Wendy Meadows Paranormal Cozy Mystery Midnight Lighter (EBOOK)

Midnight Lighter (EBOOK)

Midnight Lighter (EBOOK)

Witch of Wickrock Bay Book 5
Regular price $2.99 Sale price $1.99 Save 33%
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Another day, another murder in the quiet town of Wickrock Bay.

When wealthy estate owner Jade Forester is found murdered, the small town of Wickrock bay is soon abuzz with rumors. The kind but insensitive woman had upset a few people in her time – but shopkeeper and amateur witch Mimi Knotley doesn’t believe it would drive anyone to murder.

Swept up in a puzzling case, Mimi and her now-boyfriend Police Chief Robert are tasked with weeding out the suspects and piecing together who had the motive to commit murder. Things are only made stranger when Jade’s will includes odd instructions – and leaves an unusual ceramic container to the wizard Reneus Ulzor.

And when the possessions Jade left to Mimi draw the attention of a few key suspects, Mimi might just find out that this case isn’t quite what she bargained for…


Another day, another murder in the quiet town of Wickrock Bay.

When wealthy estate owner Jade Forester is found murdered, the small town of Wickrock bay is soon abuzz with rumors. The kind but insensitive woman had upset a few people in her time – but shopkeeper and amateur witch Mimi Knotley doesn’t believe it would drive anyone to murder.

Swept up in a puzzling case, Mimi and her now-boyfriend Police Chief Robert are tasked with weeding out the suspects and piecing together who had the motive to commit murder. Things are only made stranger when Jade’s will includes odd instructions – and leaves an unusual ceramic container to the wizard Reneus Ulzor.

And when the possessions Jade left to Mimi draw the attention of a few key suspects, Mimi might just find out that this case isn’t quite what she bargained for…

Chapter One

Mimi Knotley, the owner of Surprises: Rare and Wonderful Antiques, settled at the little table outside her shop, a multi-use coffee cup in her hand. 

“What a glorious morning,” she said half to herself, half to her pug Baxter, who sat under the table, his apricot-colored head on his paws, staring into the distance. 

The sun was climbing up on the horizon and the sky was clear, with only a couple of lazily drifting white fluffy clouds. The air was still fresh, but it wouldn’t stay like this for too long. This year, summer came early to Wickrock Bay—June had been quite hot so far. 

Mimi sipped on her coffee—light yet aromatic and still definitely life-instilling at 8 a.m. With an hour until her shop opened, Mimi sat back and watched the world go by.

Cormorant Walk, one of the main streets of Wickrock Bay, was a busy street, even at this time of day. Or maybe particularly at this time of day, with people rushing to work and stopping for a coffee at The Wickrock Bay Café next door. Or walking their dogs to or from the park opposite. Or young people on their bikes enjoying summer vacation. 

Ah, the lovely, quiet, relaxing activity when the weather was just right: not too cold and not too hot. Perfect…

If it wasn’t for the unsettling problems with her vision.

Actually, there was nothing wrong with her eyes per se. It was more…eh… Mimi sighed and sat up. The elderly lady who had just walked past her followed by a sleepy-looking dachshund looked as if she was wrapped in a thin layer of dusky pink light. 

Mimi blinked, even though she knew it wouldn’t help. Lately, she had been seeing light and colors around people. Sometimes lighter, sometimes darker, with sparkles or duller of various colors. She suspected there was a connection between the brightness and color of the light and the person’s personality, but she hadn’t yet figured it out. She had no doubt she would figure it out one day, because, however much Mimi tried not to think about it, this was yet another unusual skill she had developed. 

Mimi watched the elderly lady with her dusky pink aura and her dog disappear between the trees on the path leading to the park. She didn’t want to think about her special abilities. In the past, it had caused her problems, mainly in the form of some strange characters turning up at her doorstep and trying to recruit her to join their mysterious organizations.

She might be developing paranormal, magical, or whatever other superpowers, but she wasn’t ready to join any group of people, thank you very much. She’d rather practice her skills in the privacy of her shop or her home, with her dog and her best friend at the most.

Actually, Sara Domico, Mimi’s best friend, didn’t know yet about the auras. She had seen Mimi move various objects using just the power of her mind, but, so far, Mimi had kept her ability to see light around people to herself. 

But maybe she should call Sara and tell her about it? 

But maybe not yet… 

Mimi took another sip from her cup. The coffee was getting cold, and the bitter taste filled her mouth. She winced. The man who was just passing by her shop—a young student known for getting in trouble with the police—glanced at her over his shoulder. Wisps of dark gray mist emanated from his head. Baxter lifted his head and uttered a low, guttural sound. The man shrugged and walked on. 

Mimi tensed as she figured out it wasn’t the coffee she’d winced at. It was the man’s aura—she’d spotted that even before she realized he was passing by. This whole thing of seeing people’s auras freaked her out. When it first started, it was fun to see different colors, intensity, or shapes of light. But now, it was at a different level. Talk of reading people like open books!

She definitely should talk to her friend about it.

Mimi drained the remnants of her drink from the cup and climbed to her feet. The relaxing morning was over, and anxiety settled in the pit of her stomach.

“Baxter, I’ll be in the shop if you need me,” she said quietly to her dog. Baxter’s tail twitched as if in acknowledgment of the message.

Once indoors, Mimi headed for her phone and dialed Sara’s number. 

“I need to tell you something, but please don’t laugh,” she said when her friend answered. 

“Hello to you, too,” Sara replied jokingly. “But sure, I promise not to laugh. Fire away, what’s the problem?”

Mimi told her about the auras and how she was overwhelmed by her own superpowers.

“Mimi, dear,” Sara said calmly, a note of concern clear in her voice, “have you talked to your doctor about it?”

A lump grew in Mimi’s throat.

“Do you think there is something wrong with me?”

“Not that I can tell. You appear to be a completely healthy woman, but then…I’m not a doctor, or…” She paused. Mimi could hear her friend gulp. “Or a witch.”

Mimi inhaled slowly. Sara had said the word that had been popping up in Mimi’s mind from time to time. 

But was she a witch?

Mimi shook her head trying to get rid of the image that was now pushing in front of her eyes. Actually, two images—of two strangers who had visited her recently. 

No, no, no! She didn’t want to be a…

Her hand flung to her mouth before the word was uttered. Mimi cleared her throat.

“Okay, I’ll think about seeing a doctor, but changing the topic, do you have time this morning?”

“Well, I’m opening at eleven as usual. You know that people don’t come to shop for jewelry at nine a.m.”

“Cool. Well, since you have a free morning, maybe you could pop in?”

“Do you have some more stock-taking or item indexing to do?” Sara asked matter-of-factly.

Thank goodness her friend was such a straight-up person. No games required; if you want to ask Sara for a favor, just do it!

“To be honest, I was thinking more about your calming presence. I’m a little…unsettled with what I’ve just told you about. But sure, we can tackle the batch of boxes from my second trip to Italy, if you’re up for it.”

Fortunately for Mimi, Sara was up for it. She turned up about a half hour later, short of breath.

“You won’t believe what I’ve just heard,” Sara uttered, walking into Surprises. She took her straw hat off and started to fan herself with it. Her cheeks were flushed, her eyes shining.

“A glass of cold water?” Mimi asked, ushering Sara into the store. Sensing a conversation that would be better had in peace and quiet, she flipped the “Open” sign to “Sorry, back in a moment.”

Baxter opened his eyes and wagged his tail to greet the visitor. Sara gave him an absentminded scratch behind the ears. 

“Yes, please, and you’d better get yourself something to drink, too,” Sara said as she settled onto the nearest chair. Mimi brought two glasses of water with plenty of ice from her little fridge.

“Spill it,” Mimi said, collapsing onto her favorite armchair. 

Sara waited until Mimi was settled with her attention on her before speaking. “Jade Forester was found dead this morning.” 

Mimi’s mouth gaped. “Jade, the one who often comes here to buy pretty little things?” Mimi shook her head. “But she was quite young and fit, wasn’t she? Early fifties, I believe.”

“Yes, that’s the one. She also liked pretty jewelry, so she was a frequent visitor in my shop, too. But here’s the thing. She didn’t die of natural causes.”

“What causes did she die of then?” Mimi asked before the obvious answer to this question hit her. Her hand flung to her mouth. “Oh, no…don’t tell me she was m—”

“Mm-hm.” Sara nodded and took a sip from her glass. “Poisoned, to be precise.”

Mimi took a deep breath, but it didn’t help. Her heart was already going a million miles per hour. “What happened? When? How? Who did it?” she rattled. 

“I have no idea. You’re the one who’s been solving this town’s murder mysteries, you tell me. Not to mention that you’re close with the local police,” Sara said, then added with a little smirk, “Especially one particular member of the local police.” 

Mimi ignored the smirk and reached for her phone. Her first thought was to call Rob Thompson, her boyfriend and the chief of police. “At least tell me how you learned about it?”

“Well, her husband dropped her off to her hair appointment this morning just before eight a.m. He was supposed to pick her up at eight thirty but when he got there, they told him she had gone home because she wasn’t feeling well. So he went home and found her dead on the sofa.”

Mimi paused with her finger hovering over Rob’s number. 

“This just happened this morning?”

“Yes.”

“How do you know?”

“Their house is near my shop. I swung by my shop on my way here and saw the ambulance and the police car, so I stopped to see what was going on.”

Mimi nodded. Wickrock Bay was a small town where news spread quickly; she was sure the news had made the rounds already. 

She bit her lip. Of course, getting the inside scoop from her boyfriend sounded like a good idea, but, to be fair, Rob would be busy right now. Mimi tossed the phone back into her handbag. 

“I’ll give him a call later,” she said. “What do you think happened? How do you know she was poisoned?”

“Augustus, her husband, said her face was all blue and purple, and she had likely vomited,” Sara supplied. 

Mimi winced. She didn’t like gruesome details. 

“But how come? When? What with?”

Sara jerked her chin, pointing at Mimi’s handbag. “I think Chief Thompson should be able to answer those questions for you.”

Mimi exhaled loudly. “I’ve told you so many times to just call him Rob. He’s asked you himself, and why—”

“I suppose I just can’t.” Sara shrugged. “Particularly when I’m talking to him or about him in his professional capacity. Otherwise, as your boyfriend, he’s Rob.”

“Glad to hear that last comment,” Mimi replied.

The doorbell rang. Mimi glanced over at the door and through the window saw a young man in a dark purple branded t-shirt of a popular courier company. A special delivery?

“Are you expecting anything?” Sara asked. 

“No,” Mimi replied, perplexed. The mailman usually came in the afternoon, and she hadn’t ordered anything recently. This was obviously something completely unexpected and sent as a special delivery via a courier. 

The young man, now realizing he had been noticed, knocked at the door and waved at Mimi. His mouth moved.

“You’d better go see,” Sara said. 

Mimi’s stomach clenched. She had a bad feeling about this. She glanced at Baxter, who opened one eye and closed it again.

Sadly, her pug was not a typical dog, so she wasn’t sure if she could take this lack of response as a sign it was safe to open the door.

“You need to open the door, Mimi,” Sara said. “Or would you like me to do it?”

“No, no, I’ll do it,” Mimi replied and jumped to her feet. In two hops, she was by the door, opening it, and taking a small package from the courier. 

“Please sign here,” the young man said, pushing a tablet into her hand. Mimi scribbled her name on the electronic device, thanked the man, and closed the door.

“What is it?” Sara asked, standing up and crossing the floor toward Mimi. 

“No idea.”

“You should open it.”

“What if it’s something dangerous?”

“Why would anyone send you something dangerous? Who is this from anyway?”

Mimi shrugged.

“You didn’t check?” A note of reproach crept into Sara’s voice. “Honestly. Flip the package. The name and the address of the sender should be there.”

Mimi flipped the box. Indeed, there was something scribbled on the back. 

“Jade Forester,” Mimi read out, her voice hoarse. 

Sara stopped and looked at Mimi, her eyes almost popping out of their sockets. 

“What did you just say?” she croaked.

Mimi blinked a few times and looked at the sender’s name again. Yup, it still read the same.

“It seems I’ve got a parcel from the other side,” Mimi said, ripping the brown packaging paper. The box was small, fitted into her hand. What could it be?

“Hurry, what’s inside?” Sara asked.

“Just a second,” Mimi replied, pulling the last layer of paper off. She opened the small cardboard box and stared at the contents. 

“Wow! That’s pretty,” Sara boomed over her shoulder. “What is it?”

Mimi steadied her breath. Of course, she recognized the object: a small brass device, adorned with decorated enamel. “It’s a lighter. A vintage lighter I brought from one of my earlier trips.”

“Very pretty. I guess it’s valuable?”

“It was quite expensive for a lighter,” Mimi said. “But why is she sending it to me? Is she returning the purchase? She bought it a long time ago.”

“Hey, look.” Sara picked up something from the floor. “There’s a little note, must have fallen out when you were opening it.” She unfolded the little piece of paper. “Here, it’s for you, of course,” she said and passed the note to Mimi.

Mimi stared at the handwritten lines; as neat and clear as the person who signed it. “‘Mimi, please keep this safe for me. Malcolm has tried to steal it several times. Jade,’” Mimi read out, her voice wooden. She lifted her head. “What in the world does it mean?” she asked Sara.

Sara’s big gray eyes appeared even bigger. 

“If you don’t know what it means, how do you expect me to know?”

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