The night that a horrific storm drives a massive drug ship aground, Betty’s teenage son disappears. What happened to the tons of drugs that were on that ship? Where is the boy? Is it a coincidence that two elderly Wicca women land on Keely’s doorstep the next day? In her desperate attempts to save the boy, Keely runs afoul of the law and shatters her friendship with Betty.
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Deadly Alibi Press
Salvaged, a Gottingen Witch Mystery
Puddles pushed her bulk far into the corner, not even caring that the stinking oil on the pylon smeared into her fur. Still the water surged around her paws; icy, smelly water that dripped down her forehead and stung her eyes. She felt hoarse from meowing.
“Okay, okay, I’m coming cat.”
Puddles froze, then emitted another shriek. First there was a light, then a young man appeared. He ducked under the wharf and, still crouched over, sloshed though the water.
“Jesus H. Christ, it’s cold.”
Puddles wanted to be saved, but still her hackles rose and her ears lay flat against her skull. She hissed and swiped at the hand reaching for her. The boy retreated.
He stuffed the flashlight into the front of his jeans and grabbed Puddles. This time she stuck her claws into the sleeve of his jacket and held firm. He carried her out from under the wharf and into the driving rain. Humans had warmth, she knew, so she pressed herself against him.
Suddenly the sky flashed bright as daytime. The boy hunched. Ka-boom! Every muscle in Puddles’ body went rigid. She sprang from the boy and galloped down the beach toward home. Soon her lungs burned. She veered off to catch her breath while huddled under a large piece of driftwood.
Flash! The sky lit up again and in that moment, Puddles could see the boy down by the wharf. He was up to his knees now, headed toward a dark shape lifting and dropping in the surge of the water. She meowed to him for help, but he was too far away to hear. She darted back out into the rain and scurried home.
Keely woke from her nap with a jerk as the heavy cat landed on her. Her first thought was that she’d been having another cat dream: an allergy-like condition that gave her vivid dreams especially when a cat was nearby. Then she felt the warm dampness seeping through her jeans. The law journal she’d been reading when she fell asleep was now covered by a soggy cat.
“What happened to you?” she asked as she slid out the journal and lay it open on the side table to dry.
Puddles was a big cat, but with her fur wet and matted to her body she looked half her normal size. Apparently she’d already licked the worst of the water off, but she still smelled of brine and creosote. Keely dropped her head back onto the wing chair and chuckled to herself. The only time she ever got to hold the cat was when Puddles was wet or cold. She had no affection for her new human caregiver. It was as if Puddles blamed Keely for the fact that the beloved old lady who used to live with her was no longer around.
Lightening stabbed and the power blinked out. Two seconds later thunder rumbled a satisfying sound, so deep it made Keely’s insides vibrate. She considered hauling aside the heavy drapes to look at the frantic whipping of the trees, the black roiling sky, and the brilliant flashes of light across the churning ocean. But with the way the wind howled and beat against the old window panes, she didn't dare. Instead, she leaned to snap a flame under the wick of the candle she’d set in a saucer. Now light flickered across the somber wallpaper and velvet curtains.
Suddenly Keely stopped, held her breath, and listened. An alien sound wove through the wind and crashing surf, half hiss, half hum. A feeling like disappointment caught in her chest.
Puddles growled a complaint as Keely gently lifted her from her lap, stood, and put her back down on the warm seat. She crossed to the lace-covered table in the middle of the darkened parlor to where her grandmother’s crystal ball hummed. The sound made a spot behind her left ear throb. She didn’t understand why. Hell, she didn’t understand a lot that happened to her since she moved to Gottingen. She whipped off the black cover, and squinted at the orb's brilliant glow. Orange and violet swirled madly inside. According to her grandmother’s books, orange was supposed to mean a loss of some kind, but she couldn't remember about violet. She told herself it didn't matter anyway. The ball only reacted to the electricity in the air. It was sensitive to static. That's all.
She didn’t want to believe in crystal balls and witchcraft. That had been her grandmother's creed, just as this had been her grandmother's crystal. No, she considered herself a modern woman, and a better than average lawyer. She lived alone in a creaky old house and had a few unusual abilities that she tried to keep to herself, but other than that she was perfectly normal.
Crack! Boom! She jerked back, staring toward the shrouded window. It sounded as if the lightning hit a tree that time, or a barn somewhere on the other side of the cove. She sank onto a chair and cupped her hand over the ball. Despite the hot colors, it was cold and slick under her palm. Slowly, the swirls merged into one color. Red, like warm blood. Danger.