Shenanigans Book 1
by Gail Koger
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Kandi Cain inherited her Dr. Doolittle abilities from her grandmother and became a psychic pet detective. To her dismay, she just acquired the power to communicate with the spirit world, but dead people give her the willies.
Just when Kandi thought her life couldn’t get more complicated, the neighbor from hell moved in next door. The nasty guy’s name is Dutch Callaghan. How can someone so gorgeous be such a dick? Kandi could chalk some of it up to his job. Dutch is a Phoenix PD homicide cop.
Kandi’s current case is rescuing a Yorkie from a brutal dog fighting ring. Little does she know her dog napping suspect is involved in a series of brutal murders. Disguised as an elderly nun, Kandi rescues the Yorkie and, in the process, blows the hell out of Dutch’s undercover operation.
Kandi now finds herself a person of interest in her client’s murder and her sexy-as-hell, pain-in-the-butt neighbor is in hot pursuit of the Ninja Nun. Is Dutch about to slap the cuffs on? Only time will tell.
My name is Kandi Cain. How did I get stuck with this swell name? My mom, Margaret, is obsessed with Christmas. She even dresses as an elf in July. She had her ears surgically altered to be more elf-like. Ho. Ho. Ho.
I got into more fist fights than I could count in school defending mom’s quirkiness and my name. When I was eight, Dad decided enough was enough and gave me boxing and karate lessons. By the time I reached high school, no one dissed my mother or me anymore.
Our home is a shrine to Santa and his elves. The interior is a museum to rare and unique Christmas ornaments from the 19th century. The yard is decorated year-round with enormous Santas, giant candy canes and nutcracker statues. There’s an awe-inspiring amount of twinkling lights on the roof. They’re so bright, the astronauts complained.
I think my mother’s preoccupation with Christmas started when her father got drafted during the Vietnam war. Before he was sent on his second deployment, he took leave to spend Christmas with his family. He was killed in action six weeks later.
My father, Nick Cain, is a very large Santa look-a-like. He was a mob enforcer for the Gambino family until he met my mother at a Christmas party. It was love at first sight. To keep her safe, my Dad quit his job and they quietly moved from New York to Apache Junction, Arizona. Apache Junction is a small tourist town located at the base of the Superstition Mountains. The town caters to people interested in visiting the numerous ghost towns and hunting for the Lost Dutchman’s gold mine.
When Dad isn’t playing Santa, he’s a member of the Superstition Mountains Search and Rescue squad and a highly sought-after rattlesnake wrangler.
I was two when my parents found me in the backyard surrounded by birds, skunks, coyotes, jackrabbits, dogs, cats and a big ass mountain lion. I was giggling happily and petting them. My Dad said he almost crapped himself.
Mom wasn’t pleased I had inherited her mother’s psychic talents. She wanted me to have a “normal” childhood. As if. My ability to summon and communicate with critters grew until they were forced to ask Grandma Hester for help. They didn’t know how to deal with a miniature Doctor Doolittle.
My mother and Grandma Hester are poles apart. My grandmother always reminded me of the Queen of England with her crazy hats, brightly colored polyester suits, pearl necklaces and pristine white gloves. C’mon who still wears gloves? In the summer? In Phoenix?
My grandma lived her entire life in a dazzling pink gingerbread house located in the historic district of Phoenix. Her two acres of orange trees kept the neighbors supplied with fruit.
Overwhelmed by requests to find lost pets, and unable to live on the military’s survivor’s benefits, Grandma Hester started a pet detective agency called Finders. I was seven when I started helping her locate missing pets. I discovered I had a knack for it and once I started my hunt, I never failed to track down the lost dog, cat, horse, parakeet or pot-bellied pig. When I graduated from high school, I became a full-time pet detective. Since the pay wasn’t the greatest, I moved in with Grandma Hester and didn’t miss the Christmas music at all.
News of Grandma Hester’s ability to find missing pets spread and a movie star flew her to Hawaii to find his missing tiger. Her helicopter went down in a storm and the wreckage was never found. It felt like a piece of my heart had died with her.
She left me her house, the business and a bank account with the grand total of three thousand dollars in it. The bad news was, the house needed a new roof. The price tag was ten thousand dollars and our rainy season was rapidly approaching.
Two months after my grandmother died, the neighbor from hell moved in. One look at his muddy red aura and I knew he would be a problem. The asshole’s name is Dutch Callaghan. He reminds of that guy who plays Thor in the movies. How can someone so gorgeous be such a prick?
I could chalk some of it up to his job. Dutch is a Phoenix PD homicide detective. I know the long hours and the blood and gore would make me cranky. I even baked the ass some “welcome to the neighborhood” cookies. He took one bite and dumped them in the trash. I’ll admit I’m not the best cook in the world, but that was downright rude.
Then the bastard said, “I don’t do pity fucks.”
I was so stunned, I just stood there gaping at him. With a nasty smile Dutch stomped off.
Me a pity fuck? Did I look that desperate? My temper flared to life and I yelled, “I’m not a pity fuck.”
“And I don’t pay for sex either,” the asshole yelled back.
He thought I was a prostitute? Oh, hell no. This meant war. The jerk had spent hours washing his big, black, high-rider truck. I summoned a flock of pigeons and had them crap on it. Repeatedly. “Game on asshole.”
The Trouble With Tigers
Lions and tigers and skunks, oh my! Kandi Cain’s a psychic pet detective. Her cases range from wrangling baby goats, to finding lost critters. Her current case is rescuing a lion from a Nigerian warlord. Kandi knew dressing up as a demonic clown and walking a lion down a city street would freak people out. But, wow! She didn’t expect Armageddon.
The hot as hell Detective Dutch Callaghan’s on her trail again and showing more than a professional interest. Kandi’s talents have attracted the attention of a CIA black ops agent who wants her to steal twelve endangered white tigers from a Pakistani warlord. The mission’s crucial to prevent a terrorist attack.
Wait! What? Terrorists? What had she gotten herself into? Kandi wasn’t a superhero. She couldn’t bend steel with her bare hands, and she wasn’t faster than a speeding bullet. She’s Doctor Doolittle. She talks to the animals and occasionally the dead.
I walked to Harry’s table. “Sorry, but my parents decided to join us for lunch.”
“Now I finally get your name. How come you never told us your mom is a Christmas Elf?” Harry pulled out his phone to take a picture. “The guys are never gonna believe this.”
This was why I never talked about my parents. I gave him the evil eye. “Put the phone away. Now. Or the next time we come across a rabid skunk, I stand back and watch.”
Harry gaped at me. “You wouldn’t do that.”
“You’ve got a mean streak.”
“You have no idea,” I replied.
Harry suddenly chortled. “Damn, but your dad’s the spitting image of Santa. Got any reindeer?”
“As a matter-of-fact, they do.”
Harry let out a big, belly laugh and cried, “Ho. Ho. Ho.”
My dad turned his disturbingly serial killer gaze on Harry.
Harry’s laughter died abruptly. “Shit! What kind of Santa is he?”
“You’ve heard of bad Santa? Dad makes him look like a pussycat and he’s always armed. So, whatever you do, don’t make him mad.”
“I was a Navy Seal. I can handle him,” Harry blustered.
“No, you can’t. Who do you think taught me all my combat skills?”
Harry stared at my dad for a long moment. “Army Ranger or Green Beret?”
“Something a little more specialized,” I whispered.
I put a finger to my lips. “Shhh.”
“Gotcha. Didn’t you did tell them this was a business meeting?”
“I did, but mom has always wanted to tag along on one of my cases and once she fixates on something…” I let out a sigh.
“Huh? I’ve got a missing emu my boss wants me to find. Would that work?”
“It’s perfect. Ten minutes of running around in the heat, and mom will bail.”
Harry eyed my dad. “Is he coming too?”
“Can’t talk him out of it?”
“Nope. My dad’s a tad protective.”
“I can see why. Keeping a hot Christmas Elf safe would be a full-time job,” Harry said.
“You think my mother’s hot?”
Harry gulped. “Ah, well. You know. She looks a lot like you.”
Aiden Blackheart is the most powerful werewolf ever born. He’s a bit surprised when he discovers his mate is an ordinary meter maid with some baggage. Okay, a lot of baggage, which includes a million-dollar bounty on her head, and she’s not quite human. What is she? Even she doesn’t know.
Like to laugh? Love mayhem? Do hot, sexy love scenes turn you on? Wanna know if a not quite human meter maid can find love with a billionaire Alpha wolf. Or will her enemies cut their romance short?
I climbed into the Monte Carlo, careful not to sit on the spring poking through the torn seat cover and started it up. The car shuddered violently, backfired, and belched a cloud of thick, black smoke. Oh swell. This car was a motorcycle cop’s wet dream. I put the Monte Carlo in gear. The belts squealing loudly, the car lurched down the street.
“Don’t attract attention to myself, he says, kinda hard not to in this car,” I muttered and flipped on the air-conditioning. Dirt, dust, and hot air blasted from the vents, turning the interior of the car into a mini sandstorm. By the time I managed to turn it off, I was coated in muck. Morales had a nasty sense of humor.
A big, hairy spider crawled across the dash.
“Holy shit!” I did a kamikaze cut across two lanes of traffic.
Horns honked, tires squealed, and people shouted profane curses as I zigzagged wildly around their cars. Skidding into a Safeway parking lot, I managed to stop the Monte Carlo an inch from the front bumper of a black Ford F450 truck. Whew! That had been too damn close. The demon car shuddered violently, and the engine died.
The spider hopped up on the steering wheel.
With an ear-shattering shriek, I bailed out of the car. “Oh my God. Oh my God.”
“Have you lost your fucking mind?” An angry male voice bellowed.
“Spider,” I hollered back. My actions might seem extreme to most folks, but they hadn’t been locked in a shed with hundreds of arachnids crawling over them. In the dark. For hours. Daddy dearest said it was to break me of my fear of spiders. His therapy made it worse. I grabbed a bat out of the backseat and knocked the creepy crawly out of the car.
It landed on the man’s shiny black boots.
I raised the bat.
The bat was yanked out of my hand. “Are you off your meds?”
Ignoring angry guy, I did the Cha-Cha on the spider’s hairy ass. A zillion baby spiders ran in every direction. “Shit! Shit! Shit!” I jumped on the hood of my car.
“You’re fucking nuts.” Angry guy stared down at his scuffed-up leather. “You’re paying to get my boots shined.”
“Sure. Whatever.” I watched the spiders crawl up his pants legs. “Just keep your distance.”
“And if I don’t?”
My gaze snapped to angry guy’s face. The first thing I noticed was his eerie silver blue eyes and how he towered over me. Crap, he made the General look like a midget. Shaggy black hair framed the sculptured perfection of his face. Yowzers! He was hot. I studied his hard body. Those muscles hadn’t come from a gym. Nope, he had earned them, but how? Was he a soldier? Or a bounty hunter? Or maybe a cop? He oozed authority.
In a quiet, scary voice he commanded, “Move your car, lady.”
“I can’t.” I slid off the hood, keeping out of his reach.
Angry guy gave me a smile fit for a bloodthirsty maniac. “Can’t or won’t?”
“I’m allergic to spiders.”
He took a menacing step toward me and wrinkled his nose. “Have you been dumpster diving?”
“God, no. I’m not that hungry yet.”
“Why do you smell like rotted food?”
I sighed. “It’s the car.”
The disbelief in his voice made me want to scream. “I’ll have you know; I didn’t look or smell like this ten minutes ago. That car is possessed,” I snapped.
“Possessed?” He cocked an amused eyebrow.
“Yeah. It is.” Figured. The first hot guy I meet, and he thinks I’m an escapee from the nut house.
“Move the damn car. I have an appointment in ten minutes,” angry guy growled.
“The keys are in the ignition. Move it yourself.”
“You’re a real piece of work.” Angry guy crammed himself into the driver’s seat and winced.
“Watch out for the spring,” I called about thirty seconds too late.
Angry guy bared his teeth at me.
Huh? It almost looked like he had fangs. I shook my head to clear it. I hadn’t slept in two days. Was I starting to hallucinate?
Vulgar curses filled the air.
I smothered a laugh. Angry guy’s knees were jammed under the steering wheel and no matter how hard he tried to move the seat back, it wouldn’t budge.
“Told ya. It’s possessed,” I yelled.
“When’s the last time you did any maintenance on this piece of crap?”
I shrugged. “Never. Just bought it.”
“Not too bright, are you?”
After the week from hell, I was done with arrogant males. I gave him the one fingered salute. “Fuck off. The Monte Carlo fits my budget.”
“You’d be better off taking the bus,” Angry guy said and started the engine. The minute he put the Monte Carlo in gear, the air-conditioner kicked on, and a cloud of dust whooshed out of the vents, blinding him. The engine revved like a race car. Vroom. Vroom. Vroom.
“Easy buddy. It’s an old car,” I shouted.
The vehicle suddenly zoomed forward, then veered to the left. Boom! The Chevy hit a yield sign. A geyser of steam gushed from under the hood.
I threw my hands up in the air. “Who taught you how to drive asshole?”
Angry guy climbed out of the Monte Carlo. His face was caked with dirt and his once pristine white dress shirt was a grimy mess.
I smothered a laugh. If looks could kill, I’d be dead. “Now do you believe me?”
Howdy. My name is Gail Koger and once upon a time I was a 9-1-1 dispatcher. Too many years of wild requests, screwy questions, bizarre behavior and outrageous demands have left me with a permanent twitch and an uncontrollable craving for chocolate. I took up writing science fiction romance to keep from killing people. So far, it has worked.
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