My life seems to revolve around it.
That’s what greets me every morning. When I come down to my store — Southern Treasures Gift Shop — from my apartment overhead, I carry my second, or sometimes third, cup of coffee because I need my caffeine.
And every morning Bluebeard begs for coffee. I have to tell him, every day, that parrots don’t drink coffee. It’s dangerous for them. But it doesn’t stop him from asking. Thing is, I don’t really think it’s Bluebeard asking. Because lately I’ve been forced to admit I’m sharing my home with more than a parrot.
I have a ghost.
My great uncle Louis left me Southern Treasures, but I don’t think he ever really left. I think Uncle Louis is still hanging around, talking to me, messing with stuff in the shop, and generally causing trouble. Part of it is his vocabulary, which is sometimes quite, um, colorful. And part of it is that he flirts with the pretty girls; Bluebeard has an impressive wolf whistle.
Coffee is part of another morning ritual. About a year ago Jake Robinson bought Beach Books, across the main drag of Keyhole Bay from Southern Treasures. Jake is a bit of an attraction; tall, dark hair, and really smart (hey, he owns a book store, doesn’t he?). Now, when we have a lull in customers, Jake and I meet at Lighthouse Coffee next door to me for lattes and scones. I’ve discovered Jake is a check-grabber, but I know there is a lot more I don’t know about him.
Thing is, Bluebeard — well, Uncle Louis — thinks he needs to interfere where Jake is concerned. He always has to make some comment, every time I have coffee with Jake. And when he says “Pretty boy,” you can bet he’s not talking about himself.
There’s a lot I don’t know about Uncle Louis, too. He died when I was only ten, and my memories of him are jumbled. He seemed really old to me, but now I realize he was only in his sixties. I thought he was quite exotic; he served in Europe and the South Pacific during WWII. He was a single man in a small town where family was everything. Now I realize how little I know about him. Just like Jake.
Actually, Uncle Louis left me fifty-five percent of Southern Treasures. He left the other forty-five percent to my cousin Peter. Peter lives in Montgomery, and just because he has a Master’s degree, he thinks he knows everything. His degree is in Engineering, but that doesn’t stop him from sharing his wisdom about how to run Southern Treasures. Recently he tried to convince me to add a coffee bar, even though the best coffee shop in town is right next door. Believe me, I know where to get my coffee, and I know how to run my business.
My BFF, Karen Freed, can be counted on to know all the best drive-thru coffee in the county, since her job as a reporter for the local radio station takes her everywhere. She’s always glad to introduce me to a new spot, and to help me out in whatever adventure comes our way.
See, my life really does revolve around coffee. But it also revolves around mystery.
Bluebeard got me involved with the mystery surrounding the death of local star quarterback Kevin Stanley. And somehow I have a hunch Bluebeard and Uncle Louis will see to it that I get involved in more mysteries in the future.
But there are other mysteries in my life, and I want to solve them, too. Uncle Louis and Jake are just the beginning. There’s the SouthernTreasuresShop.com website that needs a lot of work, and the mystery of what to do about Peter, oh, and just exactly what is my relationship with Jake.
Every day I face the mysteries in my life, and try to unravel them. It’s what keep me going.
That, and a big dose of coffee.
You can read more about Gloryanna in MURDER BUYS A T-SHIRT, the first book in the new “Haunted Souvenir” mystery series.
** Thanks to the publisher, I have one (1) copy of MURDER BUYS A T-SHIRT to give away. Contest open to residents of the US only. Contest ends March 10. Leave a valid-email address with your comment. The book will be shipped directly from the publisher. **
Meet the author
Christy Evans and Christy Fifield are the mystery-writing alter egos of romance and sci-fi novelist Christina F. York. Together they live with national best-selling novelist, and husband, J. Steven York, within the sound of the surf that pounds the scenic Central Oregon Coast.
Evans is the Berkley Prime Crime author of the popular Lady Plumber Mystery series (SINK TRAP, LEAD PIPE CINCH, DRIP DEAD), and Fifield is writing the Haunted Gift Shop series for Berkley, which debuts with MURDER BUYS A T-SHIRT. York has published sweet romance (DREAM HOUSE) and has several romance novels out from indie publisher Tsunami Ridge (www.TsunamiRidge.com).
Books are available at retail and online booksellers.