Monday, February 18, 2013

Start Reading Chapter ONE of Scent to Kill: A Natural Remedies Mystery!

Hi everyone! Since my new book SCENT to KILL: A NATURAL REMEDIES MYSTERY will be in bookstores next Tuesday, Feb. 26th, Wallander, my dachshund detective and I thought we'd share the first half of Chapter ONE. Once you're done reading, leave a comment below for a chance to win a copy of Scent to Kill!  Have a good week!  

Scent to Kill: A Natural Remedies Mystery 

Chapter ONE

Nature is the best natural remedy. That’s why I was at my favorite beach early on a Sunday morning. It was late August, a week before Labor Day, and the beach felt empty except for the piping plovers skittering across the sand and the seagulls that sat at the water’s edge like sentries. Qigong (pronounced chee gung), my scruffy black, gray, and white terrier, ran in front of me, sniffing the ground and making fresh paw prints in the sands. The sky above was aqua blue with whipped-cream cumulus clouds.
I’m a naturopathic doctor, and I dispense natural remedies at Nature’s Way Market and Café , which is in the village of Greenport, a popular tourist spot, two hours east of New York City on Long Island’s East End. But I didn’t plan to be a shop owner. Last June when I came home for two weeks to visit my beloved aunt Claire, I had no idea that my entire life would change. But after Aunt Claire was murdered and I turned amateur sleuth and figured out who the killer was, it was left to me to carry on her legacy. Owning a health food store is a big responsibility, especially considering I’d never run a business before. So I needed these breaks, this time spent in nature, to keep me sane.
Qigong spotted the seagulls and ran to the shore. As he did, the entire entourage of birds took off in a whirl, flapping wings and cawing. I walked along the edge of the water and watched as the tide lapped its way in. I spotted a beautiful conch shell with a polished orange and yellow sheen but left it where it was, where it belonged.
I picked up a polished stone, skipped it into the water, and kept walking. The sand felt good beneath my sneakers. I sucked in a lungful of sea air and felt the negative ions in the water boost my mood.
Qigong ran up to me, tail wagging. I glanced at my watch. It was time to turn around. We headed back the way we’d come, me pretending to race Qigong down the beach, Qigong happily scampering ahead of me, knowing he would win. At the other end of the beach, we climbed into the Nature’s Way van and headed back to Greenport. It was still early, and a Sunday, so there weren’t too many people on the streets, but I knew that by noon the town would be packed, as this was the week before Labor Day.
I drove past the colorful and eclectic collection of boutiques, stores, artist’s galleries, cafés, and souvenir shops on Main Street, then hung a right onto Front Street, passing more shops and Mitchell Park, which overlooked the harbor. Across from the post office, on the right, was the three-story, yellow, gingerbread Victorian house with red trim that housed Nature’s Way on the ground floor. Brightly colored posters in my windows announced everything from all supplements 10% off! and we stock weleda! to delicious organic watermelon!
White wicker tables and chairs were arranged on the porch for alfresco dining. On top of the building stood a ship’s weather vane, a nod to our village’s nautical heritage. I took a right and pulled into the parking lot in back of the store.
An hour later, showered and dressed, I headed downstairs to my office, which was on the ground floor. My bedroom was on the third floor, along with the offices of my friends Allie, who’s a masseuse, and Hector, who’s an acupuncturist. On the second floor was a yoga studio that featured floor-to-ceiling windows and a lovely view of Greenport Harbor. Across the hall was an empty room that I planned to make one day soon into a place to see patients.
On the ground floor, at the bottom of the stairs, I headed past the kitchen to the café section in the front of the store, with its yellow tables and chairs, and bookshelves bursting to the seams with volumes on everything from vegan eating to yoga to meditation. An oversize corkboard displayed the daily specials along with funky artwork and photos and postcards from customers around the world.
Merrily Slankard[SHB2] , my salesclerk and right-hand woman, was busy serving customers. She dropped plates off at a table by the window that overlooked Front Street, then met me in the kitchen. Merrily wore the Nature’s Way uniform, a green apron over a white T-shirt and jeans. Her hair was pulled into tufts all over her head with neon elastic bands. She was energetic and upbeat, which might have had something to do with the large mug of organic coffee she held in her right hand. “How was your walk on the beach with Qigong?” She leaned over and scratched the little dog behind the ears.
“Wonderful. It was good for both of us.” I reached into the display case and plucked out an organic blueberry muffin for my breakfast. Although we did outsource our bread to a local organic bakery, Merrily was an excellent baker and made great muffins and creative vegetarian dishes.
“Are you going to be able to handle things here this afternoon by yourself?” I asked. “I have to go to that party at the Bixby estate.”
“Better you than me.” Merrily went over to the counter, picked up the Suffolk Times, our local newspaper, and handed it to me. “It says there are ghosts in that mansion.”
“I know. It’s kind of freaky.” The headline on the front page read bixby estate to be star of paranormal tv show. The show was called MJ’s Mind and featured a psychic named MJ who talked to ghosts. I’d been invited by my ex-boyfriend Simon Lewis, a television writer from L.A., to the welcoming party that was being held today from one to five for the cast and crew.
Simon and I had lived together and broken up when I was in L.A. When I moved back to Greenport last June, Simon came here, ostensibly to write the great American novel and try to win me back, but it didn’t work. However, he had, like so many people before him, fallen in love with the North Fork and purchased a huge house on the Sound in Greenport. Now he came to Nature’s Way almost every morning he was in town for a healthy breakfast and chai. He usually brought his laptop along, sat outside, and worked on the latest episode of his show, Parallel Lives, which he had created and produced, a show in the tradition of Lost and Awake,.
Over the past year, we had gradually, surprisingly, become friends. He could be funny and charming, and in small doses I could handle his behavior, which could also be ego driven and somewhat selfish. Now, he had a new girlfriend, Carly Bixby, who was a producer for MJ’s Mind, which was going to start shooting tomorrow at the Bixby estate. She was also Roger Bixby’s soon to be ex-wife.
According to Simon, Carly had filed for divorce in April because Roger had cheated on her, and they were now separated. But since both of them were owners of Galaxy[SHB3] , both of them were here to work on the show. No matter how awkward that might be.
I turned to the article about the estate, which said that paranormal activity had been reported by Roger’s father and the mansion’s then owner, Max Bixby, who had just died at the ripe old age of 101. I could believe it. The photo of the estate made it look menacing, like something out of a horror movie.
Merrily was staring at me, a worried expression on her face. “You might want to rethink going to that party.”
“I’m sure it will be okay. I have Jackson to protect me.” Jackson Spade was the hunky ex-cop who’d helped me solve Aunt Claire’s murder a few months ago in June. We’d been a couple ever since. “Besides, I have to see that lavender farm.” Lavender is my favorite natural remedy, and the lavender farm on the ten-acre estate was usually viewed by invitation only.
Two women walked into the store, and I took this as my cue to get some work done. So I grabbed the paper and a bottle of natural raspberry soda and headed into my office, which was directly across from the kitchen and the checkout counter. The space was warm and welcoming with cozy chairs and a couch. Above the doorway was a sign, peace, in bold letters. The bookshelves were crammed with natural, New Age, and veggie books. Pictures of healing herbs and various yoga positions lined the walls, along with photographs of Aunt Claire’s native Australia, and London, where she once worked as an editor for British Vogue.
Aunt Claire had come here one summer to visit her sister, my mother, and fell in love with Nick Holmes, her yoga instructor, and never left Greenport. That was over thirty years ago.
Qigong jumped on the couch and settled in for a nap while I took another look at the front page of the paper. Something about the mansion was unsettling., It’s my job as a holistic physician to restore balance and foster well-being. I’ve been trained to be sensitive to the energy that comes from people, but I’m also sensitive to the kind of energy that comes from places. Even though I was just looking at a photograph of a house, I couldn’t help feeling that something wasn’t right about that place. Then again, I also have an active imagination. I shook off the feeling and tossed the paper in the recycling bin. I hoped my initial impression was wrong. I was looking forward to an afternoon off.

Come Back Next Monday to Read the Rest of Chapter 1!

Here's the Scoop on Scent to Kill: A Natural Remedies Mystery  

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 left the party, she got 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. Visit 


Liz said...

Best wishes for success of Scent to Kill.

Would love to know where you can find an empty beach, even (or particularly) at the end of August.

Chrystle Fiedler said...

Thanks for stopping by Liz! You have to go early in the AM for sure!

Kelly B said...

Wow, I can't wait to read the rest of this book. Thank you Chrystle for another great book!!

Gram said...

Sounds like a fun series. Also one where we can learn about natural remedies. Thanks, Dee

cyn209 said...

i am so interested in this book!!! thank you for the giveaway!!

cyn209 at juno dot com

Rosalee Richland said...

Okay, my curiosity is peaked... looking forward to the next installment...

petite said...

Thanks for this wonderful peak which captivated my interest.

traveler said...

Scent to Kill is intriguing and unique. Best wishes and much success.

Anne said...

Have read far past the story opening by now (with my precious advanced copy) and it only gets better and better. Wishing you great success with Scent to Kill, Chrystle!

Chrystle Fiedler said...

Thanks so much everyone! I really appreciate your support and appreciation. It means the world to me as a writer. We work in isolation and never know if we will "get" there. I feel like Scent to Kill is a winner and am so glad you agree! The winner of this week's giveaway is:cyn209! Please send your mailing address to!