Faerie Dust Dead (The Luna Devere Series Book 2)

Faerie
Dust Dead

 

Book 2 of the Luna Devere Series

 

by

 

J.M. Griffin

 

A Dream is a Wish Your
Heart Makes. . .

 

Copyright © 2014 Jeanne Paglio

 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means (electronic,
mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without prior written
permission of the copyright holder, except by a reviewer, who may quote brief
passages in a review.

 

The characters and events portrayed in this book are
fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and
not intended by the author.

 

Table of
Contents

 

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 the
Author

 

 

Chapter
1

 

Sounds of breaking glass brought me upright
in bed. I strained to listen, wondering if I had dreamed the noise or really heard
it 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 slowly
through the apartment toward the stairs, I felt my way down and into the dining
room, before moving across the floor to the shop. The gift shop section was
connected to the dining room of my business, Faerie Cake Junction. A draft
whistled along the edge of jagged glass of a broken window. I’d heard the sound
before and its familiarity gave me the willies.

I peered about searching for someone
who could still be lurking there. Gift wrap fluttered in the cool breeze, which
drew my attention to the splintered pane in one of the windows at the farthest
end of the room.

Though only minutes earlier had
I 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 good
explanation. Mother Nature’s air freshener, by way of fall foliage decay,
permeated the shop. This, the last hurrah of leaves and vegetation, held a
slightly sweet, yet fusty scent. I shivered and rubbed my bare arms as I
quickly searched the premises.

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

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

With his usual bored and
slow-moving countenance, Riddles sashayed into the room and gave the air a
sniff, before he jumped onto the sales counter to watch me. Maybe he thought
I’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 call
the police, or what?” I asked Riddles. No answer.

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

Emergency phone numbers lay
taped to the counter next to the cash register. I’d called the station so often
in the past and knew the dispatcher, I bypassed using the 9-1-1 emergency
number. When the call went through, Deputy Dave Moss identified himself and
asked 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 the
added grievance stolen stuff, the attempt was futile.
Calm
was not my
middle name at the moment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When an approaching siren’s
blare suddenly cut out, and bar lights flashed in the front windows I heard the
police 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 had
arrived, hung up, and waited at the open door.

While I watched Alder climb the
steps to the shop, I thought of Devin. As a well-known, and much-sought-after
carpenter in this part of southern Maine’s coastline, I’d hired him during the
summer 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 hold
for business reasons. How would I tell him about this break-in without him
worrying? I’d have to consider the best way to share the news.

My tea and cupcake shop serves
not 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 of
faeries 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 faerie
ware. Several of Arianna’s most recent and delightful pieces were missing. The
talented woman had a workshop and homestead that bordered my property. It was
far enough away that I couldn’t see her house, though I could easily wend my
way through the wooded path behind my shop and arrive there quicker on foot
than by car.

As a business owner and cupcake
maker, I never have mundane or boring moments. I believe in faeries and that
they visited me often. Happily, Devin, my fiancé is also a believer. During the
summer, I’d had a run of bad luck by way of dead people that had been deposited
at Faerie Cake Junction. The sheriff, at the time, hadn’t believed I had no
part in their demise and wanted to arrest me for murders most foul. During all
the hoopla, he’d tried to claim I was barmy, and insisted I be charged and sent
to the funny-farm. Thank goodness nobody, well, almost nobody, believed him.

I opened the door for Officer
Alder and nodded when he dipped his head in greeting. Alder, a tall gangly man
reminding me of Ichabod Crane of
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
fame,
glanced around my tidy dining room. He jumped when the spring-loaded front door
closed with a snap. I walked alongside him and motioned toward the gift shop.

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

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

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

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

With a nod, Stan made a note in
the 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 rest
was broken from this window. Did you notice that?” He pointed to the area that
was rounded.

I shook my head and pointed to
the 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.” I
motioned toward the porch.

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

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

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

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

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

He smirked slightly and then
smiled full on, changing the entire appearance of his long face and hook nose. His
eyes 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 the
baking room. Let’s make sure the intruder didn’t steal anything from down
there.” He licked his lips and chuckled. “We all know how tasty your cupcakes
are, Luna.”

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

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

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

“He renovated the space during
the summer,” I answered and began pulling supplies from a few of the tall
cupboards.

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

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

Lost to cupcake making, soon dozens
of scrumptious flavored cupcakes were in the oven. And still, McMurphy was
doing his thing in the gift shop. I tapped my foot impatiently, wanting to
remove the last batch from the oven.

The sound of shoes clomping
down the stairs gave me pause, and I watched Stan come into view. I dropped the
frosting 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 puzzled
look on his face.

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

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

“Did you leave a mess for me to
clean?”

“Unfortunately, yes,” Stan
said. “Sorry, Luna. McMurphy left remnants of dusting powder where the thief
entered, on the door that might have been used as an exit, and on the spaces
you had pointed out.”

“Okay, thanks for that,” I said
on a sigh.

Stan offered an apologetic
smile while he eyed the cupcakes lined up for customer consumption. I handed
him one and suggested we tape cardboard over the window before he left. He
stuffed the cupcake in his mouth while nodding his head.

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