Mayhem in Christmas River: A Christmas Cozy Mystery (Christmas River Cozy, Book 2)

Free Mayhem in Christmas River: A Christmas Cozy Mystery (Christmas River Cozy, Book 2) by Meg Muldoon

Book: Mayhem in Christmas River: A Christmas Cozy Mystery (Christmas River Cozy, Book 2) by Meg Muldoon Read Free Book Online
Authors: Meg Muldoon
with?”
    “She’s looking for someone,” he said. “But stop changing the subject, Cin. Tell me why you came to see me this morning.”
    Suddenly, I couldn’t breathe. All the air in the room seemed to evaporate, and I was left sucking in what was left.
    After a few moments of strangled silence, he could tell that I wasn’t going to have an answer for him.
    “Okay, Cin,” he said, nodding sadly. “However long it takes.”
    He put his hat back on and started walking away.
    “Can we talk later?” I said in a squeaky voice, just as he was leaving.
    He stopped and turned back toward me.
    “It’s going to be a late night,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of work to do.”
    “The fire at Kara’s store?” I asked.
    He nodded.
    “We haven’t seen anything quite like it before,” he said.
    “Did they find out what caused it?” I asked.
    “It’s more of a question of who .”
    My mouth dropped open.
     

Chapter 20
     
    Daniel was right.
    It wasn’t anything I’d ever seen or heard of before either. 
    Whoever had started the fire in Kara’s shop had kicked in the back door to get to the inventory room. The fire department found accelerant, which made it clear that it hadn’t been any sort of accident.
    That, and the fact that they had footage from the downtown parking lot camera placed in the alleyway behind Kara’s shop. 
    After seeing that, it was clear that the blaze had been without a doubt, intentional. And that whoever was behind it was one very depraved individual.
    Daniel said that the footage caught the arsonist on his way out the back door. He seemed to know exactly where the camera was, Daniel said, because he looked up at it for a moment, and then did something that made me shudder after Daniel told me about it.
    The arsonist took a bow.
    And that wasn’t even the worst of it. 
    There was something else. Something bone-chilling.
    The arsonist, whoever he was, was dressed up as none other than the man who was responsible for pulling in thousands of dollars each year in tourism money for Christmas River.
    The man that could be said to have helped save a dying logging town from ruin back in the day.
    Santa Claus.
    Santa Claus, complete with a red velvet jacket, a black buckled belt, a red hat with a white pom pom, and a thick beard, according to Daniel.
    Old St. Nick had burned Kara’s shop down to the ground.
    The image sent my blood running cold.
    When Daniel told me, I could hardly believe it. Who would do such a thing? And why had he targeted Kara?
    Could it have been an ex-boyfriend maybe? One of the dozens of men she’d dated over the years who might have been holding onto a grudge all this time?
    Or did she even know the perpetrator at all? Was he just a nut roaming the streets of Christmas River who saw an opportunity to carry out his insanity?
    Even though it had been Kara that had been targeted, I couldn’t help but feel angry and helpless, as if I’d been the victim.
    The same question kept churning over and over in my head. 
    Who would do such a thing to Kara?
    I spent the rest of the day thinking it over, but by the end, I was no closer to an answer than I had been when I started.
     

Chapter 21
     
    “Now, here’s the script. I know it’s a lot to remember in such a short period of time, but you’re going to have to call upon your inner thespian for inspiration. Despite a last minute change in actress, Christmas River is still expecting their Mrs. Claus to be as warm and ethereal as ever.”
    Sarah Reinhart, the vocabulary-toting director of Christmas River’s Christmas in July Parade and Play, handed me a stack of papers that probably had killed an entire oak tree.
    As I sat there in one of the auditorium seats, flipping through the pages, my regret level soared to an all-time high.
    Not only was I in full Mrs. Claus dress in the hot, dank Christmas River High School auditorium, but I had a script the size of Crime and Punishment to memorize.
    “I’m just curious,”

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