Readers will always find afternoon tea in The Jillian Bradley Mystery Series. Here is an excerpt from:
"The Ghost Orchid Murder"
At precisely four o’clock, there was a knock on my door. When I answered, Yvette stood in the doorway and smiled. Room service was right behind her. I motioned for her to sit down on the sofa by the fire as the server placed the tea tray on the table in front of her. I signed the bill and thanked him.
Teddy was yipping, trying to guard me from whoever entered his territory.
Yvette’s face brightened.
She looked surprisingly young for her age which I judged to be about forty-five to fifty. Her firm handshake confirmed that she was self-assured. She sat straight on the sofa with her ankles crossed. Although she was pretty in a country sort of way, the lines around her eyes told of a difficult life, not one of privilege.
High cheekbones spoke of her French ancestry. Like many Europeans, Yvette wore no makeup, only a little lipstick and yet her color looked quite healthy. She wore her shoulder-length blond hair straight and simple. Her clothes flattered her medium built figure. I wondered if Rene had been like her.
Teddy was yipping in the bedroom, trying to guard his territory from the present invader.
“Would you like some tea?”
“Thank you, I’d love some. Just plain, please.”
I took my time pouring the tea and stirring in the sugar for mine. I offered her a slice of decadent chocolate cake or a chocolate chip oatmeal cookie. She took the cookie and white linen napkin. We sipped our tea and she told me again how much she appreciated the invitation.
“I would love to meet your dog, Jillian.” She placed her cookie on her saucer.
I walked over to Cecilia’s room and let Teddy out. He immediately ran over to Yvette and jumped into her lap.
She smiled and began to pet him.
“He’s adorable.” She rubbed his ears gently and stroked his fur. “I could never give Rene a dog because A.J. said we couldn’t afford one. Of course I regret it now, like so many things.”
“Is A.J. your husband?” I was glad Teddy was taking to her so.
“He was my husband. A.J. died when Rene was a teenager.”
“I’m so sorry. What did your husband do for a living?”
“He was a logger.” She sighed. “Six days a week he’d take logs from where they fell and load them onto trucks that took them to the mills. A.J. would work twelve hours a day and when he got home, all dirty and hungry, Rene would disappear into another room. The two didn’t really mix.
“A.J. and I would have a little time over dinner together where he recapped his day. Then to sleep…early…7 o’clock sharp every evening. The same routine started all over again the next morning.”
“He seems to have worked hard to provide for his family. I’m sure you miss him.”
Teddy licked her hand as if to say he was sorry she had suffered two deaths now.
“You’re a good dog, Teddy. Thank you.” She stroked his fur. “Please have your friend come in and have some tea. I feel like I’m encroaching.”
I stood. “I’ll ask her if she’d like to join us.”
I introduced Cecilia. Yvette seemed comfortable sharing her personal life in front of her. I think she sensed I had her welfare in mind and trusted me.
She was hungry to talk to someone, so Cecilia and I listened sympathetically.
Yvette talked for some time, unfolding her life story as we drank tea together. I made sure her cup stayed full.
Have a lovely week, dear readers!