Friday, November 8, 2013

"Murder in Half Moon Bay" An Introduction to Jillian Bradley

I'll be posting a chapter from "Murder in Half Moon Bay" every day until the end of the month. Enjoy!

Chapter 1 


The invitations had gone out a few days ago to three of my dearest friends in the world. Ann would respond first. Cherishing her friendship for over fifteen years had given me some insight–I knew her like a book. It was therefore no surprise when the phone rang and her name popped up on my caller ID.
“Jillian, I’m coming to the Garden Club. Have you heard from anyone else?”
“Not yet, you’re the first.” I leaned an elbow on the freshly wiped kitchen counter. “I did talk to Dominique last week, but it was about her trip. She had quite an interesting time.”
Knowing I would probably be talking for a while, I reheated my coffee and sauntered from the tidied kitchen into the living room. There my overstuffed recliner waited. Teddy, my Yorkshire terrier, crawled up into my lap, curling up in his usual sleeping position. 
Ann laughed. “Dominique’s trips are always interesting. I believe she went on two safaris this….”
A beep drowned out her words–another call.
“Ann, I’m sorry, but I have another call coming in.” I switched over. It was Nicole.
That was convenient and ironic. In five minutes flat, I had my first two confirmations.
I reached for the coffee and smiled in satisfaction as I sipped its bittersweet goodness.
Our garden club had come together a few years ago as a way to stay in touch. The core of us, Nicole, Ann, and I, had been neighbors. Always the social butterfly, Ann was the second member after me. She regularly kept her calendar booked with luncheons, dinner parties, and of course, her monthly bingo night. She also loved to travel and took at least one major trip every year to some exotic foreign country.
Compared to Ann, Nicole King was quiet in demeanor and small in stature, but passionate when it came to her house and garden. Fountains and statuary created a fantasy atmosphere in her backyard. There were graceful arbors covered with vines and passionflowers crept up every inch of the perimeter fence. When hosting our garden club, she’d always added a little something new.
The last recruit to the founding quartet, Dominique Summers, had lived in our former neighborhood as well. A diminutive, auburn-haired woman, she radiated kindness and gentility. Dominique had the same love of gardening as the rest of us. It was she who suggested we take on a name to add prestige and sophistication to our lives. We all were enamored with the idea to call ourselves “The Garden Club.” That was it. The name stuck.
For seven years, we met consistently every month. We’d visit each other’s gardens and do lunch, gradually extending our touring to public gardens as well. Now here we were in the process of attending the West Coast Garden Club Society’s Annual Conference together.
It had started for me as a job. My newspaper had hired me to review some of the key speakers. Having a degree in horticulture, I always had an opinion about plants in general and authored the “Ask Jillian” column in the gardening section of The San Francisco Enterprise.
Life was good. My expenses were covered, my friends were coming and I was so looking forward to the invigorating ocean air.

If you like to read about lovely places and fabulous cuisine, enjoy the Jillian Bradley mystery series.

for your e-reader is free! 
All books are G-rated and contain no profanity.

  See you in my books!

 ~Nancy Jill 
Mystery novelist Nancy Jill Thames has published Christian fiction since 2010. The author of seven books in the Jillian Bradley series, she is an award winning blogger and listed numerous times on the Author Watch Bestseller’s List. In addition, she won first place in her church's 4th of July celebration for her chocolate cream pie.

When she isn’t plotting her next book, she spends time with her six grandchildren, tags along with her husband on business trips, and plays classical piano for her personal enjoyment. She is an active member of the Leander Writers' Guild, American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW),  CenTex Chapter-ACFW, and supports the Central Texas SPCA with a portion of her book sales. She resides with her husband in Leander, Texas.

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