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Secret of the Winter Woodsman - A Whispering Pines Short Mystery (EBOOK)

Secret of the Winter Woodsman - A Whispering Pines Short Mystery (EBOOK)

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A pile of decorations sitting in the corner collecting dust does not inspire Yuletide cheer, and fifteen-year-old green witch, Morgan Barlow, could use a big dose of joy in her life. Hoping some time in nature will spark her holiday spirit, she heads out for a walk in the woods.

Her peaceful stroll takes an unexpected turn when she overhears Blind Willie Haggerty talking on his satellite phone about a decades-old crime. Did she hear him correctly? Has the reclusive old woodsman really been hiding in Whispering Pines for forty years to evade a murder charge?

Concerned about the villagers’ safety, and determined to learn the truth, Morgan launches an investigation but finds that uncovering even a single clue after so many years to be as elusive as the woodsman himself.


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Chapter 1
I hurried down the stairs, taking care not to trip on my long skirt, and rushed across the cottage. Someone was knocking on the front door. I opened it to find Blind Willie Haggerty and Lucy O’Shea standing there with overflowing baskets in hand.
“Blessed be, Morgan. We come bearing gifts.” Lucy’s smile was big and bright, although a bit of the usual sparkle was missing from her eyes.
I opened the door wider and let them in. “What are you two doing here?”
“Just told you,” Willie replied in his charmingly gruff manner, “we’re bearing gifts.” He stomped the snow off his big boots, then kissed my cheek as he entered.
“We wanted to make sure you had enough to eat.” Lucy set her boots on the shoe tray by the door, then strode straight to the kitchen with her package. “It’s been almost a week since our last delivery.”
“And we wanted to check on your patient. How’s she doing today?” Willie kicked off his boots and placed them next to Lucy’s then followed her path.
I pulled my shawl tighter around my shoulders and glanced up at the second floor where our bedrooms were. My heart was heavy but growing a little lighter each day.
“She’s sleeping now but has been taking fewer, shorter naps this week. She had a pine needle bath a little while ago so is quite content.” At Willie’s confused expression, I laughed. A hearty, endorphin-releasing guffaw. When was the last time I’d laughed like that? “I toss a cheesecloth sachet of pine needles, Epsom salts, oatmeal, and a few drops of cypress essential oil into the tub and let it steep while she soaks.”
“What’s all that do?” He stoked the fire in the kitchen hearth.
“It performs a bit of nature magic. The Epsom salts help with achy muscles. Oatmeal soothes itchy skin.”
“And we all know the benefits of pine,” Lucy added while pulling a container from the basket.
We did know. Our village was surrounded by a pine forest, after all.
“The scent of pine,” I explained, “clears sinuses and bronchial passages. It helps with circulation. And especially beneficial for Mama, it aids in mental clarity.”
A little more than a month ago, Mama had a stroke. Thank the Goddess it was a minor one.

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