Read Curse of the Gypsy Online

Authors: Donna Lea Simpson

Tags: #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Cozy, #Historical, #Supernatural, #Werewolves & Shifters, #Women Sleuths, #Mystery, #Romantic Suspense, #werewolf, #paranormal romance, #cozy series, #Lady Anne, #Britain, #gothic romance

Curse of the Gypsy (39 page)

Jaymie’s wandering attention was reclaimed by the auction as the Hoosier finally came up, carried to a spot on the grass below the stage by two burly fellows.

Rebecca approached Jaymie. “C’mon, sis, I’m bushed. Let’s cash out now before the crowd so we can get home,” she said, pulling her checkbook out of her bag.

Jaymie didn’t answer, listening intently as Lesley Mackenzie described the Hoosier as a “housewife’s dream,” the most modern convenience of the housewife’s world in 1920. “The woman who first bought this—probably a Bourne wife—likely paid for it on the installment plan, a dollar a month. Its arrival from the
original
Hoosier Manufacturing Company in Indiana would have been a major event in this young married woman’s life and would have made her the queen of the county, with the very latest in kitchen conveniences at her fingertips. Her friends would have gathered ’round it
ooh
ing and
ahh
ing!” He looked around at the crowd, squinted, and said, “This item has some damage, but many original parts, so I’ll start at a hundred.”

No one bid.

“Jaymie, come on,” Becca said, checkbook and pen in hand.

Jaymie ignored her, waiting, gritting her teeth as Becca started to tap her pen on the checkbook.

“All righty, then, fifty,” Lesley said, “but not a penny less! Suitable as a desk, or for its original use; just needs a little TLC, folks.” He glanced around, and said, “I’ve got fifty, do I see sixty?”

Jaymie shot up her hand.

“I’ve got sixty,” Lesley said, then, sensing the warming crowd interest, went into his auctioneer’s singsong spiel.

“Jaymie, you are
not
bidding!” Rebecca hissed, glancing around. “Are you nuts? Let it go. We don’t have room.”

“Maybe
‘we’
don’t, but I do,” Jaymie growled, throwing up her hand to indicate ninety, as someone else in the crowd shouted something. “You go on and cash out. I want that Hoosier.”

Becca shook her head and shrugged. “Okay, but I guarantee you won’t find any room for it in the kitchen! You’ll see what I mean, and then you’ll have to get rid of it for a quarter of what you paid. Waste of money.”

“I’ll
make
room,” Jaymie softly said, as her sister threaded back through the crowd and DeeDee approached. Jaymie put her hand up for $120.

“You go, girl,” DeeDee said, looking over her shoulder at Jaymie’s older sister’s retreat. “Rebecca always was too bossy for her own good, even when we were kids together. It’s about time you stood up for yourself. You live in Queensville and look after that house, not her.”

Jaymie appreciated the support, but didn’t answer. Someone else in the crowd—or some
two
else in the crowd—was/were bidding, but she couldn’t see who it was. The cost climbed until she was up to $250, and she was thinking she was going to have to bow out. She mentally tallied her savings and what she had already spent, plus the buyer’s premium; she could go higher, she decided. DeeDee, at her elbow, was cheering her on.

Lesley kept on, and Jaymie heard a commotion in the back of the standing crowd as the bidding reached $270, and Jaymie bid $280. Someone screamed, and most of the crowd turned toward the source of the trouble, surging back to see what was going on. Lesley kept right on, though, as if he hadn’t heard, and no one else upped the bidding as a noisy fracas broke out.

Winding up, Lesley, with a big wink at her and pointing his gavel, launched into his final patter; “Going … going! Fair warning, folks … and
sold
! To the little lady in front, Miss Jaymie Leighton!” He brought the gavel down on his podium for her price. DeeDee grabbed her and they both jumped for joy as the yelling in the crowd reached a height.

A screech of fury erupted, then a muffled voice rang out from the crowd: “Hey, I was going to three hundred!”

Jaymie held her breath as she and DeeDee clung to each other, watching Lesley.

“Too late, fella,” Lesley said, squinting into the growing gloom.

“I’ll go three twenty,” another voice chimed in.

“You old fart, open up again,” the first muffled voice shouted. “I go three forty!”

Someone in the middle of the crowd hollered, “Don’t you talk that way to Les, you jerk.”

“That’s Joel!” Jaymie said, recognizing her ex-boyfriend’s voice as Lesley’s defender.

“I’ll say whatever I wanta say, asshole!”

A scuffle broke out, just a little pushing and shoving from what Jaymie could tell, as the crowd egged the combatants on, but there was a shriek and it swiftly ended. Jaymie’s cheeks burned a little; she was proud of Joel for standing up to the rude guy. He always did have a quixotic streak in him.

“Done deal!” Lesley crowed. “Your bid, Jaymie,” he said, again pointing his gavel at her. “Go and claim your prize.” He surveyed the crowd, arcing his gavel over them in a semicircle. “Any more outbursts like that and I will finish this auction here and now. We’ll now move on to the farm equipment!”

Jaymie felt a spurt of elation. Now to claim her prize and pay. “I wonder who that was who put up a fuss?”

“I don’t know,” DeeDee said. “That tall couple was in the way, and I couldn’t see. That’s Lynn and Nathan Foster,” she said, pointing at them. “They’re staying at Lyle’s inn,” she said, naming her brother-in-law, who owned the Queensville Inn.

Dee, as always, was ready with gossip, even stuff that wasn’t particularly interesting. “I’d better go cash out and face the wrath of Rebecca. Come with me,” Jaymie said, putting her bare arm through the crook in DeeDee’s sweater-clad elbow, “and get your
Partridge Family
lunchbox.”

“You mean defend you against your big sister,” DeeDee said, with a warm chuckle.

“That, too,” Jaymie said, smiling. Old friends were the best kind, it’s been said; they know all the old jokes and where the bodies are buried.

 

 

About the Author

 

Donna Lea Simpson is a nationally bestselling romance and mystery novelist with over twenty titles published in the last eleven years. An early love for the novels of Jane Austen and Agatha Christie was a portent of things to come; Donna believes that a dash of mystery adds piquancy to a romantic tale, and a hint of romance adds humanity to a mystery story. Besides writing romance and mystery novels and reading the same, Donna has a long list of passions: cats and tea, cooking and vintage cookware, cross-stitching and watercolor painting among them. Karaoke offers her the chance to warble Dionne Warwick tunes, and nature is a constant source of comfort and inspiration. A long walk is her favorite exercise, and a fruity merlot is her drink of choice when the tea is all gone. Donna lives in Canada.

 

The best writing advice, Donna believes, comes from the letters of Jane Austen. That author wrote, in an October 26, 1813, letter to her sister, Cassandra, “I am not at all in a humor for writing; I must write on till I am.” So true! But Donna is
usually
in a good humor for writing!

Contents

Cover

Books in the Lady Anne Mystery Series

Title Page

Copyright

Contents

Dedication

One

Two

Three

Four

Five

Six

Seven

Eight

Nine

Ten

Eleven

Twelve

Thirteen

Fourteen

Fifteen

Sixteen

Seventeen

Eighteen

Nineteen

Twenty

Twenty-one

Twenty-two

Twenty-three

Twenty-four

Author Afterword

Also Available

About the Author

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