The Crystal Ballroom, Revenge is Book 1 in The Crystal Ballroom Supernatural Cozy Mysteries series. Available on Amazon $.99
MUSIC TORE THEM APART. CAN MUSIC RESTORE PEACE?
Amber Jasper owns The Crystal Ballroom on the tiny island of Allegro. Amber has one wish. Revenge against a man who ended her future and injured her leg. She and her partner-in-revenge are so close to victory they can smell it. And wow, the aroma is tantalizing.
But! One night a scream from the beach below, a body, and the return of her former childhood sweetheart demand Amber’s attention, stir painful memories, and force her to examine her soul.
Oh yeah, and her father shows up too. Always at the wrong time. Add a whole village ready to ignite over a forever grudge. If the town does, bye-bye Allegro. Bye-bye Crystal Ballroom. There goes her future. Why now? When she was so close. Her win is slipping quickly into the cold Lake Michigan waters.
This Supernatural Cozy Mystery is packed with body-dropping intrigue and soul-searching drama. And musical ghosts.
Download The Crystal Ballroom, search for a murderer, and enjoy the glitz and grit where music and dance mingle.
The aroma of popcorn and hot chocolate hung in the late October air. Didn’t matter how old Amber Jasper became—even at fifty-five this smell would always be precious. A hush fell on the football field. So quiet now she could hear the water lapping on the shore two blocks away. The Allegro High School Football Team was down by two touchdowns with five minutes to go in the game.
Now it would get interesting. All season long, every game had been like this. Behind all the way to the final minutes, then winning became more important than the feud, in those final minutes the team got it together. They played as one.
But would it be enough this time? The Mavericks played fierce football. They’d talked some evil smack about Lake Michigan’s Allegro Island and the “baby dolls” who played on the Allegro Team.
Four minutes to go. Major Long leaped almost six feet into the air over the back of a Maverick.
“Interception Allegro! Way to go son. Way to go.” The announcer said. Not that Allegro Mayor Stone Quarters was biased or anything.
Amber expected Major to fall to the ground with the football tucked under his arm. But he didn’t. He fell backward and then just as she swatted a pesky bee away from her hot chocolate he flipped mid-air and charged down the field. How did any human being do that? That was the answer— the kid must be superhuman. Look at those feet flying, grace and elegance sending green turf in the face of his pursuers.
“That’s my boy. That’s my boy. Go, Majors. Go.” Tek Long, Major’s father jumped to his feet and descended the grandstand steps.
“Sit down, Long. Your kid ain’t the only one on the team,” Carn Scott yelled.
Tek Long tripped over Scott’s outstretched foot. His body flew into Amber’s shoulder knocking her and her hot chocolate over the head of the mayor’s wife in the row below long brunette ponytail wet from the liquid.
“Touchdown. Allegro.” The announcer yelled.
“Oh no. Help me.” The mayor’s wife screamed. “Bee. Bee sting. Allergic. Help me, my purse. Epi.” She clutched her throat.
Well, she was already in the mayor’s wife’s lap might as well further invade her space and go for the purse. Time more important than propriety.
Amber reached between Mrs. Mayor’s—her name was Betty Quarters, but everyone called her Mrs. Mayor—knees and fingered the grandstand boards for purse straps. Too dark to see much she was groping blind. Bad. Very Bad. A paper cup, a candy wrapper. Leather. Strap. Purse. Hurray!
Somebody elbowed Amber’s butt. Falling sideways. She grabbed Mrs. Mayor’s knee to steady herself.
Great, a fight broke out. So what was new? It happened at every game. At every town event. It had been happening for decades.
Amber readjusted herself. Mrs. Mayor’s body shook. Purse. Got it. Amber stood. Opened the bag. The pen, near the top. Thank God. Dad was allergic to bees. She knew how to do this. Bam. She needled Mrs. Mayor.
Strong hands yanked her away from Betty Quarters. “Amber Jasper, what the heck are you doing?” Sheriff Clay Bastill’s hands were strong and menacing.
“Betty here was stung by a bee. I was administering an epi.”
He pushed a button on his shirt. “I need medics here.”
“I’ll be okay.” Mrs. Mayor said. “Thank You, Amber,” she whispered.
The town of Allegro was small but maintained a police force of twenty officers. And they were all on call, all the time because of the feud. Officers took positions in front of the stand. “All right folks. Settle Down. It’s crunch time,” came from the loudspeakers.
The Mavericks possessed the ball twenty feet from a touchdown. Two minutes thirty on the clock.
Her hand felt something warm and Styrofoam. Melissa Cartwright placed a cup of hot chocolate in Amber’s hand. “Thought you could use this. Get away, bee.” She swatted the insect. “What’s with these things tonight?”
“Beats me. Thanks.” Fifteen feet the goal line. The Maverick’s smug quarterback fumbled the ball. Major Long’s arm extended what appeared ten feet and grabbed the ball. And then he threw it all the way down the field to Carn Scott’s son. Scott grabbed it and ran the distance for a touchdown.
“Yes, Oh Man, Yes,” screamed the announcer. The score was now tied. A minute ten on the clock. Allegro brought out their best kicker. Bam. Through the posts, it went. All they had to do was hold on for one more minute.
Bastill’s officers began unlocking the gates. Because of the feud, Allegro was divided into tribes. Each tribe had their own section of the village and island. Each tribe entered community events by their own door.
The buzzer growled. Allegro High School posted another win in the final minutes.
“You want to grab something to eat?” Melissa asked in the parking lot. “Where is your car?”
“At home. I was in a walking mood.”
“The chances you take.” Melissa shook her head. She did that a lot. “Hop in. I’m taking you home.”
“I can walk.”
“It was safer to walk in Queens after dark than here on this island. Get in the darn car.”
“Yes. Ma’am. You know, come to think of it, food sounds good.”
“Which tribe has access to Benny’s tonight?”
“I believe the Cowboys. Let me check my app.” She opened the Allegro Tribe App on her smartphone. “Yeah, Cowboys have Benny’s tonight. Swingers have Basie’s, Poppers have The Hut.”
Melissa wasn’t from Allegro, so she didn’t belong to any tribe. Amber was born and raised in Allegro and technically was part of the Swinger’s tribe, but because her family operated The Crystal Ballroom she had diplomatic status that allowed her to move freely through the island.
Melissa parked facing the rocky shore on the west side of Allegro. A light caught Amber’s eye as she exited the car. It fell from hill-high to water-level. “Melissa, did you see that?”
Melissa zapped the door lock. “See what?”
“A falling light on the rocks.”
“Probably just kids playing with a laser. C’mon the aroma. I’m now starved.”
Her arm wrapped through Amber’s dragging her backward towards Benny’s. Blake Shelton’s voice sifted through the night. And in front of her walking towards the western shore, the man with the trombone glowed.