USA Today Bestselling Author
A cursed sleuth.
A gallery of secrets.
Will this cryptic case be her last?
Pet psychic Jolene is still plagued by a hex that keeps her powers on a leash. So when her detective crush asks for help solving a strange murder at the Museum of Magical Artifacts, she hopes to find clues to break her own sorcerous chains. But faced with a web of lies, Jolene’s secret shifter identity might be the very thing that sets her in the killer’s sights.
Along with her not-quite-boyfriend’s lie-sniffing German Shepherd, Jolene puts her nose to the ground to spring a trap on the culprit. But with the elusive villain apparently able to vanish into thin air, she fears her buried past could come back to bite her.
Can Jolene disenchant her own jinx before a murderer casts the fatal blow?
I started this book laughing, Jolene’s ‘client’ has a snail for a pet. He’s worried because his poor pet has been more sluggish (yes, pun intended) than normal. Folks the snail is stoned, I’m still laughing. Okay, so after that reading, Jolene heads to Will’s clinic to find Heidi was alone. Apparently Will has been doing house calls a few times a week. More on that later.
Heidi goes off to some clubs and Jolene goes off to a shopping area to find a new tape for her walkman. There are some interesting things down in that area and we learn where Jolene gets the things to operate without magic. When an alarm goes off to alert there are cops around, Jolene leaves and runs into Peter and Daisy. They were the ones the alarm was warning about.
Things between Peter and Daisy have been a bit different since she revealed she has no magic but she didn’t tell him the rest, the shifter part. He’s come to her with another case, this one he thinks she’ll be interested in because of where it occurred, The Magical Artifacts Museum. It also seems some believe that it was caused by a curse from the exhibit they are preparing.
We meet all the suspects, with the ones having keys being at the top of the list. We also see the evidence that there’s a mouse around. Jolene wants to find it and see if she can get any information on the murder, but the little creature has been elusive.
There’s also the growing attraction between her and Peter, something Daisy isn’t a fan of.
This is a favorite scene.
The museum had been locked up for the night, and according to Maverick, none of the doors or windows had been broken into. Which meant it had to be someone with a key.
Plus, it seemed like Geoffrey Ibsen had created at least a couple of enemies—the director, Dr. Pendergast, and Mrs. Abernathy at the top of the list. But Daisy, despite a few muddled reads, had sensed that Mrs. Abernathy had been telling the truth when she said she’d been home last night and that she hadn’t killed him, in spite of strong moral objections to his cursed objects collection.
Which left the director at the top of my list. Yes, Kalia had vouched for him, but even she had admitted his behavior and moods had been erratic and more prone to anger lately. And that letter from the board of directors—he’d argued with Geoffrey after receiving it, then hid it from us.
I looked up at Peter. “We need to find out what was in that letter the director was hiding.”
He startled, hands shoved in his pockets, then grinned at me. “Oh. Agreed.”
I quirked my lips to the side. “What were you thinking about?”
We passed by a glowing bakery with small, iron tables out front. A few couples shared glass bowls of gelato and small pastries, huddled together under the striped awning. A fine mist fell around us, the chill of fall starting to creep in.
“Are you cold?” Peter slid an arm around my shoulders and hugged me to his side.
I didn’t protest, despite the side-eye look Daisy threw me. I grinned up at him. “You were thinking about if I was cold?”
He chuckled. “No. I, uh—I’ve actually been wanting to ask you something.”
My throat tightened and I crossed my arms and pulled away from him. “Look. Is this about what I said the other night?”
He bit his lip and nodded.
I sighed. “I told you—I just want to let it go, okay? I appreciate you wanting to be protective and help, but I just want to let it go. I know Eve wasn’t prosecuted but it’s complicated and—”
“Hey hey hey.” Peter slid in front of me. We’d turned down a narrow empty alley, strings of lights glowing overhead. He brought me up short and grabbed my hands. “I—I have to admit I’ve been thinking about that, too.” He frowned. “It’s not right, what happened to you, and I’m an officer. It’s kind of my job to make things right.”
I gave him a half-hearted grin.
“It makes me angry that people wronged you and got away with it—it doesn’t make sense.”
It’d be so much easier for him to understand if I just told him I was a shifter. I looked down at our feet, almost toe to toe. “Is that why you’ve stayed away since then? I know it was a lot to take in.”
“What? No.” He squeezed my hands again and I looked up. “I just—” He looked off, a wry grin on his face. “I just wanted to be respectful.”
I lifted a brow. “I mean, I appreciate that but… I kind of bared my soul a bit and then didn’t hear from you for a couple of weeks. I was starting to wonder if you were second-guessing our…” Our what? Friendship? Working relationship? Or did he share my hopes that it’d be more?
He bit back a smile. “Exactly.”
I stepped back. “You were?”
He pulled me closer again, and I grinned, surprised at the confidence and force in the move. “Jolene. I’m a police officer.” He raised his brows as if willing me to understand something.
“I know….” I clearly didn’t quite get what he was trying to say.
He heaved a great sigh and spoke quickly. “I’m an officer and we work together—you rely on me to be included on cases, to at least in part earn your living. I would never want you to feel pressured, or like I was abusing my authority, but…” He dropped his eyes. “But I kind of felt like the other night might have been something more than just coworkers dancing in the rain, sharing deep truths.”
My throat grew tight, and I pressed my lips together. I couldn’t explain the tears that rushed to my eyes. I felt full to bursting with a mix of emotions I couldn’t name—but they were good ones. Ones I hadn’t felt in a very long time—maybe ever.
His eyes flitted up and met mine. “Was I wrong?”
My grin spread across my face and split into a huge smile I couldn’t fight anymore. “No. You weren’t wrong.”
He nodded, beaming. “Okay.” He chuckled and squeezed my hands. “Okay. Good. I just— I wanted to be careful.” He leveled me an earnest look. “You—“You—this—” He gestured between us, our hands still clasped. “—are important to me.”
I beamed up at him. “Right back at you.”
He grinned and pulled me closer. I lifted my face to his, the string of golden lights glowing behind him, tiny beads of mist clinging to his hair. Our chests pressed together, he lowered his face, our lips parted and—
“Bark! Bark! Bark!” Did you forget I was here? What is this? Stop mauling my Peter with your face!
Peter and I jumped apart as the dog wormed her way between us. I shot Daisy a wide-eyed look.
Yes—yes, I had forgotten about her for one blissful moment. For the love of crab, this dog was going to be the death of me! I pressed a hand to my racing heart, and Peter dragged his hands through his hair, pink spots burning on his cheeks.
“Actually… this brings me to what I wanted to ask you.”
I raised a brow.
He grinned. “Do you think you could translate for me and Daisy? So we can talk to each other?”
Johnson, Erin. Mouse of Cards: A fresh, funny magic mystery with a dash of romance! (Pet Psychic Magical Mysteries Book 4). Kindle Locations (1184-1226). Kindle Edition.
Jolene does interpret for Peter and that is really fun. Reality sneaks in though, reminding her she still hasn’t been totally truthful with him.
I have to say, I love these two together. Of course, there’s still the problem of Ludolf Caterwaul, the shifter ‘king’ crime boss. He’s continuing to be a thorn in her side.
Lots of surprises at the end of this one. I can’t wait to read the next.
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!