On Tuesday my new book SCENT to KILL: A Natural Remedies Mystery will be in bookstores! It's been a long journey but well-worth it. I hope you agree. As promised, here is the second half of Chapter ONE (Just go to older posts to find the first half which was posted last Monday) and a new GIVEAWAY! Please pass it along to all your friends. Enjoy!
SCENT to KILL: A Natural Remedies Mystery
Chapter ONE continued...
Since it was Sunday, I spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon ordering online, everything from eco-friendly cleaning products to produce to natural beauty products. Once I was done, I had a feeling of real accomplishment. Perhaps I was finally getting the hang of being a shop owner after all.
I’d just straightened up my desk when Jackson knocked on the partially open door. “Hey, McQuade.” He wore a striped blue shirt with a tie, his good black jeans, and boots. He looked dynamite, maybe because his normal attire consisted of a T-shirt with some sort of message and faded blue jeans.
Jackson was handsome in a Gerard Butler kind of way, with a chiseled jaw, to-die-for cheekbones, beautiful blue eyes and short-cropped hair. He came over and gave me a long, soulful kiss. He felt warm and smelled of sandalwood, his favorite aftershave.
The connection between us was electric and undeniable, and it had been that way from the second we met, in June, right after Claire was killed. He and I solved the murder together and helped send a crazy organic farmer and her deranged nephew to jail. Jackson had loved Aunt Claire almost as much as I did. And now, barely three months after her death, Jackson had become my rock. I knew I could count on him no matter what.
After we kissed, he surveyed my outfit. “Is that what you’re wearing to the party?”
I was wearing a pair of jeans, a life is good tee, and flip-flops. “You’re early.”
“I couldn’t wait to see you.” He kissed me again.
“Me, too,” I said, gazing into his blue eyes.
“Do we really have to go to this thing? And if we do, is there any way we can avoid your ex-boyfriend Simon? I’ve had enough of that egomaniac.”
Simon would never be Jackson’s favorite person, but Jackson had made his peace with him once he could see that it was over between us, and that Simon was a fixture in Greenport and probably my life.
“Sorry,” I said. “Simon’s the one who invited us, after all. Besides, he’s harmless.”
Jackson gave a short laugh. “That, he is not. He takes up too much of your time, and he acts like a child when he doesn’t get what he wants.”
“All true. But Simon’s also been a good friend to me. I didn’t tell you this before, but he offered to lend me money—interest free—anytime I need it for the store. He believes in me. He wants me to make the store a big success.”
“He offered to lend you money?” Jackson arched an eyebrow. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
I shrugged my shoulders. “I didn’t think you’d like it.”
Jackson was quiet for a moment. Finally he said, “Well, I don’t, but maybe he’s changed after all. Who knows? Maybe he’s actually capable of thinking about someone other than himself.”
“Perhaps hanging out at Nature’s Way has been a good influence on him. It’s a very peaceful place to be.”
Jackson rolled his eyes. “Okay, we’ll go party with peaceful Simon.”
“It’s just a couple of hours. And it is kind of exciting. The invitations are highly coveted.” I kissed Jackson again. “We’ll go to the party, see the lavender farm, and we’ll be home before you know it. I just have to get changed. I’ll be quick.”
Jackson made a face. “No, you won’t. It takes you at least an hour to get ready when we go out.”
“Not if you help me get undressed.”
“I think that can be arranged.” Jackson smiled.
<TXF>Later that afternoon, the smell of lavender was pungent as we drove toward the Bixby estate in Southold, which was about ten minutes west of Greenport. Being invited to this party seemed serendipitous since I’d recently decided to hold workshops about aromatherapy in the store, and the first one—which would take place tomorrow night—was going to focus on lavender, my favorite aromatic herb. I was hoping that the workshops would both educate my customers and draw new business for the off-season, which would begin next week, right after Labor Day.
<TX>I took in a deep breath as we drew close to the estate. “Smell the lavender?”
“Mmmm, you were right. It smells fantastic.” Jackson was an amateur gardener with a real passion for roses and lavender.
Since I was driving, I couldn’t look at him, but I knew he was smiling. “I’m using lavender as the focus of my first aromatherapy workshop tomorrow night. I’m hoping it will improve business.”
“I think it will. But you have managed to put some money away for the off-season, haven’t you?”
That question made me uncomfortable. Yes, the store was doing okay, and I’d even managed to save a bit. But I had expenses that came from owning a three-story Victorian that demanded constant upkeep. The roof had been repaired in June right after Aunt Claire had died, the copper piping was replaced in July, and I had to buy a new heater in August. Yes, August.
“Sales have been good, but I still wonder if I’ll be able to make a go of it and carry on Aunt Claire’s legacy,” I said.
“What about the Fresh Face formula? You’ll be getting proceeds from the sales, won’t you? That should help.”
Fresh Face was a unique anti-aging cream that Claire had created. The car I was driving, a mint-green Prius, was a thank-you gift from the parent company, Green Focus, for finding the formula when it was stolen after Claire was killed in June.
I spotted a small, discreet sign with bixby on it and turned onto a dirt road that had surprisingly seen better days. I concentrated on not hitting any of the huge potholes as we traveled toward the water. Now the lavender smell mixed with the salty tang from the bay.
I answered Jackson, “Fresh Face goes on sale next week, but sales will take time to build. We ought to be getting the finished product any day now. I can’t wait to see it.”
I followed the road past a stand of beautiful white birch trees. A squirrel with a big, bushy tail skittered into the woods. We reached the end of the road and followed the signs to a parking area. I squeezed the Prius into an end spot next to a maple tree.
Before I got out of the car, I checked my reflection in the rearview mirror. Not for the first time, I realized how much I looked like my aunt Claire when she was younger, tall and blond, with angular features, good skin and high cheekbones. I put on a touch of organic lip gloss and decided I was ready for the party, but Jackson had other ideas. He pulled me into his arms and gave me a good long kiss.
“What’s that all about?” I asked.
“We’re going to be here awhile, so I needed to do that now.”
“Good thinking.” I kissed him back and took his hand, and we followed the signs to the Bixby mansion. Walking along a narrow path, we came to a small hill. When we reached the top, we could see the house. It was all Gothic spires, pointed arches, steep gables, and towers. It looked mysterious, foreboding and unwelcoming. Suddenly I had the same feeling that I’d had this morning when I’d looked at the photo of it in the paper, only this time it was much stronger. I sucked in a breath.
“What’s wrong?” Jackson said.
I tried to shake off the feeling, not wanting to ruin our day out. “Nothing. Let’s find Simon.”
“Do we have to?”
“Yes, we have to.” I smiled. We walked down the hill and I spotted three huge, white production trailers parked behind the mansion. Moments later we walked past the front door of the house. Suddenly I spotted movement in one of the downstairs windows. “Jackson,” I said in a low voice, “someone is watching us.”
Jackson turned to look, but whoever it was had disappeared. “I think that’s your imagination, McQuade.”
“You’re probably right.” I tried to ignore the negative feelings and focus on the day ahead. “Let’s go and enjoy ourselves.”
Here’s the scoop on Scent to Kill: A Natural Remedies Mystery
“Scent to Kill is a well-crafted mystery…Devotees of natural medicine and aromatherapy will enjoy the tips that appear at the beginning of each chapter and scattered throughout the text.” Publisher’s Weekly
Willow McQuade, naturopathic doctor, along with her hunky ex-cop boyfriend Jackson Spade, attend a party for a psychic TV show that is filming on Long Island’s idyllic East End. However, Willow is much more interested in visiting the estate’s lavender farm, seeking inspiration for the new aromatherapy workshops she'll be holding at her store, Nature’s Way Market & Café.
Before the party is over, Roger Bixby one of the producers is dead and the police suspect murder. Roger was working on the show, MJ’s Mind, with Carly Bixby, his ex-wife and the new girlfriend of Willow's ex from L.A., TV writer/producer Simon Lewis.
After Willow leaves the party, she gets a frantic text from Simon asking for her help. Since Simon had a fight with Roger earlier in the evening, and because of his death is now the primary shareholder in Galaxy films, Willow's ex becomes the prime suspect. Simon begs her to crack the case and clear him of the murder. MJ McClellan, the psychic and star of the show also asks Willow for help. She hires Willow to provide natural remedies, including aromatherapy, massage, acupuncture and yoga to soothe the agitated crew of her show.
To find the killer, Willow has to deal with ghosts in a haunted mansion, a truly dysfunctional family, death threats and “accidents,” while trying to untangle a homicide identical to one committed during prohibition. Thankfully, Jackson has been hired to provide security and is there to watch her back and help Willow solve this spooky mystery.
As a bonus, you’ll find dozens of natural aromatherapy cures throughout the book that can improve your health. I think you’ll be surprised as how much they can help you feel better in mind, body and spirit!
For a chance to win a copy of Scent to Kill: A Natural Remedies Mystery just leave a comment here!
Previous winners are:
cyn209 at juno dot com
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I'm the author of SCENT TO KILL, (Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster) the second in the NATURAL REMEDIES MYSTERY series, DEATH DROPS: A Natural Remedies Mystery, the non-fiction title THE COMPLETE IDIOT'S GUIDE TO NATURAL REMEDIES (Alpha, 2009), co-author of BEAT SUGAR ADDICTION NOW! (Fairwinds Press, 2010), currently in its fourth printing, the BEAT SUGAR ADDICTION NOW!COOKBOOK (Fairwinds Press, 2012) and THE COUNTRY ALMANAC OF HOME REMEDIES (Fairwinds, 2011). Chrystle’s magazine articles featuring natural remedies have appeared in many national publications including Natural Health, Vegetarian Times, Better Homes & Gardens and Remedy.
Visit me and sign up for my e-newsletter at www.chrystlefiedler.com.