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Here Ghost Nothing (Book 5 EBOOK)

Here Ghost Nothing (Book 5 EBOOK)

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How can any self-respecting, slightly clumsy, highly caffeinated private eye pass up a dare?

Short answer, she can’t. Now up I’m a certain creek trying to figure out how to live without coffee for an entire week!

With my mood sour, my temper frazzled, and my patience long gone, how am I meant to deal with this? And by this, I mean the dead body on my front lawn.

Before I can say double espresso, I've got a ghost whose transition to the afterlife is far from smooth, an overweight cat who is annoyingly vocal about his new (definitely called for) diet, and a mystery to solve that involves multiple visits to the local brewery. Can anyone say silver lining?

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

I’d been having the best dream. One where I owned a café and had unlimited access to coffee. We’re talking affogato, Americano, caffe latte, caffe mocha, café au lait, cappuccino, espresso, espresso macchiato, latte macchiato, and everything in between. Coffee porn, if you like. And I did like it. Very much.
It was the third dream I’d had of its kind this week, all because of a stupid dare with my sister-in-law, Amanda. Why, oh, why did I let her bait me? Why didn’t I just walk away? I knew this was her latest attempt to fix me. According to Amanda, my inherent clumsiness could be cured, and her latest remedy was to remove caffeine from my life. It had started involuntarily when she’d switched out my coffee pods for decaf behind my back.

Things had escalated from there. I couldn’t let that transgression go unpunished. I’d switched her organic, herbal shampoo and conditioner for the cheapest supermarket brand I could find in retaliation. She’d been furious, and I’d been up in her face about messing with my coffee, which is when she issued the dare. One week without coffee.

Easy! I’d scoffed, shaking her hand to seal the deal. If I won, she vowed never to interfere in my life ever again. If I lost? I had to give up caffeine for good.

But something was pulling me out of the best dream in the world, something intruding and prodding me awake. I curled into a ball, tugging the comforter up around my chin, chasing the dream that was rapidly slipping from my reach with a desperation not to leave my blissful coffee hazed nirvana.

Then the music started. Softly at first but rising in volume. Something about a baby on fire. Wha? After a moment, I realized it was the dulcet tones of Pitbull singing Fireball, the ringtone I’d chosen for my new phone. Groaning, I pried open my eyes and felt around on the nightstand for it, succeeding in knocking it to the floor where Pitbull continued his woohooing.

I turned my attention to the dead guy standing at the foot of my bed.

“Can you get that?” My voice came out like rusty nails. No surprise since I’d taken to replacing coffee with whisky. I’d drag my body through a week of zero coffee and marinated in alcohol if it killed me.

“Um, the phone?” he asked, puzzled.

“Mmm.” I lowered my lids.

Dead Guy cleared his throat. “I’m not sure—”

“Never mind.” I reached an arm over the side of the bed, searching for the offending phone, reaching farther and farther until the inevitable happened. I tumbled out of bed to land with a thud on the floor.

“Are you okay?” Dead Guy looked concerned.

Ignoring him, I snatched up my phone. “What?”

“Just checking in.” Amanda’s voice was as welcome as a hoohaa waxing on a full moon.

“You’re checking in at four-thirty in the morning?” I laid on the floor and stared up at the ceiling, admiring a particularly creative cobweb dangling from the light fixture.

“It’s six, and you know it. I call the same time every day.”

Yeah, you do. “To make sure I’m not dead,” I grumbled. I hit a button on the phone to hang up, but it’s entirely possible I’d called the pizza delivery place... it wouldn’t be the first time. Heaving a sigh, I rolled to my side and dragged myself to my hands and knees then, using the side of the bed for leverage, to my feet.

I padded toward the bathroom, pointing a finger in the general vicinity of the dead guy. “Wait here.” The trouble with ghosts was they had no sense of boundaries. Just because you could walk through walls doesn’t mean you should. Especially when I was in the bathroom.

I sat on the toilet and listened to the scratching coming from the other side of the door. Rolling my eyes, I yelled, “Thor. Bandit. Quit it.” Honestly, once they knew I was awake, the pair of them hounded me until I’d filled their kibble bowls. Only Thor, my big—emphasis on big—gray teddy bear of a cat, was on a diet. Which meant Bandit, my recently acquired raccoon, was also on rations. Not that Bandit seemed to mind. But Thor? The downside of having a talking cat was that you got to listen to their complaining. A lot.

After washing my hands and splashing water on my face, I flung open the door. The two furry critters greeted me with overexaggerated enthusiasm before bounding ahead, leading the way downstairs amidst compliments on how fresh and beautiful I looked this morning. All lies in hopes of getting more kibble out of me.

Dead Guy followed my entourage and now stood in my open plan living room. I cocked my head and studied him. He wore jeans, a nondescript T-shirt, loafers without socks, and a dusting of a five o’clock shadow on his square jaw. He looked vaguely familiar.

“Now?” he asked hopefully.

My shoulders slumped. I really needed caffeine for this. “Fine. Go ahead.” I waved at him to continue.

“I think I’m dead,” he said. Oh God, I was woken from my slumber for this? I did my best not to roll my eyes or call him Captain Obvious, for while he was new at being a ghost, I was all too familiar with them. My best friend Ben was a ghost, and I’d been seeing and talking with him for almost a year. I glanced around for any sign of Ben, but he’d yet to return from his nocturnal wanderings. Since he didn’t need sleep, Ben amused himself by visiting insomniacs and watching Netflix or, preferably, the shopping channel with his blissfully unaware companions.

“I’m afraid so.” Turning, I grabbed a glass and shoved it under the faucet. Opening the top drawer, I rummaged for pain killers, but the junk drawer failed to deliver, and I slammed the glass down a little harder than intended, the contents sloshing over the rim.

Dead Guy looked startled, and I forced myself to drag in a calming breath. It wasn’t his fault I was hungover. Or caffeine-free. Why he was standing in my living room, though, was something I was curious about.

“Why are you here?”

“I was coming to see you.” He looked toward the front of the house then back at me.

“Do you ghosts get a handbook or something? How did you even know I can see and talk to ghosts?”

He blinked. “I didn’t. I was coming to see you when I…”

The penny dropped. “Oh! You mean, you were literally coming here to see me when you died?”

“Yes.”

I pointed toward the front door. “You’re here? On the other side of that door?”

“Yes.”

Just to be sure, I took a step toward said door, pointing. “This door?”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

He opened his mouth, hesitated, then snapped it closed, a frown pulling his brow low. “It’s the darndest thing. I can’t remember. I know I was coming to see you. I just don’t know why.”

“Right.” It wasn’t the first time this had happened. Death amnesia. It had happened to Ben, only he hadn’t known he was dead, not to begin with. But once we’d worked it out, it had been left to me to solve the mystery of his murder because his memory of the event was buried so deep in his subconscious he couldn’t access it. Not entirely surprising if you’d died a violent death.

“Since I don’t know you, I’m assuming you were coming here to hire me.” It wasn’t an odd assumption since I ran Delaney Investigations, the private investigator business I’d inherited from Ben.

“Maybe, yeah. But I guess that doesn’t matter anymore.”

Right. Because he was dead, and according to him, he’d died at my front door. No wonder he’d found me. His ghost hadn’t had far to travel. With a sigh, I trudged down the hallway to the front of the house and flung open the door. I was unprepared for the glare of sunlight and raised my arm to shield my eyes. No dead body on my doorstep. Stepping outside, I didn’t have to go far before I found the dead guy face down on my lawn. The cause of death was apparent thanks to the great hulking knife sticking out of his back.

Reaching for my phone, I realized I was standing on my lawn in what I’d slept in, which was a tank and panties, and my phone was upstairs in my bedroom where I’d left it. Swiveling on my heel, I hurried back inside, thankful the house next door was vacant. No prying eyes of neighbors to catch me in my underwear. I snorted. Like they would worry about that over a dead body on my front lawn.

“If I were caffeinated, this wouldn’t have happened,” I said to myself, taking the stairs two at a time. Dead Guy followed.

“Me getting killed?”

“What? No. That was inevitable. No, I mean I wouldn’t have gone outside in my underwear, nor would I have left my phone upstairs. Rookie mistakes. I’m usually more alert than this.”

“Right. So, have a coffee then.”

“If only I could.” I sighed. It sounded suspiciously like a moan. Scooping up my bra from the floor, I rummaged in a drawer for a clean T-shirt and pair of jeans and disappeared into the bathroom to finish dressing.

“Tell me what you remember,” I called out to Dead Guy. “I’m guessing you’ve been out there all night?” I hadn’t touched the body. Didn’t need to, to know he was dead, but also, ewww. I may talk to ghosts, but that didn’t mean I went around touching corpses.

His voice was muffled through the door. “It was late.”

“How late?”

“After midnight.” There was a sheepish tone to his voice, as if he’d realized knocking on my door in the middle of the night hadn’t been the wisest of moves. Only he’d never knocked. Someone had stabbed him in the back before he’d reached my door. “I know, I know,” he continued, “I should’ve waited until morning. I really wish I had now.”

“I bet,” I muttered, running my fingers through my messy bob and splashing water on my face again, rubbing at the smeared mascara under my eyes that I hadn’t noticed on my first trip to the bathroom. Satisfied I wasn’t going to look any better than I did right now, I flung open the door and eyeballed Dead Guy.

“What was so urgent you had to hire my services in the middle of the night?” Crossing to the night table, I picked up my phone and dialed while Dead Guy filled me in. I was hoping repeating the question would jog his memory.

“Something important,” was his ambiguous reply. How very helpful. Not.

“You don’t say.” I tried one of those raised-eyebrow looks—the ones that let the person you’re talking to know you’re incredulous at their suggestion. Only I had yet to master individual control of my eyebrows, so instead, both brows shot into my hairline, and my look was one of surprise rather than disdain.

He shrugged. “It was a long shot.”

The call connected. “Firefly Bay Police Department.”

“Hi. This is Audrey Fitzgerald. I’m calling to report a murder.”

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