was not Savannah Mcintosh.

Savannah was the IA investigator sent to unravel the secrets and lies permeating Firefly Bay’s law enforcement department. She was tall, blonde, blue-eyed, and supermodel drop-dead gorgeous. She was also Galloway’s ex. Everyone thought I should be threatened by her presence. The expectation was that I’d be filled with a mad woman’s level of jealousy and dutifully act all crazy about it. I never was any good at living up to expectations.

Okay, fine. Last night's hoorah at the pub had been the culmination of too many long days and sleepless nights and had nothing to do with Savannah’s arrival. I’d been on a case. A stakeout, to be precise. My client, Mrs. Morgan, had hired me to get to the bottom of her disappearing newspaper. I know it doesn’t sound exciting, and to be truthful, it wasn’t. But it was a case, and it gave me something to do.
Business had been quiet of late, so beggars couldn’t be choosers, and finding missing pets and stolen newspapers stopped me from overthinking… stuff.

It hadn’t been a difficult case to crack. Kind of predictable, really. Still, it had meant staking out Mrs. Morgan’s house for several early mornings in a row before I caught the culprit—her neighbor being liberal with that term, of course—red-handed. In fact, I’d gotten it all on camera. Video evidence of the thief creeping across Mrs. Morgan’s front lawn in the early hours to relieve her of the newspaper the delivery boy had expertly tossed onto her front doormat. I’d delivered my final report to Mrs. Morgan, and the case was closed. What she chose to do about her thieving neighbor was on her. My involvement ended the minute I solved the mystery.

So, yes, tying one on had been partly celebratory but mostly to dull the twinge of annoyance that everyone—my family included—expected me to throw a hissy fit over Savannah’s arrival and apparent history with Galloway. But I’d never been the jealous type, and now was no exception. No, the truth was, my concerns weren’t about Savannah and Galloway at all. They revolved around the deposition itself.

This was the opportunity I’d been both anticipating and dreading. So much rode on my testimony. There was nothing I wanted more than to see Mills prosecuted to the full extent of the law. I knew there was more to the investigation than Mills and me, though.
Galloway had said the corruption went high up the food chain. Mills was a small cog in a much bigger machine. My worry was that if I somehow botched this, Mills would get off scot-free, and that would have a snowball effect. Like a house of cards, the entire investigation would come crashing down.
The rational part of my brain told me that was unlikely, but still, the worry niggled at me.

That anxiety, plus the fact that the worry itself irked me, was enough to cause a tiny bout of hyperventilation every time I thought about it.

“I’m not worried about Savannah Mcintosh.”

“Gotta say, she’s hot.” Ben squared his shoulders and puffed out his chest. “If I were corporeal…”

I snorted. “Right. Have at her, hot stuff. I’m sure she’d love you ghosting her every move.” I giggled at my own pun, then sobered. “Actually, that’s not such a bad idea.”

“You want me to spy on her? Fitz, that’s not like you.”

“What do you mean that’s not like me? That’s exactly like me.”

He smirked. “Yeah, you’re right. So… you want me to see what she and Kade are up to?”

I frowned. “What are you talking about? No. I do not want you to spy on my boyfriend. Geez, Ben. I want you to find out how the investigation is going. Honestly, everyone seems to be fixated on me, Galloway, and her, when y’all should be focusing on what she’s here for.”

Ben had the grace to look contrite. “You’re right. Sorry. Focus on the case.”

“Right,” I grumbled, eyeing my cup suspiciously. Usually, I’d have felt the effects of caffeination by now. My early morning irritability would be easing, not rising. I took another sip, the hot brew bitter on my tongue.

“What time is your deposition?” Ben asked.

“Nine.”

“You know it’s eight-thirty, right?”

I almost dropped my cup. “No way.” I turned to look at the massive clock on the living room wall. “See? Seven-thirty.”

“Fitz. That clock stopped working last week. I told you about it. Haven’t you noticed every time you look at it, it says seven-thirty?”

No, no, no. Hurrying to the kitchen, I slammed my coffee onto the counter and picked up my phone to double-check. Eight-thirty. With a shriek, I let the phone clatter back to the counter and sprinted for the stairs, Ben hot on my heels.

“Don’t panic. You already picked out what you’re going to wear, right?”

“Yes!” I’d chosen black. Sharp. Mysterious. Slightly menacing. And it hid any stains. When I waved my finger and twirled it in the air, Ben dutifully stopped following and turned his back. We’d worked out a system, of sorts, so he wouldn’t surprise me naked. Nothing worse than a pervy ghost.

Stripping out of my PJs, I shimmied into clean underwear, spritzed deodorant under my arms, then pulled on black pants, a white T-shirt (turned around, so the stain was at the back), and a black blazer. After sliding my feet into black patent heels, I hurried into the bathroom. No time to give my makeup the attention my face deserved. Rather than the immaculate winged eyeliner I’d been planning on, with the classic red lip, I wiped a handful of BB cream across my face and a smear of lip gloss.
My hair was its usual disaster, a collar length blonde wavy bob, but my hairstylist was a genius who cut it in such a way the messy style looked like I’d spent hours in the bathroom achieving it. And that only came about because I’d burned a good chunk of hair off with a curling iron, so the shorter style was the only recourse.

I patted my hair and tugged on my lapels. “I do look rather badass, don’t I?”

“All that matters is that you think you look badass,” Ben said, leaning against the doorjamb. I flipped him the bird and hurried back downstairs, twisting my ankle on the last step and only just stopping myself from sprawling in an undignified heap on the floor.

“Careful,” Ben cautioned. “Are you sure the heels are a good idea?”

My ankle throbbed, but I refused to admit Ben was right. The heels were a ridiculous idea. I was the clumsiest person I knew. If it were possible to trip over air, I’d do it. As it was, heels were usually a big no-no, but today I felt in need of courage in the form of a badass outfit. And that included heels.

“Are you nervous?” he asked.

I lifted a shoulder. “No. I don’t know. Maybe.”

“Decisive as ever, Fitz. You’ll be fine. Now, do you have everything?”

I frowned. “I think so.”

“Keys?”

I patted my pocket. Empty. Hobbling into the open plan living area, I snatched up the keys from the coffee table, my phone from the kitchen counter, then swung around, searching for my purse.

“By the front door. Where you dropped it when you came in last night.” Ben always did have a knack for knowing what I was thinking. Well, most times. Sometimes he got it spectacularly wrong.

“Right.” Walking as fast as my twisted ankle allowed, I made my way to the front of the house. Sure enough, there was my purse on the floor by the front door.

Snatching it up, I tossed my phone inside, slung the bag over my shoulder, and made my way to the garage and my Honda CR-V. It was a little worrisome how much I loved this car. Maybe because it was the first brand new car I’d ever bought? My last car had been a rusted-out Chrysler, circa 1970. Then I’d briefly had possession of Ben’s Nissan Rogue, but that had been Ben’s car—it wasn’t the same. But the Honda was all mine. I lovingly stroked my hand along the paintwork before opening the door and sliding behind the wheel.

“Just take it easy on the road, okay, Fitz?” Ben said from the passenger seat.

“You’re already dead; you can’t die again,” I pointed out, hitting the button for the automatic garage door opener and starting the engine.

“True. But you can.”

“My driving is not that bad!” I shot him a look, then backed out of the drive. Spring was in the air, despite the storm that was rolling in. Little green buds of leaves dotted the trees, and plants I didn’t know were in my garden were starting to poke their heads through the soil, preparing for sunshine and glorious days.

I drove down the street, sunny skies ahead. Dark, voluminous clouds in my rearview warned of a storm approaching. A crack of thunder boomed, and a shiver danced over my skin.

“I hope this isn’t a sign,” I whispered, my eyes darting from the rearview to the windshield and back again.

“Of what? Impending doom?” Ben grinned. “Relax, Fitz. It’s just a storm. They happen, on account of the weather. It has absolutely nothing to do with your deposition today.”

Pulling my mouth into a straight line, I could only hope he was right.

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