Foggy Rocks Murder (EBOOK)

Wendy Meadows Cozy Mystery Foggy Rocks Murder (EBOOK)

Foggy Rocks Murder (EBOOK)

Travel Writer Mystery Book 6
Regular price $5.99 Sale price $4.99 Save 17%
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Embrace your adventurous side and join your favorite amateur sleuth Patricia McKay as she brings her talents to another charming mystery! As a delightful cozy mystery novel that’s perfect for anyone who wants to enjoy a good cup of coffee and a fun book, the sixth installment of the Travel Writer Mystery series is one you won’t want to miss.

They warned her to stay away from Foggy Rocks. Now a curse is the least of her worries...

Old sailor’s tales never scared Patricia McKay. But when the fun-loving writer is contracted to investigate the mysterious Shipwreck Bed & and Breakfast in a remote and stormy Oregon coastal town, she’s quickly plunged into a sinister tale involving a strange pirate, missing gold... and murder.

After a cantankerous local woman turns up dead, the thick fog rolls in to shroud Patricia in a dizzying mystery with shifting clues and confusing suspects. Embroiled in a puzzling case that threatens to drag her to the bottom of the dark sea, Patricia must unravel an evil game of insanity and revenge – all before she’s consumed by a horrible nightmare that’s worse than any folk legend could ever be.

Will Patricia heed the warnings and survive the curse of Foggy Rocks? Or will she be dashed against the sharp cliffs like an old shipwreck?

Chapter One

“I’m close to the Oregon border,” Patricia said into a cell phone perched on her lap. “There’s a little town up ahead. I need to stop and get some gas. I’m sure you won’t pay the tab, right, boss?”

“Just bring me the gas receipt,” a gruff voice answered. Edna, Patricia’s boss, was not in the mood to be toyed with. “You were due at the Shipwreck Bed and Breakfast yesterday. I’m still waiting to hear your excuse for why you’re late.”

Patricia focused on a long, deserted two-lane road that hugged a beautiful coastline. Beyond the coast stood the Pacific Ocean—blue, open, and full of secretive and dangerous beauty. 

“My RV had a flat tire. I told you that yesterday, remember?” she told Edna, feeling like a happy bird soaring through the air in her RV.

Being tasked with two assignments on one trip was actually, well… fun. Patricia’s stay in Los Angeles, although not her favorite place on the planet, had been enjoyable. Writing about a silly aquarium that housed “fun” ocean creatures had turned out to be… fun. After the assignment ended, she took a full day to explore the canyons overlooking Los Angeles—her favorite part of the trip. Then it was off to Oregon. 

However, halfway up the coast, Patricia’s RV had suffered a flat tire, causing a minor delay. The delay had turned into a real treat because during the wait, Patricia had found a cozy thrift store filled with vintage seaside clothing fit for a real beauty queen. Although she didn’t consider herself a beauty queen, the clothes she’d purchased sure made her look like one. 

“What’s with you, Edna? You’re as ornery as a wet bee.”

“I’m not ornery,” Edna groused, pacing around a messy office. “I expect my writers to be at their assigned location on time!”

Patricia winced. Edna was as fussy as a grumpy grizzly bear. “I can’t help it if my RV had a flat and the local garage was closed, Edna,” she stated, daring to hold her ground. Suddenly, wearing a soft white blouse embroidered with pink silk seashells made her feel a little overdressed. Arguing with Edna required old farm clothes that could be torn in a fight. “I called the bed and breakfast and talked to Samantha Garfield and—”

“Yeah, yeah,” Edna snapped. “Just get to the bed and breakfast on time and write quality work. Your last article was lacking.”

“Lacking?” Patricia asked, puzzled and feeling her cheeks grow warm. She snatched down the bun her hair was styled in and shook her head. It was time to go toe to toe with Edna. “Look, Edna, if you aren’t happy with my work, then fire me, okay?”

Edna plopped down behind her desk and grabbed her coffee cup. “Okay, you’re fired!”

“Fine!” Patricia ended the call, shoved the cell phone into her shirt pocket, and focused on the road. “What is wrong with her?” she asked as her eyes glanced at the gas gauge. “I need gas….”

The 1978 Winnebago she was driving crept along the road, admiring the coastline with a gentle hum, while Patricia searched for a gas station. She loved her RV, even though Brian had “spruced up” the interior and exterior with “modern” gadgets. No matter—the days of fighting with Brian were over. Patricia was happy that the old Winnebago was even running and road ready. The fact that the old heap of junk had actually made it to California from Georgia, with only one flat tire tossing a fly into the ointment, had been a miracle.

“We’ll find a gas station,” Patricia said to her vehicle, patting the steering wheel. “The next town is only ten miles away and—” she felt her cell phone buzz. She sighed and answered the call. “Yes, Edna?”

“You’re rehired,” Edna grumbled, chugging down some coffee. “But I want quality work, or I’ll dock your pay!”

“You always get quality work,” Patricia sighed. “Edna… are you having marital problems again? You never act this… temperamental… unless you and—”

“Don’t mention the name of the bum… the no-good pig… the low-down rat… I’m currently considering killing,” Edna threatened. 

“Wow, you two must have had a real doozy of a fight.” Patricia whistled. 

“You’re fired!”

“And you’re full of hot air,” Patricia dared. “Now stop being so difficult and tell me what happened?”

Edna felt the air leave her sails. “The rat I’m married to dared to tell me that I wasn’t a young spring chicken anymore. Can you believe that?”

“Well… Edna, you’re not a young spring chicken anymore. That’s why Dr. Taylor put you on a high blood pressure pill and—” Patricia stopped talking for a few seconds. “Oh, this is about your visit to Dr. Taylor, isn’t it?”

“No, Sherlock, it’s about my visit to the moon,” Edna snapped, but her tone sounded weary and worn down. “Patricia, Dr. Taylor told me that unless I get my blood pressure under control, bad problems could arrive. I’m too… young to have bad problems. I’m a spunky, healthy, beautiful woman who doesn’t have time to suffer from high blood pressure.”

“Your blood pressure is now under control, Edna. All you have to do is keep taking your blood pressure pill.”

“I don’t want to take a stupid pill!” Edna barked.

Patricia sighed. “But you have to, or else you might end up in the emergency room again.” She checked the gas gauge again. “Edna, your husband is… eccentric, yes, but he loves you and worries about you. And I love you, and I worry. Your blood pressure was at stroke level, remember? You have to keep taking your pill.”

“My husband basically told me I’m too old to be of any use anymore.”

“That’s not true and you know it.” Patricia glanced at the ocean and sighed. The morning was far too beautiful to be arguing with her boss. “Look, Edna, I’m driving up a beautiful coastline. The scenery is breathtaking. Why don’t you hop on a flight out here to Oregon, and after I complete my assignment, we can spend a few days on the beach together? From the research I’ve done on Foggy Rocks, it seems that the town has some beautiful beaches.”

“Haunted and dangerous beaches, remember?” Edna told Patricia. “Your mission is to write about a mysterious bed and breakfast attached to an old, strange mystery involving a pirate and a shipwreck. That’s why I chose you, kiddo. This assignment is right up your alley. The aquarium, well, I needed a writer to fill in for Amanda, and you were the only writer available. And I have to admit, the article you submitted wasn’t really ‘Patricia McKay.’ My readers like reading articles that involve you—”

“Solving murders and escaping dangerous islands and haunted manors and deserted ghost towns. Yeah, I know.” Patricia sighed. “Edna, I enjoyed writing about the aquarium. I had fun. No murder, no maniacs—just a fun, simple assignment. I could use more of those types of assignments.”

“And you may get them,” Edna said. “The Shipwreck Bed and Breakfast isn’t known for danger and mystery. It’s a themed bed and breakfast that attracts people due to the pirate story, along with the shipwreck and the—”

“The legend of the missing gold?” Patricia asked with a laugh. “Yeah, every time there’s a legend of missing gold, people from all over the world become interested.”

“Well, it is believed the pirate ship that the unknown pirate was on was filled with gold—gold that was never found, by the way. And if I’m right, the shoreline that Foggy Rocks is attached to is filled with caves. Why, that gold could be anywhere.”

Patricia grinned. “Edna, I called the visitor center in Foggy Rocks and spoke to a Mrs. Leona S. Burks. Mrs. Burks assured me that every cave in Foggy Rocks has been explored by every gold hunter in the world. If there is missing gold—and if it’s somewhere in one of those caves—then I’m sure someone would have found it by now. So don’t ask me to go cave-diving, okay?”

“No cave-diving, kiddo. I only want an article that will bring more people to the bed and breakfast. I’m being paid big bucks for you to write the article.” Edna took another sip of coffee. “Stupid decaffeinated coffee,” she grumbled to herself. “Business at the bed and breakfast is drying up. That’s why I need you to toss some perfume onto a dying skunk.”

“Nice wording, Edna.”

“You know what I mean,” Edna griped. “I—” 

She heard someone knock on her office door, and a worried face belonging to a pretty young woman appeared. “I know, the meeting. I’ll be there,” Edna told her and then went back to Patricia. “I have a meeting. Call me when you reach Foggy Rocks.”

Patricia heard Edna end the call. She sighed and put her cell phone away. “What a fuss,” she whispered but refused to let Edna ruin her morning. The scenery was too beautiful, and the sky was too blue. “Ah, early September. Perfect time of year to take a vacation. Not too hot, not too cold, and anything is better than being stuck in Atlanta.” 

With those words, Patricia focused on the road and didn’t speak again until she drove into a cozy seaside town consisting of one road holding an old-fashioned gas station, a 1950s diner, and a few tiny shops. She spotted the gas station and carefully eased her RV off the road, parking in front of what appeared to be an antique gas pump. 

“What can I do for you?” an old man wearing a worn-down sailor’s hat asked as he walked up to the driver-side door. He was sporting a baggy blue and white shirt and a pair of navy blue pants. He appeared to be in his early seventies. Time had not been kind to him. 

“Will you please fill up the gas tank?” Patricia asked, going for her purse.

“Sure,” the old man said amiably with a nod. He went to work. 

Patricia hopped out of the RV, embracing a cool ocean wind that smelled of salt and seaweed. She quickly stretched her back and looked around. The mighty Pacific stood behind the gas station.. Just up the street stood the diner and the row of tourist shops. “Nice morning, isn’t it?” she asked the man, preparing to open her purse and pull out her credit card.

“Pay when I’m finished,” the old man said, then asked, “Where you heading to?”

“Foggy Rocks.”

The old man shook his head as he pumped gas into Patricia’s old Winnebago. “Going to look for gold, young lady?” He shook his head again. “You look far too pretty and far too smart to be looking for fool’s gold.”

Patricia felt a vague sense of unease in the air. It seemed that the farther she moved up the coast toward Oregon, the more the Pacific began to change into a creature that was hungry for danger. 

Of course, Patricia knew that her mind was only adjusting to her new assignment, searching her imagination for an article that would help a dying bed and breakfast. But still, she had to admit that the farther north she drove toward Foggy Rocks, the more the air seemed to change, as well as the Pacific. 

“No fool’s gold. I’m a travel writer from Georgia. I’m driving to Foggy Rocks to write an article on the Shipwreck Bed and Breakfast.”

The old man glanced at Patricia’s beautiful face. “Is that so?” 

She nodded, catching a scent of raw gas. 

“Let me tell you something, young lady. Foggy Rocks is a cursed town. I should know because I grew up there… and I know the truth.”

Patricia felt her curiosity latch on to the old man. “And what is the truth?” she asked carefully. “Any information you can give me would be very much appreciated.”

The old man studied Patricia’s eyes and spotted an intelligent woman who was no stranger to murder and fear. “No man alive knows the name of the pirate who crashed his ship into the rocks that stand out from Hallow Cave Beach. Some say the pirate was insane. Some say he was love-struck and in a hurry to see a woman who was waiting for him on the beach. Some say he became lost in the fog. Some say he was murdered, and his dead body brought the ship to its final rest. No one knows.”

Patricia nodded. “That’s understandable. What do you think the truth is?”

The old man glanced toward the Pacific and narrowed his eyes. “She’s a mighty strange creature when you get this far north. She turns into a watery nightmare,” he said, lowering his voice. “Many a good man has been swallowed alive by her, never to be seen again, and many ships have vanished beneath her waters.” He glanced back at Patricia. “In the year 1812, a strange man supposedly stole a great amount of gold and then crashed his ship into some rocks on a dark and foggy night. That man was supposedly a deadly pirate that no man could catch or name, so the legend goes. The legend also states that the gold the pirate stole is still out there somewhere.”

Patricia felt a strange, eerie feeling enter her heart. “What is your opinion?” 

“I’ve seen many mysteries walk up onto the beach, young lady,” the old man warned. “Some mysteries, the mind of man can explain. Other mysteries, the heart of man runs from.” He locked eyes with Patricia. “The truth is that Foggy Rocks is a cursed place… and that is the truth. Stay away from Hallow Cave Beach. The beach is cursed, and the waters beyond the beach are… dark.”

A shiver ran down Patricia’s spine. In her mind’s eye, she saw the howling corpses of countless dead sailors reaching up for her through a dark, bottomless abyss. “Uh, I will,” she promised the old man, hurrying back into her RV without saying another word. “You bet I will.”

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