If the Haunting Fits, Wear It, page 1
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 best-selling author Janet Evanovich
“A delightful protagonist, intriguing twists, and a fashionista ghost combine in a hauntingly fun tale. Definitely haute couture.”—New York Times best-selling 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 best-selling 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 best-selling 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 best-selling 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 best-selling 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 add 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
Haunt Couture and Ghosts Galore
Haunted Is Always in Fashion
If the Haunting Fits, Wear It
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
Chapter 1 - Grandma Pearl’s Pearls of Wisdom
Chapter 2 - Cookie’s Savvy Tips for Vintage Shopping
Chapter 3 - Grandma Pearl’s Pearls of Wisdom
Chapter 4 - Cookie’s Savvy Tips for Vintage Shopping
Chapter 5 - Grandma Pearl’s Pearls of Wisdom
Chapter 6 - Cookie’s Savvy Tips for Vintage Shopping
Chapter 7 - Grandma Pearl’s Pearls of Wisdom
Chapter 8 - Cookie’s Savvy Tips for Vintage Shopping
Chapter 9 - Grandma Pearl’s Pearls of Wisdom
Chapter 10 - Cookie’s Savvy Tips for Vintage Shopping
Chapter 11 - Grandma Pearl’s Pearls of Wisdom
Chapter 12 - Cookie’s Savvy Tips for Vintage Shopping
Chapter 13 - Grandma Pearl’s Pearls of Wisdom
Chapter 14 - Cookie’s Savvy Tips for Vintage Shopping
Chapter 15 - Grandma Pearl’s Pearls of Wisdom
Chapter 16 - Cookie’s Savvy Tips for Vintage Shopping
Chapter 17 - Grandma Pearl’s Pearls of Wisdom
Chapter 18 - Cookie’s Savvy Tips for Vintage Shopping
Chapter 19 - Grandma Pearl’s Pearls of Wisdom
Chapter 20 - Cookie’s Savvy Tips for Vintage Shopping
Chapter 21 - Grandma Pearl’s Pearls of Wisdom
Chapter 22 - Cookie’s Savvy Tips for Vintage Shopping
Chapter 23 - Grandma Pearl’s Pearls of Wisdom
Chapter 24 - Cookie’s Savvy Tips for Vintage Shopping
Chapter 25 - Grandma Pearl’s Pearls of Wisdom
Chapter 26 - Cookie’s Savvy Tips for Vintage Shopping
Chapter 27 - Grandma Pearl’s Pearls of Wisdom
Chapter 28 - Cookie’s Savvy Tips for Vintage Shopping
Chapter 29 - Grandma Pearl’s Pearls of Wisdom
Chapter 30 - Cookie’s Savvy Tips for Vintage Shopping
Chapter 31 - Grandma Pearl’s Pearls of Wisdom
Chapter 32 - Cookie’s Savvy Tips for Vintage Shopping
An Excerpt from Cookie’s Blog
A Passion for Haunted Fashion
KENSINGTON BOOKS are published by
Kensington Publishing Corp.
119 West 40th Street
New York, NY 10018
Copyright © 2017 by Rose Pressey
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of the Publisher, excepting brief quotes used in reviews.
If you purchased this book without a cover, you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the Publisher and neither the Author nor the Publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”
Kensington and the K logo Reg. U.S. Pat & TM Off.
First Kensington Mass Market Edition: July 2017
First Kensington Electronic Edition: July 2017
To my son,
the kindest, most wonderful person
I’ve ever known.
He motivates me every day.
He’s the love of my life.
Grandma Pearl’s Pearls of Wisdom
You gotta risk it to get the biscuit.
“Come one step closer and I’ll kill you,” I said.
The giant black, hairy spider didn’t listen as he scurried toward me. I ran in the opposite direction. The creature was the size of a rat and probably would have survived any attempts I made to extinguish it. The best option for me was to let him run off into the little dark corner he came from. I’d grab what I came into the attic for, and we’d both be happy. We’d call a truce and just leave each other alone.
Running a vintage clothing boutique was not without its hazards. Like the aforementioned spider. Also, there were mice. That was what I got when I crawled around old places looking for treasures. Vintage clothing was my thing. When I spotted a circle skirt, a great pair of pedal pushers, or a fabulous pair of wedge heels, my heart skipped a beat. It truly was an adrenaline rush. I’d turned my passion into a career when I opened It’s Vintage Y’all, my little boutique in the charming small town of Sugar Creek, Georgia.
Today I wore a 1950s Ruth Starling flower-patterned dress. It had tiny rhinestone buttons down the front, with a full skirt and a darted waistline. Perfect for spring, the dress was the bee’s knees. On my feet, I wore pale yellow wedge heels with a small bow across the vamp. Wedges were my favorite, and the color brought out the buttery gerbera daisies in the dress.
I’d responded to an ad announcing vintage clothing for sale. That was what had led me to this old attic. At least there was a small window on the other side of the room. It allowed a tiny amount of daylight to seep into the room. It was a typical attic, with
I’d been told there were quite a few great vintage pieces in the old trunk that was located in the middle of this cramped space. Mostly, I was looking for hats right now. The woman who had placed the ad had found the items when she’d bought the house, and she said I could just take whatever I wanted. The words were like magic to my ears. I was willing to deal with almost anything for free vintage, even fighting a bear . . . or a bear-sized spider.
The trunk groaned as I opened the lid. Layers of dust whirled to life. My eyes widened when I spotted the red 1940s boater hat. The tilted hat had a narrow brim with a small red veil. Perched on the edge of the brim was a velvet flocked bird with feathers in matching red hues. I was in hat heaven. As I sifted through the trunk, I found many more. There must have been at least twenty hats—all equally fabulous.
Insects, mice, dust, and a few vintage items weren’t all that I found in the attic. When I looked up from the old trunk, I gasped and fell back onto my butt. A woman was standing in the corner of the room. Her stare was locked on me. The sixtysomething woman wore a black, silk crepe, mid-length dress. On her hands were delicate white gloves. Discreet pearl drops dotted her ears, and a matching necklace adorned her neck. Her 1940s tilt hat was made of black cellophane straw. The crown of the hat was encircled with black grosgrain ribbon. She completed her outfit with simple black pumps and a matching pocketbook.
I found it odd that her hat looked so much like the ones in the trunk. Had she taken one of the hats? I hadn’t heard her enter the room. Maybe I’d been so consumed by the hat that I hadn’t noticed. Had she been here all along? Once I was finally on my feet again, I stood in front of the trunk, with several hats still in my arms. Since the woman’s frown sent a clear message that she wasn’t happy to see me, I used the trunk as a shield. It created a nice barrier between us.
“What do you think you’re doing?” she demanded.
“Cookie Chanel, come down from there. I’m not coming in. I don’t want to get my outfit dirty. Besides, I may be a ghost, but I’m not joining you in that spooky place.”
Now was not the time to deal with Charlotte Meadows. She was a ghost who refused to leave my side. Ever since I’d found her at an estate sale, she’d been stuck to me like flies on honey. She’d been attached to her killer wardrobe, but now she was affixed to me.
I looked at the corner again. The attic ghost wasn’t there. “Where’d you go?”
I looked to the other side of the room. Now she was there. Was she playing games with me?
I focused my attention on her so she couldn’t get away. “I’m sorry, but the woman downstairs said these hats were available.”
She shifted the pocketbook from her right arm to her left. “They’re my hats, and they’re not available.”
This was a bummer. As I put the hats back in the trunk, I noticed something odd. The lower half of the woman was completely see-through. Why hadn’t I noticed that sooner? The longer I looked at her, the more solid she became. Unfortunately, I knew exactly what this meant. Oh no, not again. Why was this happening to me? I enjoyed helping ghosts, but I was just confused . . . why me?
I had to let this woman know that she was no longer in this dimension. Were the hats in the trunk hers? Considering the gorgeous hat she wore, I’d be willing to bet that was the case. I could understand why she was so concerned about the ones in the trunk. I picked the hats up again. A ghost wouldn’t keep me from taking them.
“You do realize that you are a ghost?” I asked as I filled my arms with the hats.
She glared at me. “Well, that’s neither here nor there. They’re my hats.”
So she did know she was a ghost.
Charlotte poked her head through the door. Literally. “What seems to be the problem, Cookie? Hurry it up. I don’t want to have to come all the way in there.”
Before I could answer, Charlotte spotted the woman across the room. Suddenly, Charlotte had no problem with setting foot in the attic. She popped in and stood beside me with her arms crossed in front of her chest. Charlotte was pretty territorial about me, as if I was her own personal psychic. Charlotte was dressed in a white tailored pantsuit. A beige silk tank top peeked out from under her jacket. On her feet, she wore five-inch heels and nude-colored Christian Louboutins. That was one perk of being a spirit: Charlotte got to wear whatever outfit she thought up in her mind.
Charlotte tapped her foot against the floor. “And who is this?”
“Not that it’s any of your concern, but my name is Maureen Weber.” She stared at Charlotte. “Who are you?”
“I’m Charlotte Meadows. That’s all you need to know.”
I could see this was getting nowhere.
“Maureen, I understand you’re attached to your hats, but since you no longer need them, maybe I could let someone else use them who would really enjoy them.” I forced a huge smile.
“So you want to steal my hats.”
Charlotte shook her fist. “Don’t call Cookie a thief.”
I clapped my hands. “Ladies, ladies, let’s not argue, shall we?”
What could I do to get this woman to let me have the hats? I supposed I would just have to leave them in the trunk. It was sad, really, because I was on a mission to find fantastic hats for a very special event. Danielle Elston had requested vintage hats to wear for the upcoming Kentucky Derby. She simply couldn’t go to the Derby without a fantastic hat. Danielle had the money to buy any new hat she wanted, but she had requested that I help her.
Maureen moved a couple steps closer. She was totally solid now.
“I know she’s a ghost.” Maureen pointed at Charlotte. “But there’s something different about you. I think you’re still with the living.” Maureen sashayed over to us.
Charlotte rolled her eyes. “Good heavens. It looks like two pigs fighting in a sack. One says you let me go by this time and I’ll let you go by the next.”
“Charlotte! That’s not very nice,” I said.
Maureen looked me up and down. “How can you see me if you’re the living?”
I exchanged a look with Charlotte. “I don’t really know how I can see you.”
A huge smile spread on Maureen’s face. “Since you can see me, you can help find my murderer.”
Cookie’s Savvy Tips for Vintage Shopping
Often vintage clothing can be purchased
for a fraction of the cost of buying new.
My bags were all packed and loaded into the trunk of my car. It was a good thing I had plenty of room back there. I might have gone a little overboard with the luggage. It was almost impossible to pick just a few outfits to take though. I had no idea how many events I would attend. And a girl had to be stylish. The excitement was all just too much. Danielle insisted I come to the Derby to make sure her outfits were always spot-on.
I had said good-bye to my best friend, Heather, and my mother. They would be watching the shop until I got back.
I’d decided to drive to Kentucky. A car like mine would make the trip even more enjoyable. My grandfather had left me his mint-condition red 1946 Buick convertible. It was an eye-catcher. Plus, since I was driving, I could easily take Wind Song with me. The gorgeous white feline had mysteriously shown up at my doorstep. Her sudden appearance wasn’t the only thing mysterious about her either. I’d quickly discovered that she could use tarot cards and a Ouija board. I know that sounds crazy, but there is an explanation.
“Why not leave the cat—er, I mean Grandma Pearl—here?” Heather had asked. “She can stay with us at the shop.”
I rubbed Wind Song’s head. “Because Grandma Pearl always wanted to go to the Derby.”
Yes, my grandmother had slipped into the cat’s body during a séance. Now I had to figure out how to get her out of there, though I wa
I loaded up the car and placed Wind Song in the driver’s seat.
“She will just have to share the seat with me,” Charlotte said from the passenger seat.
Wind Song hissed at Charlotte.
“Please tell your grandmother not to talk to me that way.” Charlotte sat up straight in the seat.
“Maybe I will reconsider this whole trip if you two plan on bickering the whole ride,” I said, shoving the key into the ignition.
Charlotte had become a dear friend, but she really knew how to push everyone’s buttons at times.
“Okay, I promise not to argue with your grandmother, who is now a cat.”
“Thank you for not arguing with my grandmother the cat,” I said.
If anyone heard what I’d said, they would think I’d lost my mind.
There was no way Charlotte was going to stay behind while I went to the Derby. She had already modeled her hat for me. Since Charlotte was a ghost, all she had to do was think of the outfit she wanted to wear and—poof—it would appear.
I had spent quite a bit of time looking for my hat, though now I felt like I had found the perfect one for the first Saturday in May. It was white with a black ribbon around the brim and red flowers on the side. I’d recently picked it up for a fantastic price at an estate sale.
Maureen was sitting in the middle of the backseat. She shook her head. “It’s like I’m riding to Kentucky with the three stooges. Except one of the stooges is a cat.”
“Are you insulting us?” Charlotte asked.
I frowned as I looked in the rearview mirror. “That’s not nice, Maureen.”
“Sometimes the truth hurts,” she said.
I wasn’t sure how this trip was going to turn out when I had two ghosts along for the ride.
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