Coffee and Ghosts: The Complete First Season (Coffee and Ghosts: The Complete Seasons Book 1)

Coffee and Ghosts: The Complete First Season (Coffee and Ghosts: The Complete Seasons Book 1) by Charity Tahmaseb

Book: Coffee and Ghosts: The Complete First Season (Coffee and Ghosts: The Complete Seasons Book 1) by Charity Tahmaseb Read Free Book Online
Authors: Charity Tahmaseb
Tags: Fiction
back until the release. There’s no room in the convertible for ghosts. There’s barely room for two. Despite the gearshift that separates us, I feel close to him, but not trapped or confined. No. Close. I feel close to Malcolm.
    And yet? Not.
    I exhale, sending my frustration streaming into the air that buzzes past us.
    “Cold?” Malcolm asks.
    “Tired. I pushed Mr. Carlotta all the way to the care facility.”
    “Oh, damn, that reminds me. I think his ghost is back.”
    “It is. But I didn’t have any decent coffee with me. I’ll stop in tomorrow.”
    “It’s just as well.” And here, I think the wind also steals Malcolm’s sigh. “He doesn’t much like it when I catch his ghost. Actually, he doesn’t much like me.”
    I want to contradict this, but can’t. Why this bothers Malcolm, especially when most everyone else in town adores him, I don’t know.
    The convertible rolls to a stop in front of my house. Next door, light blazes from all the windows. A muted glow comes from the bedroom. I suspect this night will be long for Sadie.
    “I feel like I should sneak over and scoop up her sprites,” I say. They’re back already; I can tell. That accounts for the lights, and the enormous electric bill she’ll need to pay at the end of the month.
    “If you did, it would only prove Mistress Armand’s point. I don’t think we want to do that.”
    I turn toward him. “What happened at the séance?”
    Malcolm sinks into the car seat. “What didn’t? I know there aren’t many secrets in a town this small. Still.” He swipes a hand over his face. “I’m not sure we needed so much bloodletting. I don’t know what else to call it. She left everyone bruised and bloodied up on that platform.”
    “Even you?”
    He shifts in his seat and raises an eyebrow as if to ask, Whatever do you mean?
    “You know,” I say. “The girl you left behind.”
    “Oh. That.” His laugh is soft. “I’ll give Mistress Armand that. She’s good at a cold read. We can’t underestimate her. I must have twitched my jaw. She picked up on something, but she got it all wrong. There is no girl I left behind.”
    “Oh.” Questions burn in the back of my mind. If there’s no girl, then what is there? What is it I’m missing about him? After all, he’s my business partner, and maybe my friend. Yes, he’s my friend. So what does Mistress Armand see that I can’t?
    “Anyway,” Malcolm continues, “she convinced everyone to embrace their ghosts and promised they would vanish. Business could be ... thin for a while.”
    Like it wasn’t already. My gaze is drawn back to Sadie’s windows, which continue to pour light into the dark.
    “Do you think it’s on purpose?” I ask him.
    “Well, yes, she’s being very intentional with all this, most likely to fill her bank account, even if she hasn’t charged anyone yet.”
    “No, not that. I mean, why. She claims to be getting rid of ghosts. So they must vanish, at least temporarily. If that’s the case, where do they all go?”
    We stare at each other, and I detect the moment horror fills Malcolm’s eyes.
    “Oh, no. No,” he murmurs. He shifts into gear and makes a tight U-turn, nearly hitting a car parked opposite my house. It’s a good thing I never undid my seatbelt. I’m tossed from one side to the other as we race down the road toward the center of town. Before I can ask, Malcolm speaks.
    “Nigel,” he says.
    With that one word, I understand his fear.
     
    * * *
     
    Malcolm rents an apartment at the center of town. The old, restored building has lots of brick and wood. We jog through the lobby. Malcolm punches the button for the elevator, but he’s so jittery, I think he might rush up the stairs. The doors open with a soft ding before he’s able to.
    The fourth floor hallway is quiet. Either the walls are thick or his neighbors are polite. No drone of a television set. No loud music. At the end of the corridor, he pulls out his keys to unlock the door, and we

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