Saturday, August 26, 2017

Behind Closed Doors

by Mrs. Willoughby
from Peg Cochran's Farmer's Daughter series

            I sat behind my desk in the space outside Reverend Daniel Mather’s office in the St. Andrews rectory.  
            I had a bag of chocolate covered raisins open on my desk and every few minutes I helped myself to a handful.  I was busy typing up the church’s monthly newsletter but my attention was focused on the closed door of the Reverend’s office.
            The faintest scent of gardenia perfume lingered in the air—a reminder of Isabel Stone’s passage through the area.
            I sniffed and adjusted the half glasses perched on the end of my nose.  I couldn’t imagine what Daniel saw in Isabel.  Her clothes were always so inappropriate—filmy summer dresses that were entirely too flirtatious looking for a woman her age.  And those shoes!  It’s a miracle she hadn’t turned her ankle in those ridiculous heels.
  You may think I sound jealous, but it’s not that.  I only have Daniel’s best interests at heart.  Everyone knows a recently widowed man is a target for every man-eating woman in the vicinity.
            I wish I could hear what they are saying.  I drummed my fingers on my desk.  Maybe if I pretended to be getting something from the filing cabinet, it would give me an excuse to stand a little closer to the door.
             I grabbed a stack of papers from my in-box and went over to the filing cabinet where I eased open the drawer, my ears concentrating on the murmur of voices coming through the wall.
            Isabel’s tinkling laugh made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.  And when I heard her coo “oh, Daniel,” I wondered whether I shouldn’t find some excuse for interrupting.  The man didn’t know what he was getting himself into.
            I sidled closer to the door.  The voices had ceased, and I wondered what was going on.  I pressed my ear to the door and suddenly Isabel said, “oh, Daniel,” again in that throaty voice of hers.
            Daniel had to be saved from the machinations of this manipulative woman.  What should I do?  Should I interrupt?  I can easily come up with a plausible excuse. 

            What would you do?


The county fair is the highlight of the year for the small town of Lovett, Michigan—especially for food-and-lifestyle blogger Shelby McDonald, who writes as the Farmer’s Daughter. She’s submitting jams and jellies she’s created from the produce she grows at Love Blossom Farm in hopes of harvesting a blue ribbon.   

But the townspeople get more than just the excitement of hayrides, tractor pulls, and cotton candy when Shelby’s neighbor and volunteer fireman, Jake Taylor, extricates the body of Zeke Barnstable instead of a dummy during a demonstration of the Jaws of Life. The fact that Jake and Zeke were known to be at odds plants suspicion in the minds of the police. As evidence against Jake grows, Shelby knows she has to plow through the clues to weed out the true killer and save her friend.

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