Dramatic Paws by Corrine Winters

Dramatic Paws

Dramatic Paws by Corrine Winters (Kitten Witch Cozy Mystery #1)
English | 2020 | Mystery/Thriller| ePUB | 2.9 MB

When murder is on the menu, it’s no time to be kitten around…

Ember McNair owns a pub that serves the tastiest treats in Louisiana. But when someone starts targeting her customers with death, all signs point to her. Luckily, Ember has a few aces up her sleeve. See, she’s not just a small business owner. She’s a witch.

Too bad you don’t need magic to see the whole town start to talk, suggesting she killed her problem customers. It’s not like the victims were pillars or society or anything. One was a boyfriend-stealing bully. The others were just as bad. Who had the motive? Seems everyone had reasons to hate them. And plenty of people in this sleepy little town had things to hide.

It’s up to Ember, her bat shifter bestie, the ghost of her ancestor, and Kali, her cat familiar who quotes Sun Tzu’s Art of War to piece it all together.

They better hurry. Because right now, all roads lead to Ember as the murderer. And sure, Sheriff Jamison might be giving her the benefit of the doubt, but he’s only going to tolerate her butting around in his investigation for so long. Can his hazel eyes get lost in hers long enough so she can uncover the clues?

He cut her a disbelieving look but didn’t call her on it. “Thanks,” he said, tilting the cup in her direction and then taking a cautious, grateful sip. She thought she saw some of the tension in him relax.

Ember smiled softly to herself. She was good at reading people, figuring out what they needed, a strength that was half magic and half just plain intuition. She liked to use this quality about herself to try to make people feel better, to help them when they were hurting.

“Well, I traced them back here,” Cedric said. “Seems they were driving home after having a few.”

“Just two glasses of wine apiece,” Ember answered, addressing the unasked question. “They should have been fine to drive. You know I don’t hesitate to take keys and call a cab if anyone looks like trouble.” Even now, there were several sets of keys from last night locked up in the drawer under the cash register, waiting to be reclaimed by their hungover owners.

Cedric inclined his head. “Sure, sure,” he said distractedly, then flashed her a wait a second gesture. At first, she didn’t know what it meant, but he swiveled the bar stool away and withdrew his vibrating phone from his pocket. Pressed a button to answer. “What’s up?” he greeted whoever was on the other end of the line.

She did her best to keep busy as he spoke, but she couldn’t help noticing his body language. His broad shoulders were hunching in increased tension, and he kept running his fingers anxiously through his shoulder-length blond hair.

“All right,” he said tersely after a few minutes of listening. “I’m there right now. I’ll ask. Yeah. Yeah. Okay, bye.”

He hung up and turned back around.

“Ask me what?” Ember said, deciding not to try to pretend she wasn’t eavesdropping on his end of the conversation.

“Jake Peterson,” Cedric prompted.

After a pause, Ember nodded. “He was here last night, too. He comes in all the time. Glass of wine alone at the bar, makes a general nuisance of himself to my staff, heads home.” Cedric was frowning, so Ember asked, “Why? Did he have something to do with the accident? I thought they crashed into a tree.”

Cedric shook his head. “He’s been found dead at his house. Cause unknown.”

This was all getting to be very strange. Ember didn’t know what to say.

“Four people dead after spending time at your bar?” Cedric asked, sounding the perfect mix between paternally concerned and accusing. “Doesn’t exactly look good for you.”

Ember scoffed, feeling a sudden surge of anger. “This is stupid. What are you saying–that I had something to do with this? Sure, I’m going to sabotage my own business by intentionally endangering my customers! You know me better than that, Cedric.”

He rose from the bar and stepped away, coffee still only half-drained. “I’m not saying anything like that,” he told her, voice taut. “I just hope you’ll continue to cooperate as we figure out what happened last night.”

Frowning, feeling angry and chastised, Ember took a few deep breaths before forcing herself to nod.

Cedric, evidently satisfied by this, tipped a nod at her, flipped a five dollar bill onto the bar to cover the coffee, and left.

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