Another Woman’s Treasure
Psychic Consignment Mystery Book 3
The psychic powers of the Concordia sisters are increasing, but so is the body count…
(You’d think this was Cabot Cove or Midsomer instead of Sarasota, FL.)
Amanda and her sisters are on the hunt for a treasure buried by their godmother, Letty.
A moody ghost, their quirky fellow shop owners, and an overworked police detective all play a part in them unraveling the mysteries of Letty’s life and untimely death.
But can Amanda keep her family safe as they barrel, like a bull in a consignment shop, toward a showdown with the person responsible for Letty’s murder?
“Are you spying on him?”
Startled, Amanda Concordia jumped back, bouncing against the wall behind her. She gave Rupert, the ghost in a seersucker suit watching her, a dirty look. “No, I’m not spying on him.”
Rupert raised his ghostly eyebrows, signaling his disbelief.
Amanda’s gaze drifted back to the man she was accused of spying on. Detective Tom Keller, in yet another gray dress shirt, was deep in conversation with Piper, the owner of the PerC Up coffee shop. She looked upset. He looked unhappy.
Maybe there was trouble in paradise. A tiny part of her, she was slightly ashamed to admit, wanted to do a jig.
“They look like they’re deep in conversation, and I didn’t want to interrupt,” she told Rupert.
“And yet, you’ve been standing here for the last five minutes, staring at him,” he teased.
Amanda shrugged, not needing to justify herself to a ghost. She couldn’t even explain what she was doing to herself. Not for the first time, she wondered how Detective Keller, a man who seemed to wear his sense of responsibility like a medal of honor, could be attracted to Piper, who, although a nice person, insisted on wearing her hair in pigtails, even though she was a grown adult.
As though he realized he was being talked about, the detective looked up and caught Amanda’s eye. He offered her a curt nod.
Piper, following his line of sight, gave Amanda a huge smile and an enthusiastic wave.
Feeling like she’d got caught spying, because she had, Amanda waved back weakly, trying to lift the corners of her mouth into the semblance of a smile. She ducked back into the One Woman’s Junk consignment shop and took a deep breath, the familiar scent of orange and cinnamon comforting her.
Nutmeg, the rescue dog she and her sisters had adopted, gave her a single bark. Amanda didn’t know whether that meant the dog was hungry, wanted to go for a walk, or was just asking her if she was okay. She decided to go with the third option. “I’m fine,” she muttered. “I’m just fine.”
“She doth protest too much,” Rupert said, having taken up his usual spot leaning against the bookshelf.
Amanda considered taking off the rose quartz earrings she’d inherited from her godmother, Letty, considering they seemed to be the reason she was able to see and hear the ghost. There were times when she really didn’t want to listen to him. She glanced around the store and was surprised to see that neither of her sisters were there.
“Where are Bea and Winnie?” she asked Nutmeg.
The dog quickly raced up the stairs, to the apartment above the shop, and then back down.
Winnie was probably drawing at Letty’s desk upstairs.
Her brows drew together in concern. Their mother had been extremely obsessive with her hobby of needlepointjust before her death. Her sisters had been too young to remember that, but Amanda recalled all too well the impulsive stitching.
Feeling as helpless to assist Winnie as she had their mother, Amanda turned her thoughts to their youngest sister.
No doubt, Bea was spending time with Ash Costin, the carpenter in the nearby shop who she was now staying with. He seemed to be a stabling influence on her wilder sister, and she was glad they’d found happiness together.
With a sigh, Amanda crossed her arms over her chest and surveyed the contents of One Woman’s Junk. Like her life, everything was just a little bit off. Not quite organized, not in the best of shape. Still, like her life, it worked.
She’d come to Sarasota when Letty had passed away. She’d stayed, mostly because she had nowhere else to go, and she really wanted a chance to bond with her sisters. For the first time in their lives, the age differences between them didn’t seem to matter as much, and she was able to connect with them as real people.
Since Winnie was only five years younger than her, they’d had an okay relationship over the years, but their younger sister, Bea, had been harder for Amanda to connect with. Ten years seemed like a generation. She was pleased that they were working together to run the shop.
“The investigator lad is here,” Angus, the Loch Ness Monster statue who held the front door of the shop, warned in his thick Scottish brogue, jolting her out of her musings.
Amanda grinned, suddenly excited, for just a moment, before she remembered he was taken. Feeling guilty for wanting another woman’s man, she scowled.
“You want his help,” Rupert reminded her, appearing by the front door. “No need to be such a sourpuss.”
Realizing the ghost was right, she did her best to adopt a neutral expression as Detective Tom Keller strolled into the shop.
Nutmeg barked an excited greeting at him.
Amanda forced herself to smile. “Good morning, Detective.”
He shook his head. “Don’t we know each other well enough now that you can call me Tom?” He offered her a steaming hot cup of coffee from PerC Up. As she took it, their fingers brushed against each other. A spark of electricity flowed between them, igniting physical sensations in Amanda that she thought were a thing of the past.
Flustered, she moved away, wondering if he’d felt it, too.
“I wanted to give you a bit of an update,” Keller said when she didn’t respond to his request to call him by his first name.
Needing Nutmeg’s steadying presence, Amanda put the coffee down on the counter and scooped the dog up into her arms. She hugged him close, bracing herself for whatever the detective was going to reveal about her godmother’s murder.
“We searched Richardson’s house,” he said.
Amanda nodded. Richardson, the local fire inspector, had confessed to her and her sisters, when he’d been about to burn them to death, that he’d been the one to kill Letty.
“But we still don’t know who his employer is.”
Amanda winced. “Can you not call him or her an employer?” she asked. “Whoever they are, they’re a soulless fiend that stole the woman who raised us.”
Keller nodded sympathetically. “I’m sorry.”
Sensing his apology was genuine, Amanda offered him a real smile in response. “Please don’t think we don’t appreciate everything that you’ve done,” she said.
Tom Keller had been the one to find the murder weapon, and he was the one building a case against Letty’s killer. If it hadn’t been for the detective, doggedly working a case that he’d never been assigned to, they would have never known for sure that Letty had been murdered. They owed him so much—she owed him so much. She just wished there was something she could do to help his investigation. She and her sisters had been trying to figure out the clues their “powers” were giving them, but so far, they only had more questions than answers.
“If we could figure out who she had upset…” Keller began slowly.
“There’s a journal,” Amanda blurted out.
She glanced upward, wondering if Winnie could hear her. She and her sisters had been keeping it a secret from him. “It didn’t belong to her,” Amanda explained. “But it did belong to a woman who seemed to be in an abusive relationship. If Letty was trying to help her escape…”
Tom nodded and glanced at his watch. “I’d love to see it,” he said. “But I’ve got to get to court. I’m testifying in another case today.”
Amanda nodded, trying to hide her disappointment.
“What if I bring over a pizza when I’m done with work for the day, and we can go over it,” he suggested.
“You want to have dinner?” she squeaked like a nervous teenager, wondering what Piper would think of that.
“Dinner won’t kill anyone,” he said with a teasing smile.
“In this town, I wouldn’t be so sure of that,” Amanda quipped. “But come over,” she said. “I’ll make sure that my sisters are here and that we have the journal available for you.”
He blinked. “Um, yeah, sure.”
She told herself that she was imagining that he looked slightly confused, maybe even disappointed.
But then, he recovered, raising his coffee cup in a half-hearted toast. “I’ll see you later, Amanda.”
Her heart skipped, thrilled at the sound of her name on his lips. She nodded dumbly, unable to speak.
He tilted his head, a knowing smile spreading across his features before he turned to leave.
When he was gone from the store, Amanda put Nutmeg on the ground, no longer needing to use him as a shield.
“Thanks for the coffee, Tom,” Rupert mocked.
“Shut up,” she retorted.
“Man would have to be a pretty bad detective to not see how attracted to him you are,” the ghost pointed out, laughing.