Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What does she think she's doing?

by Brionna Stewart

from Sheila Connolly's Orchard Mystery series

Meg told me I had to do this. Every now and then she thinks she has to act like a boss, and split up chores and stuff, even though I'm supposed to be the manager here.Wait, let me back up. I'm Brionna Stewart--call me Bree, like most people--and I'm the manager for the orchard that Meg inherited a year ago. We've just wrapped up our first year of working together. We worked damned--sorry, darned--hard to bring in a harvest, and we actually made money at it, which isn't easy these days if you’re a small farmer. But Meg wasn't happy, don't ask me why. I don't know what she's thinking. I mean, she's a city person, right? Not that she wasn't willing to get her hands dirty, and I had a hoot teaching her how to drive a tractor.

But she's had a lot of trouble making up her mind about what she wants to do. I guess it really wasn't her idea to move here and play farmer-lady, and then there the problem of finding her dead boyfriend in the yard. Plus this other guy she didn't even know, who she found dead in the orchard. Yeah, finding bodies is kind of a downer. Two murders, right here--what're the odds?

And then there's Seth. Any idiot can see they've got the...they're interested in each other, but they're both so polite or shy or something. Not like me and my boyfriend Michael. We get along fine--we see each other when we have time, and it all works out. Neither one of us is looking to settle down any time soon. But Meg and Seth? They're kind of getting up there, especially if they ever want a family. I'll bet Seth does, because I've seen him with his sister's kids. Meg? Got me. Not something we talk about, even if we're kind of roommates--she lets me live in the house because she can't pay a whole lot, at least until we get the orchard thing sorted out.

But she's good people. She gave me a chance, right out of college, even though I'm female and Jamaican (I was born here, so I’m American, but we hire Jamaican apple pickers around here and I’m supposed to boss them around, so it could have been tricky). Okay, she got me cheap, but she trusted me, and she listened to me, which isn't the same thing. She backed me up with the pickers, and she did the stuff I don't like to do, like trying to convince people to buy our apples. Me, I like to work in the orchard--let her sweet-talk the local markets. Oh, and I hate to do paperwork. I know apples and trees. Period.

Meg'll come around. She just had a lot of stuff to deal with this past year--moving to a new place, learning a whole bunch of new skills, trying to figure out what she wants to do about Seth. But I think she likes it, and I kinda like working with her too.

We’ve got big plans for this year’s apple season, as long as nobody else dies. Ha!

Sheila Connolly writes the Orchard Mystery series and the Museum Mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime.  You can find out more at


  1. Bree, I appreciate your efforts to clean up your language for our audience. I know that's a chore (I can cuss a blue streak, myself). And give Meg a little time. She'll mellow out and make a move on Seth. I'd put money on it.

  2. I am reading this book right now and I love it. Bree does tell Meg what to do but that is because Meg owns the apples but also helps pick them.. Great work ethic-Take care!

  3. You two make a great team! Wishing you lots of success.

  4. Always a pleasure, Bree. Meg is lucky to have you. Thanks for visiting the blog!

  5. Bree, I think it's a good thing you are there with Meg. Thanks for posting. Sometimes paperwork pays off.

  6. Hey, everyone has their own timetable when it comes to the big L-O-V-E, you know?

  7. Hey, I like Meg--but sometimes she needs a nudge. She's getting better. Must be living with me that does it!

  8. Bree, you and Meg worked well together and you bring calmness to her life especially when she finds these dead bodies.

    Not to worry about her and Seth, they'll make it.

  9. Teamwork is the best. Keep pushing Seth and Meg'll all work out.