Murder in Mystic Hills
(Mysteries of Mystic Hills, #1)
Publication date: March 27th 2023
Genres: Adult, Mystery, Paranormal
All she wants is a break from adulting… then she rediscovers a world that’s been wiped from her memory.
Preschool teacher Belinda Harbinger’s summer vacation is going off the rails. After receiving a letter stating she’s inherited a tearoom and home, she’s shocked it’s from a beloved aunt she can’t remember… who could speak to the dead. And finding out she has the same power, it’s up to her to solve her mysterious relative’s murder.
Moving to the mystical town, Belinda takes up with a talking cat Familiar and learns she’s the only one who can help her aunt cross over before she becomes a vengeful spirit. But while searching the house for her lost memories, she faces heated magical politics, fresh bodies popping up, and a hidden evil threatening to make her the next victim.
Not knowing who to trust, can she expose a killer and rescue everyone from deadly plays for power?
Murder in Mystic Hills is the spellbinding first book in the Mysteries of Mystic Hills cozy paranormal series. If you like feline sidekicks, quirky characters, and winding trails of clues, then you’ll love Chris Cannon’s humorous hunt for justice.
The complete series:
We crowded around my butcher block table and my mom said, “You need to know that we love you more than anything or anyone else in the world.”
And there went my appetite. I set my fork down. “This is going to be bad, isn’t it?”
“Not bad,” my mother said. “Just sad in places. I grew up in Mystic Hills. It’s a town situated above an intersection of ley lines, meaning it’s a nexus for magical energy. Most of the population has some sort of gift or magical power. I didn’t. Citizens without magic are encouraged to leave, so I went to college and met your father. When you were born, we knew there was a chance you’d inherited the Harbinger family gift. I took you home to be baptized as Belinda Harbinger. In the rest of the world, you’re Linda James. Every year, on your birthday we took you to visit my family.”
“No, we had birthday parties at home.” I’d been there, I should know.
“You have two birthdays. The date of your birth we celebrate here, and the date of your Christening in Mystic Hills which is the anniversary of when you turned six months old.”
“Like a half birthday?” That would fall in the summer. “You’re saying every June you took me to a town called Mystic Hills to stay with an Aunt I can’t remember, who you never told me about until after she died?”
“The bracelet contains your memories,” my mom said. “Teresa collected them at the end of each visit and stored them away in case you ever wanted them.”
“I need more wine.” I went to the fridge and filled my glass before offering it to my guests. “Anyone else?”
My mom smiled. “Yes, please.”
I poured a glass for my mom and grabbed a beer for my dad. “Victor? Cat? Any beverages?”
“I’ll take a beer,” Victor said.
“Do you have any flavored creamer?” the cat asked hopefully.
“You mean like French vanilla coffee creamer?”
“Yes. In a bowl if you don’t mind.”
“Wouldn’t you rather have milk?”
“I’m lactose intolerant,” the cat said.
“Creamer it is.” After passing out drinks in various forms, I said, “Okay, go.”
“First,” my mom said, “I need to know how Teresa died.”
Victor scowled. “It was labeled an accident. But Teresa did not fall and break her neck in her own house. Someone or something pushed her. No one will help us. They are all frightened. Afraid something might happen to them. We need Belinda to come home with us so she can speak to Teresa and find out what happened.”
Wait. What? “If Teresa is dead, how am I supposed to talk to her?”
“That’s your gift,” Victor said. “You see spirits and speak to the dead.”
“Nope.” I pushed my chair back from the table. “I’m a teacher. My gift is teaching preschoolers that they have to share and take turns. I do not talk to dead people.”
“It’s in our blood,” my mom said. “Believe me there are worse gifts.”
“Put on the bracelet,” Victor said. “You’ll understand your duty.”
I pulled the bracelet out of my pocket. “Mom?”
“It might help with the transition. Please remember, we did what we did out of love and concern for you. If we let you remember your time in Mystic Hills, your gift would have blossomed. If you weren’t prepared…well it’s hard to explain to a six-year-old why ghosts are talking to her.”
I’d been about to slide my hand through the bracelet but stopped. “Wait. Ghosts can just talk to me?” I thought I’d need to hold a seance or say a spell.
“Think of yourself as a ghost magnet,” the cat said.
“I’d rather not,” I shot back. “What do the ghosts want?”
“Some have unfinished business, problems they need to solve before they can move on,” Victor explained. “The recently dead don’t always realize what’s happened. It’s your job to help them accept their new reality.”
“If what Teresa told me is true, it can be overwhelming at first.” Mom touched my arm. “You can learn to control it, but you’ll have to do that in Mystic Hills.”
This house and business no longer seemed like such a good deal. Seeing dead people hoping to settle a score didn’t sound fun. “Can I just ignore all of this? Send Victor and the cat back to Mystic Hills with the bracelet?”
“You could,” my mom said.
“But you shouldn’t,” Victor said. “Teresa has been knocking paintings off the walls trying to get our attention. No one will help her. The longer she’s distressed the more vengeful and unstable she’ll become. She won’t be able to cross over if you don’t help. She’ll be stuck here, and all her humanity will drain away. She’ll become a leech.”
“She’ll become a blood sucking bug?” That didn’t make sense.
“No.” Mom wiped at tears sliding down her cheeks. “A leech sucks the life force from its victims trying to gain power. The stronger it becomes the more dangerous it is. The Mystic Hills elders would hunt her down and damn her to hell for eternity.”
Chris Cannon is a speech therapist by day and the award-winning author of the Going Down In Flames series, the Boyfriend Chronicles, the Dating Dilemma series, the Demon Bound series, and Mysteries of Mystic Hills series by night.
She lives in Southern Illinois with her husband and several furry beasts. She believes coffee is the Elixir of Life. Most evenings after work, you can find her sipping coffee and writing fire-breathing urban fantasies, sweet snarky romantic comedies, or paranormal cozy mysteries. You can check out her website at www.chriscannonauthor.com.
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