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A Waning Moon

Bliss Addison



  Bliss Addison

  All Rights Reserved

  Copyright © 2007 Bliss Addison

  First Electronic Publication 2009

  Second Electronic Publication 2012

  *Previously Published by Red Rose Publishing and

  Previously Titled The Canted Curse*

  This book is a work of fiction based entirely on the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons is purely coincidental. Real places mentioned in the book are depicted fictionally and are not intended to portray actual times or places. All rights reserved. No part of the book may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of the author, excepting brief quotes used in reviews.

  License Notes

  Also by Bliss Addison:

  A Battle of Wills (Shannon Murphy – Book I)

  With Malicious Intent (Shannon Murphy – Book II)

  Restless Souls

  Wolfe, She Cried

  Murder at the Villa Maria-Sedona Retirement Home

  One Millhaven Lane

  Deadly Serum


  An Equal Measure

  Sleight of Hand

  Watching Over Her

  A Silver Lining (The Monahans – Part I)

  A Little Rain Must Fall (The Monahans – Part II)

  A Mistaken Belief (The Monahans – Part III)


  Blossom McDougall, the last descendant of Agnes Frederica Drummond, has eight days to undo the curse of Hesper Higginbotham or her life will end.

  With no other plan than to lock herself in a room the day of, a man enters her bookstore and introduces himself as her Aunt Zella's step-son, a private investigator from Minnesota in Newfoundland on business. The two had met when Blossom was a child and she only vaguely remembers Ian P. Mahoney.

  Hoping for a chance to reminisce, Blossom offers Ian lodging.

  After the two get reacquainted, Ian asks Blossom to help him with a case. Accompany him on an adventure, he says.

  As the two set out, Ian quizzes Blossom about the Drummond curse and offers his assistance in locating Hesper’s sole surviving relative, the only person who can help Blossom with reversing the curse.

  Their journey quickly becomes more than Blossom anticipated when they stumble onto kidnappings, a nefarious money-making scheme, unscrupulous characters (one of whom wants her dead) and a man from Blossom’s past, one who this time will not accept ‘no’ for answer.

  When the wrongs of long ago have been righted, one question remains: Who does Blossom love - the man from Minnesota, or the man destined for her?


  Chapter One

  Chapter Two – Detective Favian Quinn and a Jack Daniels Buzz

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven – Blossom, Ian and the Jack O’Lantern Cabins

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Chapter Twelve

  Chapter Thirteen – Whit and Lyron Find Malloy

  Chapter Fourteen

  Chapter Fifteen

  Chapter Sixteen – A Quaint B&B on Old New Water Street

  Chapter Seventeen

  Chapter Eighteen

  Chapter Nineteen

  Chapter Twenty – A Feline in Heat

  Chapter Twenty-One

  Chapter Twenty-Two

  Chapter Twenty-Three – A Terrific Start

  Chapter Twenty-Four

  Chapter Twenty-Five

  Chapter Twenty-Six – Whit, Blossom and The Blue Flamingo

  Chapter Twenty-Seven

  Chapter Twenty-Eight

  Chapter Twenty-Nine

  Chapter Thirty

  Chapter Thirty-One -The End

  Chapter One

  Ages Ago —

  On a balmy summer night upon the waning of the moon (the most propitious time for casting a curse) Hesper Higginbotham sat before a fire in a corner of her garden. As the fire glowed and flickered and the black moon cavorted with cumulus clouds, she threw a dollop of Hungarian bull’s blood onto the fiery coals and cursed Agnes Frederica Drummond and her descendants to an early grave.

  "As she has done unto me, let it be done unto her and any who comes after her."

  Present Day, Dickeyville, Newfoundland and the Last Descendant of Agnes Frederica Drummond —

  Eight days from now, on the eve of her thirtieth birthday, following in the footsteps of her foremothers, Blossom McDougall would end her life.

  How, she didn't know.

  The cause: A curse, one that spanned more than a century.

  Except for her best friend Vivian, she discussed the Curse with no one.

  Town folk knew her history and probably talked about her plenty, even possibly took wagers on how she'd do herself in, but not one of them ventured a remark or kind word. God knew too, of course, and He wasn't saying anything either, and though she prayed daily for His guidance and assistance, none seemed forthcoming.

  A lost cause, she was; even He thought so.

  There she went again.

  She needed to stop obsessing.

  No more with the Curse.

  Not one more thought.

  Not one.

  She ran down the stairs from her apartment and entered her bookshop through the back entrance. She flipped on the lights and cut a path through dust motes quivering in the shaft of light streaming through the window. At the front door, she peeked through the glass and looked for Vivian. She usually dropped in for coffee before heading to work but this morning, Vivian was nowhere in sight. Disappointed, Blossom turned the dead bolt and walked to the counter, trying not to look at the calendar on the wall, but not succeeding.

  Her doomsday drew nearer and nothing would prevent its happening. She’d come to terms with the unfortunate truth long ago and had made the most of her remaining days by doing, not which she’d never done, but which made her happiest, being normal day-to-day living. Some might find that strange, but those who did, have never lived under a Higginbotham curse.

  Now, it was zero hour and from her perspective, she had two choices. She could either throw the covers over her head and wait for the end to come, or she could take a stand and fight the Curse to her last breath. She would like to settle on the latter, arguing she was a Drummond and came from strong stock, but it would be a lie. Truth was, she didn't come from strong stock at all. Every one of her foremothers had killed herself.

  The store suddenly seemed small, suffocating. Cold sweat beaded her forehead as a feeling of unrest coursed through her. She peered around the store. Everything was in place and nothing seemed amiss, yet she couldn't shake the feeling something was about to happen. If she allowed herself the indulgence, she'd blame the sensation on the Curse.

  Not one more word on the subject.

  Not one.

  The bell above the door jingled and Blossom turned, a ready smile to greet her friend. But it wasn't Vivian who entered. As though star-struck, Blossom stared at the handsome brown-haired, long-legged man striding toward her. Perhaps he was a jinker, though she’d be daft to think this man could bring anyone bad luck.

  "Blossom?" he asked.

  "Yes." He looked at her like he recognized her. She didn't know him, though. She’d definitely remember those rich brown eyes and dimpled cheeks.

  He handed her a business card.

  Pendexter Investigations, Ian P. Mahoney, Pres. the card read.

  "You don't remember me," he said.

  She took another good look at the bayman. "I'm sorry, I don't."

  “You’re sure?” He raised his eye
brows and half-smiled.

  He seemed so certain they'd met before, she second-guessed her memory and thought hard, but she couldn’t recall meeting him.

  "The summer of eighty-five. The annual fall harvest, pumpkins, squash and jambalaya ring any bells?"

  She shook her head, wondering how he could think she’d remember twenty-five years ago.

  "I'm crushed." He placed his hand against his heart. "You pledged your love to me on the teeter-totter in the school playground."

  She laughed. “I was five at the time. How would I." She stopped mid-sentence when the recollection surfaced. A second later, she was walking around the counter and hugging her Aunt Zella's step-son. How could she have forgotten the freckle-faced, all arms and legs teen who she'd vowed to marry when she was old enough?

  She came out of his arms and stepped back, grinning. “Lard tunderin’ Jaysus b’y, it’s good to see ya,” she said, slipping into local dialect in her excitement.

  He held on to her hands. "Look at you, all grown up and that red hair and those green eyes...."

  "See what you missed?" She laughed, embarrassed by his unabashed appraisal.

  "I do, and I'm downright angry with myself for not coming back for you." He ran his hand across her ring finger. "Why hasn't some lucky man snatched you up?"

  "Someone did. Three times, in fact."

  "Marriage isn't for everyone," he said, smiling.

  “Ain’t it a fact. Auntie Z, owshegettinonb’ys?”

  “She’s fine and sends her regards,” he said and smiled some more.

  Blossom was happy to see him too and hoped he was in town for a while. "What brings you back to Newfoundland? Last I heard you were living in Minnesota."

  "Still am. I'm here on business. Thought I'd drop by to see the woman who stole my heart all those years ago."

  She slapped his arm. "Oh, shut up your prate!" Laughing, she walked back behind the counter and sat on the stool, eyeing his business card. "You're a private investigator?"

  "I am."

  "What's your business in our capital, or can you say?"

  He shrugged. "No reason I can't. The son of a friend of mine went on a joy ride three weeks ago and hasn't been seen since. I got word yesterday his credit card was used for a purchase at a gas station in St. John’s. I'm working my way up through the province –"

  Blossom turned with Ian toward the door when the bell jingled and watched sixty-five-year-old Olive Henderson, a loyal patron of her bookstore and one of Blossom's tenants, walk into the shop.

  "I have to tend to her," Blossom said to Ian.

  "Of course." Ian walked over to a display of books and browsed the new releases.

  “Good morning, Olive,” Blossom said.

  “What's good about it? Weather forecast said sunny skies all day. No sunny skies I can see.”

  “How are you today?” Blossom asked, smiling.

  Olive rested her hands on her walker, her breath coming in uneven gasps.

  “My rheumatiz is bothering me something awful. I didn't sleep a wink last night.”

  “Medication not working?”

  “Oh no, dear. Pain didn't keep me awake.” Olive peered around the shop and, apparently satisfied no one eavesdropped, whispered conspiratorially, “Jennifer came to me again.”

  “Oh?” Like the other instances where Olive told Blossom her dead granddaughter had appeared to Olive, Blossom couldn't think of anything to say except to ask, "How is she?”

  “She was crying and begged for my help.” She brushed tears from her eyes.

  Blossom patted Olive's hand. “I'll say a prayer for her.” Who knew? Maybe God would send Olive an angel to help her.

  “Thank you, dear. Did the book I ordered come in?” Olive peered at her over her bi-focals, the matter of her beloved granddaughter obviously forgotten.

  Blossom took the book from a shelf beneath the counter and held it for Olive to see. "This is the one you wanted, isn't it?"

  From where he stood, Ian looked at the book cover and exaggerated a gag.

  “Shush.” Giggling, she eyed him peripherally.

  “What was that, dear?” Olive tapped her ear. “I must be getting hard of hearing.”

  "Just muttering to myself."

  Olive dug in her purse and came out with two crumpled twenties.

  “I'll be by at the usual time with your supper," Blossom said, opening the cash register.

  Olive squinted, cagey-like. “What are we having tonight?”

  “Rabbit pie.” Blossom handed Olive her change.


  Blossom smiled and helped Olive from the shop.

  After the door closed, Ian said, “Tell me about her missing granddaughter.”

  “There isn't much to tell. Olive's eighteen-year-old granddaughter Jennifer went missing from the university a few years ago. Olive believes a cult is holding her captive but the authorities believe Jennifer's dead, though her body was never found.” Blossom wondered about Ian's curiosity, but only until she remembered his line of work. Investigators were probably inquisitive by nature.


  Blossom left Ian to his thoughts while she waited on another customer.

  Minutes later, she rejoined Ian, hoping to reminisce. He quickly dashed her hopes.

  "I can't believe where the morning went," he said, lifting the cuff of his coat and looking at his watch. "There are a few things I must attend to before the end of the day, but maybe we could have dinner after I finish with business."

  Blossom had a better idea. "Where are you staying?"

  "I haven't checked in anywhere yet, but I was thinking about Castle's Inn."

  "Why don't you stay with me?" She didn't realize how much she wanted his company until she extended the invitation. "I have three perfectly spare bedrooms, and I'll even throw in a home-cooked meal. What do you say?"

  "How can I refuse?"


  "I'll see you later, then." He looped his red cashmere scarf around his neck and buttoned his top coat to brave the frigid outdoor temperature.

  At noon, Vivian breezed into the bookstore, looking suitably contrite and haphazardly put together, even for Vivian who thought haute couture translated to mismatched colors and styles.

  Blossom narrowed her eyes and prepared to give her friend a good-natured reprimand for needlessly frightening her. Before she could say a word, Vivian apologized.

  "B’tunderin, you should be sorry," Blossom said, her anger forgotten. "No call, no text, no e-mail, no communication of any kind. Where were you?" She cocked a brow. "And your excuse to blow me off had better be good, young lady," she said in good fun.

  "Were you worried I wasn't going to be around to sequester you to a closet de night of?"

  "Very funny, but yes." Blossom had to smile. They'd made a pact that on the eve of her thirtieth birthday Vivian would put Blossom under lock and key and not release her until the following day. If the next day the veracity of the Curse proved itself once again, then she would have lived one day longer than her foremothers. At least, the Curse would die with her. Some consolation, she supposed.

  Vivian walked over to her and gave her a hug. "I overslept."

  Blossom found that strange. Vivian, despite her laissez-faire way with her wardrobe, took her commitments seriously and was punctual to the second. "Did you forget to set your alarm?"

  "No," she said, squeezing her eyebrows together, then shrugged. "Maybe."

  "Speaking of, did you call your boss and explain your tardiness?" Vivian's employer was a curmudgeon. Her friend sometimes forgot that fact.

  "Yep. Everything's cool." Vivian studied Blossom. "How're you doing?"

  "Good." At her skeptical expression, Blossom added, "Really." She told her about the unexpected visitor. "Come by tonight, and I'll introduce you."

  "I’d love to, but I have the thing with Gram."

  Ah yes, the thing. Her things-to-do-before-she-turns-eighty list. Blossom was afraid her situation
(the Curse and dead before her time) had inspired the old lady to do today what she might not be able to do tomorrow. The last she heard was that Gram Nugent's list grew lengthier every day.

  "What is it this week?"

  "Bungee jumping." Vivian rolled her eyes.

  "Appropriate after sky-diving, I guess," Blossom said. Though she grinned, she worried her bff might not survive her grandmother's B'day list.

  Duckish – between sunset and dark – Ian returned to the shop.

  Blossom grabbed her cell and laptop and sped toward the rear door, saying to him over her shoulder, “Don't expect much. My furniture is ratty, and I'm not a woman who likes everything in place.”

  "I'm sure it'll be fine," he said, following behind her.

  In the upstairs landing, Ian looked up and down the hall then jerked his chin at the closed doors. “Are they apartments?”

  She nodded. “I have three tenants.” She opened her apartment door and splayed her hand to Ian. “Make yourself at home,” she said and watched him gaze first at the couch and chair that sprouted springs and stuffing, then at the scratched, stained, and cigarette-burned tabletops before moving on to the chipped and cracked knick-knacks, the scuffed and worn hardwood floor and frayed area mats.

  “Sure you don't want to back out?” she asked.

  "Not a chance."

  Chapter Two

  Favian Quinn’s bad day started at seven-thirty that morning when his alarm woke him before he'd slept off the Jack Daniels buzz from the previous night. Feeling wearier than other mornings, he went into the bathroom where he learned that some time through the night, the electric water heater had experienced a meltdown. Not unlike him, he supposed, only his meltdown had occurred years ago when his colleagues accused him of a crime he didn't commit. Insubstantial evidence, his superiors had said after the investigation, two words that ruined his career as surely as a guilty verdict would. Since then, he’d suffered through many bad days, but today had turned into the mother of them all.

  After a cold shower, he left his pitiful excuse for home and learned someone had deflated the tires on his unmarked car. Then, he'd no sooner entered the station house before the Chief was on Quinn's ass about the disappearance of those kids. The Chief wanted a status report, and he wanted it yesterday.