Friday, October 14, 2016

31 Days of Halloween - Murder at the Witching Hour by Kathi Daley

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It’s the week before Halloween and Kailani Pope has been asked attend her friend Morticia’s wedding. The weeklong event, which culminates with a costumed wedding ceremony on Halloween night, is being held on a private island which can only be accessed by boat. Things start off a little slow but become a lot more interesting when a tropical storm hits and one of the groomsmen turns up dead. Join Luke and Lani as this amateur sleuthing team attempt to determine if the killer is: the mummy in the kitchen who also serves as the chef, the seemingly blind butler, the sexy vampire who is also the maid and bartender, or one of the other kooky and spooky guests at this very unusual wedding event.


When we got back to the pool we found Luke and Cam chatting with an older woman with silver hair that hung straight to her waist. She was sitting next to a chubby man with a bald head who immediately reminded me of Uncle Fester from The Addams Family.
“Lani, Kekoa, this is Dharma and her friend, Oz.”
We both nodded and said we were happy to meet them.
“Are you here for the wedding?” I asked.
“I was asked to do a blessing and Dharma was asked to do a reading,” Oz informed us.
“A reading?” I asked.
“Dharma is a psychic,” Oz explained. “And a good one at that.”
“And you’re a holy man of some sort?”
“In a manner of speaking.”
I wasn’t sure what he meant by that, but because I’d just met them and was a guest myself I decided not to ask.
“Have you been on the island long?” I asked conversationally.
“Always,” Oz replied.
It appeared as if Dharma was sizing me up. She was staring at me in a way that sent chills down my spine and so far she hadn’t said a word.
“And will you officiate at the wedding?” I asked the bald man.
I wondered what was up with all the vague. Either the guy was going to officiate at the wedding or he wasn’t.
“You’re friends of the bride?” Oz asked.
“Kekoa and I are,” I verified. “We went to high school together, although we lost touch over the years.”
I jumped when Dharma took my right hand in hers and closed her eyes. I glanced at the others. Kekoa frowned as she glanced at our joined hands, Luke shrugged, and Cam grinned, as if enjoying my discomfort. I turned to Oz, who had a look of contemplation on his face but didn’t say anything.
“This is the one we’ve been waiting for,” Dharma said after maybe fifteen very uncomfortable seconds. She looked me in the eye in a way that made me want to crawl inside my skin and hide.
“Waiting for?” I screeched in a high little voice I was certain revealed my discomfort.
Oz gave Dharma a meaningful look but didn’t reply. She let my hand fall to my side and took a step back but maintained eye contact with me.
“Dharma had a premonition that a guest with a specific purpose would attend the festivities,” Oz explained.
“A purpose?”
“There’s no need for concern. If you’re the one your role will be revealed in time,” Oz assured me.
Okay, these people were creeping me out. I lowered my head to break eye contact with the woman, who was still staring at me. I looked at Kekoa, who had turned to Cam, whose smile had slipped just a bit. It appeared my friends were as freaked out as I was by this conversation. Oz gave Dharma another meaningful glance that I was unable to interpret, but it definitely contributed to my uneasy feeling.
“I guess maybe I’ll skip the swim and just grab a quick shower before getting dressed for dinner,” I announced after deciding it was time to bail on this conversation.
“I’ll come with you,” Kekoa seconded.
Dharma looked at me, her eyes boring into mine. “Do not trust what you see.”
I glanced at Luke. He took my hand and gave it a squeeze. If I’d had my reservations about this wacky wedding before I was full-on creeped out now.

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