Harlow Torrent, part-time journalist and full-time Slip Witch is pulled into a murder mystery when the skeletons of a man and a girl are uncovered on Truer Island. Seeing visions of the past that are all too real and ghosts who are becoming more solid by the day, Harlow is trying to keep her online newspaper running, dealing with her meddling witch family and working out what to do about the very handsome Jack Bishop being back in town. But Harlow might be out of her depth when the murderer sets their sights on her!
I bought this series in the complete box set. I am reviewing individually as I read.
I do recommend that you read this series in order as this book continues where the last one left off.
If you recall Harlow had been frozen after defeating a murdering magical creature, it’s now six weeks later and she’s finally awakened. She’s also avoiding Jack. She had promised him a date if he was still around after the Butter festival but being frozen meant her family lied and said she was vacationing in France.
Harlow Torrent and Carter Wilkins are in a wild ride as this book opens. Marika Henderstrom CEO of Gold Mud International is driving the golf cart they’re in at speeds that should never be reached in the vehicle. The end of that ride contains a news worthy find. The backhoe operator stops and, in the ditch, clearly visible, are two skeletons. Nothing like that kind of reveal with two journalists present.
Sheriff Hardy is called and after he gets everyone’s statement things gets shut down. Harlow’s hoping to decompress with her cousins Molly and Luce at the Traveler’s but their new complicated, somewhat dangerous, Italian spouting coffee maker, has attracted a new volume of business. They are now thinking of switching from souvenirs to a coffee shop. Luce wants to wait but Molly wants to forge ahead, a new point of contention with them. They also have boyfriends, Will the landscaper and Ollie the librarian. They’re all heading to lunch when Harlow sees a little girl’s ghost, she’s sure it’s the ghost of the child skeleton found earlier and already knows she’s going to help and tells the ghost where to find her.
Aunt Cass offers little in the way of help with the girl they are calling Holly since she can’t remember her actual name.
The renovation to turn part of Torrent Mansion into a Bed and Breakfast is still in progress but enough has completed for the first guests. There’s so much that is happening in this book with the next thing a bit explosive as Aunt’s Cass’s stock of illegal fireworks starts exploding at the end of dinner with those first guests. Stopping the fire that caused it with Cass opens Harlow up to a scary side effect.
Harlow still hasn’t addressed the issue of Jack. His brother is opening an office downstairs from hers so she knows she can’t avoid him forever but she’s going stay away as long as she can. After another interview with the sheriff, Harlow spends a few minutes in a witchy happy spot on a corner. This is when she decides to go to her office and face whatever comes.
This is just one of my favorite scenes.
After a while, the joy and happiness collected in that one spot worked on me. I had a spring in my step and I was feeling better. I was even ready to face Jonas if it came to it.
I walked back to the office and went upstairs but didn’t run into Jonas. I did hear him in his office talking on the phone.
I barely glanced at the charred circle on the floor. The crazy desire that produced it seemed to be a million miles away. I could hardly believe it was me who had done it. Although it was getting close to lunch I sat down at my computer and started writing in an attempt to get through some of my backlog. Just like the drive to work, the habitual nature of it calmed me and soon I was engrossed in an article about the foreshore restoration project and the tree plantings they were using to stop further erosion. Exciting stuff, I know. One of the things I love about being a writer is that I can get really interested and excited about practically anything. I hit the Internet for more information about soil erosion and how to recover from it and was deep in the world of plants and dirt and using nature to recover from the destruction that humankind wrought on the landscape when there was a knock on the door.
“Come in,” I called out without looking up.
“So, the girl who stood me up for a baguette.”
The world of soil erosion and plants suddenly evaporated, leaving me sitting in my office with Jack Bishop leaning against the door frame. He was as handsome as ever. Those eyes, my gosh. That stubble. That slightly shaggy look. He was wearing a dark blue T-shirt and a pair of bone-colored shorts. Without being able to stop myself my gaze traveled down him. Those eyes, lips, strong arms and hands, the shape of his body, his legs…
“Would you like me to turn around so you can view the back?” Jack asked and crossed his arms.
I’d seen him three weeks ago helping his half-brother move furniture and then I had fled down the fire escape (like a strong independent woman who knows what she wants). I’d known I would probably come face to face with him again. I had hoped it would be at a moment when I was effortlessly beautiful and I would have some witty rejoinder ready to float off my lips.
Was it too much to hope that we would meet at some spectacular charity gala event and I would be wearing an amazing amazing evening gown and he would arrive in a suit, looking like a secret agent? He would say something charming, I would give him a witty reply and we would engage in some kind of verbal cat-and-mouse game even as we stepped closer together…
It hadn’t really occurred to me that I might see him in the doorway of my office as I sat hunched over a computer, my hair tied up in a messy ponytail, feeling a bit sweaty because I hadn’t realized that the room had heated up.
I summoned up all of my linguistic powers honed by years of writing and made a sound that probably could be translated as urk. My face turned red one nanosecond after that.
“Oh, you’re blushing. Probably because you remembered that we had a date planned and then you stood me up because you suddenly went to France. No need to feel embarrassed. Come with me to the Festival of Lights down at the park tonight and we’ll forget all about it.”
The Festival of Lights was a fundraiser to help the Harlot Bay Hospital upgrade some of its equipment and expand the number of beds. There was going to be live music, food stands and parade of glowing papier-mâché animals and fish lit up from within. It had started last year – one of the mayor’s ideas again – and this was its second year. Last year it had raised nearly fourteen thousand dollars from ticket sales and donations and was a stunning success. This year it was about three times as big, and it seemed almost everyone around town was participating. I was already going as part of my job as being a reporter and also being a good citizen. The moms were going to be there also, donating sales from their baked goods to the cause.
“I’m already going,” I said.
That was the witty comment I’d spent so long working on? The snarky, possibly flirty line that I had for him? Oh my Goddess, I was going to die.
“Wonderful. I’ll see you there at seven thirty. We’ll eat a hot dog, drink a beer, see some glowing fish. You can tell me all about France. Unless of course you’re flying off to some other European country sometime this afternoon that you’ve forgotten about?”
I shook my head. Jack smiled that roguish smile at me and in an instant he was gone.
And yes, for the record, he did look amazing from behind in those shorts.
As soon as he was gone I let out the breath I seemed to be holding. It felt like my office had jumped in temperature in the last two minutes.
Lake, Tess. Torrent Witches Cozy Mysteries Complete Box Set (Books 1 – 10) Kindle Locations (3737 – 3773). Tess Lake. Kindle Edition.
The Festival of Lights was quite the event and Jack and Harlow’s date was interrupted by an attack on Carter and the bald man who stepped on her as he rushed by them a bit earlier.
I love the way Harlow gets bits and piece of information from all different sources as she helps the sheriff unofficially solve the crime. I also get a kick out of her cat Adams, who sneaks in information even as he complains he’s starving.
Intrigue, spats, laughter, tears and romance as well pour from these pages as the crime is solved.
5 Contented Purrs for Tess!
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I’m all about Cozy Witches! Mystery, murder, magic!