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Ghost Mortem (Book 1 EBOOK)

Ghost Mortem (Book 1 EBOOK)

Regular price $6.99 USD
Regular price Sale price $6.99 USD
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Whoever said that ghosts exist must be out of their mind.

Oh, wait. That was me. I said that. If you’d told me yesterday that ghosts were real, I would have smiled, nodded, and called a shrink to fix your deluded little mind. Now it’s my turn to question my sanity when the ghost of my best friend turns up in my apartment. Was it the tequila shots the night before causing this apparition? Or one too many bumps to the head — let’s face it, clumsy is my middle name; it really wouldn’t surprise me if I’d done some irreparable damage to my grey matter over the years.

Now I have to accept that the paranormal does, in fact, exist. But sadly, my ghost friend is lacking something besides his body. His memory. He doesn’t know how he died but suspects foul play, and he wants my help to find his killer. I can’t refuse, I’m a sucker for a good mystery, and the chance to bring my friend's killer to justice is too good to pass up.

Surprises abound as I discover a secret talent for sleuthing, not to mention an unexpected inheritance of a talking cat, among other things. But the biggest problem of all? Captain Cowboy Hot Pants, or as he likes to be called, Detective Kade Galloway of the Firefly Bay PD. He’s one smokin’ cop, but my distrust of the police runs deep, and despite his assurances that he’s here to help, can I really trust him, or is his offer of assistance designed to keep me from discovering the truth? I guess I’ll find out when death comes knocking on my door.

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

My name is Audrey Fitzgerald, and this is how I died.

It wasn’t a dark and stormy night. It was a clear afternoon with not a cloud in sight; the sun was shining, and all was right with the world. Wait a second, no, it wasn’t. Oh, I got the weather part right, but this story doesn’t start all bright and bubbly, sunshine and unicorns. Oh no! This is the day I died. So no, all was not right in my world.

With such a monumental event looming, I would have thought the skies would darken, thunder would boom, and the heavens would announce their displeasure that I’d been taken too early, too young, that it was not my time to die. But considering my tendency for clumsiness, I’m not that surprised, to be honest. It’s an affliction I’ve had my entire life and I’ve got the scars to prove it! If anyone were to walk into a closed-door, trip over an invisible bump in the carpet, spill hot coffee all over herself, it would be me.

But I couldn’t live my life wrapped in bubble wrap. Life was to be lived and that meant heading out into the big wide world and facing each day as the blessing it was. Mom and Dad always used to shake their heads and mutter, “It’s a wonder she survived her childhood,” whenever I relayed the latest disaster to befall me.

Being clumsy shouldn’t define you, yet I could categorically attribute my clumsiness as the reason for my being fired from every single job I’d had. Usually, it involved spilling a hot beverage on someone. Typically, the boss. On more than one occasion—because they’re not monsters, they’re not going to fire someone for spilling a drink. But after a trip to the ER with burns on your, er, delicate bits from the coffee I’d just spilled in your lap, the word “liability” gets thrown around, and rightly or wrongly, I would find myself performance managed out the door.

So my career, such as it was, was as a professional temp. Despite the fact that I’d completed a legal secretary certificate program, had a diploma in business administration and a small business management certificate, I could not hold down a job. Not for long, anyway. Because one way or another, I’d screw it up. I’d dropped my fair share of expensive laptops and phones and knocked over vases on reception desks—the water splashing all over the receptionist’s computer is just a given.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bitter. Not at all. I love temping; I love the freedom and flexibility. It’s the whole try before you buy scenario, and it pays well. But it means buying my own place is out of reach. No bank is going to lend me money without employment stability. I drive a rust bucket of a car. I live in a tiny apartment in a shady part of town. Until I’ve saved up enough to upgrade my car and the miracle of homeownership should befall me, I’m stuck where I am.

The pressure is on from my siblings too. I’m the youngest of three, and at twenty-nine the clock is ticking to settle down, get married, buy a house, have kids. Although I admit the thought of having kids is terrifying because just taking care of myself is a mountain of work already. But I figure if I could find a lovely man to be my husband, he’d make sure the kid was okay, right? Only where do you find them? The decent men? Besides my dad, there is only one other decent man I know, and he’s my best friend, Ben Delaney. And there is no way Ben and I are getting hitched. Just no. We grew up next door to each other and have been besties since kindergarten. We know each other far too well to ever have a romantic relationship. Ever.

I suppose I’m doing my brother a disservice when it comes to decent men. He’s okay, I guess. He’s the eldest, is married to Amanda—who is younger than me, adding salt to the wounds of singleness—and they have two of the most beautiful children I’ve ever seen. Madeline, who’s three, and Nathaniel, who’s one. Amanda is a paralegal at Beasley, Tate, and Associates, and I briefly temped there while she was on maternity leave. Needless to say, it didn’t end well and caused Amanda a certain degree of embarrassment that her sister-in-law was such a disaster.

Despite being younger than me by two years, Amanda acts way older. She’s a twinset and pearl-wearing type of girl who talks as if she has a plum in her mouth. Just last week at our regular family dinner at Mom and Dad’s, when the topic of conversation rolled around to my klutzy behavior like it did every week, she announced that “slower processing speed and reaction time may predispose certain individuals to errors in coordination which can lead to unintentional injuries.” I’d laughed, reached for my glass, and promptly spilled red wine all over the table. She’d arched a perfectly manicured brow and said, “Case in point.”

My older sister, Laura, is married to Brad, and they have one kid, baby Isabelle. Needless to say, at every family get-together, my ovaries are fit to burst at all the baby cuteness surrounding me. Not to mention the tick-tock of my approaching thirtieth birthday.

But I digress. I was about to tell you how I died. Well…not died…exactly. Nearly died.

* * *

I’d started my morning by dropping my phone on my face while lying in bed. The alarm had woken me from a deep sleep and I’d snatched the phone and practically catapulted it into my forehead. I’d spent an extra ten minutes covering the angry red mark with makeup while rummaging through my wardrobe, trying to find a blouse without a stain down the front. I finally settled on a white T-shirt, wearing it back to front to hide its stain. I made a mental note to ask my mom about stain removal tips—either that or buy a whole new wardrobe. Slipping my navy blazer over the top, I eyed myself critically in the mirror. No one would ever know. Provided I kept the blazer on all day.

Thankfully, the matching navy skirt was dark enough to hide any marks, and sliding my feet into my heels, I rushed out the door. Stockings were pointless—nine times out of ten I’d arrive at work with a run in them. Don’t ask me how, they just seemed to magically appear.
The day had gone remarkably smoothly, as far as days go. Up until three in the afternoon.

“Audrey!” Mr. Brown bellowed. I cringed, figuring my luck had run out. I’d really hoped he hadn’t heard the almighty crash preceding his bellow. I’d pushed through the boardroom doors with my backside, carrying a heavy tray piled high with crockery, ready for the meeting at four. A very important meeting with very important people. VIPs. I’d been told a dozen times to make sure the room was perfect—and to make myself scarce as soon as it was. I would not be required to take notes.

How was I to know the princess and her pony were in there getting ready for their big presentation? I didn’t mean for the door to swing back and hit the princess. FYI, she’s not a real princess; that’s just what I call her. Better than pompous ass. She struts through the office as if she’s better than everyone else, and that grates on me. A lot. And her assistant, whom I affectionately call the pony since she’s always riding him—in more ways than one—was always on hand to see that her every whim, every small desire, was met. She was, of course, Mr. Brown’s daughter. Untouchable.

Only I’d touched her all right. The door smacked her in the butt so hard she catapulted into the pony who staggered back, tripped over a cord and pulled the whole podium, complete with laptop, onto the floor. Of course, I lost my balance and the tray carrying all the cups, saucers, glasses and jugs of juice went flying, hitting the floor with a crash. Shards of broken crockery flew through the air, and juice splashed the floor, walls, the princess and her pony. Pretty sure the laptop was screwed too.

“Audrey!” Mr. Brown’s voice was closer now, his footfalls heavy as he thundered down the corridor towards the boardroom. I looked at the mess on the floor, debated my chances of clearing it up before he got here, calculated I had less than zero chance, and figured I shouldn’t even bother. I was going to get roasted with a capital R. Especially when Mr. Brown got an eyeful of the princess, a big wet stain spreading across the front of her silk blouse. Sucking in a deep breath, I let it fill my lungs before slowly breathing it out, waiting for the inevitable explosion. It came seconds later, the door slamming back so hard it hit the wall behind it and chipped the plaster.

I pointed to it. “That wasn’t me!”

Mr. Brown’s eyes bulged, his ruddy cheeks and bulbous nose became even redder, and his wide girth jiggled as rage built inside him. His hand clenched into a fist, relaxed, then clenched again, and I just knew he wanted to punch me in the face. Literally. Thankfully, he had more sense than to risk a potential lawsuit.

“Out!” He pointed at the door. “Get out and don’t come back. You’re fired!”

I skirted around him, keeping out of reach just in case he forgot himself, and decided to give me a clip around the ears as a farewell present. Hurrying back to my cubicle, I quickly gathered up my belongings.

“Oh, no.” Joey poked his head over the divider between our cubicles and watched as I shoved my lip balm, phone, and a pad of Post-it notes into my bag.

“Yep.” I nodded. “I warned you not to get attached.” Slinging my bag over my shoulder, I beamed at him. “See ya, Joey. Thanks for everything. Good luck with the presentation today. I’m sorry I left such a mess for you to clean up.”

“Audrey, wait.” Joey hurried after me. Stopping at the elevator, I jabbed at the button, keen to be gone before Mr. Brown re-appeared. I didn’t want to be responsible for him having a heart attack, and I feared that was the only possible outcome if he laid eyes on me again.

“Let me talk to him,” Joey pleaded. “Give him time to calm down. Maybe he’ll give you a second chance.”

I patted Joey’s cheek. “Bless you.” I smiled sweetly, knowing he meant well. “But please don’t. To be fair, my assignment was almost up. Lee comes back from vacation in two days.”

“Oh.” Joey’s face was crestfallen. “Well, maybe we could meet up for drinks after work? A proper farewell?”

“Yeah, sure, that’d be cool.” The elevator dinged, and the doors slid open. Stepping inside, I turned. “Text me the deets.”

God, I thought Joey was about to cry. His eyes welled up and his chin wobbled. The doors closed, and I heard him call out, “See you, Audrey.” Leaning back, I waited for the elevator to deposit me on the ground floor. It didn’t have far to travel since Mr. Brown’s offices were on the third floor, but experience told me I was safer to take the elevator rather than the stairs.

The elevator arrived in the foyer and I hurried across to the rotating doors, concentrating hard on not getting squashed, smiling when I successfully navigated the moving doors to step out onto the sidewalk outside. I’d left my car a couple of blocks away, where the parking was free. I headed toward it, keeping a close eye on the people around me to avoid any further collisions. One unfortunate incident a day was quite enough.

'Boss. You’ve got a message!' My phone announced. Probably Joey with details of the after-work meet up. Digging in my bag, I pulled out my phone and squinted through the broken screen to see Joey’s smiling face.

Six o’clock at the Crown and Anchor.

I started to text back when it happened. It wasn’t my fault; I swear. I was jostled from behind. From. Behind. But of course, that jostling had a snowball effect and I sort of cannoned into the person in front and then shot off at a sideways angle, twisting my ankle as I stumbled over the curb—and looked up in time to see a bus bearing down on me.

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