An arcane arachnid.
Can she unravel this designer death?
Pet psychic Jolene needs some excitement to keep her mind off her downward spiral. So when her dreamy police crush asks her to interview a massive eight-legged murder witness, the former shifter signs on despite the risks. With an enchanted sweatshop owner and a testy trendsetter both dying from the same venom, Jolene fears their crafty assassin has spun a complex web…
Following the officer and his lie-sniffing German Shepherd into a labyrinth of clues, she cuts through a suspect list full of jealous rivals and bitter enemies. But when their investigation shines a light on the frayed corners of the black market, Jolene worries she’s pulled the wrong thread…
Can she stitch up the case before she gets sewn into a body bag?
As this book opens, Jolene heads to her friend Will’s and interrupts him without thinking. In the room with him are some of the head Shifter’s goons. She’s successfully avoided this type of encounter for a long time. However, there are some things that get noticed anyway. Like her helping the police. As if hearing about it isn’t enough, Peter and his partner Daisy show up there looking for her.
There’s been a murder and the main suspect is dying. Li Fan the victim has a giant spider familiar, it’s spider venom that killed her Peter needs Jolene to find out why the spider would essentially kill itself in such a way.
I have to say I don’t think I could have been as calm and collected as Jolene when she entered the room with that spider.
This is a favorite scene.
I swallowed against the lump in my throat and longed to glance back at Peter for support, but didn’t dare take my eyes off the thing for a moment. I raised a trembling hand in greeting and spoke in spider language, which to me, sounded like a series of whispers.
Hey there, spider. I flashed a smile. I come in peace.
The eight shiny round eyes blinked in unison.
You speak… spider? Its voice came out hoarse and labored.
I nodded and kept my voice down so that Peter and the several other officers who crowded together near the door wouldn’t hear. Yes. I, uh— I scratched the back of my neck. How to phrase this delicately….
The cops want me to ask you why you killed your witch? I drew a finger across my throat. Was she mistreating you, or…?
The pinchers clicked together and clear venom dripped to a sizzling puddle on the concrete floor. I did not kill… the… witch. The giant spider wheezed.
I really didn’t want to contradict an enormous spider but…. They say she was killed by venom—your venom.
The giant, shiny eyes blinked, somewhat out of unison. But now… I die. Why would I… kill… her?
I licked my lips. Fair point, spider, and frankly in line with what my gut told me. I’d never heard of a familiar killing its witch. I edged closer. Sometimes familiars and their witches share a mind connection—if it wasn’t you, did you see who did kill her?
Black lids slid halfway over the creature’s many eyes. It wasn’t me. It was— It shuddered, and a couple of its legs dropped limp to the ground.
I frowned, holding my breath. The thing just had to hold on a little longer. Who was it?
The spider struggled for breath. It was—the one—who was here before.
I peered through the semidarkness at the enormous creature. Here, when?
Here as a—girl—and then again—as a woman. The one who—
The giant thing seized, its legs twitching. I scurried back, tripped, and landed hard on the concrete. Peter appeared at my side a moment later and crouched down next to me. Together, we watched the spider convulse, let out a grating moan, and then grow still, its body listing to one side.
My chest heaved. “I think it’s dead.” Not that I was volunteering to double check.
Peter nodded, and his eyes drifted to my face. “Are you alright?”
I gulped as he took my hands and helped me to my feet. I sure was now.
He lifted a thick brow. “Did you get anything?” He let go of my hands to lightly touch his fingertips to my temples.
Oh geez. He was touching my face. My breath caught as I stared up into his bright blue eyes.
Daisy barked, deep and loud, and we both jumped apart.
“Daisy.” Peter frowned down at her, then looked at me, his lips quirked to the side. “I’m sorry—I don’t know what gets into her sometimes.”
I curled my lip. “Worms, probably.” I rolled my eyes at the dog and let out a couple of quiet whines. If you hadn’t noticed, he was the one touching me.
A little thrill rushed through my chest. And I might never wash my temples again. Though, considering my apartment didn’t have a working shower and I had to sneak into the bathhouse down the street once a week to bathe, that wouldn’t be much of a stretch for me.
I gave myself a little shake when I caught Peter looking at me expectantly—though I couldn’t help but notice the pink blush creeping up his neck and cheeks. Maybe I wasn’t the only one feeling this?
Right, Jolene. Back to police business. I nodded as the other officers gathered closer to hear my findings. “The spider didn’t kill the witch.”
A guy with a big gut and mustache huffed. “Well, it was a massive dose of spider venom that did her in, so I think we can safely say it did.”
The officer next to him nodded his agreement.
I frowned. “I disagree. The spider must have known that killing its witch would result in its own death.” I looked back up at Peter. “It said—I mean, it thought, ‘the one who was here before as a girl, and again as a woman,’ did it.” I shrugged. “I think the spider saw a bit of what the victim saw.”
Peter stroked his chin. “What could that mean?”
The lady cop glared at me, her lids half lowered. “If any of that actually happened.” She turned to the mustached officer beside her and scoffed. “Pet psychic doing police work—now I’ve seen everything.”
Anger and embarrassment made my chest burn hot. I opened my mouth to set them straight, but Peter beat me to it.
“Jolene’s here because I saw her use her powers with my own eyes to save Daisy.” He lifted his chin. “You got a problem with her being here, then you take it up with me.”
I folded my arms and beamed at the other two. Yeah—what he said.
The other cops lowered their eyes and mumbled apologies.
Peter gave me a tight-lipped smile. “Sorry about that. I think we should go have a talk with the foreman, Xiu, who found our victim.”
I grinned back at him. “Lead the way.”
Johnson, Erin. Friday Night Bites: A fresh, funny magic mystery with a dash of romance! (Pet Psychic Magical Mysteries Book 2). Kindle Locations (366-408). Kindle Edition.
The case gets even more convoluted when the connect this murder to another uptown. It seems the designer who used Li Fan’s facilities died on the catwalk at the end of her show.
Plenty of suspense, and without magic Jolene is pretty much defenseless around all these magic beings. Somehow, she manages though. I really wish she would tell Peter what happened to her.
In the meantime, I am going to start the next book.
5 Contented Purrs for Erin!
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A native of Arizona, Erin loves her new home in the Pacific Northwest! She writes paranormal cozy novels– stories that are mysterious, magical, and will hopefully make you laugh.
When not writing, she’s hiking, napping with her dogs, and losing at trivia night.
Erin’s had a ton of different jobs, from blackjack dealer to PA on a horror movie to Pilates instructor but has finally embraced her true calling as a writer. Thanks so much for your interest and for supporting her!