Take the Honey and Run
The town is all abuzz when a murder occurs in Jennie Marts’ debut cozy mystery, perfect for fans of Jenn McKinlay and Amanda Flower.
As a successful mystery author, Bailey Briggs writes about murder, but nothing prepares her for actually discovering the dead body of the founder of her hometown of Humble Hills, Colorado. Bailey grew up at Honeybuzz Mountain Ranch and was raised by her beekeeping grandmother, Blossom Briggs, aka Granny Bee, and her two eccentric sisters, Aster and Marigold—which is why she drops everything to come home and help Granny Bee after a bad fall.
A broken foot doesn’t stop her grandmother from ruling The Hive, her granny’s book club, or continuing to prepare and package her bee-inspired products. But when Bailey’s grandmother’s infamous “Honey I’m Home” hot spiced honey turns out to “bee” the murder weapon and her granny is now the prime suspect, Bailey has no choice but to use her fictional detective skills to help solve the murder and “smoke out” the real culprit.
With the help of Bailey’s witty bestie, a pair of meddling aunts, the feisty members of The Hive, and her computer-savvy daughter, this amateur sleuth is determined to solve the case. A malicious attack and an ominous threat reveal that someone wants Bailey to butt out of the investigation, but there’s no way she’s backing down. She must use her skills to uncover the truth and catch the clever culprit before her grandmother ends up bee-hind bars.
She couldn’t seem to catch her breath. “Like dead-dead?” she whispered, trying to keep her anxiety in check and not hyperventilate.
Sawyer arched an eyebrow. “Yes, Bailey. Like that.”
Her hands fluttered to her mouth as she slumped to the floor next to Werner. Praying he was wrong, she picked up Werner’s hand, just as Sawyer had done to her the day before and tried desperately to find the flutter of a beat.
“Just breathe, Bailey,” Sawyer said, firmly cupping the side of her shoulder, the same way he used to when she’d had panic attacks back in high school.
The pressure of his hand calmed her, just as it always had, and she matched her breathing with his, taking in a deep breath, then slowly letting it out. “I’m okay, but we’ve got to call someone,” she said, pulling her phone from her pocket and stabbing at the screen as she tapped 9-1-1.
“It’s okay, Bailey. I’ve got this.”
She shook her head. How was he so calm? “No, we need an ambulance. Or a fireman. Or the police.” Her heart rate climbed even higher. “Oh my gosh, do we need the police?”
“Yes, but—” he started to say, but Bailey cut him off as the line was picked up.
“Nine-one-one. What is your emergency?” The operator’s voice sounded familiar.
“Yes, hello. We just found Werner Humble on his dining room floor, and we think he might be dead.”
“He is,” Sawyer confirmed. Again.
Bailey shot him a quick glare as she heard the operator say, “I’m sending an ambulance now.”
“Tell her there are suspicious circumstances,” he instructed.
“Well, shoot fire,” the dispatcher whispered, then recognition set in as she said more clearly, “I heard him. I’ll contact the sheriff now.”
“Linda? Is that you?” Bailey asked.
“Yes, this is Linda Johnson.”
“This is Bailey Briggs.” She and Linda had gone to high school together and been lab partners for chemistry. Linda had been notorious for diving in without reading the lab notes, and Bailey had heard that whispered “Well, shoot fire” many times as their experiments literally went up in smoke.
“Oh hey, Bailey, I heard you were back in town. Hold on, I’m ringing the sheriff.”
Bailey turned toward Sawyer as she heard the theme song of Mission Impossible coming from his pocket.
He pulled out his phone and tapped the screen. “Dunn here.”
Bailey heard Linda say, “Hey, Sheriff, you need to head over to Werner Humble’s house. I already sent an ambulance, but apparently he’s dead and they think there might be suspicious circumstances.”
“Thanks, Linda, I’m already at the scene.”
“How’d you get there so fast?”
“I’m the one who discovered the body.”
“I thought Bailey Briggs did.”
“She’s here with me.”
“Oh, then why did I need to call you?”
Bailey spoke into the phone. “Because he didn’t tell me he was the sheriff.”
Sawyer shrugged as the corner of his lip tugged up in a grin. “I tried.”
“Not hard enough,” she muttered.
“Why don’t you call off the ambulance, Linda,” Sawyer told the dispatcher. “And send the coroner instead.”
“I’m on it, Sheriff. But he was doing a lecture at the hospital in the next town over today, so it may take him a half an hour or so to get to you.”
“That’s fine. I’ll wait here.”
“Okay, well, I’ve got another call coming in,” Linda said. “Welcome home, Bailey.”
What a homecoming.
“You’re the sheriff?” Bailey asked as she pushed her phone back into her pocket.
“Why didn’t you tell me that yesterday?” “Didn’t come up.”
And why hadn’t her grandmother or her so-called best friend informed her of this fact? Oh yeah, Evie thought it was just so much more fun this way.
I’ ll be sure to let her know how much fun I’m having.
“Why does he look like that?” She pressed her fingers together and tried to rub the tackiness of them on her jeans. “And why is he sticky?”
“I’m assuming he’s sticky from the honey-slathered biscuit it appears he was eating.” He nodded to the evidence lying on the floor a few feet from his outstretched hand.
It was partially under the table, so she hadn’t noticed it before, but now she could see the biscuit had a large bite out of the side. “There’s no way Werner was eating that. Granny Bee just told us he’s deathly allergic to honey. And that’s not something you eat by mistake.”
“I’m not the medical examiner, of course, but the way his lips are swollen, the hives, the . . .” He waved his hand in a circle around his head. “The way he looks leads me to believe he died from anaphylactic shock, presumably from eating that honey we know he was allergic to. It’s hard to see around the hives, but it looks to me like there are also traces of the honey on his chin and around his mouth.” He furrowed his brow as he leaned closer and sniffed at Werner’s face.
Bailey drew back, wrinkling her nose. “What are you doing?”
“I know this scent.” Realization lit his eyes, then his expression changed to dread as he leaned back and gazed around the room.
“What is it?”
His shoulders slumped as he shook his head. “I sure wish I hadn’t heard Granny Bee threaten to kill this man yesterday.”
“Why? What does Granny Bee have to do with this?”
He pointed to the jar of Granny Bee’s signature Honey I’m Home hot spiced honey sitting open on the table, a spoon covered in the amber substance next to it. “Because it looks like it was her honey that killed him.”
Jennie Marts is the USA TODAY Best-selling author of award-winning books filled with love, laughter, and always a happily ever after. Readers call her books “laugh out loud” funny and the “perfect mix of romance, humor, and steam.” Fic Central claimed one of her books was “the most fun I’ve had reading in years.”
She is living her own happily ever after in the mountains of Colorado with her husband, two dogs, and a parakeet that loves to tweet to the oldies. She’s addicted to Diet Coke, adores Cheetos, and believes you can’t have too many books, shoes, or friends.
Her books include the contemporary western romance Hearts of Montana series, the romantic comedy/ cozy mysteries of The Page Turners series, the hunky hockey-playing men in the Bannister family in the Bannister Brothers Books, and the small-town romantic comedies in the Lovestruck series of Cotton Creek Romances.
Jennie loves to hear from readers. Follow her on Facebook at Jennie Marts Books, or Twitter at @JennieMarts. Visit her at www.jenniemarts.com and sign up for her newsletter to keep up with the latest news and releases.
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