In The Wick of Time

  • Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
  • Series: A Magic Candle Shop Mystery , Two
  • Release Date: 10/17/2023
  • Genre: Cozy Paranormal Mystery
  • Available Formats: eBook and Print
  • Hardcover: ISBN 9781639105076

Share With Your Friends
Pin it

Will Tabby and Sage keep their friends safe and find this killer? Or will they be burned by their efforts?

December in Savannah, Georgia, is a sight to behold. With all the festivities—including the traditional riverfront luminary display during the boat parade—twin sisters Tabby and Sage Winslow are busier than ever setting up for the big celebration. But that isn’t the only thing on the sisters’ minds. Both Sage and her fellow employee Mary Nicole are vying for the sought-after assistant manager job at the plant nursery. But when Loren Lee, their boss, is found dead, and Sage becomes the police’s favorite suspect, both Winslow girls know that they’ll need more than a flicker of magic and their sisterhood to solve the murder and clear Sage’s name.

Soon, Tabby realizes that this is just one of the many problems they have. If being a suspect for murder wasn’t enough, there are more magical problems that they have to fix: Sage’s boyfriend is having a paranormal experience of his own he can’t control, there’s an energy vampire searching for his supposedly lost cousin, her cat suddenly hates her, and oh—every time Tabby hiccups, she turns completely invisible. The suspect list grows with each day and it seems everyone has a reason or a connection to Loren Lee.

Tabby and Sage are burning the candle at both ends—but will it be enough to keep their friends safe and find this killer? Or will they be burned by their efforts?

Buy Now:


“A cozy mystery more in touch with the dark side of magic than most.” —Kirkus Reviews

“This second in the series continues to build on the mythology of the magic that seems so prevalent but unspoken of in the town. This is a fascinating read that will appeal to those looking for a novel that blends fantasy with a compelling mystery.”–King’s River Life Magazine

“Surprises, secrets, suspense and solving the riddle of who the murderer is, which I will not reveal and who is the one wielding magic. A wonderful book and if you haven’t read book one, you should just for another journey into the lives of the twins.” —Paranormal Romance Guild

“Auras and energy fields and murder – oh, my! Valona Jones has crafted a paranormal cozy mystery that will cast a spell over readers.” – Lois Winston, author of the bestselling Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries

“In the Wick of Time” is a magical murder mystery that will keep you guessing. A fun read! —Nancy J Cohen, author of the Bad Hair Day Mysteries

“In the Wick of Time is one part cozy mystery, one part paranormal, and one part characters whose lies and secrets are enchanting.” —Debra H Goldstein, author of the Sarah Blair Mysteries

“This is an excellent read that I recommend to those who enjoy a clever, enjoyable novel.”–
Jacqueline Seewald, award winning author

“The murder mystery was twisted, well-thought out, and complex”–. Sapphyria’s Books

“I truly enjoyed this story. The mystery, the sister’s bond, the paranormal aspect of the story, the grouchy police detectives, and the setting are all superb.”–Baroness Book Trove

“With a combination of murder, magic and of course shop cats, the book is a delight. I recommend this series to anyone who enjoys a good paranormal cozy.”--Story Book Lady

“Savannah is one of my favorite cities and this mélange of candles, paranormal abilities and twin sisters make for an amazing series. The author really delivered in this second entry in the series and I’m totally hooked on this series. I can’t wait for more in the lives of Tabby and Sage.”–Mother of Scotties

“In The Wick of Time is a holiday paranormal cozy mystery with magical happenings, which left me yearning to pull out candles with holiday scents to get in the mood for the holidays!”–Novels Alive

Back To Top




Sage dumped a full measuring cup of sand into the small paper bag, and I added a votive candle. My twin had twisted my arm to help her prepare the luminaries for the All Good Things Nursery and Landscaping booth at the waterfront. Though the luminary celebration and the holiday boat parade were days away, we were getting sixty of these prepped ahead of time because today the nursery had a full staff. Well, almost full.

“Your manager still out?” I asked, placing another completed bag in the wooden crate. With my stiff back today, I was grateful for the stools Sage provided. They were a welcome respite after I’d already stood all day in The Book and Candle Shop.

Sage stopped working, tucked a strand of dark hair back in her ponytail, and looked at me, her green eyes clouded with concern. “Yes. It’s the strangest thing. Loren Lee is never sick, and he’s called out of work more times than not in recent weeks. I’m worried about him. This illness is more than a vomiting bug, Tabs, and he isn’t taking this seriously.”

My name is Tabby Winslow. My fraternal twin and I co-own The Book and Candle Shop, near to Savannah’s Johnson Square. We don’t look alike, but we share plenty of other genetic traits, including a secret one. Sage moonlights at the nursery because plants are her hobby. Regardless, she and I are united in our efforts to make the family business thrive. Our very future is tied to our shop; so is our longevity.

“What’s his aura look like?” I asked.

“Murky and thin. If I didn’t know better . . .” She scooped another measure of sand, then rested the cup on the worktable as her voice trailed off.

“What?” I asked.

Sage glanced toward the distant employees and customers before confidentially saying, “I saw him yesterday when he dropped in to check on the nursery. He looked like death.”

I froze mid-breath. Until now, Loren Lee Suffield had been in excellent health. For most illnesses, my family members could boost a person’s health with energy transfers, and I’m sure Sage would’ve shared energy with her boss to make him feel better. But . . . there was one disease we couldn’t help. I spoke what she couldn’t say. “Is it cancer?”

“I don’t know. He doesn’t believe in doctors. He’s been self-medicating with folk remedies for decades. I offered to drive him to a doc-in-the-box yesterday, but he refused. I became quite pushy about it, and everyone here heard our argument. That’s why the owner surprised me by calling me in to work an extra afternoon shift today. I thought I’d get the sack for giving him a hard time, but the owner, Ms. Chatham, wanted extra coverage for the holiday rush.”

“Why isn’t he seeking medical attention if it’s that bad? It’s one thing to address minor ailments yourself—that’s good common sense—but when illnesses persist it’s time for a health professional. Is he hardheaded?”

She snorted, then covered her mouth at the rude sound. “Some of my best times here have been going toe-to-toe over the outdoor display area. He reuses the same holiday displays year after year. That’s why I’m so glad he listened to me about selling potted trees and palms as Christmas trees. With people wanting to leave a smaller footprint on the earth, those living trees opened a new revenue stream for the nursery. We’ve been selling them with and without lights, but Loren Lee is missing the whole sales frenzy. It frustrates me that he won’t admit how sick he is.”

I sympathized with her. If my boyfriend let his health slide like Loren Lee, I’d insist he seek medical attention. My twin needed help. Ideas rolled through my head like ocean breakers, foaming, spilling, and receding. Short of kidnapping the man and taking him to the emergency room, our options were limited.

Sage started filling bags again, and we processed several more luminaries before something else occurred to me. I sent her a message on our telepathic twin-speak line. Is this disease Loren Lee has akin to a Dorian Gray phenomenon? The better the nursery does, the worse his health gets?

Don’t you think I’d know if this place stole his energy? I’ve surreptitiously studied all the employees here. None are energetics like us.

Energetics didn’t begin to encompass our entire “extra” skill sets. Sage and I were the latest generation in a family endowed with special abilities related to a person’s natural electrical field. In other words, we push and pull energy from our bodies and auras to suit our needs. However, our late mother kept secrets from us so we weren’t burdened by all the danger from our talents. I hated the phrases “for your own good” and “out of an abundance of caution.” Consequently, we were stuck figuring out the energetic world on the fly.

Mary Nicole Frazier breezed into the potting area looking like she owned the world. “How’s it going back here, Sage?”

Not a hair of her sleek chin-length bob looked out of place, not a speck of dirt showed on her shiny nails, not a scuff marred her designer sneakers or her high-dollar clothes. I’d been here half an hour, and I had sand all over me. Self-consciously, I curled my less than perfect fingernails into my palms so she wouldn’t see them.

Sage had hated Mary Nicole on sight, and Ms. Perfect Appearance would never make my favorite person list either. The smug way she looked down her nose at everyone irritated me. I’d had enough of that when classmates called us freaks. Her attitude rubbed me wrong, but she shouldn’t act better than us.

To make matters worse, Sage and Mary Nicole both applied for the vacant assistant manager position here, the last assistant having impulsively yachted to the Bahamas with a customer last month with only a few hours’ notice. I didn’t know how we’d manage our family business if Sage worked here full-time, but we’d figure it out if she landed the job. I would never stand between my sister and her happiness. Thank goodness Auntie O had moved home and helped us in the shop.

Energy shifted in my sister. Uh-oh. If Mary Nicole had a grain of sense, she’d know what that frosty smile on Sage’s face meant.

“Everything is great,” Sage said. “Only a few more luminaries to go. Loren Lee and Ms. Chatham will be so happy our staff is keeping up with the holiday extras along with running the nursery.”

“Yes, Ms. Chatham has no complaints about the nursery. I spoke on the phone with her a few minutes ago.” Mary Nicole’s face pinched. “I’m sorry. I should have led with the bad news, but I don’t know how to tell you. I’ll just come right out with it. Loren Lee died.”

Back To Top