Join the writers at http://mfrwbookhooks.blogspot.com and find some great books to explore. Mineis the last book in the Katherine Miller - now Claybourne mysteries.
Lars is her new husband. He loves Katherine but doesn’t understand why she’s always trying to protect her near and dear. Even though she saved his life while visiting him in Santa Fe, he often questions her involvement in other people’ lives.
Into their lives arrives a new neighbor, Sabrina Gates. Sabrina bought the house next door. She has had a phenomenal success as a new author but moes from her past and present threaten her peace and ability to write. There is the blogger who posts snide and not so nice posts about other authors. Sabrina’s former agent wants a share of the huge amount of money Sabrina has received for a trilogy. And there is her ex-husband, a needy greedy coward who wants money.
Above all there is Robespierre who makes his presence known.
Several days later, I spent time in the garden tending to the mint beds. Megan and Rose Prairie played with a ball on a string. Robespierre sat on the walk in his Sphinx position watching the pair. Did he yearn to play but felt such was beneath his dignity? A smile brushed over my lips when I wondered if he felt his age kept him from playing.
A moving van rolled down the street and backed into the driveway of the house next door. Several minutes later, a bright blue eco-friendly car parked on the street. A tall blonde wearing jeans and a white tee with some slogan I couldn’t read left the car. I couldn’t see much of her face because of the large sunglasses and baseball cap bill forward shading her face. She walked with a bounce. My new neighbor promised to be interesting.
The movers emptied the truck, carrying a modest amount of furniture. A bedroom set, a living room ensemble, a kitchen table and chairs and an office set-up. There were a number of boxes.
While watching the movers, I collected a variety of mint leaves and pulled weeds from the bed.
“Hungry, Grandma Kate.” The small girl planted herself in front of me.
“Is it lunch time all ready?”
“My tummy says yes.”
I clasped her hand and held my laughter inside. She scooped Rose Prairie into her arms. She wouldn’t be able to carry the half-grown cat much longer. Robespierre ambled after us. The moment we entered the house, he dashed to his bowl in expectation of being fed. Rose Prairie wiggled from Megan’s arms and joined her relative. Megan’s pet had learned his kin’s behavior.
Megan giggled. “They’re silly.” She shook some dry food into their bowls and ran to the powder room. I assembled a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. A glass of milk, apple slices and two chocolate chip cookies finished the meal.
She returned and sat at the table. “What are you doing?”
I had taken a basket from the pantry and placed it on the counter. “Making a welcome basket for our new neighbor.”
“Can I come, too?”
“Yes.” I pulled a frozen loaf of banana bread from the freezer and filled a tin with an assortment of cookies. A half dozen small jars featuring a variety of mint teas finished filling the area. Each of the jars had a ribbon with an attached card telling about the tea.
I joined Megan for lunch. Mine was slices of tomato and the rest of the crab salad. After delivering the basket, Megan and I would drive to a local farm to replenish my stock of fresh vegetables.
The moment we finished lunch, Megan wiped away her chocolate moustache. She ran to the door. “We go now.”
“Not so fast.” I checked to see if she had spilled anything on her clothes. I looked for the cats and found the pair shared Robespierre’s bed.
“Rose Prairie com?”
“Not today. We don’t know our new neighbor. Cats might make her cough and sneeze.”
I lifted the basket. Megan opened the door and walked beside me to the gate in the privet hedge between the yards. We reached the porch of the Dutch Colonial and I rang the bell.
My new neighbor opened the door. She was beautiful. Instead of blue eyes, hers were green. “Hello. I’m Katherine Claybourne from next door. This is Megan. We would like to welcome you to the neighborhood.”
“Thank you. I’m Sabrina Gates. What a wonderful thing to do. Reminds me of home. Would you like to come in? I’m ready for a break.”
Megan followed us inside. “Grandma Kate make some really good cookies and tea with mint.’
Sabrina clasped the child’s hand. “Would you like some of those really good cookies?”
Megan looked at me and I nodded. “Yes, thank you. I’m four going on five. How old are you? Do you have any children?”
“I don’t but I do like children.”
“My daddy like them, tool”
I hid a grin. Was the child match-making?
Sabrina led us to the kitchen and placed the basket on the table. “Would you like some milk to go with your cookie?’
Megan shook her head. “Tea.”
Sabrina’s Southern accent enchanted me. I’m a sucker for accents.
We entered the kitchen where Sabrina set the basket on a table and unpacked the contents. She read each label on the jars of dried tea. “Let me brew a pot of this one.” She selected the pekoe and wintergreen. “I just made sugar syrup for sweet tea.”
“Sweet tea?” I asked.
“A Southern thing. Tea that’s sweetened with lost of sugar syrup.” She filled a tea ball with her selection. “I bet this one will be super.”
Before long the tea had steeped. We’d spent the waiting time asking and answering questions about the town and the area. I did learn a little about Sabrina. She filled a pitcher with ice and added the syrup. Then she carefully added the hot tea and poured three glasses.
“Can Megan have a cookie?” Sabrina opened a tin.
“These look heavenly.” She selected one and passed the tin to Megan.
I sipped the tea. Much sweeter than I usually drink.
“Where do you buy the tea?” Sabrina asked.
“I grow the mints, dry the leaves and blend them with either pekoe or oolong. Recently I’ve experimented with green tea.”
“How interesting. How did you begin?”
“When my husband and I bought a Victorian house, the mint beds were well established. When we moved here, I transplanted some of each variety.”
“Is that handsome man I saw earlier your husband?”
“He’s my second.”
She leaned forward. “Are you divorced?”
I shook my head. “My first died years ago. Lars and his wife were our friends. When she died, we decided to marry. We’ve been married for nearly a year.”