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The Ghost is Clear (Book 3 EBOOK)

The Ghost is Clear (Book 3 EBOOK)

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Amateur sleuth, PI in training, ghost whisperer.

That’s me. Audrey Fitzgerald, ghost detective. I’m finally coming to terms with the fact that I can not only communicate with ghosts, but animals too. Well, one in particular, my big gray teddy bear of a cat, Thor. What I haven’t worked out yet is how to keep my newfound abilities a secret from the townsfolk of Firefly Bay.

When I’m hired by the president of the local historical society to find a missing necklace, I figured I finally had a case that didn’t require ghostly interference. After all, how hard could it be to find a missing piece of jewelry? Things turn complicated real fast when the necklace turns up in the most unexpected of places and my client turns up dead.

Now I’m up to my neck in ghostly chatter, I have a murder to solve, my PI exams are looming, I’m worried I may have to put Thor on a diet, and I think I’ve accidentally fallen for Captain Cowboy Hot Pants—aka, Detective Kade Galloway. But worst of all? What on earth do I put on my business card without scaring off the townsfolk? Amateur sleuth, PI in training, ghost whisperer, or ghost detective?

Join Audrey Fitzgerald in the Ghost Detective series, a romantic paranormal cozy mystery featuring a talking 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

Sexy. Edgy. Refined. Three words I don’t normally associate with myself, but today I’d nailed it. I’d channeled Jane Bond to perfection. Smoothing my hands over the curves of my black fitted dress, I admired my reflection in the full-length mirror in the ladies’ bathroom of the Firefly Bay Museum, twisting this way and that to check all angles. The dress was a classic. Knee-length, demure neckline, sleeveless.

My blonde hair was pulled back into a French twist, only it wasn’t long enough, so I had over a hundred bobby pins holding it in place. My scalp was already protesting, but I ignored the discomfort. Jane Bond would not be complaining about a few hairpins.

On my feet, black patent stilettos, legs encased in twenty denier pantyhose. A bold gesture on my behalf, since me and pantyhose do not play well together. But I was on a case, and desperate times call for desperate measures.

Opening the evening purse hooked over my elbow, I pulled out my Chanel lipstick and re-coated my lips in 99 Pirate red, smacking them together with a popping noise before sliding the lipstick back into my purse. Clasping my palms together and extending my index fingers, I aimed my mock gun at my reflection, shot off two rounds before blowing the smoke from my fingertips with the perfect pout.

“Jane Bond, I presume?” Ben asked, appearing behind me.

“Eeeek!” I dropped my fake gun and felt a blush of color sweep over my cheeks. Not that I had anything to be embarrassed about. Ben was a ghost, and I was the only one who could see or hear him. Therefore, who was he going to tell that I’d been fooling around in the bathroom?

I preened some more in the mirror, admired the black sweeping winged eyeliner one last time before turning to the door. “Did you find our client?” I asked.

“Err. Audrey?”

I stopped and looked up at the ceiling. I knew that tone. The tone that warned me I would not like what he had to say next.

“What?”

“You have a run in your pantyhose.”

“Of course I do.” I sighed. It was a given, I knew I was challenging the Gods by putting on sheer tights, but I’d decided to risk it and go all in. “Where?”

“Back left leg, just above the ankle.”

“Is it really noticeable?” I briefly wondered if I could ignore it, pretend it didn’t exist, but Ben dashed all hopes.

“Oh yeah. What did you do, stick your thumb through it? Runs all the way up under your skirt.”

“It’s a dress, not a skirt,” I grumbled. Flinging my purse onto the countertop, I hiked up the hem of my dress, then stopped and shot a look at my best friend. “Turn around.”

He laughed and did as instructed. “You are such a disaster, Audrey Fitzgerald.”

Wriggling out of the pantyhose, I wadded them in a ball and tossed them in the trash. The thing was, Ben wasn’t wrong. I was the clumsiest person I knew, and tonight I’d known the risk I was taking, not only with the pantyhose but the stilettos. But I was on a case. The risk was more than worth it.

“So?” I prompted Ben as I picked up my purse. “Did you spot our client?”

“I did.” Ben glanced over his shoulder, and upon seeing I was decent, turned around. “Anita Finley is in attendance.”

“Good.” I nodded. “Then let’s get to it and find the missing diamond necklace.”

Ben snorted. “It’s hardly the crown jewels, Fitz. You’re making it sound like it’s this priceless necklace encrusted with diamonds. It’s a single pendant with more sentimental value than monetary value.”

“On a gold chain. Therefore, a diamond necklace.”

“I think you’re making more of this than there is. She said herself the clasp was faulty. It probably came undone and fell off without her noticing. It could be anywhere.”

“Mrs. Finley believes it was stolen and hired Delaney Investigations to find it.” I brushed past him, ignoring the icy chill that danced over my arm where we touched. “And find it, I shall.” I pushed down the niggling worry that this entire case smacked of the proverbial needle in a haystack.

Stepping out of the bathroom, I turned right through the glass doors into the museum. Added to the eighteen seventy stone cottage that had started as a firehouse and was now home to Firefly’s Historical Society, of which my client, Anita Finley, was president. The museum itself was a modern wing, all glass and chrome. And tonight was the museum’s annual dinner.

Ben, who was walking alongside me with silent footsteps, had a smirk on his face. I didn’t like it when Ben smirked. It usually meant something was up. Something I wouldn’t like.

“What?”

“Have you ever been to one of these before, Fitz?” he asked, head cocked.

I shrugged. “No. Why’s that?”

“Oh, nothing, nothing. Please.” He stood aside and waved an arm. “Go right on in.”

Shaking my head, I made my way through the foyer of the museum and into the main event. I’d been expecting waiters with trays of canapes, women in evening attire, and men in suits. What I got was a wooden trestle table laden with potluck dinners, anything from spaghetti to pinwheel sandwiches, paper plates, and Dixie cups, and about twenty people milling around, plates piled high. Their attire consisted mostly of T-shirts and cotton blouses, the odd flash of tweed, and an abundance of denim.

“Well, this is just peachy.” I gritted through my teeth, plastering on a smile and heading toward Anita Finley, who was in conversation with Keagan Dunn. Keagan was the owner of the Artistic Affair Gallery next door and vice president of the historical society, and yet despite that, he was most pleasing to look at. I pegged him to be in his late thirties, early forties, with a head of thick brown hair that stood up in several directions and could use a good cut, clean-shaven, dark-framed glasses giving him a geeky appeal.

“Why, Audrey.” Anita looked me up and down. “Don’t you look lovely.”

I smiled weakly and ran a hand over my stomach. “Overdressed is more like it.”

Keagan looked me up and down, giving me a thorough inspection before he raised his gaze to meet my eyes. I didn’t miss the gleam of appreciation in them. “If only more women took pride in their appearance. You look beautiful.” Before I could stop him, he’d taken my hand and bestowed a kiss on the back of it. I blinked in surprise.

“Err. Thank you.” I eased my hand from his grip and resisted the urge to wipe it on my dress. Jane Bond would not do that, and since I’d already committed to channeling the 007 spy—well, the female version I envisioned in my head—I had to stay in character. As best I could, minus the gun strapped to my thigh because that would be just dangerous; plus I didn’t have my gun license, nor concealed weapon permit. Yet. But that was due to change. Tomorrow Captain Cowboy Hotpants—aka Detective Kade Galloway—aka my boyfriend, was taking me out to the shooting range for my first ever lesson. Lord, help us all.

“So, this is the museum’s annual dinner, huh? Is it always this packed?” I joked.

Anita beamed. She was what I’d call a pleasant woman. Late fifties, silver hair, plumpish figure, and obsessed with the historical society. When she’d called yesterday to request my services, she’d rambled on for some time about her work as president for the society. From what I could tell, it was mostly event management. In the next month alone, they had planned a tag and bake sale, a movie night, a preservation day open house, and a co-hosted event with the museum—one hundred years of fashion history. Not to mention tonight’s little soiree.

“It’s an excellent turnout.” Anita agreed. “Nearly all the historical society committee is here, along with the museum committee.”

“Right, right.” I nodded. “So how many are on the historical society committee?”

“Eight.”

“And the museum committee?”

“Seven.”

Ben snorted. “So they’ve got, what… five legitimate guests and the rest are all committee members. No wonder they didn’t dress up.” He turned his attention towards the trestle table. “Man, I wish I could eat food.”

“Oh, there’s Lacey!” Anita spotted someone across the room and raised her hand to wave. “Please, excuse me for a moment, Audrey. Mingle, get yourself something to eat.”

Joining Ben at the buffet, I often wondered what I’d miss the most if I were dead? Coffee! The answer is most definitely coffee. Followed closely by food. Watching the ghost in front of me try to pick up a pinwheel sandwich, I smothered a laugh and followed along behind him, stacking my plate high with treats before finding a vantage point along the far wall where I could study the attendees of tonight’s little get-together.

Shoving a ham, cheese, and spinach puff into my mouth, my eyes practically rolled into the back of my head as the flavors burst on my tongue. “Oh, my God. These are amazeballs,” I said to no-one in particular, taking another bite before I’d finished the first. Flakes of pastry fluttered down onto my boobs, the pale golden crumbs standing out starkly on my black dress. I shimmied my shoulders to dislodge them, but they were stuck fast.

“Do you really need to look like you’re having an orgasm while eating that?” Ben grumbled, drifting over to me. I lifted one shoulder, mindful that we were in a roomful of people, and only I could see him. He pointed to my chest, finger moving around and around in a circular motion. “You’ve got a little something…”

“I know, I know.” Finishing the puff, I blew the remaining crumbs from my fingers and dusted off my boob shelf. This was one reason why I’d worn black. Hides the stains. For invariably, I will spill something on myself. But also, trust me to drop crumbs that stood out starkly against black.

“See anything suspicious?” I said under my breath, eyes scanning the room. People gathered in small groups, huddled together, clutching their paper plates and gossiping up a storm. None of them looked like your typical jewelry thief.

With such a small number of people in such a large room, voices echoed. Someone dropped a pair of serving tongs onto the floor, and the sound bounced harshly around the room. Heads swiveled, and the guilty party blushed and whispered an apology, hurriedly picking up the tongs and placing them back on the table.

“Honestly, Vernon, don’t put them back on the table.” I recognized Mary Wilson, secretary of the historical society, as she bustled forward, round body waddling side to side as she huffed up to the table and snatched up the serving tongs. “These have been on the floor. I’ll get a clean set from the kitchen.” Off she went, waddle, waddle, waddle, her arthritic knees refusing to bend. The chatter resumed.

“Why are we here again?” Ben asked, lounging by my side, arms crossed over his chest as he frowned in displeasure at the people in front of us.

“I told you. Anita wanted me to come. She’s convinced a member of the committee has stolen her necklace. This was the best way to meet them.”

“And why did she think that?”

“Because she mentioned at the last meeting that she would wear the necklace tonight. She only gets it out for special occasions, and tonight is a bit of a big deal for Anita.” I picked up an open sandwich from my plate, loaded with what appeared to be chicken, corn, and something red, possibly tomatoes, and shoved it in my mouth. The burst of flavors on my tongue was not what I expected. First up, not chicken. Possibly shrimp? Something seafoodish anyway. But the kicker was oh, around three seconds later, when my mouth was on fire.

Schooling my face to hide the inferno happening in my mouth, I rushed to the trestle table, and grabbed a fistful of napkins, turned my back, and spat the partially chewed up sandwich into it. A frantic search for a trash can came up empty, so I stuffed the lot into my purse.

“Everything okay?” Anita Finley reappeared with an attractive redhead in tow. I blinked through watering eyes, opened my mouth to speak, but all that came out was a croak. Oh my lord, I think I’d burned my vocal cords, and I hadn’t even swallowed any of the Hellspawn sandwich.

“Ah.” The redhead nodded knowingly. “You had one of Eleanor’s sandwiches, huh?”

“Mftsh?” I tentatively touched my lips to make sure they were still attached to my face.

“Anita, grab our guest some milk, would you?” The redhead ordered. Anita hurried off to obey. The redhead stood in front of me, blocking me from view of the rest of the room. “Just relax. And breathe. Most of us know to give Eleanor’s sandwiches a wide berth. She just can’t seem to grasp the concept of a hint of chili. I don’t know exactly how much she puts in her mix, but suffice it to say it’s enough to strip the enamel clean off your teeth.” Anita came back and shoved a Dixie cup of milk into my hand. I bolted it down, the fire easing somewhat.

“What else is in those things?” I gasped. “I thought it was chicken.”

“That’s her seafood surprise,” the redhead replied. “A mixture of crab, shrimp, tomatoes, and cheese.”

“And chili,” Anita added almost as an apology. “Oh, my gosh!” She suddenly exclaimed. “You’re not allergic, are you? I have an EpiPen if you need it. I don’t know how many times I’ve asked Eleanor not to bring seafood dishes—I’m allergic myself—but she continues to ignore me and bring her seafood surprise. We’re all so used to it now, and know to avoid it, that it completely slipped my mind to warn you. I’m so sorry.”

“It’s okay. I’m fine,” I said, my mouth now blessedly numb.

“This wouldn’t happen if we had the budget for catering,” Anita grumbled. “But the books aren’t looking so hot this year. We’ve had to self-cater. Otherwise, I’d get Lacey here to provide the food for all of our events. Oh, how rude. Audrey, this is my best friend, Lacey Stevens. Lacey, this is Audrey Fitzgerald. Lacey is a chef!”

“Is that right?” They had a chef on the committee, and they let things like Eleanor’s seafood surprise slip through? But I guess if you didn’t have the budget, well, you had to be thankful for potluck dinners.

“Pleased to meet you, Audrey.” Lacey Stevens smiled, her auburn curls dancing around her shoulders. I eyeballed her critically. Anita’s best friend, huh? She looked to be younger than Anita, in her late forties maybe, with immaculate makeup, rocking a red lip and winged eyeliner not dissimilar to mine, and a chic yellow pantsuit with heels.

“Here, try one of these.” Lacey moved with graceful strides to the buffet table and returned, holding a noodle cup on a napkin. “One of my specialties, and something I know Anita can eat.” She smiled warmly at her friend. “These are chicken, and the only spices are ginger, garlic, and soy sauce. Oh, and peanut oil. You’re not allergic to peanuts, are you?”

“No, thankfully, I’m allergy-free.” I cautiously took a bite of the noodle cup, my eyes widening. It was delicious, even my fried taste buds thought so.

“Right?” Anita grinned. “She’s the bomb.”

“Okay,” I said, taking another bite. “I think this just became my favorite dish.”

Lacey laughed. “Everyone says that. So, how do you two know each other?”

Anita’s face flushed bright red, and panic flitted across her features. Oh boy, I had a sinking feeling she was about to blow my cover. The whole idea of tonight was that I got to meet and question the societies’ committee members without them being any the wiser. And definitely not letting them in on the fact that Anita’s diamond necklace had been stolen. But all of that had fled Anita’s mind, and I knew she was about to spill the beans.

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