Authors: Tonya Kappes
Everyone was back to normal in Whispering Falls. The light breeze blew across my nose, lifting my spirits even more. Faith was right. There was something special and magical about All Hallows’ Eve.
“This is the best turn out yet,” Oscar said.
“Yes it is.” I took another look around.
“Shall we go check out all the shops?” he asked, putting his elbow out for me to take.
“I’d love to.” I took a deep breath and my soul twanged.
Whispering Falls was growing and I couldn’t help but feel that something was lurking. . .something mysterious.
Find out where it all began!
“I know, I know.” I waved my hands in front of me trying to stop anything that was about to come out of Oscar Park’s mouth, but I knew it was useless.
He slammed the door of his patrol car, took his hat off, and then waved it toward my shed. . .my burning shed. “You know what?”
Truth be told, I didn’t know much, but I did know how to handle Oscar Park. Especially when it came to personal matters. “I know I went a bit too far this time, but I really need to figure out this new cure.”
Oscar grew up across the street, raised by his uncle, Police Chief Jordan Parks. Like me, well sort of like me, Oscar’s parents got killed in a car accident while my dad was shot in the line of duty.
“A bit?” Oscar shook his head and pointed to the flames shooting up in the air. “Unless you want the new cure to blow someone up, I think you were using the wrong ingredients.”
“Now, Oscar.” I shuffled out of the way of the zipping fire truck, and took a bite of the Ding Dong in my hand that I had grabbed on the way out of the shed when I knew it was going to combust. “Was it necessary to call in all of Locust Grove’s finest?”
“Yes, June Heal.” Oscar wasn’t the ten-year-old boy who created havoc with me in that very shed while experimenting with my mom Darla’s homeopathic cures. Though his crystal blue eyes were sincere, I knew he meant business. “But you’ve done it this time. It’s a total loss.”
I held the uneaten round end of the Ding Dong up to him and he took a bite. A big bite. I grumbled under my breath. He knew Ding Dongs are my go-to comfort food.
Old Mac McGurtle came running through the herb garden I had planted after Darla died, screaming, “I told you she was going to set this whole town on fire if she kept mixing those chemicals.”
Mr. McGurtle was always spreading gossip since Darla died about how I had turned A Dose of Darla, my homeopathic cure shop, into a fire hazard by putting all sorts of crazy concoctions together.
“Settle down, Mr. McGurtle.” Jordan Parks snuck up behind us. “Thank you for calling us, and helping Ms. Heal save her business.”
“Hhmph.” Mr. McGurtle threw his hands in the air and mumbled something under his breath.
“He’s the one who called?” I huffed, my bangs flew out of my eyes, and I crossed my arms. “He needs to mind his own business. And stop walking through my herb garden!”
For a moment Mr. McGurtle and I stared at each other until Jordan stepped between us.
The shed looked like it was going to be a total loss this time. All the other twenty times I set it afire I was able to save it. Luckily, I only used the shed to create new homeopathic cures using Darla’s old remedies. I kept the main ingredients in the basement of our old house. . .my house now.
“I think you did it this time,” Jordan warned, half serious. He walked away shaking his head. He stopped briefly to talk to one of the guys from the fire department.
“Not only have you done it this time, you’ve really pissed off a lot of your neighbors.” Oscar put his hat back on his head, and looked around at the neighbors gathering on the other side of the fence in my front yard. “They think you are as crazy as Darla was.”
Darla Heal, my mother, was the creator of A Dose of Darla, homeopathic cures. And everyone called her Darla, even me, because she didn’t like to be referred to as Ms. Heal, Mrs. Heal or even Mom.
“Well, the old saying is right then.” I snarled, studying every face gawking at me. They were just being nosy like always.
“And what old saying it that?” Oscar asked.
“The apple,” I pointed to myself, “doesn’t fall too far from the tree.”
Oscar’s face split into a wide grin. “And we sure did have some fun times in there. But you’ve got to admit you’ve outgrown this place and selling your cures at the flea market.”
I wish I had another Ding Dong. I listened to what he had to say. He was right. The retail space for A Dose of Darla had started in the shed until Darla moved it to a booth at the local flea market. She had all sorts of people coming to get her homeopathic cures. And she had been good at it.
I spent most of my teenage years working Darla’s booth at the flea market with Oscar right next to me, and hated every moment of it. I always swore I’d never take over Darla’s business. As they say, never say never. When Darla died from an apparent heart attack, I did the only thing I could to take care of myself. I took over A Dose of Darla and began to experiment.
Most of the remedies needed to be updated, and since I had always been good in chemistry, I knew I could make them better. Making them better meant doing a lot of combinations of different things and not getting them to explode. Unfortunately, today was not a good mix of ingredients.
“You know I don’t want to live in the country with all those scary noises.” I knew what Oscar was hinting at.
For weeks, he’d been begging me to get rid of this old house and move to a farm where I could make a real lab, so I could create my remedies the right way. Not in a shed.
“Not in the country.” He leaned in a little closer, and said words tentatively as if testing the idea, “I stumbled upon a little village about thirty minutes from here when I went to check out a job opening. I have a good feeling about it. But keep it on the down low.”
I drew back to take in his expression. “You can’t leave the police department here.” I was pretty good at reading him all these years, almost psychic, but the sun cast a shadow on his face, making it hard for me to see if he was serious.
“Shhh.” He held his finger up to his lips. “I said down low, not out loud. I will be by tonight to tell you about it. And it really is something you need to consider.”
He definitely had my wheels turning as I stood in a puddle of water created by the fire department in their efforts to save the shed, only their efforts had been a waste. Jordan informed me that the fire chief told him the shed was a total loss. As if I needed to be told. All that was left was the cement foundation. Who knew that Thea Sinensis mixed with Camellia was so flammable? I did now. Thank God, because the cure I had been making had been for me. I could really see Mr. McGurtle’s face if I had been blow up.
I swear I saw Mr. McGurtle smiling all the way from his front yard.
“Excuse me! Excuse me!” a woman yelled from the other side of the fence. She waved when she caught my eye. “Yes, you!” She pointed at me.
I was glad to see everyone but she had left. The show was finally over and I could get back to work. . . except I couldn’t. Not without the shed.
The lady was someone I didn’t recognize. The floral A-line skirt was throwing me off a bit, but the black, lace-up booties were definitely awesome. The closer I got, the more she reminded me of a younger version of Meryl Streep, the blond hair was long and wavy like Meryl’s. Even her nose was small and pointed, only she had hazel eyes and sweeping lashes.
“Are you Darla from A Dose of Darla?” She pointed her lace gloved fingers toward my home.
“I’m Darla’s daughter, June Heal.” I put my hand out, but she didn’t take it, so I pretended to rub them together. “Darla passed away a few years ago. Are you a friend?”
It wouldn’t have been unusual for someone out of the blue to show up and visit with Darla. She had friends from all over. Darla was sort of a gypsy type. She believed in free spirit, holistic living, and open imagination. Darla taught me to be kind to everyone and everything.
“No.” She scrunched her nose. “Did you take over the business?”
“I did.” Something in my gut made me wearily suspicious of her.
“You sell something I might be interested in.” She lowered her thick dark lashes, and stared at me.
“I, um, sell homeopathic remedies,” I muttered uneasily.
Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Mr. McGurtle making his way back across the yard, as fast as his short legs could carry him. Through the herb garden. . .again.
“I was interested in selling them in my store.” She pulled a business card out of the top of her glove. “Please come pay me a visit if you are interested. Good day.”
I took the card from her fingers and we held a gaze for just a moment. Her eyes wandered over my shoulder. I turned around to find Mr. McGurtle giving her the wonky eye, which was his signature “don’t mess with me” look.
When I turned back around, the strange woman was already in her car, pulling away from the curb.
“Do you need something, Mr. McGurtle?” I sighed walking past him toward the house.
, Mr. Prince Charming sat on the top wooden porch step, dragging his tail back and forth. He batted at the cicada darting in the air.
The bottom of his tail was always black from all the wagging he did. It amazed me how, otherwise, he was always pristinely white. I’d assume keeping clean would be difficult for most outdoor cats. But Mr. Prince Charming was not like any other cat I’d ever come across.
“I promised Darla I’d keep a close eye on you,” Mr. McGurtle said, stomping after me.
Rolling my eyes, I made it up on the porch before he yelled, “I think you are causing more trouble in your adult life than when you were a kid.”
For a moment I stood still, trying to think of an answer while Mr. Prince Charming did figure eights around my ankles, but decided to bite my tongue. It was easier not to argue with Mr. McGurtle.
“Oh, Mr. Prince Charming, must you?” I bent down and flicked the dead cicada into the grass next to the steps with all the other dead ones he had killed. I swear he’s on a mission to whack every cicada in Locust Grove. If the cat only knew the town was named after the nasty bugs—he’d be in heaven.
I flung the screen door open, and Mr. Prince Charming ran into the house before me. I closed the door behind me. This was generally how Mr. McGurtle and I ended all of our conversations.
bestselling author Tonya Kappes has been self-publishing her numerous mystery and romance titles with unprecedented success. She is famous not only for her hilarious plotlines and quirky characters, but her tremendous marketing efforts that have earned her thousands of followers and a devoted street team of fans. Be sure to check out Tonya’s website for upcoming events and news and to sign up for her newsletter!
Olivia Davis Paranormal Mystery Series
Magical Cures Mystery Series
A CHARMING HEX
A CHARMING VOODOO
Spies and Spells Series
Spies and Spells
Betting Off Dead
Get Witch or Die Trying (available for presale)
Grandberry Falls Series
A Laurel London Mystery Series
A Divorced Diva Beading Mystery Series
Bluegrass Romance Series
A Ghostly Southern Mystery Series
A GHOSTLY REUNION (available for presale)
A GHOSTLY MORTALITY (available for presale)
Enjoy a free ebook from Tonya when you sign up for her newsletter by