I’m so excited to be finally sharing my new Farm to Table Mysteries with you. The first book in the series is Farm to Trouble. It was such a fun book to write. To celebrate, I’m sharing the first few pages with you here! Enjoy!
Farm to Trouble
It smelled like home before I even saw it. I caught a whiff of freshly cut hay and plowed earth when I got off the highway and drove down the long country road to the small town of Cherry Glen, Michigan. Huckleberry, my pug, held his flat nose in the air as if he recognized it too. With the top down on my red convertible, the country breeze caressed his small ears. The wind was in my long blond hair—hair that remained blond due mostly to my ridiculously expensive stylist back in Los Angeles.
Just before I crossed the line that marked the town limits, an enormous billboard with a photo of wind turbines on it came into view. “Support Cherry Glen Wind Farm” ran along the top of it. Huckleberry looked at me questioningly with his round brown eyes as we whizzed past pine trees and rolling farms. We weren’t in California anymore, that was for sure. Huckleberry was a pug used to palm trees and traffic. He would get none of that in Cherry Glen. Although, like in California, there was plenty of sand. Beyond Traverse City, the closest city nearby, was the Sleeping Bear Dunes along the shores of Lake Michigan. There was more than enough sand there for a beach-starved pug even if the lake water was too cold to touch for nine months of the year.
I drove through the center of Cherry Glen. When I had grown up in this town, it was just a few mismatched buildings made of brick and weathered boards. Today, the downtown was quaint but bustling. Small businesses and shops lined the street. The two largest buildings held Fields Brewing Company, in an old grain warehouse, and Michigan Street Theater. The theater had been abandoned when I was a child. To my surprise, the marquee was lit and proclaimed the upcoming dates for Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Julius Caesar.
It was just after seven on a Friday evening in the middle of July. The sun wouldn’t set for another two hours, and townspeople and tourists ambled up the new-looking sidewalk. Moms pushed babies and strollers, and school-age children ran in and out of the general store. The tourists, or fudgies as we called them growing up, were easy to pick out from their Michigan-mitten T-shirts and crisp shorts. We called them fudgies because most of them would travel up north to Mackinac Island and the U.P. in search of fudge before heading back down to wherever they came from. They stuck out from the farmers. The farmers wore their dusty jeans and work boots going about their day-to- day.
The town appeared to be thriving. It was nothing like the beaten-down, blue-collar hometown I remembered. Time had been kind to Cherry Glen. I hoped I would find the same at Bellamy Farm.
At the end of the street was the town hall, a modest brick building with a large Palladian window over the front door and a WWII Sherman tank sitting on its postage stamp-sized lawn. The tank had been a gift to the town from a collector who died before I was born. It was the only structure on Michigan Street that looked exactly the same.
I could distinctly remember climbing on the tank as a child with my father looking on. That was over twenty year ago, what felt like a lifetime, and it almost seemed like a memory from a movie I had seen rather than a moment in my own childhood. Despite the town’s improvements, it still had the same down-home feel to it, and anyone walking along the sidewalk would take one look at me and know I didn’t belong. Didn’t matter that I had lived in Cherry Glen for the first twenty-three years of my life. I’d been gone for fifteen years. My capped teeth, blond highlights, red convertible, and portable dog belied that fact. Very few people would know the new me, as I cut most of my friends out of my life when I left to recover from what I had lost. In many ways, my father and the land were my remaining ties to this place.
Distracted by the tank, I was driving a little bit too fast. I had been on the road for countless hours and wanted to be over and done with this last leg of the trip.
That was my mistake. I should have slowed down going through the town. It was an afterthought I regretted immediately when I heard the sound of sirens behind me. I would have hoped at thirty-eight years old the sound of sirens behind me would no longer make me jump like a sixteen-year- old with a permit. Sadly, that was not the case.
I looked in my rearview mirror and saw a police officer on a motorcycle coming at me at a fast clip. I shared a look with a bewildered Huckleberry as I pulled to the side of the road. Speeding with California plates through Cherry Glen was a very bad idea.
Copyright 2021 Amanda Flower. All rights reserved.
First in a new series! Shiloh Bellamy leaved her big city job in L.A. behind to return to Michigan to save the family farm. When the farm’s biggest investor turns up dead, she has to follow the clues to keep herself and her father from a lifetime in prison.
Now Available Anywhere Books Are Sold!
Happy Reading! ❤