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Bodies in the Boatyard (EBOOK)

Bodies in the Boatyard (EBOOK)

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Mollie McGhie Cozy Mystery - Book #2

If you like quirky characters, adorable cats, and loads of chocolate, you’ll love this standalone cozy mystery.

Why You'll Love This Book!

  • Amateur Sleuth
  • Quirky Characters
  • Small Town Florida Setting
  • Adorable Cat
  • Way Too Much Chocolate
  • Clean Read - No Swearing, Violence, or Sex on the Page


What would you do if your husband told you he wanted to downsize and move onto a sailboat?

Mollie McGhie loves her beachfront cottage. When her husband announces that he wants to sell their house so they can move onto a dilapidated sailboat, she’s not impressed.

When the boat starts leaking, Mollie secretly hopes it will sink. Instead, they haul it out of the water and into the boatyard. Fixing the boat up is bad enough, but when Mollie finds someone has been killed nearby, things get even worse.

Mollie takes matters into her own hands and investigates the mysterious death in the boatyard. Accompanied by her adorable feline companion, Mollie searches for clues and interviews suspects in the small Floridian town of Coconut Cove.

Can Mollie catch the killer before someone else ends up dead?

Chapter 1 Look Inside

Chapter 1 - Mr. Oblivious

What would you do if your husband announced over a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner that the two of you were going to sell the house, do some extreme downsizing, get rid of all your belongings—including your beloved collection of boots—and move onto a dilapidated sailboat?

Would you:
(a) see about arranging for a little “accident” that causes the boat to sink;
(b) suggest downsizing his comic book collection and watch him have a panic attack;
(c) roll your eyes—this isn’t the first harebrained scheme your husband has come up with; or
(d) skip the rest of the main course and crack open the gift-wrapped box of chocolates sitting next to you?

I have to confess, it wasn’t the first time that (a) had crossed my mind. Ever since Scooter had presented me with a sailboat named Marjorie Jane a few months ago for our tenth anniversary, I had been trying to figure out how to get rid of her. She was run down, in need of serious repairs, and was costing us a ton of money. Sometimes I even thought my husband paid more attention to her than to me.

But before I resorted to something so drastic, I would need to check our insurance policy and see if we’d be covered if she “mysteriously” sank.

Scooter had an unnatural attachment to his comic books, so (b) was seeming like a real possibility. It would probably put downsizing into perspective if he realized he’d have to give up Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, and Cotton-Candy Man. Okay, I totally made that last one up, but could you imagine how awesome his superhero getup would be? Some sort of fluffy pink wig and a cape made out of white crepe paper. I could just picture him stopping criminals in their tracks by wrapping them in sugary strands of cotton candy while shouting out his trademark line, “I’m going to fluff you up, man!”

I definitely did a bit of (c). Harebrained schemes are par for the course when it comes to Scooter. Like the time he thought building a carport out of straw bales and Popsicle sticks was a good idea. I don’t think I’d ever rolled my eyes so much before.
I seriously thought about (d), but my mother had always told me to finish my dinner before I had dessert. Hey, stop laughing out there. Yes, I know I have an unnatural love of chocolate and other sugary treats, but I can show some restraint at times. Like in this case, where I was perfectly happy to finish eating my greasy french fries before opening the box of chocolates.

I nibbled on a few fries while I thought about how to respond to Scooter’s announcement.

“Why are you rolling your eyes, Mollie?” he asked while he tried to steal some food off my plate.

I batted his hand away. “Eat your own, mister.” I put my arm in front of my dish to act as a defensive barrier. “Why am I rolling my eyes?” I asked. “You casually mention that you want to sell our cute cottage on the beach and move onto Marjorie Jane. Did you really think I’d be okay with that?”

Scooter furrowed his brow. “But we’ve talked about this before.”
“No, you’ve talked about wanting to sell the house and sail around the world, but I never said I was on board with the idea.”

“Hang on, I don’t understand. Just the other day I mentioned getting a real estate agent out to look at the cottage.”

“Was I even in the room at the time?”

“What do you mean? Of course you were.” He chewed on his lip. “At least, I think you were.”

“Sometimes you have entire conversations with people, but it turns out they happen only in your head.” I sighed. “I know, you can’t help it. That’s what I get for marrying one of those introverted, nerdy computer types. You might have a high IQ, but your EQ could use some work.”


“Emotional intelligence. You know, being able to read and understand emotions.” He looked perplexed. I squeezed his hand and smiled. “I guess that’s why people call you Mr. Oblivious.”
He frowned. “Mr. Oblivious? Who calls me that?”

I busied myself putting more ketchup on my plate. When I glanced at Scooter, he was staring at me and drumming his fingers on the picnic table.

“Well?” he asked.

I pointed over at the public docks, where commercial boats tied up to offload their catch, pick up and drop off charter passengers, and wash down their decks. “Hey, a couple of fishing boats are coming in.”

“Don’t try to change the subject. Now, ’fess up. Who calls me that?”

“Well…Mrs. Moto does.”

He snorted. “Mrs. Moto is a cat. She can’t talk.”

“Of course she can talk. Don’t you hear her meowing when you forget to fill up her food bowl? She’s saying, ‘Hey, Mr. Oblivious, I’m hungry. Snap to it.’”

“I feed her all the time, yet she always seems to be hungry.” He smiled. “She even dragged her bowl into the center of the kitchen the other day to get her point across.”

Despite his objections to adopting the calico Japanese bobtail a few months ago, I think he’d become rather fond of her, which was probably due to the fact that she had black markings on her face that resembled eyeglasses. Since Scooter was as blind as a bat without his glasses, I suspect he liked seeing someone else always “wearing” a pair as well.

He leaned across the table. “I think you’re the one who calls me Mr. Oblivious.”

I shrugged. “Maybe, but with good reason.” I took a sip of my soda. “I mean, come on, buying a boat for our anniversary, knowing that I had never even been on one before—unless you count the log ride at Disney World.”

“But you love Marjorie Jane now, don’t you?”

“Love’s a strong word. I love Mrs. Moto and I love you.” I untied the red ribbon from the heart-shaped box and peeked inside. “And, of course, I love chocolate.”

“Aren’t you going to eat the rest of your fish first?”

“Nah, let’s take that home for Mrs. Moto. She’ll be starving by the time we get back.”

I popped one of the chocolates into my mouth. “Mmm…delicious.” Scooter stared at me with those dark-brown puppy-dog eyes of his that I have trouble resisting. I pushed the box toward him. “Go on, you can have one, provided you agree that we’re not selling the cottage and that I’m not giving up my collection of boots.”

Scooter started to take one of the chocolates out. I pulled the box back toward me. “Promise first.”

“Okay, I promise,” he said, snatching it back and quickly grabbing a cherry-filled one. “But I still don’t understand why you have all those boots. We’ve been living in Florida for almost a year. The only thing I see on your feet lately are flip-flops.”

“You never know, it might snow here. You know what they say about climate change.”

Scooter laughed. “I’ll remind you about that the next time you’re complaining about being too hot.”

“See, another reason why we shouldn’t sell the cottage—air conditioning. All Marjorie Jane has going for her is some really disgusting mold growing on her deck.”

“Pass me a coconut-filled one,” Scooter said. “It seems appropriate, since we live in Coconut Cove.”

“No problem. You can have them all.” Scooter’s eyes lit up. “No, not all the chocolates, just the gross ones. I still can’t believe they couldn’t come up with a more original name for this town.”

“I don’t know, the tourists like the name. Plus, it kind of fits, considering how many accidents there are each year with coconuts falling down and injuring people.”
I shuddered. “Let’s not talk about that. It reminds me of how I was attacked after we first got Marjorie Jane. I still can’t believe everyone thought it was just a coconut that fell off a tree and hit me on the head.”

Scooter slid off his bench and sat next to me on mine. He pushed a lock of my frizzy mousy-brown hair behind my ear, then kissed me on my forehead. “I’d be happy to never talk about that again or the fact that you were almost killed. Swear to me you won’t get mixed up investigating any more murders.”

“Coconut Cove is a small town. What are the chances that anyone else would get murdered here?”
Scooter put his arm around my shoulders, and we snuggled while watching the moonlight dancing on the water. We had decided to have a low-key Valentine’s Day celebration with our picnic of fish-and-chips in the waterfront park. From our vantage point, I could just about make out the mooring field, with boats bobbing gently up and down in the water, and the Palm Tree Marina, where our sailboat was berthed.

Despite the fact that Marjorie Jane and I weren’t exactly BFFs, I did enjoy watching other boats out on the water and when they came into port. The Codfather, a large blue charter fishing boat, had tied up at the dock a few minutes earlier.

A lanky young guy with short red hair and a sunburn to match was busy carrying a cooler over to a fish-processing station, while an older man wearing a floppy hat and long-sleeved shirt helped two couples disembark. One of the women seemed grateful to be on land again.

“Liam, do you mind getting Lisa’s backpack from the boat?” the older man asked, his nasal voice ringing out across the waterfront. “She’s not feeling well.”

“Sure thing, Uncle Norm,” he replied.

As he walked back toward The Codfather, another charter boat, Nassau Royale, inched into the slip next to theirs. It was captained by a short, wiry black man with dark-gray hair. “Hey, Liam, do us a favor and take that line from Darren,” he yelled out, pointing to the bow of his boat. His accent reminded me of past vacations in the islands. A young man with dreadlocks, who appeared to be the same age as Liam, was poised to toss the line down to the dock.

Liam scowled. He leaned over the side of his boat, grabbed the backpack off one of the bench seats, then walked up the dock, ignoring the cries from Nassau Royale.

The captain shook his head in disbelief. “What is wrong with that boy?”

“Don’t worry, I’ve got it,” Darren said. He jumped off the boat, quickly tied the bow line to the cleat on the dock, and secured the stern.

The older man handed him some gear. “Looks like Liam’s uncle’s bad habits are rubbing off on him. No respect for his elders. No nephew of mine would have an attitude like that. Isn’t that right?”
Darren smiled. “Of course not, Uncle Melvin.”

“I can’t believe he treated you like that. You two are supposed to be friends.”

Darren shrugged. “We are, I guess.”

“I imagine things have changed since you were in high school.” Melvin wiped his brow with a towel. “Help an old man down,” he said. Darren pulled the side of the boat closer while his uncle stepped onto the dock.

I nudged Scooter. “Did you hear him call the older man ‘Uncle Melvin?’” I whispered. “Do you think he’s the same Melvin who runs your favorite store, Melvin’s Marine Emporium?”

“Hmm. Could be. Which reminds me, I heard they’re having a sale.”

“Shush, I want to hear what they’re saying.”

Scooter poked me in the ribs. “No, you just don’t want to talk about spending money on boat equipment.”

We watched as Melvin walked to the end of the dock. He pointed at Norm chatting with the two couples. “If he thinks he’s going to be the only charter business in town, he’s got another thing coming,” he said to Darren. “Especially after this morning when he poached our customers, getting them to go out on his boat instead of ours. He’s been trying to sabotage my business ever since I got back from the Bahamas.” He rubbed his temples. “It was foolish for us to go out fishing today without any paying customers. We barely caught anything. Think of all that money we spent on diesel. It would have been easier just to pour it down the drain.”

“Don’t be like that,” Darren said. “You needed a break from everything. Besides, it was nice to spend time with my favorite uncle.”

The older man smiled. “You’re just saying that so you don’t have to wash down the boat.” He wagged his finger. “But you’re still going to.”

Norm and Liam waved goodbye to the two couples, handing them a bag full of cleaned and filleted fish. As they made their way back to The Codfather, Norm elbowed Melvin in the stomach. Melvin seized him by the arm and shoved him backward, knocking the hat off his head into the water. Norm pulled his arm away and made a fist. His nephew gripped him by the shoulder.

“It’s not worth it,” Liam said. He pointed over at where Scooter and I were sitting. “Especially with witnesses.”

Norm cupped his hand to his mouth and yelled, “Are you enjoying the show? Should I get you some popcorn? How about a couple of drinks?”

I started to hold up my empty soda can, when Scooter snatched it out of my hand. “Knock it off,” he whispered. “Don’t make him angrier.”

After looking at us with daggers in his eyes for a moment, he turned back to Melvin. “I’ve told you once, and I’ll tell you again—don’t mess with me or my family. There’s only room in this town for one fishing charter business, and it’s mine!”

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