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All She Wrote

Book 3 in the Mail Carrier Cozy Mystery Series

Mail carrier, Bernadette (Bernie) Butler, along with the Front Porch Ladies, are curious of their new neighbor, Courtney Gaines, who is the niece of Florence Gaines, the wealthiest widow in Sugar Creek Gap. Florence lets it be known that she is seeing Zeke Grey, which doesn’t set well with the Front Porch Ladies. They were all in competition for Zeke’s attention.

Shortly after learning that Florence, who announced it rather loudly, that she and Zeke got married, while delivering the mail, Bernie overhears what could be the first marital spat.

As Bernie is happily awaiting the birth of her first grandchild, her best friend shares a feeling that something isn’t right between Bernie’s son, Grady, and her daughter-in-law, Julia. Grady seems to be very chummy with Courtney, which has Bernie singing high praise of Julia and how there is a new baby on the way.

When Florence turns up dead in mulch, coupled with what Sheriff Angela Hafley mentioned, Bernie can’t help but want to get involved and when Sheriff Angela requests Bernie to be a ‘snoop consultant’, she readily agrees. Bernie’s snooping leads her to information that hits a little too close to home and Bernie enlists her best friend, Iris for help.

All She Wrote

Book 3 in the Mail Carrier Cozy Mystery Series

All She Wrote

Excerpt

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“Bernadette Butler, I never figured you to be a hot-pink-and-bright-blue-yarn gal.” Leotta Goldey, the owner of Social Knitwork yarn shop, stood over me. “Lily Sugar ’n Cream Yarn is a nice brand too.”

“Thank you.” I picked up the hot-pink yarn and wagged it in the air. “It’s not my color of choice. It’s Julia’s favorite, and with them redoing the farmhouse to match their style, I’m guessing from the bright-colored palette and patterns they’ve been picking out that there’s going to be some hot-pink and blue shades. I thought it would make a nice housewarming gift since Julia loves to cook now that she’s on a leave of absence from her job until the baby comes.”

“You can never go wrong with these basic yarn washcloths. And for a beginner, I’m sure you’re going to make lovely ones.” Leotta moved behind me to check on the other students in the beginner knitting class. “And for the record, I think you’re right about her colors. The blanket she was making here a couple months ago had hot pink and blue in it.” She tapped me on the shoulder as she passed completely by me. “I’m glad you’re taking the class now. Something the two of you can have in common.”

Something I didn’t want to sign up for, but my best friend Iris Peabody insisted I find something to do with the extra time on my hands now that I gave the farm to Grady and Julia and moved into town.

Iris was right. Not about taking knitting classes, because at various times during the one-hour-long class, I’d had irrational thoughts of stabbing Leotta in the eyeballs from my pure frustration of trying to knit six purl six. . .or was it the other way around? Regardless, Iris was right about filling my time.

When I lived in the farmhouse, there was plenty to do. Cut acres of grass, weed the garden, plant the garden, tend to the garden and all my flowers. Then there were the few farm animals we still had that needed to be cared for.

After I’d become a widow and gone back to being a full-time mail carrier again, long workdays didn’t leave a whole lot of time for the chores on the farm, which made me behind on a lot of it.

Moving to town to a much smaller house with a teeny-tiny yard that was a hop and a skip away from the post office did give me a few hours to myself at night. After I made the final move a couple of months ago, I enjoyed coming home to Rowena, my ornery cat, and Buster, the inherited pooch, and just sitting on my front porch, yelling down to the other ladies sitting on their porches, but it wasn’t something I could do the rest of my life.

I was only fifty years old, and I needed a little more stimulation. Not that Mac Tabor, my boyfriend, didn’t keep me company, but sometimes he would work late at Tabor Architects, his own firm, and we didn’t need to spend all our spare time together. We were in what I called a companion relationship, no matter what other people thought.

“I’m hoping I’ll have time to finish this. We are going to have so much love for my grandchild.” I looked down at the knitting needles in my hand and tried to remember where I’d left off before Leotta interrupted me about the yarn. “Ummm. Leotta, I don’t know where I’m at.” I glanced over my shoulder and past Harriette Pearl.

Harriette Pearl glanced over the top of her readers and eyeballed me from the seat across from me.

“Don’t look at me for help,” she grumbled. “I’ve got my own issues over here.” Like me, Harriette wasn’t a knitter, but the rest of our friends were.

“You’ve got more than your own issues.” Ruby Dean, Harriette’s neighbor, snickered. Her hands were moving her knitting needles a mile a minute. She could whip out a complete knitted outfit in an hour. Not that I’d ever wear a knitted outfit, but you got the idea.

“I’ll look.” Gertrude Stone, another neighbor, laid her project on the table. Before she could get up to come help me, Leotta stopped her.

“Let me see.” Leotta swept past the back of us, her crocheted shawl fluttering behind her. Her blond and brown hair was in a messy bun on the top of her head, with knitting needles crisscrossed in it to keep it up.

I wondered if she did that after having her long hair down all day or if it was a cute marketing or image hairdo. Either way, Leotta was a very artsy-looking older lady. She mainly wore the items she made with loose-fitting pants and Birkenstock sandals. Her look was beautiful, and I would look like a bag lady if I tried to wear what she did.

“It looks like you are in the middle of the purl stitch.” She used her long fingernail to peel apart my stitches from my tiny seven-by-seven-inch washcloth. “Yes. You need to finish the purl.”

“Oh-kay.” I sighed and concentrated on finishing the stitch before I decided I needed a break.

“Bernie,” Harriette called, “you know that lovely scented letter I got in the mail today?”

Ruby, Gertrude, and Millie Barnes popped their heads up from their projects.

“Mmhhh,” I ho-hummed.

“It was the nicest letter from Zeke Grey,” she said, gushing over the very single elderly gentleman that all the Front Porch Ladies fought over.

Ah…the Front Porch Ladies were what I lovingly called the four women who lived along Little Creek Road in the middle of Sugar Creek Gap, now the street that I lived on in our tiny mountainous town in Kentucky.

“He wanted to thank me for the wonderful gift I’d given his granddaughter for her wedding present.” Harriette knew the other ladies would have their ears wide-open to hear what she had to say. “He followed up by congratulating me on becoming a board member of the nursing home and president of the beautification committee.”

After Zeke Grey had announced he was going to be hosting a bridal shower for his granddaughter, the Front Porch Ladies wore me out about why they’d not received their invitation when I dropped off their mail. They thought for sure that I’d left it at the post office or lost it along my route.

“Not to mention the smell of his cologne he must’ve spritzed on the envelope.” Harriette looked over at the other Front Porch Ladies. “You do know that amazing smell?” Harriette pulled her knitting project to her chest and took a long, deep inhale, clearly wanting Gertrude, Millie, and Ruby—the Front Porch Ladies—to hear her. They’ve all been trying to get Zeke’s attention for a while now.

The looks the other ladies gave each other didn’t go unnoticed. Maybe a few eye rolls were given, but nothing was said out loud, even though I knew that tomorrow when I delivered their mail, they would question me about if there was any sort of thank-you card from Zeke Grey.

“Ah oh. Looky who’s coming in.” Millie Barnes elbowed Ruby, who was sitting next to her.

“What?” Ruby Dean’s lips curled. “What did you say?”

“I said you need to go get your hearing aids checked because you can’t hear a darn thang.” Millie Barnes groaned. “I said, look who is coming in.” She nodded toward the storefront side of the knitting classroom that faced the sidewalk on Main Street.

All the heads turned to the left to look out of the classroom and into the shop where Florence Gaines was walking in with a young woman.

Florence was a wealthy widow here in Sugar Creek Gap. She lived in the more affluent subdivision behind the old mill, which still had running water and a working wheel that ran right in the middle of downtown. And it just so happened, Florence and Zeke were neighbors.

I was the mail carrier for all of the downtown shops, the nursing home, and the one little row of homes behind the shops, which was where I lived along with the Front Porch Ladies and Mac. I also delivered the mail for Florence’s fancy neighborhood. I had three mail loops in all.

It was nice they were all downtown so I didn’t have to drive a mail truck. Especially since the post office was located downtown. I was able to do a loop then go back to the post office to get the next loop. It made for a long day, but now that I lived in the downtown area, it was not too bad, and my back felt the difference.

Florence Gaines always looked like the million bucks she had. She kept her silver hair nice and short, which was very sophisticated. She mainly wore blacks and grays. Today she had on a pair of gray trousers, cream flats, and a lighter gray t-shirt. A black belt with a big silver buckle completed the outfit.

She and Leotta spoke near the register, keeping all of our attention. Then the young woman with Florence shook hands with Leotta. When Florence looked into the classroom, all five of us nearly broke our necks when we turned back to our knitting projects so Florence wouldn’t see us gawking at her.

“Hello, ladies.” Florence walked into the room. “Very cute little projects.” She eyeballed everyone’s project one by one. “My niece has moved to Sugar Creek Gap, and I wanted to bring her around to introduce her while we have a few minutes to wait for Zeke.”

“Zeke?” Harriette jerked up. “Zeke Grey?”

“Mmhhmmm. Unless you know another Zeke in Sugar Creek Gap.” Florence’s eyes narrowed, and a devious smile twisted along her lips. “Zeke is dying to meet Courtney. Ever since she decided to move here, it’s all I’ve been talking about over dinner.”

“Dinner?” Harriette asked. “With Zeke Grey?”

“Why yes. I had the most wonderful time at Roddy’s wedding. We got to talking, and we didn’t realize how much we had in common. He really is a blessing from above.” Florence lifted her hands in the air. The gold bangles fell toward her elbow and jingled like a sound from above.

“Hi.” The young woman popped into the room. “I’m Courtney Gaines, Florence’s niece.”

“It’s nice to meet you.” I immediately recognized the name. “I’m Bernadette Butler, your neighbor.”

“Oh. Hi!” Courtney’s big brown eyes widened with excitement. “I haven’t seen you. Did you see me? I’m sorry if you did and I didn’t say anything.”

“No. Bernie delivers the mail to your street, and she dates your landlord,” Florence chimed in. “But we must be going. Zeke probably has our table ready at the Wallflower Diner. I’ll be sure to tell your mom and dad hello.”

“I’m your neighbor Harriette Pearl.” Harriette introduced herself to Courtney when it was apparent Florence was not going to. “This here is Ruby Dean, Gertrude Stone, and Millie Barnes, your other neighbors on Little Creek Road. When did you decide to move here? And what do you do?”

Harriette wasn’t about to let them leave until she figured out how long Florence and Zeke had been spending some time together, especially since she mentioned how excited Zeke had been to meet Courtney since she’d decided to move to Sugar Creek Gap.

“I took an open home-economics teaching position at the local high school a couple months ago and wanted to move here this summer so I can spend some quality time with my aunt.” Courtney looked lovingly at Florence.

“Yes. Quality time.” Florence lifted her brows to them. She touched Courtney on the arm. “We need to go. I’m sure you’ll be hearing from these ladies more often than you want,” Florence didn’t do a good job of whispering, her chin turned away from the group.

“It’s so nice to meet all of you. I’m happy to be living here.” Courtney was around five foot six and built exactly like her aunt. She resembled Florence so much that they might’ve even passed as mother and daughter if I’d not known Florence never had any children.

“Ladies.” Florence stopped shy of the classroom door and turned around. “Be sure to be at the church scholarship meeting tomorrow. We will be picking out the winner of the college scholarships from the applicants. Noon sharp.” She threw her head back. “And Harriette?”

“What?” Harriette asked in a snide tone.

“Congratulations on your new board appointment…um… president of the beautification Committee.” Florence gave a slight laugh. “God help Mother Nature,” she said to Courtney on their way out the door.

There was an awkward pause until Florence shut the door behind her, then the flood gates opened.

“Noon sharp,” Harriette mocked. “Can you believe she had the gall to come in here when she probably just walked by and saw us? She only wanted to show off her lunch date with Zeke and threw her poor niece in the mix.”

“Students apply for the scholarship in my name because I’m so wealthy and I donate to the church so much money.” Millie Barnes put her hand to her chest and did her best Florence impression.

Everyone in Sugar Creek Gap knew Florence donated a lot of money to various organizations, though she took full advantage of getting recognition for it.

“Okay.” I felt uncomfortable listening to them, not to mention poor Leotta. She was a business owner, so she really tried to make everyone happy and stay neutral.

I was the mail carrier for all of them, so I had to make sure I stayed silent.

“We need to look on the bright side. One of Grady’s students will be able to afford college with the scholarship.” I loved when one of the less fortunate kids could benefit from Florence’s pride. In the grand scheme of things, Florence’s need for recognition was so small compared to the long-term value of her generosity to one person’s life. A young person.

“It’s not just her money.” Gertrude nodded and looked around at the other Front Porch Ladies for confirmation. “We all put extra money into the tithe to fund it.”

“Trust me, these families are very grateful. Including me. If it weren’t for the scholarship fund, Grady would have a huge student loan to pay off.” I reminded them how Grady was awarded the church’s scholarship when he was a senior, the same year his father had been killed in a car accident.

Just talking about that time brought back the memory of the night I was cheering on the Sugar Creek Gap Grizzlies football team. I was in the stands as the proud mom of the Grizzlies’ mascot, who underneath the bear costume was my Grady. I was cheering on the cute bear when a Kentucky sheriff showed up at the game. After he asked around about where he could find me, Bernadette Butler, he told me Richard had had an awful accident.

Not only had I felt like my life had been ruined, but I knew Grady’s senior year and the life Richard and I had spent years planning for him had been ruined as well. Thanks to the church, Grady was awarded the scholarship.

I picked up the knitting needles and looked at the washcloth, clearly forgetting if I was in the middle of a knit or purl.

“That’s why Grady decided to come back to Sugar Creek Gap after college. He knew he could give back to the community that had given him so much love and support by taking the teaching position at the high school and becoming the head football coach.” I was very proud of my son.

“Yeah. Y’all need to listen and take a lesson from Bernie.” Harriette, the ringleader of the Front Porch Ladies, had a sudden change of heart.

“What about that niece of hers?” Ruby Dean leaned over the table and down at me. “She gets a lot of packages in the mail.”

“Yeah. I’ve seen you dragging that cart around with you for the past few days now. And I know I didn’t get no smell-good letter from Zeke Grey.” Gertrude’s brow twitched. “Apparently, you’re not getting anything special from Zeke either.” She looked directly at Harriette.

Trying to hold a conversation with these four women was like being in a room full of squirrels. They changed subjects more than a high school student’s class schedule. Though this particular subject of the packages Courtney Gaines had been receiving was a much-needed change of subject. I couldn’t tell them what was in the packages—I had no idea—but I did know where they were coming from.

“Don’t you be going and telling me nothing about me and Zeke.” Harriette didn’t bother looking up from her knitting needles.

“Well, I’m just saying.” Gertrude let out a long sigh, lowering her shoulders.

“Just say nothing,” Harriette mumbled and continued to work the needles and the thread. “How’s Julia?”

“My Julia?” The thought of becoming a grandmother made my heart soar. “She’s fantastic. She’s been such a trooper for a first-time pregnancy. Mac said he’s missing her so much. Now that she’s into her third trimester, she’s not as sick anymore. I’m doing all I can to help. Poor thing is so big with baby.”

“Have they moved out of the Wallflower apartment?” Ruby asked about the little apartment above my parents’ diner, where Julia and Grady lived.

“They were still sleeping there while the farmhouse is being painted, along with those remodels Mac is doing for them.” Seeing Mac and Grady work side by side was a dream for me. “But going to sleep there for the first night tonight. That’s why I’m trying to get this cloth completed.”

By the size of my square knitting project, they would only be able to wash a baby spoon with it.

“Mac has really been busy there. You sure are lucky, Bernie.” Harriette didn’t bother looking up at me. She knew it was a touchy subject I rarely liked to talk about.

Mac was Richard’s, my deceased husband’s, best friend and had been around Grady all his life, so they were already close. After Richard had died, Grady and I learned of a secret life Richard had kept hidden our entire marriage. Mac had kept Richard’s secret. It took a while for me to forgive Mac, but not Grady.

Mac had become somewhat of a father figure to Grady, and I was forever grateful for that. That feeling had turned into a love for Mac that I couldn’t shake off.

“I can’t wait to see it.” Leotta had rejoined us in the classroom after she’d taken a few phone calls and helped a customer while the five of us sat yammering on. “Julia is very excited because Grady keeps telling her about all the wonderful memories he’d had growing up in the farmhouse.” Leotta looked out the window and watched as Zeke Grey greeted Florence with a hug on the sidewalk before they began to walk down past the yarn shop toward the diner. “It just goes to show that love is in the air this summer.”

“Not if I’ve got something to do with it.” Harriette’s eyes narrowed. “If Florence keeps fluttering them eyelashes, she’s gonna start a windstorm.”

 

Two

There was no sense in trying to get any more of the washcloth finished at Social Knitwork. The Front Porch Ladies kept gossiping about Zeke and what Florence Gaines had over him to make him want to not only have supper with her but hug her while they stood on the sidewalk on Main Street. Something these southern ladies saw as very inappropriate.

I gathered my yarns and put everything back in the little yarn bag Leotta had given us for signing up for class. The Front Porch Ladies already knew how to knit, but like everyone in Sugar Creek Gap, there wasn’t much to do right now.

It was rare I had a day off during the week, especially a Friday, but Monica Reed, a clerk at the post office, had really wanted to be a mail carrier, so a few times a year I’d take a vacation day so she could get her feet wet. It never failed that the day after she took my route, her feet ached and her back hurt, and she was back to being grateful for the stool at the counter and her job there. After that, she’d stop belly-aching about being inside for a few more months.

Generally on my days off, I would hang out with my parents at Wallflower and help around the diner, or I’d work around the farm. But now that I’d inherited a home from one of my customers, I had a nice tiny yard where I was ecstatic to work in the flower beds I’d planted. There were a few items I needed to pick up from Leaf and Petal, our local garden store, for the next vegetable garden boxes Mac had made for my backyard.

I was used to having a huge garden at the farmhouse, and when I heard Julia and Grady say they weren’t going to harvest the garden, I had to admit I was a little heartbroken. It was a little hard to bite my tongue and let them do with the property what they wanted since I’d given it to them without any requests to keep the garden. They didn’t even keep the family room and kitchen separate when they decided to tear down the wall and make it one big open space. My heart groaned a little more. I let out a long, deep sigh, letting all of the things I loved about the farmhouse go, and let my mind drift to the beautiful box garden I was going to harvest as I pulled the car into the parking lot of Leaf and Petal.

The extended summer hours were perfect for me. Most nights I’d get home so late from my mail route, but with daylight savings time, most stores were open well past their normal hours.

“It feels like five o’clock.” Sara Rammond, the owner of the Leaf and Petal, was elbow-deep in the black diamond mulch. She was hand scooping, or more like arm scooping, the smelly stuff into a wheelbarrow.

“It does. I love it.” There was a giddy up in my step as my eyes took in all the vibrant annuals lined up like little happy faces displayed in rows upon rows on the acres of land the Rammonds owned. “Sara, stunning crop this year.”

It was as if Mother Nature had a burst of happy all over the Rammonds property. The birds were singing, the sun was shining, and the customers were roaming around with smiles on their faces.

Sara stood up. She was a lean older woman who should’ve used more sunscreen in her younger days, though like most people around Sugar Creek Gap, the business and property was passed down from generation to generation.

Leaf and Petal was from Sara’s side of the family, not Larry’s, her husband’s.

“You know Larry is as stubborn as a mule.” She pushed the floppy hat up out of her eyes.

The lines around her eyes and her leathery crepe skin was the price she’d paid to have a business that required a lot of time in the elements. I knew. My job was exactly the same, but I slathered sunscreen on every morning and reapplied throughout my day, even in the cold and dreary weather.

“What’s up with Larry?” I asked.

“This.” She waved her hand over the flower gardens. “He wants to strictly do vegetables and doesn’t want to worry with the flowers, which is my passion. So that’s why I’m out here doing the mulch for customers. He even suggested we sell the back part to the bank for their new branch.”

I’d heard some rumblings on my mail route about the Sugar Creek Gap National Bank opening a second branch on the far side of the county since our little town had been growing by leaps and bounds.

“Do you need a shovel?” I wasn’t sure what she was trying to tell me about her and Larry or if she just needed an ear to listen, but I stood there offering some sort of suggestion so she didn’t have to scoop with her arms.

“Oh no. I know a scoop is about this size, give a few extra.” She winked and made a big circle with her arms. “Another reason Larry hates the garden center. He says I give out too much mulch by eyeballing it and we are losing money. So if we were to sell the back half to the bank, we’d make some money.”

To my surprise, Courtney Gaines walked up.

“Courtney, right?” I questioned, actually thankful not to continue the conversation with Sara. Her apparent issue with Larry didn’t stop with me. She kept on talking about him when another customer walked up.

“Great memory.” Courtney put a hand up to her forehead and rubbed it like she was trying to get a genie to pop out. “I’m not great with names. I’m sorry.”

“I wouldn’t expect you to be since you just moved to town. I’m Bernadette.” I was about to say my last name, but she took in a deep breath and held up her hand to stop me.

“My neighbor and mail carrier.” Her head tilted to the side. “I remember, but you know Aunt Florence. She rattles off names to me along with little details about people that I try to forget.”

I smiled, knowing exactly what Courtney meant by little details. . . gossip.

“I’m sorry to interrupt,” Sara spoke up. She looked at Courtney and pointed to the wheelbarrow. “I’ve got to go dig up some snapdragons for a customer. Here’s your mulch. You can just push the wheelbarrow to your car, and after you dump it, just leave it in the parking lot.” She looked at me and rolled her eyes. “At least Larry will bring those back.”

“I’ll catch you in a little bit. I’m needing some advice on a box garden I’m planting at the new house,” I told Sara before she ran off.

“Plants? Veggies?” Sara asked.

“Vegetables. Grady and Julia aren’t keeping a garden now that they moved into the farmhouse, so I’m going to plant my own at my new house.” I smiled and watched Sara rush off, knowing by the shake of her finger she knew what I was talking about.

“Box garden. Wow.” Courtney looked to be overwhelmed. “I’m just trying to keep up with the letter I got from the beautification committee about making my yard look nice. Since my aunt Florence is trying her hardest to get appointed the new beautification president, she’s practically making me learn how to garden.” She looked down at the wheelbarrow and shook her head. “I don’t even know if this is enough mulch or not.”

“You’re in luck.” It took everything in my being not to ask her about Florence wanting to be the president of the committee, since Florence didn’t have a green thumb, finger, toe, or anything else green in her body. “I’m pretty good at all things gardening. If you can believe it, I traded in a huge farm for the house on Little Creek.”

Long story short, when Mr. Macum, the former owner of my house on Little Creek Road, had died, he willed it to me. It was a perfect time to gift the farm to Grady since they were expanding their family, and it was just me, Rowena, my ornery cat, and now Buster, Mr. Macum’s dog that I’d also got in his inheritance.

“I’m more than happy to wander over the fence and help you if you need me to. It’s only my opinions, so you can use what you want and forget the rest. No feelings hurt.” I wanted to show how neighborly we on Little Creek Road were, even if her aunt Florence didn’t like ninety percent of our neighbors.

“That would be great,” she gushed. “Aunt Florence has no idea what it’s like to move to a new town and start a new job, and then she puts something like gardening over on me.”

“I’d love to help. Do you have a phone?” I asked her. “I can give you my number, and when you’re ready to work in the yard, give me a text or call or holler over the fence.”

“Thank you.” We exchanged numbers, and she pushed her phone back in her pocket and bent down to grip the handles on both sides of the wheelbarrow. The thing teetered and tottered for a second before she finally got it lined up with the one wheel in the front. “Wait.” She put the legs back down on the ground. “Earlier you mentioned Grady and Julia. Did you say your last name was Butler?”

“Yes. Bernie Butler,” I confirmed.

“You owned a farm and now live in town, last name Butler.” She rattled off my stats. “So Grady Butler is your…”

“Son!” I could feel my face light up. Anytime someone brought up Grady to me, I couldn’t help but swell with pride. “Do you know him?”

“Know him,” Courtney’s jaw dropped, “yes. He talked to me after my job interview with the school board. I’m the new economics teacher and cheerleading coach at Sugar Creek High School.” She laid a flat hand on her chest. “He is a great guy. Too bad he’s taken,” she teased, and it didn’t sit too well with me.

“I love Julia, his wife, as much as I love him. They are wonderful and expecting my first grand-baby.” I went on and on about how I gave them the farm so they could raise their family there. “I’m so sorry.” I put a hand out. “Once I get started talking about Grady and Julia, I can’t seem to stop.”

“It’s fine.” She didn’t appear to be offended or put off. “It’s nice how he and Julia have someone who loves them so much. Not so much with my family. I guess it’s not a secret Aunt Florence doesn’t have children. She’s getting up in age, and my dad is worried sick about her.”

“Is she okay?” Though I was worried something was wrong with Florence, I took the opportunity to be somewhat. . .shall we say, nosy. “I hope she’s okay.”

“She’s been a little forgetful. And a little forgetful with her money. My dad sent me here to keep an eye on her for what now seems to be permanent until she dies. Not that I want her to die. It’s just hard to move to a new town and new job, then she expects me to do what she wants me to do.” Her face turned red. There was a bit of anger in her tone. “I’m jealous Grady has someone like you. I’m about done with people walking all over me. It’s about time for me to take my life back and take what’s mine.”

I gulped. Courtney Gaines was a little bitter Betty, and I couldn’t help but wondering what it was all about.

“Anyways, enough of my rambling. If Aunt Florence knew I’d even mentioned her name while talking to you, she’d lay down and die.” Courtney picked up the handles, but this time the one wheel in the front was much steadier. “I’ll give you a call when I get ready to put this down. I’m going to need some help.”

“Sure. No problem.” I waved goodbye and watched her walk off.

There was a little tickle in the back of my head that Courtney wanted to tell me more, and I was for sure willing to listen. There was nothing better than gardening and gossip.

 

end of excerpt

All She Wrote

is available in the following formats:

May 26, 2020

ISBN-13: 979-8647986078

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