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Overboard on the Ocean - Mollie McGhie #6

Overboard on the Ocean - Mollie McGhie #6

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Mollie McGhie Cozy Mystery - Book #6

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 decided to hand over your life savings to a con artist?

When Mollie McGhie went on a cruise to the Bahamas, she wasn’t expecting someone to fall overboard. Convinced that foul play was involved, Mollie sets out to prove that it was murder.

During the course of her investigation, Mollie uncovers an investment scam that her husband almost got sucked into and discovers exactly how boring maritime law is.

In between tracking down clues and questioning suspects, Mollie also has to help a friend plan her wedding, not to mention getting her own boat ready to set sail.

Can Mollie discover who the killer is, or will she end up in a watery grave of her own?

Chapter 1 Look Inside

Chapter 1 - The Case of the Missing Napkin

What would you do if your husband decided to hand over your life savings to a con artist?

Would you:
(a) Shrug;
(b) Freak out a little;
(c) Hyperventilate; or
(d) Go into full-blown panic mode?

When Scooter first announced his latest hare-brained scheme, I just shrugged. I had recently taken over managing our finances and set up a new password for our online bank account. Scooter didn’t have a clue what it was. If he couldn’t access the money, he wouldn’t be able to give it to that jerk who was trying to con him. So, I was pretty relaxed about the situation.

That feeling of calm lasted exactly two seconds. Then my shrug turned into a weird sort of nervous twitch as I freaked out about the fact that I didn’t know what the password was either. Sure, Scooter couldn’t access our funds, but neither could I.

Think, Mollie, think, I said to myself as I tried to recollect the new password. I had wanted to use my easy to remember, go-to password—FAROUT—but the system had informed me that it was too weak. It insisted that I come up with a long, overly complicated string of symbols, numbers, and capital letters. Sure, that sort of thing is great for keeping hackers at bay, but mere mortals couldn’t possibly remember anything so convoluted. Heck, I struggle to remember to floss my teeth every day. Recalling a complicated password . . . well, that’s fairly unlikely.

That’s why I had written it down. Except I didn’t have a clue where it was now.

I began to hyperventilate. What if someone found the password? What if someone had already emptied our bank account?
I frantically dug through my purse, looking for it. All I found were the usual suspects—my wallet, keys, some glitter pens, a catnip mouse, and a half-eaten Hershey’s bar. But no password.
Hoping that it would have a calming effect, I inhaled the chocolate. It didn’t help. Instead, things escalated into full-blown panic mode as it dawned on me just where and when I had written the new password down.

Scooter and I had been at Penelope’s Sugar Shack for a mid-morning coffee a few days previously. I had scrawled the new password on a napkin, but got distracted when Scooter placed a freshly baked muffin in front of me. The smell of blueberries had been intoxicating, and I devoured it in a few bites. I vaguely remember Scooter shaking his head when he saw the napkin, muttering something about not leaving my password out where everyone could see it. Then he had tucked it in his shirt pocket.
I groaned as I realized what that meant—Scooter had the password. He was about to give our entire life savings away to that scoundrel, Fletcher Tolliver unless . . .

You know what, before we get into all that, maybe I should back up and fill you in on exactly what happened that day. Grab a snack—I recommend the blueberry muffins from the Sugar Shack—and a beverage, and I’ll tell you all about it.

* * *

When it all started, I had been standing in the galley of our sailboat trying to remember where I was at in the recipe I was making.

“Hey, M.J., do you know if I added salt to this dough already?”

Not surprisingly, M.J. didn’t respond. Honestly, if she had, I would have been startled since M.J. is our sailboat. Boats don’t typically talk back. At least ours doesn’t.

Actually, she’s called Marjorie Jane on all the official documentation. Though I wasn’t terribly fond of that name, so lately I had taken to calling her M.J. instead.

Truth be told, I hadn’t been all that fond of M.J. herself until recently. Scooter had surprised me with her on our tenth wedding anniversary, thinking I would fall in love with the dilapidated sailboat like he had. It was definitely not love at first sight, that’s for sure. Still over the past year, Scooter and I had worked hard to tackle an extensive list of boat projects, and I was starting to warm up to her. Which was a good thing, because in a couple of months, we were planning on sailing M.J. from Florida to the Bahamas. I was going to have to trust my life to her on the high seas.

“Salt? Did I add salt already?” I muttered to myself.
“What did you say?” a familiar voice asked.

I turned and saw Scooter climbing down the ladder into the main cabin. “Oh, it’s this recipe I’m making. As I was measuring out the flour, Mrs. Moto distracted me.”

Scooter laughed when he saw our Japanese bobtail cat perched on the table. “You wouldn’t know she was a calico, would you, covered in all that flour.”

“She won’t let me clean her off,” I said. “Maybe you’ll have more luck.”

As he walked toward Mrs. Moto, she narrowed her emerald green eyes and hissed. He held his hands up and backed away. “I think she needs her space. What are you making?”


Scooter leaned against the counter. “The Italian dumplings made with potatoes, right?”


“Gnocchi. That has a cute ring to it.”

“Oh, I know where this is going.” I groaned. “This is going to be your latest pet name for me, isn’t it?”

He grinned, then kissed me on the cheek. “Sure is, my little gnocchi.”

“You seem to be in a good mood,” I said.

“I am. Someone made me a very interesting business proposition today. Why don’t you come sit with me in the cockpit and I’ll tell you about it?”

I stared at the bowl of gnocchi dough, wondering if it had salt in it. “Well, I probably should just chuck this out and start over.”

Scooter pulled me out of the galley. “Take a break first.”

After we were settled in the cockpit, I turned to Scooter. “Okay, spill.”

“Do you remember . . . whoa, look at that.” Scooter pointed at a pair of dolphins frolicking in the bay.

I leaned over the side of the boat. “Wow, did you see that leap?”

“Pretty amazing, huh? But it will be ten times better when we’re in the Bahamas. Maybe we’ll even get to swim with them.”

“That would be great, as long as there aren’t any sharks. I was talking to a lady in the laundry room yesterday and she told me that her husband was attacked by a shark when they were snorkeling. She said she had never seen so much blood in her life.”

Scooter grimaced, and the color drained from his face. I quickly apologized for saying the “B” word. He exhaled sharply three times as he removed his glasses. Closing his eyes, he pressed his index fingers on the bridge of his nose, then tugged on his earlobes while saying something under his breath. After exhaling sharply again, he put his glasses back on and smiled at me.

“It’s okay, my little gnocchi. You can say the ‘B’ word.”

My jaw dropped. Scooter had always been squeamish. It was a good thing that he worked in telecommunications. He could have never cut it as a medical professional.

“Go on, you can say it,” Scooter urged.


“Yep, blood,” he repeated calmly.
“I’m impressed.”

He shrugged. “Well, when we’re out sailing, we’ll be on our own. If we have an injury, we’re going to have to deal with it ourselves. It’s not like there are floating emergency rooms in the middle of the ocean. So, I’m going to have to get over my fear of blood. Besides, there’s less chance of having to deal with blood in the Bahamas then there is here in Coconut Cove.”

I cocked my head to one side. “Why’s that?”

“It seems like every other day you find a dead body,” Scooter joked. “This town seems to have become the murder capital of the country ever since we moved here.”

“Wait … Did you just say, ‘dead body’ and ‘murder’ out loud?”
“Uh-huh. Dead body, murder—they’re just words,” he said.

Only the confident tone in his voice didn’t match the look in his eyes. I squeezed his hand and changed the subject. “Tell me about this business proposition.”

“You remember Fletcher Tolliver, don’t you?”

“Sure. The scumbag who embezzled money from his business, right?”

“That was just a rumor,” Scooter said.

“Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”

“I did a couple of deals with him back when we lived in Cleveland.”

I shook my head. “You lost your shirt on one of them too.”

“That wasn’t Fletcher’s fault.” Scooter folded his arms across his chest. “There was a supply chain problem. That won’t be an issue this time around.”

“This time around?”

“Fletcher has a sure-fire investment opportunity, and he’s offered to let me get in on the ground floor.” Scooter looked at me intently. “Do you have any idea what this would mean for us? We would be set for life. We’d never have to work again. Imagine sailing around the world and never having to worry about money again.”

I ticked items off on my fingers. “First, I never said I wanted to sail around the world. Let’s just focus on getting to the Bahamas in one piece. Second, I don’t want to quit my job. I know I don’t make a lot of money, but I love what I do. And third, when someone describes something as ‘sure-fire,’ I’m suspicious.”

Scooter furrowed his brow. “Don’t you trust me? I know a good deal when I see it.”

“I trust you,” I said. “It’s Fletcher I don’t trust.”

“I’m not asking you to trust Fletcher. I’m asking you to trust me.”

“Exactly how much money are we talking about?” When Scooter hesitated, I felt my stomach twist into knots. “It’s a lot, isn’t it?”

“You have to spend money to make money,” he said.

This is when I realized Scooter didn’t know the password to our online account, so I shrugged. Fletcher Tolliver wasn’t going to be able to get a hold of our life savings without me, and I certainly wasn’t going to hand it over to him.

“What’s wrong with your shoulders?” Scooter asked. “They seem to be spasming.”

As my shrug turned into a nervous twitch, I frantically tried to remember what the password was. I darted out of the cockpit in search of my purse. I searched everywhere, eventually finding it on our bed.

“I wonder why my purse is covered in white paw prints,” I said pointedly to the cat lying on Scooter’s pillow. Mrs. Moto ignored me and continued her bath, licking the last of the flour off her tail.

After I dumped the contents out of my purse, the calico helped me search for the piece of paper with the password on it. Her idea of “help” consisted of batting various items onto the floor, then meowing plaintively for me to pick them up so that she could knock them down again.

“What’s going on?” Scooter said behind me.

I crumpled up the Hershey bar wrapper and tucked it in the pocket of my shorts before turning around. “Nothing.”

He arched an eyebrow. “You have chocolate on the side of your face. What are you hiding? A cookie from the Sugar Shack?”

My eyes widened. The Sugar Shack, that’s it. I wrote the password down on a napkin at the Sugar Shack. But what had happened to it?

“Hey, are you okay?” Scooter asked, sitting next to me on the bed. “You look like you’re going to have a heart attack.”

“The nap … the nap … the napkin,” I spluttered. “What did you do with the napkin?”

“What napkin?”

I tried to calm my breathing, then said, “The other day at the Sugar Shack—”

“Wait a minute, are you talking about the one you wrote on? This is why I didn’t want you to manage our finances. You can’t go around writing passwords down.”

I pursed my lips. “What did you do with it?”

“I destroyed it.”

I felt the tension in my shoulders dissipate. “So, you can’t access our bank account.”

“Don’t worry.” He tapped the side of his head. “I memorized it.”

My breathing became shallow, and my shoulders started twitching again. I clutched Scooter’s hand. “You can’t give our money to that man.”

“Listen, you may not be fond of Fletcher, but once you see the investor presentation, you’ll be completely on board. You don’t always have to like the people you do business with.”

“But you do have to trust them,” I said firmly.

He pulled his hand away. “I do trust him. And you will too after the cruise this weekend.”

“Cruise … This weekend?”

“Didn’t I mention it?” When I shook my head, he said, “Oh, I probably should have led with that. Fletcher has invited us to join him with other potential investors on a cruise to the Bahamas. We leave from Miami on Friday afternoon. The boat sails overnight and we’ll wake up in the islands the next morning. We’ll spend a couple of days there, then head back on Monday.”

“So, let me see if I’ve got this right . . . we’re going to spend a fortune on a cruise so that Fletcher can con us out of our life savings.”

Scooter narrowed his eyes. “Fletcher is paying for our trip. He wouldn’t do that if he was a con artist, right?”

“It’s called a convincer,” I said. “It’s what all good con artists do. They put up their own money at first to suck you in. Then they—”

“Enough, Mollie,” Scooter said coldly. “I get it. You don’t trust Fletcher. Fine. Just come on the cruise and listen to the presentation. If you don’t think it’s a good deal after that, then we won’t invest in it. Simple as that.”

As if sensing the tension, Mrs. Moto crawled into my lap and purred loudly. I chewed on my bottom lip as I stroked her. Scooter and I had been married for almost eleven years, and I could count the number of fights we'd had on one hand. I couldn’t figure out what had gotten into him. Usually, my husband was good-natured and easygoing. I had never seen this side of him before, and I didn’t like it.

“Well?” Scooter asked.

“I can’t go,” I said. “I told Anabel that I’d look at wedding venues with her this weekend.”

“I’m sure she’ll understand if you postpone.”

“I don’t want to postpone. She’s my best friend. I promised I’d help her.”

“I thought I was your best friend,” Scooter said quietly as he got to his feet.

“Where are you going?” I asked as he started to walk out of the cabin.

“I need some time to think,” he said back over his shoulder.

I lay on the bed, tears welling up in my eyes. Mrs. Moto snuggled against my face. “Fletcher Tolliver,” I muttered to her. “Something needs to be done about that man.”

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