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Murder aboard the Mistletoe - Mollie McGhie #7

Murder aboard the Mistletoe - Mollie McGhie #7

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Mollie McGhie Cozy Mystery - Book #7

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

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


When Mollie McGhie attends a Christmas party aboard the Mistletoe, she was planning on sipping eggnog, decorating a nautically themed tree, and opening presents. But when someone is killed on board the boat and Santa Claus is arrested, Mollie is thrust into the middle of a murder investigation.

Can Mollie discover whodunit before someone else ends up dead?

Chapter 1 Look Inside

Chapter 1 - The Santa Standoff

I was searching for my keys when my husband, Scooter, called out, “Mollie, come up on deck. You’ve got to see this.”

“Just a sec,” I yelled before continuing to look around the main cabin of our sailboat, Marjorie Jane. “Where did that cat hide them now?” I muttered to myself.

The problem with living aboard a boat is that sometimes your cat thinks it’s amusing to grab your stuff, carry it up on deck, then bat it overboard. I really hoped that’s not what Mrs. Moto had done with my keys.

After poking around in the galley, I finally located them in her water bowl. I grumbled as I fished them out. But I guess this was the lesser of two evils. Diving into the water at our marina in search of my keys would have freaked me out. The water is murky, and you never know if an alligator is lying in wait.

When I walked up onto the deck of our boat, Scooter turned to me. “Doesn’t Mrs. Moto look adorable in her elf outfit?”

I have to admit, she did look pretty cute. That’s how cats get away with things. They can spit up a hairball on your pillow, then give you an adoring look and, like magic, all is forgiven.

Scooter and I watched our cat strutting back and forth like a runway model. When she reached the bow of the boat, she paused to scratch behind one of her ears, almost knocking her red and green felt hat off.

“You’re getting very proficient with the sewing machine,” I said to Scooter as we watched our calico pad back toward us.

“I know we bought it to repair our sails, but it’s turning out to be pretty handy for making cat costumes,” he said. “You should see how many new followers Mrs. Moto has on YouTube. People love seeing videos of her wearing her latest outfits.”

As I scooped Mrs. Moto up, Scooter added, “One of her fans suggested I make a mermaid costume next.”

“That’d be cute,” I said.

Mrs. Moto meowed in agreement, then squirmed out of my arms.

As she jumped off the boat, Scooter said, “I think someone is eager to get to the Christmas party the Mistletoe’s crew is hosting.”

I grinned. “That’s because she knows there’s going to be food. She’ll pretend she’s starved and everyone will feed her off their plates.”

As we trailed behind our impatient calico, Scooter said, “I wonder if she realizes that Lawrence and Sarah moved their boat. It’s in a berth nearer to the patio now.”

“Oh, don’t worry,” I said. “She’s great at finding things.”

Scooter laughed. “Especially clues. I’m not sure you would have solved all those murder cases in Coconut Cove if it wasn’t for her help.”

I squeezed my husband’s hand. “And yours too. You’ve gotten pretty good at this whole amateur sleuth thing lately.”

“Fortunately, it’s Christmastime. Even murderers take a break over the holidays.” Scooter wagged a finger at me. “We’re setting sail for the Bahamas soon. The last thing we need is for you to get drawn into another investigation.”

I held my hands up. “Hey, it’s not like I go around looking for dead bodies. Somehow, I just seem to stumble across—”

Scooter silenced my protests with a kiss, then softly murmured, “Do we really need to go to this party?”

“Sorry, mister,” I said, reluctantly pulling away. “The ukulele band is expecting you. I’m looking forward to hearing you guys play Christmas carols.”

“I never thought I’d be playing Christmas music on a ukulele, not to mention wearing shorts in December,” Scooter said. “Florida sure is different from Cleveland.”

I furrowed my brow. “Where is your ukulele?”

“Ben borrowed it. He said he’d bring it to the party—”

Mrs. Moto interrupted Scooter with a bloodcurdling yowl. You didn’t have to be a rocket scientist to know what she meant: Stop dawdling, humans. I needs cheezburger and I needs it now!

“We’re coming,” Scooter said, but she raced down the deck, leaving us in her wake.

When we reached the patio, I glanced at the three boats tied up alongside the dock. The Mistletoe was in the middle, the large catamaran dwarfing the two smaller powerboats on either side. The smaller boats had Christmas lights strung up on their railings, but the Mistletoe’s decorations were on a whole other level.

“Do you see Mrs. Moto anywhere?” I asked Scooter.

He pointed in the direction of the marina office. “Is that her?”

“No, that’s a squirrel. But I do see Santa Claus.” I smiled at the sight of Jim Ferguson. He was wearing a traditional Santa outfit, but had given it his own twist, with a Hawaiian shirt worn over his red jacket and sporting sandals instead of boots.

“Jim sure does take his role as the town’s official Santa seriously,” Scooter said.

“Who’s that next to him?” I asked, indicating a gray-haired man wearing khakis and a white button-down shirt. He turned his head to one side, revealing a large port-wine birthmark on the left side of his face.

“That’s Edward Smythe. He’s the new owner of the Tipsy Pirate.” Scooter frowned. “He’s a transplant from New York who thinks he can come to Coconut Cove and change our way of life. He’s talking about redecorating the Tipsy Pirate. Can you believe he thinks the tiki-bar décor is tacky?”

“Listen to you.” I chuckled. “You do realize that we moved here just over a year ago. It’s not like we’re locals.”

Scooter rubbed his jaw. “Huh, it feels like we’ve lived here longer than that.”

“I wonder what they’re talking about,” I said. “Jim does not look happy.”

“No, he doesn’t,” Scooter said.

The two men were standing in front of the office. Jim had a scowl on his face, which was unusual for the normally happy-go-lucky guy. Edward was glaring at Jim.

As I edged closer to the marina office, Scooter grabbed my arm. “Where are you going?”

“I want to check out the bulletin board,” I said innocently. “There might be some interesting flyers tacked up there.”

“Just admit it—you want to eavesdrop on them.”

“Me? Eavesdrop?” I put a hand to my chest, doing my best to look offended.

Scooter grinned. “Sorry, my mistake. You don’t eavesdrop. You overhear things.”

“Exactly. That’s an important distinction.” I turned my attention back to Edward and Jim, hoping to hear what they were saying. Turns out, it wasn’t hard because their conversation suddenly became a lot louder and a lot more heated.

Jim squared his shoulders and took a step forward, getting in Edward’s face. “There’s only one Santa Claus in Coconut Cove and that’s me,” he said.

Edward held his ground and smirked. “Hah. You’re a disgrace to Santas everywhere. A Hawaiian shirt? Please. And your beard is obviously fake.”

“Fake? This is the real thing.” Jim looped his fingers through the wide black belt cinching his Hawaiian shirt. “And this belly of mine is one hundred percent real. I don’t have to use padding.”
I bit back a smile. In normal circumstances, men wouldn’t brag about the size of their beer bellies, but when you have two Santas in a stand-off, apparently the rules are different.

Edward seemed caught off guard, looking down at his flat stomach for a moment, then he jabbed a finger in Jim’s chest. “I’ll have you know that the Macy’s Parade begged me to be their Santa Claus last year. That’s how good I am.”

Jim narrowed his eyes, then let out a hearty, “Ho, ho . . . no. Got that? That’s ho, ho, no way will you ever be Coconut Cove’s Santa Claus, you hear?”

“Better tell that to Sarah O’Malley,” Edward said.

Jim took a step back. “What does Sarah have to do with anything?”

“She’s in charge of the Christmas parade,” Edward said.

“Yeah, so?”

Edward folded his arms across his chest. “Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but she’s picked me to be this year’s Santa. You’re history, buddy.”

“Sarah did what? There’s no way . . .” Jim’s voice trailed off as he looked over at the patio where Sarah was standing next to the barbecue.

She and everyone else were staring at the two men. Edward gave Sarah a thumbs up, then plucked the Santa hat off Jim’s head. “This belongs to me, buddy.”

Jim’s face reddened and his body was quivering with anger. As he grabbed the hat back, he said in a loud voice, “The only way you’ll ever wear a red suit in Coconut Cove is if you’re dead. Then I’ll happily bury you in it.”

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