Monday, March 30, 2015

Haunted Hearts: Lana Malloy Paranormal Mystery, #1


Releases today at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, Page Foundry, and Scribd for the low price of 99-cent sale price. Sale extended until April 13, 2015.

Will Lana Malloy solve the twenty-year-old double murder of her great aunt and her great aunt’s fiancĂ© by Memorial Day? If she can, they’ll spend eternity together; if she can’t, they’ll be stuck as Haunted Hearts for another year.

"Haunted Hearts by Kim Cox is a charming . . . ghost story . . .  The ghost characters and their living relatives were all delightful and fun. And of course . . . ther is a romance as well as the mystery." - Fallen Angel Reviews

"Twists and turns abound in this suspenseful novel having the reader on the edge of their seat until the climatic conclusion." - Nancy Carty Lepri - Freelance Editor, Reviewer, and Author of Tommy's Amigo and Tiny Angel.

*Note: Haunted Hearts is a re-release. It was once part of the Enchanted Holidays Anthology.  It has been edited and new scenes have been added since the previous release.

EXCERPT

Chapter One

“How do you like it?” Lucy Ann Malloy, stood at the top of the stairs, turned to the right then to the left as she modeled the blue and green pastel dress. “I found it in the attic with some of my old things.” She lingered in the doorway of the main floor. “Well?”

Lana Malloy looked up from editing the ad for her new PI business. “Nice,” she said and returned to her work.

Lucy moved to Lana’s side and gazed over her shoulder. “What are you working on?”

“The ad for the local newspapers and a few magazines. I’ve got to figure out how to attract some business or I’ll never make it through the first month.”

A chill filled the air surrounding Lana and she shivered, pulling her wrap tightly around her.

“I have an idea and it’s actually a pretty good one. I know who your first client can be.”

Without glancing away from her paper, Lana asked, “And who would that be?”

“Me.”

“You?” Her interest piqued, Lana shifted in her seat to face her aunt. “What are you talking about?”

Lucy’s white hair shone with blue highlights as if she’d just had it rinsed. She was very well preserved for someone who’d been dead twenty years. “Find my murderer so I can rest in peace. How about it?” Lana’s great-aunt had been with her since she moved into the old beach house in Charleston, South Carolina, five years ago.

“But I need cash. Who would be paying for my services?” Lana smiled, pulling her reading glasses off and laying them on her desk. She loved her great-aunt, but she could be a card. Lucy had always been a rebel, always trying to be different from everyone else. “Besides, you died over twenty years ago. That’s a cold trail for sure.”

“I got money, smarty—a lot of money that no one has found . . .” Lucy covered her mouth with both hands then removed them. “Oh well, the cat’s out of the bag now. I can’t spend it anyway.”

“But you died more than—”

“Let me finish. Shows how much you or any of those cops know.” She glided back and forth across the room as if she were dancing at her coming-out ball.

“Well?”

“Get out your pencil and pad and take notes.”

“Not until I’m sure what you’re telling me is the truth.” Lucy sometimes changed details to suit herself and the moment, but she’d never talked about her death before today. Lana never questioned her because she thought it may be too painful for her aunt to relive.

“Have I ever lied to you? Never mind, don’t answer that.” Lucy laughed as she stopped in midair, lowered herself down to the desk and hovered in a sitting position just above the surface. Then she crossed her legs. “It was late May. The last thing I remember, I was helping David eat his supper. He had been sick the last few days and I went over to visit. He didn’t eat much of his potato soup and I love potato soup on a cool night. You know that kind your mother used to whip up?” Lucy licked her lips. “I miss food more than anything else since I’ve been dead. There’s no need to eat anymore…no appetite.”

“Get on with your murder case, please.”

“Oh yeah. I tend to get sidetracked now and then,” she said, smiling, her eyes twinkling. “Anyway, I never left that room. Then I woke up in my own house dead and floating above my own body lying on the living room floor, right there in front of the sofa. The next morning, your mother came to see me and found me…I mean, my body. That’s it.”

“Right. You were poisoned, but your murderer was never caught,” Lana mused.

“You call yourself a private investigator? Elementary, my dear Lana. Use some logic. How did I get from Davide’s to my house?”

Lana nibbled the eraser on the end of her pencil then flipped the paper over on her spiral notebook. She jotted down a couple of notes. “So…you believe you were poisoned at Davide’s home, but someone brought you back here either just before or after you died?”

“By golly, I believe she’s got it.”

“Are you sure you didn’t just forget going home?”

“I didn’t forget. I was only sixty-five and not senile. Someone must’ve moved me while I was unconscious or after I died. Can’t you see that?”

Lana stood and paced the room. “It’s a possibility, I guess. What did the police say?”

“They said, 'The old broad croaked. No suspects.' And they investigated no further.” Lucy moved up behind Lana. “Clue number two, I’ve been reading up on my ghostly position as well. Did you know there are specific reasons why ghosts haunt places?”

“No. What are they?”

“According to this, my reason is…” Lucy took out a book, brushed the air above it until it opened to the bookmark, and then she started to read. “When someone is murdered and the murder goes unsolved, their spirit must wait around until the mystery is solved, usually around the anniversary of their death.”

“Where did you get that book?”

“Here, in this house.”

Lana sauntered into the library and fingered through the books on the shelves. “I didn’t know we had all these books on ghosts and hauntings.” Lana smiled until she saw the woeful expression on Lucy’s face. She was serious about this and Lana felt badly she hadn’t realized it sooner. She loved the woman dearly, but often, Lucy kidded around so much it was hard to tell when her aunt was genuine. “Where did these come from?”

“I found them in the attic, dusted them off and put them on the shelf last night. You believe me now?”

“I don’t know. I’ll read over some of these today and see what’s what.” Lana brought a book back to her desk as Lucy followed. “What exactly did you figure out? And if you’ve solved it, why do you need me?”

“Not everything. Just what I need to do to get to my resting place. I was killed on May 26, 1994, two weeks before Davide and I were to be married.”

“So?”

“I need to find my murderer by Memorial Day this year, or I’ll be stuck here until next year, same time.”

“Why?”

“Because that’s when I died.” Lucy placed her hands on her hips. “Haven’t you been listening? Anyway, the book says it’s the only time I’ll have the opportunity this year to claim my eternity.” She pointed to the book Lana held. “It’s on page fifty-two.”

“Do you have any suspects?” Lana flipped through the pages. “This is interesting.”

“That old buzzard I was trying to help.”

“Davide? Your fiancĂ©?” Lana lifted her head.

Lucy shook her head in agreement. “That’s the buzzard.”

“You two were going to be married in a few weeks. Why would he want you dead?”

“That, I don’t know. But I think he’s as good a place to start our search as any. If it wasn’t him, it was someone in his family. They were all against us marrying. Especially his son, Anthony.”

“Our search? But you can’t—”

“But I can.” Displaying a sneaky grin, she said, “I read about it in that book. I can leave anytime I want. I just haven’t wanted to badly enough until now. Plus, I need to attach myself to something in order to leave. That something, or rather someone, is you.” She laughed.

A couple of hours later, Lana regarded Lucy as she drifted into her office with a tray of food—a tuna fish sandwich with pickles and chips. She had been reading The Mysterious Hauntings.

“I thought you could use some nourishment. Seafood is brain food, you know.”

When Lucy floated back across the room, Lana glimpsed a terrified face in the window nearest the side door leading to the carport. It was her neighbor, Roxie Thomas, with curlers in her strawberry blonde hair and cold cream still covering her horrified face. When the dress glided toward a filing cabinet, Roxie’s eyes widened and her jaw dropped. The closed window muffled her screams.

Book 2: Get Out or Die - July 2015
Book 3: The Wedding Crasher - September 2015
Book 4: Christmas Cruise - November 2015

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