Introducing the PARANORMAL BED & BREAKFAST MYSTERIES Series.

Ta da!

It’s coming!

Paranormal b&b series

I know you’ve been dying to find an answer to the following questions…

What would a bed and breakfast be like where paranormal beings stayed? From witches, to elves, and genies…even a kitsune?

Would there be chaos, friendships, romance, or a few magical murders?

Okay, maybe those weren’t the questions on the top of your list, but they are now, I’m sure! 🙂

My newest series is hitting the virtual bookshelves this spring, starting next week with the prequel to the PARANORMAL BED & BREAKFAST MYSTERIES, titled MAGICALLY POISONED. MAGICALLY MURDERED is on pre-order for a June 8th releases. (It’s written and ready to go, but I want to release the other two main titles within a month or so of each other.)

This series is shaping up to be a lot of fun! MAGICALLY POISONED is about a potion witch (Aubrey) who gets a bed & breakfast in her divorce. Things are going fine until the Mayor of her town shows up dead — poisoned from a magical herb only she grows in her garden.  As she works to clear her name, she also tries to play matchmaker, but her attempts start to backfire… You’ll have to read the book to find out how. 😉

MAGICALLY POISONED is a prequel novella to the main series and is available for 99 cents.

MAGICALLY MURDERED is still about the bed & breakfast, but Aubrey is away with her new hubby, leaving her nephew to run the B&B…but two employees are murdered within six months of each other and the police send in an undercover agent (Kyla, a witch) to investigate. Of course, a romance brews and she gets herself in trouble. 🙂

MAGICALLY ATTACKED has an enchanted knife as the murder weapon…that’s all the sneak peek for now, but make sure to scroll to the bottom of this post to read an unedited, early look at Chapter 1 of MAGICALLY MURDERED.

 

For all of you who follow my journey as an AUTHOR and not necessarily the books I write…

I’m trying out two techniques to help the visibility of my books.

  1. Writing to Market. All my previous books fall across multiple genres and don’t fit in any specific market segment. With this series, I tried to stick as close as possible to a traditional paranormal witch cozy mystery. All the indie author gurus say this should help with book visibility.
  2. Rapid Release. My goal is to release the main series trilogy all in the month of June…and if that goes well, put a book 4 on pre-order for a few months later. Again, this helps with visibility due to how the Amazon algorithms work.

We shall see if it works! Fingers crossed.

 

Thanks for reading! To learn more about the PARANORMAL BED & BREAKFAST MYSTERIES make sure you check out the series page HERE and/or read the sneak peek of chapter 1 of MAGICALLY MURDERED below.

–Joy

 

MAGICALLY MURDERED, CHAPTER 1

My sister was a typical twenty-first century witch.

Her magic just “happened” when she mixed ingredients together.

Be it in a potion or just in a batch of cupcakes at her old-fashioned mortal bakery.

Me on the other hand?

I wasn’t quite sure what type of witch I was, but whichever type it was, I did know I wasn’t typical.

A wisp of sweet steam struck my face like a rush of magic as I pulled seventy-two cupcakes from the commercial oven at my sister’s bakery. One pan was perfect, another burnt, while the top pan’s batter still wiggled. I glanced over my shoulder at Tabitha, with her ginger hair tied up in a messy bun and her flour-spotted black apron, and gave her my apologetic, puppy-dog eyes.

My sister joined me at the stainless-steel island to admire the disaster.

“How is it possible I ruin them every single time?” I tossed the final pan of cupcakes down. “I follow the directions and use the exact same equipment you do…and yet, my stuff doesn’t even compare to yours! You swear you’re not using magic to make yours turn out perfect?”

Tabitha laughed. “Of course not! We want cupcakes that simply taste good, not ones that make people fall in love or spill the truth.”

I shook my head at another failed attempt. “We’ll have to throw away two-thirds of these.”

“That’s why I told you we needed six dozen.” A slow, sneaky smile grew on her high-glossed lips.

“I made six dozen and two-thirds of them are ruined.”

“Kyla, we actually only need two dozen.”

“Oh,” I chuckled. “Is that how you manage me? You plan on me ruining things? I don’t know why you keep me around.”

Tabitha dumped the hockey-puck burnt cupcakes into the garbage. “Like I have a choice?”

As I threw the raw cupcakes back into the oven, the bakery’s front door chimed. I brushed the flour and cocoa powder mixture off my apron so the bright pink cupcake logo for Sprinkles was visible. I’m sure I had cake batter smeared on my forehead, but that was the life of a baker, or at least, a woman who attempted to bake because she didn’t know what else to do with her life. “I got it.”

“Now, that’s why I keep you around,” Tabitha called after me as I headed to the shop’s front end.

My hand immediately flew up to my wild, sweat-filled hair, trying to smooth it when I saw the navy-blue uniform and shiny gold badge standing in front of the dessert display case.

“Officer Gentry.” I smiled, but when he glared at me, I quickly rectified his issue, switching to his first name. He hated being called Officer by friends outside of the precinct. “Devin…what brings you down here? I thought I was meeting you at the station later this evening.” Like after I had a chance to shower, throw on the cutest dress in my closet that made my barely-there boobs look like something spectacular, style my hair in an up-do, and brush on enough powder that he wouldn’t see the little imperfections in my skin.

“I was in the neighborhood and thought I’d save you some time tonight.” He flashed me a big-white smile that used to make me swoon when we had dated. Hell, who was I kidding? It still did. “Besides, I couldn’t resist an opportunity to grab one of Tabitha’s famous chocolate hazelnut biscotti.”

From the back, Tabitha’s voice called out, “The secret’s instant coffee added to the mix.”

I pulled two from the dessert cabinet and handed them over in a little wax paper bag. When he pulled out his wallet, I waved him to put it back away. “It’s on the house.”

“You sure?”

“She’s sure,” Tabitha yelled.

I hitched my thumb in my sister’s direction, trying to look somewhat cute. “And she owns the bakery, so her word is law. So, why did you want to see me tonight?”

Tabitha and I had spent all morning speculating why Devin had called me. He told me the police needed my help, but Tabitha and I hoped that was just a line. A way for him to get closer to this witch again. Never mind that I had an active consulting contract with the police.

I mean, there was no way I could pay the bills by burning cupcakes.

My little consulting gig was enough to help Tabitha and I make ends meet while she struggled with her dream business, and I spent most of my time here helping out—free of charge. It’s not like I knew what to do with my life. You’d think at thirty-two, I’d have it all laid out in front of me. Ha! Not quite.

The police sometimes needed an expert to investigate those crimes that might have had a magical nature. I fell into the role ten years ago when Devin and I had been hot and heavy…and I told him my secret. A few people knew I was a witch. Devin was one and so was his superior, Detective Cass. They didn’t divulge any of the specifics to the rest of the police station, but they welcomed me into their precinct when they needed a consult. Usually, I was helpful. All it took was a quick glance at the crime scene and I could tell whether there was magic or not. I could do the same with the suspects. Were they magical or were they civilians? A slight shimmer to their skin that only witches could see always gave them away.

“Can we go somewhere more private to talk?” Devin asked, nodding towards Tabitha’s head hanging out the kitchen door. She was so into my personal life, but I didn’t blame her. I was just as much wrapped up in hers. It was nice to have someone—family—to discuss all your failed relationships with.

“You can have the office,” Tabitha said, sulking back to her giant mixing bowl.

I led Devin back to Tabitha’s perfectly organized office and clicked the door shut. It was like my sister picked everything up from a display at IKEA. Actually, she did. She had black and white prints of ferns on her walls, a white desk, and a splash of color from a few fake green plants. There wasn’t a single paper on her desk, making it look like the office was all for show.

Maybe it was. She did all her paperwork at home in the apartment we shared.

I sat on the black wheelie chair behind her desk and Devin pulled up the black cushioned one against the wall, opening a manila envelope I hadn’t seen him carrying. Where had my eyes been focused? His pecs? His strong jawline? Those lose-yourself bedroom blue eyes? He did that to me.

Too bad, I didn’t do that to him.

He dumped a pile of eight by ten-inch gruesome photos from the envelope onto Tabitha’s desk. I cringed.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to shock you.”

“I wasn’t expecting photos of a corpse.”

“They’re not all a corpse.” He pushed about half-a-dozen photos of a woman with jet black hair aside until there were a few shots of various other people that looked like they were stolen from the DMV’s records. He was the police. They probably were. The deep brown eyes of one man stood out.

“Who’s he?” I asked. It was just odd. Among another half-a-dozen photos was one of an exotic, sharp-looking man in a tuxedo. Odd way to take your driver’s license photo.

“That is Luke Shade. He runs Moonstruck Manor for his aunt, Aubrey Dirksen.”

“The Bed & Breakfast where all the paranormals stay?”

Devin nodded.

“Didn’t someone die there earlier this week?” Then my eyes fixed on the dark-haired woman in the multiple photos. “It wasn’t her.”

“No, it wasn’t. It was her.” Devin fanned out the photos to reveal another woman with much lighter brown hair—similar to mine. “Her name was Saige Oakley, but she wasn’t the first to die there. Six months ago, this other woman, Melody Reid, passed away from what we thought was a strange lung disease.”

“I imagine you’re here because you don’t think it’s a coincidence two women have died at Moonstruck Manor.”

Devin tapped the photo of the brown-haired woman. “Not when Saige died of the same exact respiratory problem…and they both were hired as the cook.”

I pulled the photos out that were not of dead people. “And are these your suspects?”

“Some of them. These are the people that had been at Moonstruck Manor when both women died. Luke Shade manages the place, as you already know. He lives there on the top floor. Nik Gates is their housekeeper.”

“Wait, their housekeeper is male?” I laughed. “I like that.”

Devin pulled out a few more photos. “This is Alec Hopper, coincidentally, he was staying at the B&B when both cooks died. This is Lyz Bryan. She only works Friday and Saturdays during check in, but she was there when both women passed as well. And finally, the B&B uses contract services for their linens, grounds, and various contractors for maintenance. These last two pictures are contractors that frequent the B&B that were there when both women died—Maryann Hanson takes care of the linen and Jimmy Gill is grounds & maintenance. I haven’t actually met any of these suspects, since Detective Cass was the primary investigator, but he called me in to help him last week and we spent countless hours on the case. We could form connections with anyone and everyone. Who drove the Uber that dropped off the guests? Who walks their dog past the house? Who are the neighbors? At this point, all our leads have run cold…and…”

“And you believe magic was behind it.”

Devin nodded, and I saw the dark circles under his baby blues.

“Sure. I’m done here for the day, anyway. I can come down and look through your evidence pile.”

Devin shook his head. “It’s more than that, Kyla. We’ve combed through everything already. See, we have a new officer who’s like you.”

“You have a witch on payroll?”

Devin nodded. “Jake’s an officer but has your…skills. He’s usually really good at these things, but even though he went with Detective Cass and examined all the evidence and met all the suspects, he couldn’t find anything either.”

“Okay.” The chair squeaked when I sat back. “What do you want from me?”

“We need you to go undercover.”

“Me?” I laughed. “I don’t know the slightest thing about being undercover. Send Jake.”

Devin shook his head. “They’re hiring a cook, and we need you for that role.”

“I can’t cook,” I spit out, thinking back to all my baked goods that ended up in Tabitha’s garbage, but then it dawned on me why they wanted me. “You want me because I’m female. What, can’t men be cooks at a B&B?”

“Of course they can, but Jake doesn’t have your resume. You and your sister are known in this town. Luke Shade’s sure to hire you…and yes, maybe it has to do a little with you being female. All the previous cooks were gorgeous, like you.”

For one second, and only one second, I couldn’t find my words and my cheeks heated uncomfortably. Devin had called me gorgeous. Maybe there was hope for us? Then I realized he was manipulating me and my senses were knocked right back into my head as quickly as they had fled. “And all the other cooks ended up dead!” Another realization dawned on me. “You want me to be bait?”

“You’ll be fine. We’ll monitor you and be only a phone call away.”

I tilted my chin and eyed him.

“I’m authorized to double your usual pay.”

Well, now he was talking.

Devin reached out towards my face, and my stomach fluttered at the sensuality of his movement. I might have even leaned in. No fair using his sexuality against me! I was likely to give in to anything at the moment. When his thumb made contact with my cheek, I might have moaned, but when he pulled back with dried batter on his finger, I believe I turned every shade of red.

“Fine,” I spat out, trying to distract Devin from realizing how I had turned to putty in his hands. “I’ll do it. When do I start?”

“It’s not that easy.” Devin brushed his fingers off over the garbage besides Tabitha’s desk. “You actually need to get hired by Mr. Shade first. We’ve set up an interview, but he’ll probably have more candidates.”

“Another witch with cooking…err…baking experience in Black Hallows? I doubt it.” I stood up, desperate to run to the bathroom and see if there was more batter dried on my face. What a mess I had been during my conversation with my ex. Devin got the hint and headed for the door. “Your interview is at one tomorrow at Moonstruck Manor. Good luck. Detective Cass wants to brief you tonight and ask that you still stop by the precinct.”

I opened my mouth to argue, but Devin must have sensed what was coming, because he took off, smiling and nodding shyly towards my sister on his way out the front door.

“What was that about?” Tabitha asked when the front door chimed closed.

“Oh…well…I kinda have a job interview. Will you be okay if I’m not around as much?”

Tabitha laughed. “Of course I’ll miss you, but I’ll be fine. You being gone might be good for my budget. There sure has been a lot of waste around here lately.” She winked as she pointed to my ruined cupcakes.

And I laughed. Sisters were great.

If only she knew that I was applying for a job that put me knocking right at death’s door.

 

Thanks for reading this unedited sneak peek of MAGICALLY MURDERED. Find out more about this series HERE.

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