Wendy Meadows Paranormal Cozy Mystery Trail of Spells (EBOOK)

Trail of Spells (EBOOK)

Trail of Spells (EBOOK)

Witch of Wickrock Bay Book 3
Regular price $2.99 Sale price $1.99 Save 33%
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Bad scores can close doors in life. In this case. It closed a life.

 

In the middle of a whirlwind lesson, Mimi and Baxter are interrupted by Rob at the door with an evidence bag containing her bloodied antique Irish iron arrowhead – a suspected murder weapon involved in the killing of a snarky professor, Cyrus Frisk. Mimi is stupefied against Rob’s demand for an alibi – the antique had been under lock and key.

Someone has violated her privacy. Crossed into her territory and taken something precious from her – to frame her?

Things can’t get any worse when another knock on her door reveals a woman representing an East Coast group of supernaturals. She warns Mimi of a wizard named Reneus Ulzor and advises her to keep away from him at all costs.

As details of Cyrus’s death slowly come to light, from his tempestuous relationships with past pupils to the way he conducted himself with residents – Mimi finds herself torn between defending herself from being a person of interest as well as canvassing around town for clues to track down the real murderer.


Bad scores can close doors in life. In this case. It closed a life.

In the middle of a whirlwind lesson, Mimi and Baxter are interrupted by Rob at the door with an evidence bag containing her bloodied antique Irish iron arrowhead – a suspected murder weapon involved in the killing of a snarky professor, Cyrus Frisk. Mimi is stupefied against Rob’s demand for an alibi – the antique had been under lock and key.

Someone has violated her privacy. Crossed into her territory and taken something precious from her – to frame her?

Things can’t get any worse when another knock on her door reveals a woman representing an East Coast group of supernaturals. She warns Mimi of a wizard named Reneus Ulzor and advises her to keep away from him at all costs.

As details of Cyrus’s death slowly come to light, from his tempestuous relationships with past pupils to the way he conducted himself with residents – Mimi finds herself torn between defending herself from being a person of interest as well as canvassing around town for clues to track down the real murderer.

Chapter One

Mimi Knotley turned around to check if there was anyone nearby, but the park looked empty. Her dog, Baxter, had disappeared into the nearby shrubbery, no doubt to do his morning business. It was probably a little too early for most citizens of Wickrock Bay. The February sun was still just above the horizon. The sky was covered with clouds. Fortunately, though, with the last few days being dry with no wind, it was the perfect day for what Mimi had in mind.

Swirling dry leaves. That was her task for this morning. 

Taking a deep breath, she lifted her index finger and made a twirling gesture. 

Nothing happened.

Wait. You need to imagine the move in your head, Mimi...

She repeated the move, this time bringing up the appropriate imagery in her mind. A handful of leaves she had placed at her feet lifted off the ground. And then fell down. 

Mimi repeated her efforts. This time, she managed to get the leaves to swirl around once or twice before falling on the ground again. 

Having special powers was cool, even though they took some practice to develop. She had discovered her ability to move objects with her mind only two months ago, by accident. At first, she was petrified and freaked out, but after doing some research, she realized that there were other people with similar “strange powers.” She had even had a visitor claiming to be able to help her with it. But so far, she had kept her little witchy secret.

Well, with one exception—her best friend, Sara Domico. Sara was the only person who knew about and had seen Mimi’s magical power. And Mimi intended to keep it that way, hence her caution this morning.

Mimi waved her hand again, making a little more complex move this time. The leaves followed her wish, rising in a neat spiral.

Something rustled behind Mimi’s back. Her hand jerked. The leaves tumbled down. 

Mimi glanced around.

“Ah, it’s you, Baxter,” she said to her dog, releasing a breath. The apricot and black pug huffed and sat a couple of yards away from her. 

“Are you sure you’re done?” Mimi asked. Baxter was a fairly new addition to her circle of friends, and she was still learning how to read him. Sometimes he didn’t behave like a typical dog. 

Strange dog, he didn’t like to walk, bark, or chase birds... 

Baxter tilted his head and looked at her. 

“Okay, just checking. Wanna see me swirling leaves?” she asked. 

Baxter gave a little squeal. Mimi smiled. For whatever strange reason, Baxter seemed to enjoy her attempts at practicing her supernatural powers. 

Mimi twirled the leaves and sent them toward the nearest bush and back. 

That was almost a success. The leaves slipped off the path she’d intended for them on the way there, so only one returned. 

Mimi exhaled loudly. 

“I think that’s enough for this morning. Let’s go back. I need a coffee, what about you?” she asked her pug. 

Baxter just stared back at her. 

“I really wish you could talk. It would be so much easier than me trying to second-guess you and checking everything with you,” she mumbled, picking Baxter up. She cuddled him in her arms, giving him a scratch behind the ear. 

What else could she do with her superpower? Lifting things without touching them had proven very helpful—she had finally managed to clean that disgusting cupboard in the back room, and even sold it! That was a strange sale—Mimi shuddered at the thought of it. It was Mr. Redmond, the owner of a local restaurant and catering business, who bought it from her. He’d behaved oddly that day, checking the drawers and all the nooks and crannies. But now the room was empty and available to use for various occasions, such as the most recent Wine and Art evening.

Yeah...that room proved to be a lifesaver for the Wine and Art club. Even Lacy Strumbottom, the art teacher and a typical stiff-upper-lip Brit, didn’t feel comfortable having the evening in the same place, with the same decor as last time, when...

Mimi shook her head. That was nonsense. The murder hadn’t even happened in her shop, but nearby. Having said that, all the Wine and Art attendees that day had become involved, at least in the initial investigation.

Some of them even further down the line...

Anyhow...Mimi…What else can you do with your skill? 

Maybe she should do another search on the internet. A discreet search, so that the man named... 

What was his strange name? Nebuchadnezzar? No, Reneus Ulzor...?

Whatever his name, Mimi didn’t want him to come back. So for now, she was stuck practicing what she could do until she discovered another thing. And doing it quietly, without attracting any unwanted attention. 

* * *

Mimi marched out of the park with Baxter under her arm. The air was fresh and dry, which was rare for this time of year. The town around her was waking up to another day; cars, little corner shops, police cars going about their business...strangely early this morning...cafés serving coffee. Yeah, that was what she needed. Starting her day with a good, smooth brew on board was always a good idea.

Mimi climbed up the little hill along Cormorants Walk and headed for her shop, Rare and Wonderful Antiques, but took a left turn one door away. 

The light in the Wickrock Bay Café was on, the chimney puffing happily—signs that Scott Thomas, the new owner, was in and at work.

Mimi walked up the few steps and pushed the door open. 

“Hello, Mimi,” Scott greeted her from behind the counter. 

Mimi put Baxter on the floor. A wince crossed Scott’s long, bearded face, as it always did when he saw Baxter inside. But unlike other times, he actually said something about it.

“Mimi, do you mind leaving—”

“Yes, I do, actually,” Mimi cut in. “He comes with me. It’s a combined deal, so to speak, but if I may give you a piece of advice,” she continued, standing akimbo right in front of the counter. The café was empty at the moment, which was good, since Mimi didn’t want to embarrass Scott, merely spare him some problems. “I’m not sure what it’s like where you come from, but here in Wickrock Bay, we treat our pets like friends. We don’t leave them outside waiting for us to get a hot drink, or whatever. And if we come to have a sit-down drink and breakfast, they come in with us. Unless they don’t want to,” Mimi said, adding a stern look.

Scott’s face blushed right to the roots of his ash-blond hair. 

“Got it,” he mumbled, turning back toward the espresso machine. “Your usual Americano?”

“Yes, please,” Mimi replied. Baxter sat by her feet, giving her a strange glance. Mimi stared down at him. What was he trying to tell her? Was he reproaching her for the comment she’d just made to Scott? Okay, it might have been a little harsh, but then, the guy needed to know what was likely to get him in trouble with the locals. Daniel George had known how to treat his customers. Mimi sighed.

Daniel George, the previous owner of the café, had died a little unexpectedly and in suspicious circumstances, and Mimi somehow got involved, and...

Mimi frowned. Better not bring bad thoughts on. Daniel was gone, and Scott was the new kid in town. He had given the café a new lease on life, and he would fit in with the local crowd. Eventually.

The café filled with the noise of the steam escaping the espresso machine. Mimi breathed in the smell of freshly brewed coffee. Scott reached for a plastic cover to put on Mimi’s cup. 

“You’ve done an awesome job with the decor, really,” Mimi said, making a gesture with her hand. The walls were still the same creamy color as when Daniel was the king, but the bright posters of leafy vegetables and juicy berries added a touch of color.

And so did some of the accessories on the tables, including sugar bowls in a light shade of pink. 

“Thank you.” Scott flashed her a smile. “I’m planning more changes once I feel settled. I’m trying to make this place as inviting and friendly as I can. But I want to convey my own approach to coffee and food.”

“And what would that be?”

“Sustainability, fair trade, community values. It’s important to me to be a responsible citizen of the world, as much as a member of the local community,” Scott said, moving toward the cash register. “That’s why your comment about dogs and other pets...I’ve taken it seriously. My initial thought was to make this place family friendly. Many children are scared of dogs. Same with older people. Dogs can be noisy, and many people find it off-putting in public places. But then, lots of families have pets.”

At least he had a reason that wasn’t purely selfish. 

“Yes, that’s right,” Mimi replied, still unsure if she could trust Scott. She reached to her purse. “How much is that?”

Scott gave her the price, and Mimi handed him some cash. 

“By the way, Mimi,” he said, opening the cash register. “Since you are a regular customer, maybe next time I can interest you in getting a reusable cup. The first shipment arrived this morning. I’d like to reduce the number of single-use cups and plastic covers. That’s less trash, less impact on the environment, and a hot cuppa that lasts longer for you and doesn’t burn your lips. What do you think?” 

Scott handed her the change, and Mimi picked up her coffee. Actually, he was making sense. Including the hot coffee argument. She cared about the environment, of course, but if Scott could offer her an Americano with a lid that didn’t scorch, that would be a bonus.

“That’s a great idea. So, do I just ask for it next time I get a coffee from you?”

“Yes, please.” He grinned. “But I’ll also remind you. And I’ll have the cups on display. That should be enough of a prompt.”

Mimi beckoned Baxter with her head, and he reluctantly got up and followed her. 

“Thanks, Scott, and have a nice day,” she said, stepping outside with Baxter. She sipped on her coffee and stretched.

She still had a good hour until the shop opened. Had the day been sunny, she would have sat on the bench outside, enjoying the view, but the gray skies weren’t particularly inviting.

On top of that, Baxter refused to budge. He planted his little derriere on the café’s top step and looked at Mimi.

“I’m not carrying you,” Mimi grumbled. “Are you okay, Baxter boy?” she asked, bending over her dog to check on him. 

But Baxter looked fine, which wasn’t the case with the sky. A darker cloud drew over them and the air smelled of rain. 

Baxter tilted his head and growled. 

“Okay then,” Mimi said and heaved a sigh. “But how am I supposed to carry you with a coffee cup in my hand?”

But Baxter was already trying to climb her leg. Mimi winced. The pug’s claws were sharp. She picked the dog up and cradled him in her left arm. If she walked fast, the coffee wouldn’t get cold that fast and she could still enjoy it back home.

She rushed down the stairs and then onto the path leading to her shop. Her plan was to trot straight to her apartment above the antiques shop, but it looked like she had her first customer waiting at the entrance.

He looked familiar; tall, broad-shouldered, with a mop of blond-brown hair.

Wait—what was Robert Thompson, the local police chief, doing at her shop’s door?

“Hi, Mimi, got a minute?” he called out once he spotted her. 

“Hi, Rob.” Mimi waved at him and sped up her pace. If indeed it was to take only a couple of minutes, she should still have enough time to drink her coffee upstairs. 

“What’s up?” Mimi asked, approaching her shop’s front door and Chief Thompson, surprisingly dressed in a pair of jeans and a plain, dark blue jacket. “Are you at work or off duty?”

“Not started yet, but I’ve been called out,” he explained. “Can we talk inside?” He pointed to the door.

“Okay, hold this for me.” She handed him the cup and fished her keys from her pocket. She unlocked the door and motioned Rob in. Once inside, she put Baxter on the floor. Baxter wagged his tail, seeing Rob, and Rob smiled at him.

These two had developed an unlikely and surprising friendship over the past couple of months. Surprising because Baxter was quite picky in his choice of people whom he let pet him. Plus, sleeping seemed to be an activity the pug preferred over anything and anyone, so getting up the energy to be friendly was always unexpected. 

“What is it, Rob?” Mimi asked, maybe a little brusque, but the coffee was getting cold, and she was done with niceties for the day. 

“Could you tell me where you were yesterday morning?” Rob asked, watching her face carefully. 

Normally, Mimi enjoyed looking into his deep blue eyes, particularly when he was in his civilian clothes, as it made him look younger and “more fun,” but this morning there was something in Rob’s eyes that made her take a deep breath. 

“It depends on the time,” she replied cautiously.

“Between seven and nine a.m.”

She thought for a moment. “I was home, then went out for a walk with Baxter, as usual, about quarter past seven, I think. We were there for about half an hour, and I went for a coffee on my way back,” Mimi recited. “As always.”

“At the café next door?”

Mimi blinked.

“Ah, no, not yesterday. Yesterday I had coffee at home, because I had some paperwork to do and there was a line in the café,” Mimi remembered. 

Rob nodded.

“Can anyone confirm that?”

“Confirm what?”

“Your activities?”

Mimi’s heart accelerated.

“But why? What are you checking? My alibi or what?” The last sentence came out a bit sharper than it should have. Mimi cleared her throat to cover it. 

Rob heaved a sigh. 

“Sort of.”

“I was with Baxter.”

“A dog can’t give you an alibi. Anyone else? Maybe the café owner or any of the customers saw you passing by?”

Alibi? Again?

Mimi was dying of curiosity, but for now, she had to clear the situation with this Mr. Police Officer right in front of her spoiling her day and her coffee. 

“Sadly, I was trying to be invisible. I saw someone I really didn’t want to spot me.”

Rob’s eyebrows shot up.

“You have enemies?” he asked.

Mimi scoffed. “Nah, just customers who spend too much time browsing and asking me all kinds of questions, but never buy. So, sorry, I can’t confirm my alibi. Will you at least tell me who this is about and why you think I’m involved?”

Rob ran his hand through his hair, mussing it even more. That added to his dreamy off-duty look. Mimi had to pinch herself to return to reality—the serious reality of the police thinking she was involved in some sort of crime.

Rob rummaged in his inner pocket and pulled a plastic zip-lock bag from it. Holding it between his index and his thumb, he dangled it like a wet tissue. 

“Do you recognize this object?”

Mimi’s stomach clenched. A cold chill ran along her spine. Of course, she recognized the slightly tarnished steel arrowhead... 

“That’s the Irish vegetable peeler I bought a while ago. Where did you find it?”

“A certain Mr. Cyrus Fisk was stabbed with it.”

Mimi’s jaw dropped.

“Cyrus is dead?” she croaked.

“Very much so,” he replied, watching her expression.

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