Seeds of Revenge (Greenhouse Mystery Series #3)

Seeds of Revenge (Greenhouse Mystery Series #3)

by Wendy Tyson
Seeds of Revenge (Greenhouse Mystery Series #3)

Seeds of Revenge (Greenhouse Mystery Series #3)

by Wendy Tyson

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Overview

It’s time to cuddle up with a holiday whodunit. Smell the crisp pines and baking cranberries as you sip your hot apple cider. It may be the season, but the mood in Winsome is anything but jolly.

Megan Sawyer is determined to farm year-round. So much so that she braves a December snowstorm to pitch her fresh greenhouse greens to Philadelphia chefs.

And then she sees a stranger stranded on the side of the road.

But this woman is no stranger to Winsome. It’s Becca Fox. A love chemist (you read that right). She’s headed to her aunt’s house to sell her love potions at holiday events.

Or so Becca thinks.

Her sneaky aunt only invited Becca home to reunite her with her estranged father. It sounds noble and kind-hearted, until the man ends up dead.

Megan soon finds herself in the middle. She realizes Becca’s not the only one getting iced over. Megan’s own aunt, the famous mystery author, is dragged into the drama. Her novels implicate her and she’s in trouble.

Now it’s personal. Our Megan must follow a cryptic trail of literary clues, all while sifting through the victim’s sordid past. She gets closer to the truth as the murderer gets closer to her.

How’s that for a ho ho ho? Don’t let your fresh apple crisp burn in the oven because you’re lost in this holiday homicide.

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SEEDS OF REVENGE by Wendy Tyson | A Henery Press Mystery


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781635112757
Publisher: Henery Press
Publication date: 07/05/2017
Series: Greenhouse Mystery Series , #3
Pages: 278
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.58(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Wendy Tyson is a lawyer and former therapist whose background inspires her mysteries and thrillers. She lives in the Philadelphia area on a micro-farm with her husband, three sons, and three dogs. Her short fiction has appeared in literary journals, and she's a contributing editor and columnist for The Big Thrill and The Thrill Begins, International Thriller Writers' online magazines. Her series include the Allison Campbell Mystery Series and the Greenhouse Mystery Series.

Laural Merlington began working in regional theater at the age of seventeen. For over thirty years, she has acted on stage, and, for over twenty, she has narrated and directed more than two hundred audiobooks. An Audie nominee, she has received several Earphones Awards. In addition to her theater and voice-over career, she also teaches college in Michigan, her home state.

Laural Merlington began working in regional theater at the age of seventeen. For over thirty years, she has acted on stage, and, for over twenty, she has narrated and directed more than two hundred audiobooks. An Audie nominee, she has received several Earphones Awards. In addition to her theater and voice-over career, she also teaches college in Michigan, her home state.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Megan squinted through a sliver of windshield thick with ice and snow. The forecasters had been wrong again, and the storm predicted for the wee hours of the morning slammed the region early — with a vengeance. The untreated roads were slick with rapidly falling snow, and it was nearly impossible to see more than a few meters ahead. Megan slowed to a crawl, hoping the truck wouldn't slide along this stretch of deserted street.

It'd been a long evening. She'd visited with the chefs from four restaurants in Philly, trying to sell them on Washington Acres' winter hot house greens. She glanced back at the coolers of arugula, spinach, and pak choi, likely frozen in the cold truck bed. Only one restaurant, City Roots, had been interested. The chef, a sweet, passionate woman named Patricia Smith, had sampled the greens with enthusiasm. Chefs from the other three restaurants had promised to try the samples she'd left and would "call her soon." She knew that meant she'd be calling them. Selling greens was one way to extend her market and make some cash during the winter months. But as a new farm awaiting its organic certification, getting restaurants to take a chance was proving to be a challenge.

The truck's wipers were crusted with ice. After pulling over, Megan rolled down the window, stuck her arm out, and banged the left wiper hard against the windshield in an effort to break some ice loose. She increased the temperature of the defroster and pulled back out on the road. She was only about twelve miles from Winsome, but in this arctic landscape, it felt like a million.

The snow was coming down harder now, hitting the truck at an angle. Practically a white out. Her cell phone rang and she ignored it. A few more miles and she'd be on a busier, and hopefully plowed, stretch of road. The truck climbed, passing an abandoned Honda. Megan felt grateful for the truck's snow tires and four-wheel drive. With almost a foot of snow on this back country road, she wouldn't have made it up the hill either.

Megan was just approaching her turn when she saw a shadowy figure walking along the road. As her car got closer, Megan could make out a shape encased in a snow-covered blanket. Long golden curls hung beneath a hat, past a broad set of shoulders. A halo of white snow lay atop the blonde strands.

Megan pulled over. "Do you need a ride?"

The figure moved closer. Megan saw a young woman, maybe mid- twenties, with a wide mouth and beguiling, fern-green eyes. She smiled warmly. "Car died on me, and so close, too." She frowned. "At least I think I'm close."

"Where are you headed?"

"Winsome. Is it near here? I'm afraid with all this snow, I may have gotten off track."

Megan smiled. "Heading that way myself. Climb in."

"Oh! Would you mind? I have some stuff in my car I need." She glanced at the back of Megan's truck, took in the coolers, and said, "They should be okay in the open for a while if I can stick them back there."

"Sure."

The woman smiled her gratitude. She stuck a gloved hand through the window. "Becca Fox." Her shake was firm, her expression affable. "You sure you don't mind giving me a lift?"

While the snow was starting to slow, it'd left a mess in its wake. "I don't mind at all. I'm not leaving you here in the dark and cold."

Megan unlocked the passenger door and made room for Becca. Then she turned the truck around and drove back to the stranded vehicle. She helped Becca lift three large plastic cases and a suitcase into the back of the truck. Becca pulled what looked like an oversized jewelry case out of the backseat of her car.

She held it up. "This is my bread and butter. Mind if it rides with us?"

Megan didn't mind, and she said so. Becca placed the case on the floor between her feet and snapped her seatbelt into place. Once they were back on the road, she pulled off her hat and gloves. Megan snuck a sideways peek at her passenger. Becca had an open, handsome face. There was a childlike allure to her that Megan found appealing.

"What do you have going on in Winsome?" Megan asked, navigating around a pile of snow that had blown across an intersection. She glanced at Becca. "Heading there for the holidays?"

"Sort of. My aunt is letting me set up shop in her store. I started a business and she thought the foot traffic would be helpful."

"Who is your aunt?"

"Meredith Chance. People call her Merry. Do you know her?"

"I sure do. Merry is letting you set up a display in the nursery?" Every Christmas, Merry transformed her nursery into a holiday shop, complete with ornaments, Poinsettias, outdoor decorations, Christmas trees, wreaths, and even carolers and visits from Santa.

"She said she has the room." Becca shrugged. "I need to start somewhere."

The storm was waning, but the wind had picked up and Megan wound her way past three-foot drifts of snow. She saw headlights behind her and pulled over to let a plow pass, waiting until it had cleared the path ahead before moving forward.

"So what brings you out on a night like this?" Becca asked. "I see the coolers in the back. Not dead bodies, I hope?" Becca smiled. Deep dimples popped out on either side of her mouth.

"Nah, not this time." Megan explained that she was a farmer and café owner on a mission to sell greens to city restaurants. "We're still trying to figure out what works, what will bring in the most money during the down months."

"A woman farmer. Pretty cool." Another grin. "I've never met a female farmer before."

Megan found Becca's upbeat attitude infectious, and the disappointment trailing her time in the city lifted. It was pretty cool, and she and Bibi, her grandmother, had pulled the farm firmly into the black — finally. They just needed to keep it there.

"What kind of display will you be setting up?"

Becca sat back against the seat. She ran a large hand through her hair, tugging it into a loose ponytail, which she held behind her head. Everything about Becca seemed large, from physical frame to her personality.

Becca said, "I'm a love chemist."

"A love chemist?"

Becca nodded. "That's the name of my business — The Love Chemist. I make modern day love potions."

Megan let that sink in. A love chemist in Winsome. Seemed maybe her companion could have chosen a better time of the year. Valentine's Day? Then again, who knew? Perhaps Hanukkah and Christmas would prove to be ripe for romance.

Becca freed her hair and shook it loose. Damp strands clung to the collar of her coat. She dug a card out of a pocket on one of the boxes and held it out to Megan. Megan couldn't read it because she was driving, but she thanked her and tucked the card into her coat pocket.

"I'm actually a chemist. I have my Masters in Chemistry. But most of the jobs I found were in industry, and I was bored. My last stint was at a fragrance company, and that's where I learned about perfumes."

"So you make perfumes?"

"I make naturally scented love potions." She smiled mischievously. "My magic ingredient? Pheromones."

Before Megan could ask more questions, Becca pointed toward Canal Street, Winsome's main drag. She gasped. Covered in a marshmallow fluff of snow, with holiday lights and Christmas trees glowing against the backdrop of the cloudy night sky, Winsome must have seemed like a destination from yesteryear to a newcomer. The historic buildings, with their brick and stone fascia, were done up in holiday finery, and the tall streetlights wore caps of white over streams of plaid ribbon. The street was deserted at this time of night, and the snow remained untouched except for a semi-cleared path carved by the plow.

"It's like Christmas has come alive." Becca's eyes widened. "That's where Aunt Merry lives?" She glanced at Megan. "It's been a while since I've been here."

"She's up the hill a bit. Want me to take you to her house?"

"Sure. She's not expecting me until tomorrow, but I imagine she's home. I think I'll just surprise her."

Merry Chance's statuesque four square was alit with white Christmas lights — Colonial candles in the windows, braids of lights outlining the window sills and doorways, blinking lights woven into wreaths, and miniscule bulbs incorporated into a doe and two fawns that adorned the front lawn. As Megan pulled up alongside the road in front of the home, she saw with relief that Merry was home. In fact, she was standing on her porch talking with a man.

Becca gave Megan a quick hug. "Thank you," she sang. "You saved me quite a trek."

Megan climbed out of the truck and pulled Becca's suitcase from the bed while Becca unloaded her boxes of love potions. Merry had noticed them, and she turned her attention toward her niece.

"Aunt Merry!" Becca called. "Hello!"

She hurried toward her aunt and stopped short just feet from the landing, Megan trailing behind. The man had turned to look at them so that his face was visible. He was older, mid- to late-sixties, but his resemblance to Becca was unmistakable. Strong features: a square chin, a broad nose, unnaturally black hair receding ever-so-slightly into his scalp line. He wore a tailored coat and carried an expensive bag. His bearing screamed money and privilege.

The man regarded Becca with an evenness that seemed unnerving, while Becca's whole body shook with emotion.

No one acknowledged Megan. She watched the scene unfold the way a bystander witnesses a car crash. Helpless and transfixed.

"No! Why is he here? Aunt Merry, why the hell is he here?" To him, "I told you I never want to see you again. Never. Do you know what that means? You brought him here on purpose."

"Rebecca, calm down," Merry snapped. "You're jumping to conclusions."

"He's here, I'm here. What conclusions am I jumping to?"

The man said, "Actually, I was just leaving."

"That might be best, Paul." Merry glanced at her niece, lips pursed into a frown. "Let's give Becca some time to calm down."

Paul nodded curtly. "Very well. Thank you, Merry. You know where I'll be in town." He walked down the steps, past Becca, without as much as another glance in her direction. Becca placed her bags on the ground. With a sudden rush, she darted toward the man in the slippery snow, hands outstretched. She would have pushed him had he not reacted with laser speed. He grabbed her wrists and held them out in front of her. Merry took a step forward. Megan dropped the suitcase, ready to intervene.

But Paul and Becca just stood there, staring at one another. Finally, Becca said, "You're hurting me."

He looked down at his hands, wrapped like bindings around her wrists, and let go. "I'm sorry." He backed away, his eyes unwavering in their focus on Becca's face.

He climbed into the car — a silver Mercedes — and Becca spat at the ground near his tire. She rubbed her wrists, shoulders hunched.

Becca watched as he pulled away, his rear tires slipping in the deep snow. "Why would you invite him here, Aunt Merry?"

"I wasn't expecting you until tomorrow."

"He's staying here. He made that pretty clear."

"He wanted to see you. He wants to make amends."

"I will never forgive him. You of all people should understand that."

Merry regarded her niece with a long, sad stare. Finally she said, "Megan, I assume Becca's car had some difficulty in this snow?" When Megan nodded, she said, "Thank you for bringing her."

It was a dismissal, at odds with Merry's normally saccharine insistence on hospitality. Megan placed Becca's suitcase on the porch and returned to her truck. She watched as Becca followed her aunt obediently inside. With the front door shut, the visage of the house returned to its festive façade.

A façade, indeed, Megan thought as she pulled away. That was all it seemed to be. She wondered what conversation was going on inside.

CHAPTER 2

Megan left Merry's house feeling shaken and ill-tempered. It wasn't the weather or the unfruitful trip into the city exactly. Something else was bothering her. She was channeling Merry's unease. Merry had a reputation as the town busybody, but tonight she'd looked like she'd rather Megan stay out of her business. Megan was happy to oblige. She wondered, though, who Paul was and why Becca Fox had such a visceral reaction to him.

It had stopped snowing, but cold wind blew through the streets, creating swirls of snow and chilling Megan to her core. Megan was anxious to get back to Bibi and the farm, but she needed to swing by Denver's house first. Dr. Daniel "Denver" Finn was the town veterinarian and Megan's boyfriend. Megan knew animals didn't care about things like inclement weather and bad roads, and she'd promised him she'd swing by and check on his dogs while he was attending to the various barnyard emergencies.

Denver's driveway was empty. She parked on one side of the unshoveled pavement and unlocked the front door of his bungalow with her key. All five dogs — a motley crew of rescued pure breeds and mixed breeds, tiny and giant — met her with fawning and kisses. They were a well- trained lot, but like any dogs, they knew who would spoil them.

Megan laughed, petting them in turn, and slowly made her way to the kitchen and their dog food, her mood lightening. She found their bowls already lined up on the counter, Denver's square handwriting denoting which dish was for which dog and how much food they should receive. His Great Dane, a gentle giant if ever there was one, sat calmly watching her, while the blind Beagle ran in circles around her feet, whining with anticipatory joy.

They all ate in a matter of seconds. Megan was just leading them into the snow-covered backyard when she heard the front door open and Denver walking in. He met her by the back door. Without a word, he wrapped his arms around her, burying his face in her hair.

"Mm, Megs, ye smell fine." He tilted Megan's face back, and looked into her eyes. Then he kissed her, his lips soft and insistent against her own. Pulling back, he said, "Long day?"

Megan was reluctant to let go. "You could say that. I have to get home to Bibi, but how about a nightcap first? I was just going to take the pups out —"

"Let me pour two brandies and I'll meet ye out back." Denver was Scottish, and his brogue became especially noticeable when he was tired or upset. Tonight he looked tired.

Like the rest of southeastern Pennsylvania, "out back" was buried in more than a foot of snow with more expected over the next day or two. But Denver's deck was partially cleared, and Megan found a spot on a dry bench under an awning, against the house. From that vantage point, she watched the dogs go about their business with reactions that ranged from total disdain for the white stuff to outright glee. Of all his rescues, his Golden Retriever seemed happiest to be in the snow, and the dog threw a ball into the drifts and dug around tenaciously until she found it again — her own solo game of fetch.

"Aye, that dog's a single-minded lassie." Denver handed Megan a small sifter of brandy. "Not unlike someone else I know."

Megan smiled. She wondered for a moment what it would be like to be that carefree and focused only on the moment. Somedays it felt like worrying was what she did best.

"Tell me about your trip to Philadelphia. Any takers for those winter greens Clay has growing in the greenhouses?"

"One chef seemed interested. Otherwise I gave away some samples, heard a few excuses. 'We'll wait until you have your organic certification,' 'we already have a provider,' or 'we don't know anything about Washington Acres.'" Megan sighed. She took a sip of brandy, her lips curling at the jarring flavor. She'd never gotten used to the taste of liquor. "Hopefully a few will pan out."

Denver eyed her with his biting blue gaze. "You're worried?"

"Yes and no. A steady source of income during the winter months would be nice. I'm hoping selling greens and microgreens to local restaurants will fill that void."

"Patience and tenacity."

Megan smiled. She had the latter; she struggled with the former.

Denver said, "You're back later than you anticipated. Roads that bad?"

"Once I got off the main thoroughfares, they were awful." Megan told Denver about finding Becca Fox along the road, about what she'd witnessed at Merry's house. "In all the time I've known Merry Chance, I've never seen family there. I didn't even know she had a niece. As for the man, obviously Becca knew him, but I'm not sure who he is."

The Golden Retriever dropped a tennis ball in front of Denver, tail wagging expectantly. He tossed it out into the yard and the ball landed in front of the thick line of trees at the back of his property and sank into the snow. They watched the dog dig furiously for the lost treasure.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Seeds Of Revenge"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Wendy Tyson.
Excerpted by permission of Henery Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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