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Witch Way to Beauty & the Beach (Book 4 EBOOK)

Witch Way to Beauty & the Beach (Book 4 EBOOK)

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Finding a body washed ashore in Whitefall Cove was not how I wanted to start my day.

I much preferred to face the morning with a hot strong caffeinated beverage, but alas, we can’t always have what we want. Out on a morning stroll with my familiar, Archie, I couldn’t believe my bad luck when we stumbled upon the body of local teenager Emily Sherman washed up on the beach.

Unable to resist the lure of solving the mystery, I immediately set about finding her killer, but untangling a growing list of suspects isn’t as easy as I’d initially thought. With an election looming and Councilor Griffin’s nephew caught up in the net, the pressure is on to find out whodunnit and close the case.

Let’s not mention working side by side with newly single detective Jackson Ward. Murder, mischief, and mayhem I can take in my stride, but a date with Jackson? That’s enough to have my magic sparking in nervous anticipation.

This paranormal murder mystery will have you completely spellbound and laughing out loud!

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Give me a quick list: what can I expect?

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

Want a sneak peek? Read a sample

“This is all your fault.”

“I hope so.” Gran grinned in delight as a rainbow cloud of colored marshmallowesque ooze cascaded down the walls of Whitefall Cove town hall. It was an interesting effect. Kinda like dry ice, only wet. And sticky. It hit the floor and curled across the room in a big, globby, wave.

“Gran,” I warned, not relishing the prospect of getting the sticky substance off my sandals later.

“Harper Jones.” Gran snapped her wand at me, and I shot a foot in the air and hovered there. “You need to lighten up, girl. The kids are having fun and that’s all that matters. Look.”

I spun to look at the six teenagers gracefully dancing through the air, their wands leaving trails of magic dust as they glided and spun, swirled and swooped. They kept in perfect time, and I watched, transfixed. It was like Dancing with the Stars, only with magic.

“You’ve done a great job,” I breathed, my heart warming. “They actually stand a chance of winning.”

Gran snorted. “You say that like you’re surprised. I have done this before, you know.”

“What? Tutor teenagers for the Whitefall Cove talent competition? No. No, you haven’t.”

Gran cocked her head, seemed to consider my words for a second or two before conceding, “Actually I think you’re right. That would make a first.”

I sighed at her jab. “Fine. Whatever. But seriously, Gran, you cannot use this marshmallow goop as a special effect. And can you please make it stop? Like now? Before it ruins the town hall and we get a bill for the cleanup?”

Gran rolled her eyes so hard she must have been able to see her brain. Flouncing through the air, wand aloft, she totally ignored me, leaving me suspended above the goop that appeared to be alive and now licking at the soles of my sandals. Fine. I’d do it myself. Unlike Gran, in fact unlike most other witches I knew I didn’t need a wand to use magic. With a snap of my fingers the colorful concoction was gone, and I lowered myself to the floor.

“Spoil sport,” Gran called. “Today was meant to be a full dress rehearsal!”

“Well, you need to rethink your special effects because your team isn’t going to win if you drown the audience in marshmallow,” I shouted back.

“Harper is right, Mrs. B.” Jacob Griffin, one of the teenagers looking very handsome and dashing in a tuxedo, spoke up. He looked more man than boy, easily six foot tall, broad shoulders, yet a gleam in his eye as his gaze landed on his partner, Emily Sherman.

All mischievous youth, Emily, seventeen this summer, glided through the air in her sky blue gown, her blonde hair coiled in artful disarray on top of her head, her laugh easy as she linked hands with Jacob. “We might lose points for that.”

Gran threw up her hands. “Okay, fine. Let’s change it to pixie dust. Would that make everyone happy?” And then she farted. A little toot that propelled her through the air and set her students into fits of giggles.

I couldn’t contain my snort of laughter. “You should incorporate that into your routine,” I said.

“I still think Emily and I should swap dresses, Mrs. B!” Sarah McClain looked Emily up and down before flicking her hair over her shoulder. “This one’s a bit loose on me and Emily looks like she’s about to burst out of hers.”

I glanced from Sarah’s yellow dress to Emily’s blue one. If it weren’t for the color, they were identical. Emily snapped her eyes to Sarah, then ran her hands suggestively over her curves. “Feels just fine to me,” she drawled, pulling her shoulders back and thrusting out her chest. Jacob’s eyes were glued to her cleavage.

“What do you think, babes?” Emily purred, running her hand up his chest. He swallowed, sweat beading his brow.

“You look great in that dress, but I’m betting you’d look even better out of it,” was his suave response.

I looked at Gran in surprise. I’d been expecting a bunch of pimply teenagers who were barely out of childhood, but these fully developed youths before me were young adults and the pheromone level in the town hall was so thick I could choke on it.

Sarah gave them a stone cold eye roll and turned her back, flouncing toward her respective partner, Ryan, who was smiling widely at the exchange.

“Aren’t I man enough for you, Sarah?” he teased, winking at her.

She patted his arm, swanning past him. “In your dreams, sugar.”

“Always.” Spinning on his heel, he followed. Sarah preened her hair, pleased with the attention, a ribbon the exact color of her dress adding dramatic effect amongst her chestnut locks.

“Are we taking a break, Mrs. B?” The third girl in the group, Hannah Burton, approached, her own dress a vibrant shade of lavender.

Her dance partner, Ethan, crossed to Jacob and slapped him on the shoulder with a laugh. “Lucky dog.”

“Ten minute break!” Gran called.

Hannah practically sagged in relief, and I watched as she walked away, head down, shoulders slumped. Ethan ignored her, joining his buddies.

“Hannah!” Emily called, “Weren’t you going to fix my hair? These pins just aren’t holding.” Emily was fussing with her hair, which looked pretty darn amazing to me.

Hannah stopped, her back snapping ramrod straight before she turned, face tight. “You’re right. Sorry. I mess everything up.” She hurried over to Emily and fussed with her hair, that, in my opinion, didn't need fixing at all.

My phone vibrated in my back pocket, dragging my attention from the teenage dynamics playing out before me. Pulling it out, I saw a message from Jenna on the screen.

“Coffee?” she wrote.

“Yes! Bean me up in 5,” I replied. “See you later, guys. Keep up the good work. You all look fantastic.” With a wave, I headed out of the town hall and out onto the main street of Whitefall Cove. Summer was upon us and with it came the tourists. Not that I minded, it meant more business for my bookstore, The Dusty Attic, and a lot more activities that kept Gran out of trouble.

Who was I kidding? She got into more mischief than ever. Take yesterday’s sandcastle competition. Her anatomically incorrect rendition of Michelangelo’s David had been quickly destroyed by the judges and her entry disqualified. And there had been complaints that her G-string was not appropriate beachwear for a family friendly event.

Shaking my head, I wove my way along the sidewalk, my sundress swishing around my legs, the bright red of my toenails peeping through my sandals. For the first time in a long time I felt happy. Content. I had everything I needed. A bookstore that made me happy and indulged my obsession with books; I had a gorgeous home on the bluff overlooking the lighthouse; I had my cat, Archie, and my best friends Jenna and Monica, not to mention Gran. Who cared that I’d gone from having two potential romantic suitors, to zero? I didn’t need a man to make me happy. I ignored the niggling little voice in the back of my head that taunted, “Liar.”

Reaching Bean Me Up, I spotted Jenna at a table by the window and joined her.

“You look…” Jenna’s eyes scoured me from top to toe. “You’re glowing!”

“Is that an accusation?” I grinned, sliding into the chair opposite her.

“Absolutely not. You look fantastic, Harper.”

“Thank you. So do you. Is that dress new?” Jenna was in a blue and white polka dot dress that cinched around her waist with a wide black belt.
She looked down at herself then back at me, shaking her blond head. “Nuh-uh, you don’t deflect that easily, young lady. Spill. What’s got you all glowing?” She tapped her fingers to her chin in thought, then snapped them in triumph. “It’s gotta be one Detective Jackson Ward.”

I shook my head. “Nope. This happy face before you is the result of fresh air and sunshine. I’m off men—who needs them?” I declared, half meaning it. My friendship with Jackson had always been a little out of the ordinary. When I first returned home to Whitefall Cove nursing a broken heart, I was taken by Jackson’s good looks and kind nature. But he was dating a co-worker, police officer Liliana Miles. So my crush on him went unrequited and life continued on.
It wasn’t until the tall, dark, and very handsome bad boy lawyer Blake Tennant arrived on the scene, turning my head with his attentions, I’d decided a relationship with Jackson would never be on the cards and maybe a dalliance with Blake was exactly what my bruised heart needed to heal the wound my cheating ex-fiancé had inflicted upon it.

My bad luck with my romantic choices continued its streak. Things with Blake turned out to be a bust. He’d traveled to Australia with me, Gran, and Jenna, when my parents were missing and just when I thought our budding romance would grow, it stalled. He pulled back and as soon as my parents were found safe and well, he’d bailed, leaving without saying goodbye. That was weeks ago, and aside from a bouquet and an apology note delivered upon my return to Whitefall Cove, I’d not heard from him.

“You’re thinking about him again.” Jenna touched my wrist, dragging me from my thoughts. “Blake.”

I sighed. “I guess I’ll never understand men,” I said.

“They are puzzling creatures,” she agreed, playing with the sugar shaker on the table.

“Anything more from Mick? You said last time you spoke with him he wanted to pursue a long-distance relationship?” Mick was Senior Sergeant Mick Gould of Arrowstrand Police Station and he and Jenna had developed a romance during our time in Australia.

“We’re trying, but Australia is like another world away. It’s not like I can hop on a plane and be there in a couple of hours. It’s a twelve hour—if not longer—plane ride, then another six hours by car. And it’s expensive.” The light in her eyes dimmed, and I clasped her hand on the tabletop. I didn’t have any words that would make things easier for her. All I could do was to be here for her and support her in whatever way I could.

“Your articles have been a hit,” I said, trying to find a positive to focus on. Jenna had been releasing a new story every week on our adventures in Australia, and her first piece on the murders in Arrowstrand had earned her an award.

She brightened. “My editor is over the moon. Sales are on the up, and with the summer tourist season upon us, the Whitefall Cove Tribune is selling out every week.”

“That is fantastic!”

“Here we go, ladies.” I sat back to make room as the waitress set two iced teas in front of us.

“Thanks, Janet,” Jenna said.

“I just saw Ryan at rehearsal,” I said to her. “They all look amazing.”

Janet beamed with pride. “He’s been so excited for this. When we went for the tux fitting, I can’t lie, I had a tear in my eye.”

“His partner is Sarah, isn’t it?” I asked, remembering the girl who’d wanted to switch dresses.

Janet nodded. “Your Gran has been such a godsend for those kids. I was worried about what they’d get up to during the school break, but she’s kept them busy with so many rehearsals and other activities to boost their coordination and fitness they’ve been too exhausted to get into any trouble.”

I blinked. Poor Janet. She had no idea. “Good, I’m glad.”

Janet gave us a quick smile before hurrying back to the counter.

“Janet’s right,” Jenna said. “I remember last summer Ryan and his posse got caught egging people’s houses. So glad that hasn’t happened this year.”

I nodded. “Bored teenagers. Do you remember what we used to get up to?”

She snorted. “Smoking, drinking, and sunbathing mostly.”

“Sneaking out at night to hang out with Monica.” I laughed. “I spent most of my seventeenth summer in a state of exhaustion from lack of sleep.”

“The Whitefall Cove talent show will be worth seeing this year,” Jenna said, fiddling with her phone.

“Sure is. First time Gran’s put up a dance team. And I was serious, they looked amazing. The dance moves are out of this world. As long as Gran keeps the special effects under control.” I told her about the lava marshmallow effect I’d walked in on.

“The kids that Gran has taken on, are they all witches?” Jenna asked.

“Sort of. Like me, they’re not full bloods and their parents are mostly non-practicing.”

Jenna nodded. “They’re the underdogs.”

“Yeah, I guess. They have some magical ability and Gran has been helping them to develop that in a more fun setting, outside a classroom.”

“What does Drixworths think of that?” Drixworths Academy of Witchcraft and Wizardry was where you went to learn the craft and get your witches license. Whitefall Cove had a high population of witches, but we also had our fair share of fae, shifters, and vampires too.

“They’re happy for Gran to provide some extra-curricular activities for the students on the proviso they get final approval on the routine. Gran was running them through a dress rehearsal today and I think they’re presenting to Izzy tomorrow.” Izzy, full name Esmerelda Higginbottom, was headmistress of Drixworths and a friend. She helped me get my witches license back after it was suspended and harness my own magic, which was powerful and out of control.

Finishing my iced tea, I looked at Jenna. “Ready?” We’d promised Wendy, my assistant in the bookstore, that we’d drop by for a visit. She’d recently given birth to a bouncing bundle of joy, Zachariah Sims, and was already going stir crazy being at home with a baby twenty-four seven.

Jenna stood, wriggling her phone in the air. “Let’s do this, I foresee a million baby photos in your future.”

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