Faerie dust dead (the luna devere series book 2)

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FaerieDust Dead

 

Book 2 of the Luna Devere Series

 

by

 

J.M. Griffin

 

A Dream is a Wish YourHeart Makes. . .

 

Copyright © 2014 Jeanne Paglio

 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVEDNo part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means (electronic,mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without prior writtenpermission of the copyright holder, except by a reviewer, who may quote briefpassages in a review.

 

The characters and events portrayed in this book arefictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental andnot intended by the author.

 

Table ofContents

 

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

About theAuthor

 

 

Chapter1

 

Sounds of breaking glass brought me uprightin bed. I strained to listen, wondering if I had dreamed the noise or really heardit correctly. As I flung my bedcovers aside, Riddles, my fat and lazy cat,softly complained over the disturbance I’d created by waking him. Moving slowlythrough the apartment toward the stairs, I felt my way down and into the diningroom, before moving across the floor to the shop. The gift shop section wasconnected to the dining room of my business, Faerie Cake Junction. A draftwhistled along the edge of jagged glass of a broken window. I’d heard the soundbefore and its familiarity gave me the willies.

I peered about searching for someonewho could still be lurking there. Gift wrap fluttered in the cool breeze, whichdrew my attention to the splintered pane in one of the windows at the farthestend of the room.

Though only minutes earlier hadI heard the glass breaking, brisk October air already chilled the first floor.Who had created the draft, and for what reason? Surely there could be no goodexplanation. Mother Nature’s air freshener, by way of fall foliage decay,permeated the shop. This, the last hurrah of leaves and vegetation, held aslightly sweet, yet fusty scent. I shivered and rubbed my bare arms as Iquickly searched the premises.

In the wee hours of themorning, the street lamp at the edge of the parking area beamed light acrossthe lot and in through the windows. My heart pounded as I nervously switched onall the interior lights and viewed the room. Aghast, I counted several missingpieces of artwork and I made a mental note of all the shelves, stands, andracks with empty spaces. My anger mounted. The culprit had only wanted onespecific thing from my shop: Arianna Gentile’s glasswork.

“Darn it all,” I grumbled whilepacing the room. “What will I tell the police?”

With his usual bored andslow-moving countenance, Riddles sashayed into the room and gave the air asniff, before he jumped onto the sales counter to watch me. Maybe he thoughtI’d finally lost my mind, or possibly, he didn’t care one way or another. Regardless,he sat there, immobile as a statue.

“Well? Do you think I should callthe police, or what?” I asked Riddles. No answer.

Reaching out, I scratched hisears and listened to him purr. “You’re right of course. That’s the only smartthing to do. Since the sheriff has been replaced with a decent fellow, I canrest assured this time I won’t be treated like an idiot.” I grimaced thoughthere was no one there with e to see it. As if to reassure me, the cat sniffedmy fingertips, rubbed his massive head against my hand, and purred like achainsaw in idle mode.

Emergency phone numbers laytaped to the counter next to the cash register. I’d called the station so oftenin the past and knew the dispatcher, I bypassed using the 9-1-1 emergencynumber. When the call went through, Deputy Dave Moss identified himself andasked for my name, and my problem. Taking a deep breath, I tried for calm.Angered and put out, that someone had broken into my business, and having theadded grievance stolen stuff, the attempt was futile.Calmwas not mymiddle name at the moment.

Upon identifying myself, Isaid, “I’d like to speak to the sheriff.”

Hesitating for a fraction of asecond, Deputy Moss responded, “He’s not in yet. What can I help you with, MissDevere?”

“There’s been a break-in, hereat Faerie Cake Junction.”

“I’ll send an officer out rightaway,” he promised. “Are you sure the perpetrator is gone?”

“I’m sure. There’s been atheft, but I’m alone.”

“Stay on the phone with mewhile I send Officer Alder to your home.”

The line went silent for a fewseconds before Deputy Moss spoke again. “Turn all the lights on, and wait forOfficer Alder to get there. Is Devin with you, or is he still with thein-laws?” Moss asked. Moss had become a regular in my life when I’d beeninvolved in some dangerous episodes earlier in the year. He was familiar withme, Faerie Cake Junction, and was good friends with my fiancé, Devin Radford.

Walking through the two roomsand into the hallway, I flipped on every light switch, brightening the entireplace, inside and out. “Devin’s still away,” I said. “I’m not scared, only upsetover this intrusion.”

Moss continued to chat while Iwaited for the cruiser to arrive. How long we talked of mundane subjects wasanyone’s guess. I didn’t doubt for a moment he was intent on keeping me focusedon the conversation, rather than worrying about my losses while awaitingOfficer Alder’s arrival.

When an approaching siren’sblare suddenly cut out, and bar lights flashed in the front windows I heard thepolice cruiser draw to a stop in the parking lot. My assumption was correct.Stan Alder quickly left his car and headed toward me. I told Moss Alder hadarrived, hung up, and waited at the open door.

While I watched Alder climb thesteps to the shop, I thought of Devin. As a well-known, and much-sought-aftercarpenter in this part of southern Maine’s coastline, I’d hired him during thesummer to do some work for me. One thing led to another and before I knew it,we were engaged to be married, but our nuptials had recently been put on holdfor business reasons. How would I tell him about this break-in without himworrying? I’d have to consider the best way to share the news.

My tea and cupcake shop servesnot only fantastic cupcakes, if I do say so myself, but also offers distinctive‘fairie ware’ gifts that are mainly produced by local artisans. A variety offaeries made of glass, leaded window hangings depicting the lovely creatures,and a host of hand-blown statues in many sizes were only part of the faerieware. Several of Arianna’s most recent and delightful pieces were missing. Thetalented woman had a workshop and homestead that bordered my property. It wasfar enough away that I couldn’t see her house, though I could easily wend myway through the wooded path behind my shop and arrive there quicker on footthan by car.

As a business owner and cupcakemaker, I never have mundane or boring moments. I believe in faeries and thatthey visited me often. Happily, Devin, my fiancé is also a believer. During thesummer, I’d had a run of bad luck by way of dead people that had been depositedat Faerie Cake Junction. The sheriff, at the time, hadn’t believed I had nopart in their demise and wanted to arrest me for murders most foul. During allthe hoopla, he’d tried to claim I was barmy, and insisted I be charged and sentto the funny-farm. Thank goodness nobody, well, almost nobody, believed him.

I opened the door for OfficerAlder and nodded when he dipped his head in greeting. Alder, a tall gangly manreminding me of Ichabod Crane ofThe Legend of Sleepy Hollowfame,glanced around my tidy dining room. He jumped when the spring-loaded front doorclosed with a snap. I walked alongside him and motioned toward the gift shop.

He scanned the room. “Have youtouched anything, Luna?”

I shook my head. “I just did aquick check for what’s gone missing, and then called the station.”

He arched a brow and slanted acool look toward me. “What’s been taken?”

“Arianna Gentile’s glassartwork, which consists of her faerie statues and leaded glass windowdecorations. She delivered a new batch about a week ago, and I had only soldtwo of the pieces.” Tapping my lips with my forefinger, I thought for a secondand added, “That means about a dozen or so pieces were taken sometime after Iwent to bed last night.”

With a nod, Stan made a note inthe small pad he carried. He checked the window and glanced at me for a second.“The top part of the glass was actually cut with a glass cutter and the restwas broken from this window. Did you notice that?” He pointed to the area thatwas rounded.

I shook my head and pointed tothe porch. “I saw the glass was missing, but didn’t realize it had been cut.There are shards here on the floor, the rest of the glass must be out there.” Imotioned toward the porch.

Together, we went outside ontothe wide porch that wrapped around the entire building. It’s useful because customerscan sit outdoors in warm weather to enjoy their tea and cupcakes. My exterior motionsensor lights glinted off the round pane of glass atop the table nearest thewindow. The screen had been slashed and then peeled aside, leaving a gapinghole.

Nervous, I slid my hands intomy sweatpants pockets, and waited to hear Stan’s thoughts. He didn’t seem likethe brightest bulb in the bunch, but I try not to judge.

Clicking the radio attached tohis shoulder clip, Stan asked that McMurphy be sent over to dust for prints. Heturned, explained the process, and motioned for me to return inside. The cold nightwind gave me the shivers anyway so I heartily agreed, and scooted indoors.

Time was moving quickly. Igazed at the clock, figuring the hour against early morning cupcake making, andknew that at this rate, the cupcakes would be late making their grand entrancethis morning. A sigh escaped me as I considered how long McMurphy might take todo his job here. Hot anger burned in my gut over this incident, and theinconvenience of it. Wanting to be more in control, I fought hard to tamp downthe raw emotion. Even so, my sense of frustration grew and I strode to thewindow.

Through the window’s gapinghole, I explained my timeline to the officer. “I need to start making the day’scupcakes; will you be all right here?”

He smirked slightly and thensmiled full on, changing the entire appearance of his long face and hook nose. Hiseyes sparkled with humor and his features softened. He would never be handsome,but at that moment, his face held sweet appeal. “I’ll accompany you to thebaking room. Let’s make sure the intruder didn’t steal anything from downthere.” He licked his lips and chuckled. “We all know how tasty your cupcakesare, Luna.”

When Stan entered the diningroom, I joined him and said, “Thanks. Today’s cakes will be late if I don’t geta move on.” When I hurried ahead of him, Stan moved in front of me and blockedthe doorway leading to the basement, where all cupcake baking took place. Hegestured for me to follow and slowly, he descended the stairs, with me close onhis heels. On tiptoe, I peered over his shoulder with every step.

The creation station, wheredelightful morsels were made, and the adjacent office, were both empty.Countertops gleamed under bright lights of the spotless area and Stan gave methe go ahead to begin making today’s cupcake confections.

“This is a pretty neat placeyou have. No wasted space; it’s very streamlined,” he commented as he gawkedaround and double-checked the under my made-to-order cupboards and my desk inthe office. With a smile, he said, “This carpentry work had to have been doneby Devin; I’d know his trademark anywhere. He’s a talented man.”

“He renovated the space duringthe summer,” I answered and began pulling supplies from a few of the tallcupboards.

Stan’s radio went off. Scratchy-soundingwords filled the silence. He looked at me and said, “I’ll check in with youbefore I leave…”

He turned his back to me andanswered the call, “McMurphy here.” Stan hiked the stairs and disappeared fromsight. It was time to do my job, and let Stan do his.

Lost to cupcake making, soon dozensof scrumptious flavored cupcakes were in the oven. And still, McMurphy wasdoing his thing in the gift shop. I tapped my foot impatiently, wanting toremove the last batch from the oven.

The sound of shoes clompingdown the stairs gave me pause, and I watched Stan come into view. I dropped thefrosting bag into the nearest bowl and leaned against the counter.

“We didn’t find one print.You’re sure you didn’t wipe the windows and frames?” Stan asked with a puzzledlook on his face.

“I know better than that,especially after this past summer. If you didn’t get prints, then the thiefknew what he was doing.”

He agreed with a nod. “Thesuspect must have worn gloves.”

“Did you leave a mess for me toclean?”

“Unfortunately, yes,” Stansaid. “Sorry, Luna. McMurphy left remnants of dusting powder where the thiefentered, on the door that might have been used as an exit, and on the spacesyou had pointed out.”

“Okay, thanks for that,” I saidon a sigh.

Stan offered an apologeticsmile while he eyed the cupcakes lined up for customer consumption. I handedhim one and suggested we tape cardboard over the window before he left. Hestuffed the cupcake in his mouth while nodding his head.

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