Charm McCall can solve a small-town murder, but can she figure out how to stop a man-stealing interloper?
A movie production company has come to town…and so has an old family friend of the town’s sexy new Mountie, Ace Collins. His “old pal” turns out to be a scheming long-legged blonde who throws Charm right off her game. Even Auntie T.J. playing the bagpipes down Main Street to drive the trespasser away doesn’t work.
Between catering for the world’s hungriest film crew, trying to solve the murder of the unit accountant who hired her and dealing with her new magical gifts, Charm’s a tad busy. But too bad, because she’s soon facing off against a bigger threat when more people become ill with suspected poisoning—and her own sister’s in the crosshairs. Charm’s left wondering if even Agatha Christie could have seen this one coming.
But with so much working against them—including the whole town being dead set against them consummating their relationship—do Charm and Ace stand a chance?
Read an Excerpt:
He stuck out his hand for a shake and I was blessed with the dampest paw on the planet, accompanied by a zinger of an image. Howard cared about every penny because he was embezzling company funds, meaning there would be less to steal if I made a decent profit. Sometimes I wished Granny Toogood hadn’t banned swearing—I had a few apt descriptors for this weaselly dealer. I also hoped she was feeling better. The doctor had advised a few days of rest and that had me worried.
Instead, I narrowed my eyes at him and he slid his hand from mine. Yuck. I dried my palm by rubbing it discreetly down the side of my jeans, half hidden by my Tea & Tarot apron.
“Can you start tomorrow?” he asked, his desperation leaking through, making his face shiny with sweat. Probably because the only other quote he most likely got today far exceeded ours. Guaranteed. The Husky Service on the highway did some catering, but they didn’t come cheap. And their bakery goods came out of pre-frozen tubs and boxes. We prided ourselves on everything fresh baked, from scratch—my fingernails were reduced to rubble from constant work. Proof positive.
“Tomorrow! So soon?” All the nerves in my body slammed into high gear. There was so much to do to prepare for such a large undertaking. Could it even be done that quickly?
“We’d really appreciate it. Might even find you a bit part in the movie.” It wasn’t the incentive he expected—I just shook my head, giving his start date some thought. Sometimes it was best to jump into things, otherwise I’d never do it. I just prayed I could pull it off and do my family and our town proud.
“Okay, but minus the movie walk-on.”
The relief on his face made me smile, despite his weaselly-ness.
The café door opened abruptly and in strode a young man dressed in expensive dark-wash jeans and a tight black T-shirt clothing a wiry, thin body, his face a study in annoyance. “Howard, I need to speak with you right now. Don’t think you can just get up and walk out on me, mister.” His hand on his hip pressed his case.
Howard’s face darkened to a dull red. “Chace, this is not the time or the place. Go. I’ll catch up with you later.”
The man looked as though he was going to object before he about-faced and left. His one-finger salute, reflected in the front window before he pranced away, was not in the best taste. Hmm. Good thing Granny wasn’t around to cut him down to size. In the nicest, politest way of course—she could make the worst villain tippy-toe around her. Probably ask him if he needs the finger for anything other than being rude.
“Please excuse my friend. He’s not himself today.”
“Oh, who is he then?”
Howard gave me a blank stare.
Baby Ling Ling sauntered in, grabbing my attention as she always announced her arrival with a loud greeting, or warning, depending on how her day was going. Our spectacular white Himalayan with her adorable squished-in face and apricot-colored ears, fluffy tail raised high, proceeded to choose her steps with the utmost care across the tiled floor of the café. I’d guess it was in case we’d had the bad manners to add a trap door since yesterday’s saunter. She deigned to notice the new visitor, striding over and giving him a quick sniff. She jumped a couple of feet in the air with a loud howl, her fluffy white fur standing straight on end as though she’d placed her paw on an electrical charge.
“Hiss.” She made herself as big as a tiny eight-pound cat could make herself, arched her back and continued the hissing.
“Nice cat,” Howard deadpanned.
“Careful what you say to her. Ling Ling’s officially multi-lingual since our librarian, Miriam, added Portuguese to her weekly slate of free language lessons.” I just couldn’t resist, not liking his look of disdain. Or his cheapness that was certain to affect our bottom line.
His look of confusion was quite satisfying. He gave Ling Ling a wide berth and headed for the door.
“Okay, then, we’ll expect you tomorrow? You’ll get paid once a week, just come by my office and I’ll cut you a check. Oh, and the camp’s out by Spirit Springs.” He paused, his hand on the doorknob, obviously needing confirmation.
“Yes, I know where the camp is, and the food will be there. You can count on the McCall family. We never go back on our word.” I gave him a level look that he declined to return. A nervous twitch of his nose and he hopped out of the café.
“That guy has a blackish aura with streaks of gray,” Tulip said, pursing her lips.
“Yeah, no surprise—he’s working under a brain cloud.” I didn’t want to say the words embezzling cocaine addict out loud and sink the project before it started. “And since when did you start seeing auras?” And what was I going to do with the unwanted knowledge that the guy was stealing company funds? A moral dilemma. I shouldn’t think that was business as normal, even for the movie industry.
About the Author:
If you are looking for January Bain, you can find her hard at work every morning without fail in her office with her furry baby, Ling Ling. And, of course, she’s married to the most romantic man! Who once famously remarked to her inquiry about buying fresh flowers for their home every week, “Give me one good reason why not?” Leaving her speechless and knocking her head against the proverbial wall for being so darn foolish. She loves flowers.
If you wish to connect in the virtual world she is easily found on Facebook. Oh, and she loves to talk books…
Totally Bound: https://www.totallybound.com/book/movies-moonlight-and-magic
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