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Witch Way to Murder by Shirley Damsgaard - Fiction
Bewitched meets Murder She Wrote in this delightful new cozy mystery series featuring Ophelia Jensen, small town librarian and reluctant psychic, and her grandmother Abby, a benevolent witch.
Thirty something Ophelia Jensen wants to live a quiet life as a small town librarian. She's created a comfortable existence with her kooky, colorful grandmother Abby, and if it were up to her, they could live out their days—along with Ophelia's dog Lady and cat Queenie—in peace and quiet. But, to Ophelia's dismay, she and Abby aren't a typical grandmother/granddaughter duo. She possesses psychic powers, and Abby is a kindly witch. And while Ophelia would do anything to dismiss her gift—harboring terrible guilt after her best friend was killed and she was unable to stop it—threatening events keep popping up, forcing her to tap into her powers of intuition. To make matters worse, a strange—yet devastatingly attractive—man is hanging around Ophelia's library, and no matter how many times she tells him she's sworn off men forever, he persists. Soon this handsome newcomer reveals he's following a lead on a local drug ring, and then a dead body shows up right in Abby's backyard. And much as Ophelia would like to put away her spells forever, she and Abby must use their special powers to keep themselves, and others, out of harm's way.
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I felt someone watching me as I put the returned books away. My hackles stood up and my skin tingled. I sighed and shook my head. My instincts told me it was Mr. Carroll, one of our oldest patrons, all in a twist and waiting to pounce on me about our latest book selections. He treated the library as his personal domain and me as his personal slave. He was not one of my favorites.
Sighing again and plastering a smile on my face, I turned, only it wasn't Mr. Carroll's bleary bloodshot eyes staring at me. My smile faded as I stared into the warmest pair of brown eyes I'd ever seen. I felt a shock of awareness deep in my gut, even though I'd never seen this man before.
He sure wasn't from Summerset. It was almost as if he'd taken a class, "Small Town 101: What the Natives Wear," in order to try and fit in. His blue jeans were properly faded, his leather bomber jacket had a lived-in look, and his work boots were fashionably scuffed. But he'd failed the class. His clothes may have said "small town," but everything else in his demeanor shouted "city." He had a sheen, a polish about him, that someone from Small Town, USA, lacks.
I realized I was gaping and quickly looked away. When I glanced back, he was smiling. Evidently, befuddling women, even a thirty-something librarian,was nothing new to him.
"Hi, my name is Richard Davis," he said, extending his hand. His voice was rich and husky, with a faint accent like someone from Minnesota or Wisconsin, maybe.
One of the quirks I'd developed over the past four years was an aversion to touching people, especially strangers, so rather than accept his hand, I bent to pick up an imaginary paper clip on the floor. When I stood,his hand was no longer extended.
"The girl at the desk said I needed to talk to Ophelia Jensen. Are you Ophelia?" he asked. When I nodded, his eyes widened in surprise.
He laughed. "I'm sorry. You don't look like a librarian."
"Really? And what exactly is a librarian supposed to look like?"
"You know, older, hair in a bun, reading glasses on a chain, pencil stuck behind the ear." He smiled, eyeing my clothes. "I've never met a librarian wearing blue jeans and a T-shirt that says 'Tact is for people not witty enough to use sarcasm.' Or one with a name like Ophelia."
I looked down at my clothes. He was right. Not my normal librarian look. Mentally, I pulled my tattered dignity around me and stood straighter. "I work alone in my office on Fridays." That wasn't any of his business. Why was I explaining? "But it seems the Dewey decimal system is beyond my assistant's scope of understanding, so someone has to put these books away."
His smile never slipped. "That explains the clothes, but what about your name?"
"Do you always ask this many questions, Mr. Davis?"
He shrugged. "What can I say? I'm a curious kind of a guy. So, how did you get the name?"
"Persistent, too, aren't you?" I said, arching an eyebrow.
"Okay, the truth is my mother is a retired English professor, and she always had a thing for Shakespeare. Hamlet happened to be her favorite. I have always felt very lucky I wasn't a boy."
"A retired professor? From what university?"
"University of Iowa."
"In Iowa City, right? Is that where you grew up?" he asked.
"Yes." I shifted and crossed my arms.
"How did you wind up in a small town like Summerset?" he asked.
Boy, did this guy ask a lot of questions.
"They needed a librarian and I needed a job." My eyes slid over to the clock hanging on the wall above the bookshelves, and then back to Mr. Davis. "Now, what can I do to help you?"
He noticed my clock-watching and smiled. "I'm sorry, I'm keeping you from your work, aren't I? I need a library card and your..."
Witch Way to MurderBy: Shirley Damsgaard