Authors: Carrie Bedford
Tags: #female sleuths, #paranormal suspense, #supernatural mystery, #British detectives, #traditional detective mysteries, #psychic suspense, #Cozy Mystery, #crime thriller
is a cozy mystery with intense characters who struggle in a world of pharmaceutical intrigue with political twists. Author Carrie Bedford writes with a high suspenseful flair and creates an engaging protagonist, Kate Benedict. Paranormal elements mix with murders, kidnappings, and a dash of romance, all racing through an unusual and satisfying plot. A fast read, well-written, and thoroughly enjoyable.”
—Paula Cappa, author of
The Dazzling Darkness
If you’re looking for a likeable protagonist you can relate to, then Kate is the one for you. Carrie Bedford has done an exceptional job in creating a character with doubts and quirks just like the rest of us, which makes the supernatural spin all the more believable.
This book draws you in and once it takes hold, doesn’t let go. Carrie has set the bar even higher with
, which is great for readers, and keeps us authors on our toes. A cracking read.
—Andrea Drew, author of the Gypsy Medium Series
Praise for THE AURA, the first Kate Benedict Paranormal Mystery by Carrie Bedford
“Carrie Bedford is a real find…
is an engaging paranormal suspense story whose heroine is smart, strong, and almost overwhelmed when she is suddenly able to see that someone— friend, family or stranger— is about to die. Bedford is a fine writer, an accomplished novelist, and a terrific storyteller whose characters ring true and pull us deep into the mystery.”
—Shelley Singer, author of the Jake Samson-Rosie Vicente mystery series and
, first in the Blackjack near-future thriller series
“…a terrific book with a likable protagonist, skilled plotting, and a supernatural spin. This gripping mystery had me hooked from the first chapter. ”
— Janet Dawson, author of the Jeri Howard series
A Kate Benedict Paranormal Mystery
New Orleans, La.
Copyright © 2015 by Carrie Bedford
All rights are reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
eBook ISBN: 978-0-9861783-6-8
First booksBnimble electronic publication: July 2015
Digital Editions (epub and mobi formats) produced by Booknook.biz
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New Orleans Mourning
The morning was going so well until I saw the auras. A glimpse of that halo of trembling air over someone’s head usually casts a dark cloud over my day. These particular auras, it turned out, were going to unleash a storm, much like the one rumbling across London’s Hyde Park. A ceiling of dense grey clouds hung low over the city and thunder growled in the distance, keeping away the usual crowds of joggers and mothers with toddlers and strollers.
My friend Anita and I were enjoying our run, although I was starting to tire. My calf muscles burned, yet Anita didn’t look the slightest bit fatigued. Her glossy black hair swung in a high ponytail and her golden skin was sweat-free. Even the kohl around her eyes had stayed perfectly intact. She was unusually quiet though. Normally, she’d talk the whole time we were running, but not today.
We settled into a slower pace, taking the path that ran alongside the Serpentine, the slate-colored water choppy in the strengthening wind. When several joggers came around a bend towards us, Anita and I moved into single file to let them pass. The first of them looked like a soldier, young, muscled, his broad chest encased in a tight green T-shirt. Behind him, two men ran together, both in their early fifties, I guessed, one tall and quite striking with fair hair, the other shorter and darker. As they loped past us, the fair-haired man raised a hand to thank us for moving out of their way.
I stopped running, turning my head to watch them go, sure I was wrong about what I’d seen. But I wasn’t. The two older men each had a distinct aura swirling around his head and shoulders, like waves of air coming off hot asphalt.
“That was Simon Scott!” Anita had stopped too, watching the men disappear around a curve in the path.
“Who?” The name meant something, but my brain was preoccupied with processing the presence of that ominous swirly air.
“Really? You can’t tell me you don’t know who Scott is. He’s the leader of the Labor party and there’s an election in less than a month. He could be our new Prime Minister.”
“Of course. I knew that. He’s on the television all the time.” I bent over to retie a shoelace. My heart rate was soaring and it wasn’t because of the running. “But you know I don’t do politics.”
“You should. Don’t you worry about the environment or education or health care?”
“Who was that with him?” I asked, changing the subject. Once Anita got started on talking about her causes, it would take a lightning strike to stop her. I stayed on one knee, waiting for my heart to slow down. An aura over a public figure. That was a first for me.
“Kevin Lewis,” said Anita. “He’s a City guy, a finance genius. If Scott’s party wins the election, Lewis will be Chancellor of the Exchequer. I can’t believe I saw them in the flesh like that. The third guy must have been a bodyguard. He was rather cute.”
I straightened up. In the center of the lake, a rowboat bobbed up and down, its sole occupant a man who was looking through binoculars at the ducks and other water birds. Just watching the boat rock made me feel seasick. Or maybe it was the sight of the auras that was making me nauseous.
Anita grabbed my arm. “I have an idea. I’ve just started volunteering on Scott’s campaign. You should do it with me. I usually go a few evenings a week to a campaign office in Shepherd’s Bush. There’s plenty to do, especially now, calling voters, handing out brochures, making banners, that kind of thing.”
“How do you have time to do that?” Anita was a doctor in the pediatric department at London General hospital. She worked very long hours.
“It’s easy to make space for the important things,” she said, bending down to pull one of her socks straight. “But if you want to know the truth, it’s also an evasion tactic. Every time my parents ask me home for dinner, I tell them I’m volunteering.”
“How’s that working out?” I hoped Anita would attribute the shake in my voice to exercise. I couldn’t tell her about the auras, not yet anyway. “Is your dad still trying to find you the perfect husband?”
“Oh God, don’t even ask. We had a massive fight about it last time I ran out of excuses and went over there to eat. He just doesn’t get it. I don’t want an arranged marriage.” She sighed. So that was what was bothering her. Leaning over, she touched her toes, which she could do easily. She was a natural athlete, while I had to work a little harder at it.
“Anyway,” she continued, straightening up. “What do you think? Will you come help out at the campaign office? I’m going tonight. The other volunteers are good people, very committed to what they’re doing to support Scott. You’d like them.”
Sitting in a political campaign office in Shepherd’s Bush would normally be at the very bottom of my list of favorite-things-to-do-on-a-Monday-night, but auras had changed my priorities in the past. It seemed that they were about to do so again.
“Sounds like a lot of fun.” I tried to inject enthusiasm into my words.
Anita rolled her eyes. “You’ll be glad you came, you’ll see. I have to go. Oh, I didn’t think to ask. Josh isn’t back is he? Is he still just coming home on weekends?”
“Yeah, just weekends.” My boyfriend was often away on business nowadays. “We’ve got Saturday tickets for that new play with Kevin Spacey.”
Anita gave me a hug. “See you tonight. I’ll text you the address.”
After watching her jog away, I walked to a nearby bench and sat down. The green wooden slats pressed cold and damp against my back as I looked out over the granite-grey lake. It was April, but England was still in the grip of winter. I rubbed a sore spot in my calf muscle and took a few deep breaths. The auras over Scott and Lewis had left me feeling rattled.