Marriage and Murder (Cedar Bay Cozy Mystery Book 4)

BOOK: Marriage and Murder (Cedar Bay Cozy Mystery Book 4)
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Marriage & Murder

By

Dianne Harman

(A Cedar Bay Cozy Mystery
Series - Book 3)

Copyright © 2015 Dianne
Harman

www.dianneharman.com

All rights reserved,
including the right to reproduce this book, or portions thereof, in any form
without written permission except for the use of brief quotations embodied in
critical articles and reviews.

This is a work of fiction.
Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s
imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons,
living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely
coincidental.

Website, Interior & Cover design
by
Vivek Rajan Vivek

Paperback ISBN: 978-1508465270

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

First of all, I want to
thank all of my readers who have made this series so popular, I truly
appreciate your taking the time and spending the money to read them. I always
appreciate your thoughts about this book or any of my others. I’d love to hear
from you. Here’s my email address:
[email protected]
.

Secondly, I want to extend
a special thanks to Vivek Rajan for the fabulous book covers he creates, his
unending sound advice, and his taking the time to answer the gazillion
questions I always have. I not only think of him as my editor, formatter, and
marketing guru, I think of him as a friend and highly recommend him.

Finally, I want to thank
my husband, Tom, for his support, belief in me, and love. Without him, none of
this would be possible. And Tom, who knew we could have so much fun when we
decided to retire! Thanks for the ride!!!

 

 

CHAPTER 1

 

“Mom, how are you doing? Is there
anything I can do to help?” Julia asked.

“Oh, sweetheart, I’m a
nervous wreck. After your dad died, and while you and Cash were still very
young, I never thought I’d marry anyone again. Yet here I am, and the wedding
is less than twenty-four hours away. If you’d like to help me, you could call
Jesse at The Crush and confirm that he’ll be bringing the wine to the house
after the ceremony tomorrow.”

“It’s already been done.
Mike asked me to call him, and Jesse said he’d be here after the wedding to get
set up. Amanda from Amanda’s Flower Shop told me yesterday when I called her that
she’d be delivering the flowers this afternoon for here at the house along with
our wedding bouquets. The floral arrangements for the church will be delivered
about nine tomorrow morning. I can’t wait to see the spray of orchids she
designed for you to carry. She told me she was going to make it with pink,
lavender, and cream-colored baby orchids. I remember from when I was in high
school and worked there, orchids were her favorite flowers, and I’ll bet it
will be spectacular. Given that tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and probably her
busiest day of the year, and add your wedding to that, I kind of feel sorry for
her. What else do you need me to do?”

“At the moment, just keep
me from falling apart.”

“Mom, you’ll do fine. At
least you don’t have to worry about keeping your coffee shop open and trying to
run it and get married at the same time. It was really nice of Roxie and her
friends to take over the operation of Kelly’s Koffee Shop, so you could spend
this week getting ready for your wedding. They’re also going to help with the
food at the reception, right?”

“Yes, they’ll prepare all
of it with one exception. We decided on a lot of appetizers, hot and cold, and instead
of a wedding cake…”

“What do you mean instead
of a wedding cake?” Julia asked, interrupting her.

“Well, at our age, having
a miniature likeness of a groom dressed in a tuxedo and a bride dressed in a
white gown with a long fancy train on the top of a tiered wedding cake, seemed
kind of silly to me. Instead, I decided to have raspberry tarts, since we’re
getting married on Valentine’s Day. I made them myself using an old family
recipe from your grandmother Cora. It’s really simple because the crust is made
from cookie dough you buy at the store, although I can remember her making her
own cookie dough and freezing it. That was before you could buy it at the
store. I thought red raspberries would be a nice touch on Valentine’s Day.”

“When you put it that way,
you’re probably right. It’s just that I’ve never been to a wedding where they
didn’t have a wedding cake with little roses and stuff.”

“That may be true, but at
your age, I’ll bet you haven’t attended too many second time around weddings.”

“You’re right. I’m so
happy you found Mike. He’s a wonderful man, and the two of you will make a
beautiful couple. Cash really likes him too. The one thing Cash and I wish is
that you’d stop trying to solve Mike’s criminal cases. After all, he’s the
county sheriff, and it’s up to him to solve cases when a crime has been
committed. I know you’ve told me you just help him with his cases, but between
you, Lady, and Rebel, sounds like a lot more than that is going on, and we’re
worried it might be dangerous for you.”

“I suppose so, but all I
do is try to help him, and I’ve never been in danger,” she said, mentally
crossing her fingers behind her back. “You know, it’s pretty strange. I’ve
lived my whole life in Cedar Bay and until last June, I’d never heard of a
murder happening around this area, and now there have been three. Sure hope
three’s a lucky number, and that’s the end of them.”

Michelle continued, “I’ve
always thought there was something magical about Cedar Bay, kind of Brigadoon-like.
I don’t know of anything that pleases me more than seeing the sun or the moon
reflecting on the bay with the high cliffs surrounding it and the forests all
around. I love Oregon and living in a small town. To me, it’s the most
beautiful place in the world, although admittedly, I haven’t traveled the
world, but I’ve never had a desire to. It seems like everything I’ve ever wanted
is right here. Everybody knows almost everybody, and they’re so friendly. No
wonder we get so many tourists. Most of the houses are enchanting well-kept up early
20
th
century homes, the streets are canopied with trees, and the
shops are simply charming. Plus, I think I must be the luckiest of all of them,
having Kelly’s Koffee Shop situated right on the pier that juts out into the
bay. I never get tired of the smell of ocean air or the smell of the nearby forests.
With the lushness of the forests surrounding the town, it’s no wonder it
started out as a lumber town. No, I’m definitely one of the luckiest people in
the world to live right here in Cedar Bay.”

“I feel the same way. Even
though I live in San Francisco, part of me will always consider Cedar Bay home.
Let’s get back to the wedding. When are Roxie and her friends bringing the food
to the house?”

“They’re coming after the
coffee shop closes, probably around three or four this afternoon. I thought of
something you can do for me. You can transfer everything that’s in the kitchen refrigerator
out to the one in the garage. They’re going to need all the space they can get
in the kitchen refrigerator. Since I’ve got a little time until they get here, I’m
going to set up the food table, and I’ll have Mike and Cash set up the table
for the wine and soft drinks when they get back.”

“Speaking of Mike and Cash,
I haven’t seen them around for awhile. Where are they? Did Mike take Cash to
his office?”

“No. Mike’s taking a few
days off. Cash was planning on wearing a suit he’d left here at the house when
he gives me away tomorrow, but he’s lost so much weight since he’s been in Afghanistan,
Mike decided they needed to pay a visit to Henry and have the suit taken in.
When Mike told Henry the problem, he said he’d make it a top priority.”

“Are you kidding me? Henry
is still working? Good grief, he must be at least eighty years old.”

“I’m sure he is. He comes
to the coffee shop every day for lunch and has for as long as I can remember.
He and Doc are the two people I can always count on being there at lunchtime.”

“How’s Doc doing? I
remember you told me he was engaged to the town psychologist.”

“Yes, and I couldn’t be
happier for them. I don’t think you’ve met Liz, but you’ll get a chance to meet
her tomorrow.”

“I’m glad I never needed
to go to a psychologist when I lived here, but after Roger left me, I found a
good one in San Francisco. Probably saved my life, and sure helped me get over feeling
that I was worthless and deserved to have someone leave me.”

“Oh, honey. I’m so sorry,”
Kelly said wrapping her arms around Julia and gently stroking her long black
hair. “I didn’t know it was that bad.”

“There was no reason to
worry you, particularly when you’re a good day’s drive away.”

“Well, I’m glad you were
smart enough to know you needed to get some help. How are you doing now?” she asked
pushing Julia away and looking closely at her.

Good grief. She looks
exactly like I looked at that age. Same black hair, same porcelain-like
complexion, and a full figure. She even wears her hair swept up like I do. I
just want her to be happy, and I’m glad Roger left her when he did. Would have
been a lot harder after there were a couple of kids around.

“Mom, I’m doing fine,”
Julia said, stepping back and looking down at the ground. “Uh, there’s
something I probably should tell you. I suppose now is as good a time as any.”

As soon as Julia uttered
the words, Kelly felt sick to her stomach, and she was afraid Julia could hear
her heart thudding in her chest.
Please, no problems just before the
wedding, please.
“What should you tell me?”

“Well,” Julia said, nervously
twisting her watchband. “I’ve met someone I like a lot.”

“Darling, that’s
wonderful. Tell me about him. Let’s sit down for a minute. I need to take a
break anyway.”

“His name is Brad O’Hearn.
He’s a psychologist.”

“Wait a minute, Julia. Is
this the psychologist you’ve been seeing?”

“No, Mom. It’s unethical
to have that kind of a relationship with your therapist. Brad’s office is
across the hall from the woman I was seeing. We accidently met in the hall a
number of times, and one day he asked me if I’d like to join him for coffee. I
did, and we’ve been seeing each other for several months now.”

“Julia, that’s wonderful!
I’m so happy for you.”

“There’s a little more to
the story. He was previously married and unbeknownst to him, his wife had
started using cocaine. She overdosed one day and died, leaving him with two
children. Now he’s a single parent raising his two daughters who are three and
five.”

“Oh, those poor little
girls! How serious are you two?”

“Serious enough I’m
thinking of moving in with him.”

“I see. How do you get
along with his daughters?”

“They like me, so that’s
not a problem.” She paused and looked out the large bay window that provided a
scenic view of Cedar Bay with the sun shining on its smooth blue surface.

“I’m not a big fan of
people moving in together, but I’m also not much of an example considering Mike
and I have been living together for several months,” Kelly said, “but I have to
say in our defense that Mike did ask you and Cash for permission to marry me. He
moved in after that.”

“Mom, my generation is a
little different. It’s not that big of a deal.”

“It might be a big deal to
those two little girls if you got close to them and then moved out, and they
lost another mommy.”

“That’s not going to
happen. The day before I came up here Brad asked me to marry him, and I said
yes. We haven’t gotten the ring yet or set the date, but I am going to marry
him.”

“Julia, I’m really happy
for you, but I sense there’s more to this. What are you not telling me?”

“Mom,” she said, tears
welling up in the corner of her large brown eyes, “Brad’s afraid he’s not the
father of the girls. A friend of his ex-wife’s visited him after his wife died
and told Brad that his ex-wife had a lot of affairs, and that the girls
probably weren’t his.”

“She told him that, and
she called herself a friend?”

“Brad thinks she’s as
addicted to coke as his wife was.”

“Did he know his wife was
hooked on cocaine?”

“He knew she’d used drugs
in the past and had even been in rehab for a while, but she swore when she met
him she was drug-free, and her drug use had been nothing more than what everyone
else was doing at that time. According to Brad, there was never anything in her
behavior to indicate otherwise, but evidently she’d relapsed. She was with her
friend the afternoon she died. This whole issue of whether or not he’s the
father of the girls is tearing him apart.”

“I can see where it would.
Let me talk to Mike about it. Maybe there’s some way to find out. I kind of
remember he did something with DNA in one of his investigations. As much as I’d
love to keep talking to you, I see Amanda’s van coming up the street. I imagine
Roxie and her friends won’t be far behind. Julia, I’m so happy for you! Well, look
at it this way; even if the girls aren’t Brad’s, he’s still the only daddy
they’ve ever known. If he’d adopted two little girls, I’m sure he’d love them
and wouldn’t care who their biological father was. So what’s the difference?”

“I’d never thought about
it quite like that. I think that kind of logic will appeal to Brad and make him
feel a lot better. Mom, maybe you should have been a psychologist.”

“Fraid not, sweetheart.
It’s just comes from years of being the owner of Kelly’s Koffee Shop and having
everyone tell me their problems. I’m kind of like a bartender. Now off to
refrigerator duty!”

I wish Julia had waited
until after the wedding to tell me about Brad’s fear of not being the father of
the little girls. I don’t have a good feeling about this.

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