Haunt Couture and Ghosts Galore

BOOK: Haunt Couture and Ghosts Galore
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Praise for Rose Pressey and
If You've Got It, Haunt It
The First Haunted Vintage Mystery
“Rose Pressey's books are fun!”
—
New York Times
Bestselling Author Janet Evanovich
 
“A delightful protagonist, intriguing twists, and a fashionista ghost combine in a hauntingly fun tale. Definitely haute couture.”
—
New York Times
Bestselling Author Carolyn Hart
 
“If you're a fan of vintage clothing and quirky ghosts, Rose Pressey's
If You've Got It, Haunt It
will ignite your passion for fashion and pique your otherworldly interest. Wind Song, the enigmatic cat, adds another charming layer to the mystery.”
—
New York Times
Bestselling Author Denise Swanson
 

If You've Got It, Haunt It
is a stylish mystery full of vintage fashions and modern flair, with a dash of Rose Pressey's trademark paranormal wit for that final touch of panache. Chic and quirky heroine Cookie Chanel and a supporting cast of small-town Southern characters are sure to charm lovers of high fashion and murderous hi-jinks alike.”
—
New York Times
and
USA Today
Bestselling Author Jennie Bentley
 
“Absolutely delightful! Prolific author Rose Pressey has penned a delightful mystery full of Southern charm, vintage fashion tips, a ghostly presence, and a puzzler of a mystery. With snappy dialogue and well-drawn characters in a lovely small-town setting, this thoroughly engaging story has it all.”
—
New York Times
Bestselling Author Jenn McKinlay
 
“Fun, fast-paced, and fashionable,
If You've Got It, Haunt It
is the first in Rose Pressey's appealing new mystery series featuring clever vintage-clothing expert Cookie Chanel. A charming Southern setting, an intriguing murder, a stylish ghost, a Tarot-reading cat, and a truly delectable detective combine to make Ms. Pressey's new Haunted Vintage series a sheer delight.”
—
New York Times
Bestselling Author Kate Carlisle
 
“Prolific mystery author Pressey launches a cozy alternative to Terri Garey's ‘Nicki Styx' series with an appealing protagonist who is as sweet as a Southern accent. The designer name-dropping and shopping tips from Cookie adds allure for shopaholics.”
—
Library Journal
Also by Rose Pressey
The Haunted Vintage Mystery Series
If You've Got It, Haunt It
All Dressed Up and No Place to Haunt
 
The Bayou Series
Lost on the Bayou
 
The Hadley Wilds Series
Dead Girl's Guide to Style
 
Maggie, P.I. Mystery Series
Crime Wave
Murder Is a Beach
 
The Halloween LaVeau Series
Forever Charmed
Charmed Again
Third Time's a Charm
Charmed, I'm Sure
 
Haunted Tour Guide Mystery Series
These Haunts Are Made for Walking
 
The Rylie Cruz Series
How to Date a Werewolf
How to Date a Vampire
How to Date a Demon
 
The Larue Donavan Series
Me and My Ghoulfriends
Ghouls Night Out
The Ghoul Next Door
 
The Mystic Café Series
No Shoes, No Shirt, No Spells
Pies and Potions
 
The Veronica Mason Series
Rock ‘n' Roll Is Undead
 
A Trash to Treasure Crafting Mystery
Murder at Honeysuckle Hotel
Honeysuckle Homicide
 
The Haunted Home Renovation Mystery Series
Flip That Haunted House
The Haunted Fixer-Upper
Haunt Couture and Ghosts Galore
Rose Pressey
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.
All copyrighted material within is Attributor Protected.
Table of Contents
Praise for Rose Pressey and
If You've Got It, Haunt It
The First Haunted Vintage Mystery
Also by Rose Pressey
Title Page
Dedication
Chapter 1 -
Cookie's Savvy Vintage Shopping Tip
Chapter 2 -
Sam's Surefire Sleuthing Pointer
Chapter 3 -
Cookie's Savvy Vintage-Clothing Shopping Tip
Chapter 4 -
Sam's Surefire Sleuthing Pointer
Chapter 5 -
Cookie's Savvy Vintage Shopping Tip
Chapter 6 -
Sam's Surefire Sleuthing Pointer
Chapter 7 -
Cookie's Savvy Vintage-Clothing Shopping Tip
Chapter 8 -
Sam's Surefire Sleuthing Pointer
Chapter 9 -
Cookie's Savvy Vintage-Clothing Shopping Tip
Chapter 10 -
Sam's Surefire Sleuthing Pointer
Chapter 11 -
Cookie's Savvy Vintage-Clothing Shopping Tip
Chapter 12 -
Sam's Surefire Sleuthing Pointer
Chapter 13 -
Cookie's Savvy Vintage-Clothing Shopping Tip
Chapter 14 -
Sam's Surefire Sleuthing Pointer
Chapter 15 -
Cookie's Savvy Vintage-Clothing Shopping Tip
Chapter 16 -
Sam's Surefire Sleuthing Pointer
Chapter 17 -
Cookie's Savvy Vintage-Clothing Shopping Tip
Chapter 18 -
Sam's Surefire Sleuthing Pointer
Chapter 19 -
Cookie's Savvy Vintage-Clothing Shopping Tip
Chapter 20 -
Sam's Surefire Sleuthing Pointer
Chapter 21 -
Cookie's Savvy Vintage-Clothing Shopping Tip
Chapter 22 -
Sam's Surefire Sleuthing Pointer
Chapter 23 -
Cookie's Savvy Vintage-Clothing Shopping Tip
Chapter 24 -
Sam's Surefire Sleuthing Pointer
Chapter 25 -
Cookie's Savvy Vintage-Clothing Shopping Tip
Chapter 26 -
Sam's Surefire Sleuthing Pointer
Chapter 27 -
Cookie's Savvy Vintage-Clothing Shopping Tip
Chapter 28 -
Sam's Surefire Sleuthing Pointer
Chapter 29 -
Cookie's Savvy Vintage-Clothing Shopping Tip
A Haunted Vintage Fashion Tip An Excerpt from Cookie's Blog
How to Help a Psychic Cat
Acknowledgments
Haunted Is Always in Fashion
Copyright Page
To my son,
the kindest, most wonderful person
I've ever known.
He motivates me every day.
He's the love of my life.
Chapter 1
Cookie's Savvy Vintage Shopping Tip
Vintage designer handbags are some of
my favorite items to buy. Do your research
and beware of buying a fake bag.
 
 
Dresses were scattered about the floor. Stilettos were piled into a corner like a shoe mountain ready to topple at any moment. I'd never been behind the scenes of a fashion show, and the frantic pace was a little frightening. The behind-the-scenes footage I'd seen on TV had rows of clothing racks neatly organized by model, but this spectacle was as chaotic as a tornado. The models slipped into their outfits with ease, though, so the frenzy apparently didn't affect them. I tried to stay out of the way, but the space backstage was cramped.
The show was being held in a nineteenth-century redbrick building that had originally been part of a college. It had also served as a hospital during the Civil War. Now the building was rented for various events. The changing area had been crammed into a small back room, so everyone was practically on top of each other.
My name is Cookie Chanel and I am a vintage-clothing connoisseur. I own It's Vintage, Y'all boutique in Sugar Creek, Georgia. It was my job to make sure the models had a fabulous vintage accessory to go with their look. Picking out a 1960s red Pierre Balmain scarf, I tossed it to one of the models. She caught the scarf midair and in a fluid movement draped it around her neck in a dramatic fashion. Now the outfit was complete.
When I was a teenager, I'd thought about modeling, but I never had the grace. Plus, at five-foot-two, I wasn't tall enough for the runway. That hadn't stopped me from loving fashion. I put effort into every outfit I wore. Like today, my House of Gold sleeveless blouse was navy blue with white polka dots, and my fifties Pauline Trigère skirt was lipstick red with accordion-style pleats. I'd taken the time to style my dark hair into victory rolls too. Dressing the part was key to running a successful vintage-clothing shop. That and the fact that I loved all things vintage.
Melanie Lee was the fashion show director. She worked at the fashion design school in Atlanta. Melanie had designed the clothing that we would feature in today's fashion show. I had been asked to pair vintage accessories with her new garments. That sounded like fun to me, so I had agreed. Melanie was running around backstage furiously trying to get everything in place and on time.
“Where is the red dress?” she yelled at no one in particular.
Melanie's brown hair had started the day in an updo, but now the left side had fallen to her shoulder. The aqua-colored wrap dress she wore was one of her own designs.
I eased over to her as if she were a ferocious lion. “Melanie, do you need my help, or should I go have a seat in the auditorium?”
She whipped around with fire in her eyes. “What do you want . . . oh, Cookie. No, I think we have it from here. Thank you.”
Melanie turned around and stormed off. I had put all the vintage items with their coordinating outfits, so I guess there was nothing left for me to do. I felt as if I was just in the way in the confined space. One less body back there would be a good thing.
On the other side of the room, I spotted someone I knew. Actually, I'd only met her a couple times now. Brooke House had recently moved to town and opened a beauty salon around the corner from my shop. She was doing hair and makeup for the show today. Brooke had styled her own chestnut-colored hair in soft waves that fell to her shoulders. Strands of loose wisps pushed forward toward her heart-shaped face. She wore dark blue Hudson jeans on her slender frame and a wine-colored sleeveless Susana Monaco blouse.
Brooke must have felt my eyes on her. She glanced in my direction and frowned. After a couple of seconds she attempted a halfhearted smile. I gave her my best grin in return.
As I headed toward the door, a gorgeous brunette with delicate features stopped me. She wore a formfitting black with red polka-dot Christian Dior dress that I had provided for the show. I'd paired a vintage black motorcycle jacket with the dress to give the outfit an edge. Her ensemble looked great with the vintage that I'd provided, except for the fact that she wasn't wearing shoes. Her hair was styled in a bob with loose curls falling gently next to her face.
“I can't find the shoes.” Her voice was in panic mode.
What was I supposed to do?
“Um, I don't know where your shoes are.”
“Well, what am I supposed to do, go out there barefoot?” She placed her hands on her hips.
Somehow I remembered this model's name. I'd met a lot of models over the course of the past couple of days, but Hannah O'Neil stood out from the rest. Maybe it was because she yelled a lot and had been known to throw things at people. Like my grandfather would have said, she was as mean as a rattlesnake. I had a feeling if she had her shoes right now she would throw them at me.
A petite blonde stomped over to us with a pair of black stilettos in her hand. “Here are the shoes. And remember to put them back in the bag and hang them with your outfit when the show is over.”
The four-and-a-half-inch Jimmy Choo heels made me want to drool. Hannah snatched them from Meaghan's hands, obviously not impressed by the gorgeous shoes. She was probably used to wearing stylish items like that.
“It's about time,” Hannah exclaimed as she stormed off.
“She has such a pleasant personality, don't you think?” Meaghan rolled her eyes.
“She's a real doll,” I said.
Meaghan McKinney was Melanie Lee's assistant. I didn't envy her job. She worked under this kind of pressure all the time. Melanie was trying to make it big with her designs and that meant a lot of stress. I didn't see why Melanie wouldn't be successful because the items I'd seen so far were gorgeous. It didn't look as if Meaghan had much time to decide on her outfit for the day. Her jeans were wrinkled and her plain white T-shirt was half tucked in. One of her sneakers' laces was untied.
“Sorry about that.” She blew the bangs out of her eyes.
“It's okay. I guess you're used to it by now.”
“I wouldn't say used to it, but I've learned how to deal with it. I should have become a veterinarian like I'd first intended.”
“Meaghan!” Melanie yelled from behind a rack of clothing.
“I'd better go.” She rushed off when Melanie yelled her name again.
I stepped out from backstage. A large crystal chandelier hung from the middle of the room. Swaths of white fabric were draped across the ceiling and pooled against the walls as if a dream of glitz and glamour. I hardly recognized the room. Before its makeover it had been nothing but beige walls and hardwood floor. I took a seat at the front of the stage.
With white folding chairs crammed into every available spot around the makeshift stage, the place was full to capacity. There must have been at least 300 people here. Needless to say, I was excited about the turnout. Being a part of the action had been thrilling and it would be fun to see the final outcome. I just hoped none of the models tripped while onstage.
A woman in her midthirties with short black hair sat next to me. She wore a formfitting red and white dress that hit just below the knees. I didn't know the designer of the dress, but I recognized the woman from being backstage earlier in the day. I'd seen her leaving a red dress on one of the racks. Shandra Jordan also designed clothing, but I wasn't sure if she had any pieces in today's show. Casting a glance my way, she noticed me watching her.
“Hello.” Her clipped tone let me know she wondered why I was staring at her.
“I'm excited for the show. Do you have clothing featured?” I asked.
“No,” she said drily.
The music pumped a little too loudly from speakers behind the stage and the models streamed out one by one. I was happy to see that they had all worn my vintage pieces correctly. None of the items had gotten mixed up with the wrong outfits. Seeing my stuff onstage made me proud. After all, vintage was my life. My mother said I got my style and love of fashion from my grandmother. Granny Pearl had been the one who started calling me Cookie because the moniker fit so well with Chanel, that and she loved Coco Chanel. My given name is Cassandra, but everyone calls me Cookie.
Never had I thought that running a vintage-clothing shop would bring so much adventure into my life. Maybe I should have taken some time off after helping a movie company with their costumes, but I liked to keep busy, so I'd moved right on to another project.
The show passed quickly and everyone clapped as Melanie emerged onstage and took a bow. Shandra snorted. I looked over at her. A scowl covered her face as she stared at Melanie. At least I thought she was staring at her. I wondered what that was all about.
Now that the show had finished I had to get backstage and make sure all of the clothing items I'd brought were returned. The items were delicate because of their age and I wanted to make sure they weren't tossed around too much. I liked to think of them as my babies.
After weaving through the crowd, I walked backstage. The models were feverishly removing the clothing and tossing the items onto the floor, changing into their own outfits. So far I hadn't spotted Melanie or her assistant, Meaghan. I wanted to congratulate them on a job well done.
“Has anyone seen Melanie?” I asked.
Most of the models ignored me, then again it was noisy back there and maybe they hadn't heard me. A couple of women nearby glanced at me and then whispered to each other.
I moved through the small space, zigzagging around the models.
“Please return the vintage items to the rack by the door,” I yelled so they would hear me.
Again they didn't pay me any attention. I cringed at the way some of them were handling the clothing. I would thank Melanie and then hurry back in there to get my items before there was a disaster.
As I stepped out from the back space, a small equipment room was on one side of the hallway and on the other side a sound room. I checked both spaces but couldn't find Melanie. At the end of the hall was an exit door. Maybe she'd stepped outside.
When I opened the door to the outside, I looked to my left and spotted Hannah. She was staring at the pavement. I followed her gaze and spotted Melanie facedown on the ground. Blood had pooled under her body. My stomach clenched and the smell of rotting trash from the nearby cans didn't help. At that moment Hannah looked up at me. Her face was pale and haunted.
“I think she's dead,” Hannah said.
“Well, pick my peas, you've discovered another dead person.” I knew it wouldn't take long before Charlotte caught up with me.
The ghost of Charlotte Meadows typically stalked me everywhere I went. Today she had been suspiciously absent. Trouble followed her, though, and I figured at any minute I'd become aware of her presence. Now wasn't exactly the best timing. I was a little occupied with my current project. I'd met Charlotte Meadows at her estate sale. She'd been murdered and demanded that I find her killer. Now she wouldn't leave. Charlotte hadn't been the only ghost I'd encountered either, but I hoped that now interacting with the spirit world was all behind me. Maybe Charlotte would eventually move into the next dimension. Around the same time a gorgeous long-haired white cat had found me. She was no ordinary feline though. Wind Song the cat had psychic abilities and used the Ouija board and tarot cards, but more about her later.
BOOK: Haunt Couture and Ghosts Galore
11.05Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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