Find more from this author on:
About the author:
I am an independent author and Antiques and Murder is my debut novel. When I am not writing, I can be found spending time with my family or hanging out on one of Florida’s many beaches.
Here is a short sample from the book:
Summer in the south is more than a season, it’s a whole new atmosphere. It’s humid, hot as blue blazes-whatever that means, and my hair hates it. If you haven’t been subjected to it since birth, it’s a miserable experience. If you have, you just don’t know any better. I could feel sweat beginning to pool in the small of my back and it wasn’t even noon. Trying to force some cool air in, I grabbed the edge of my t-shirt and gave a few vigorous flaps. It didn’t help much.
My name is Jemma-Leigh Ward. I have a middle name too, but I won’t admit to it. In my town, if you don’t know someone with two first names then you don’t know anyone. I’m 29 years old and I live in Camden, a small town in rural Georgia. Camden is a slow paced kind of city, the kind where old people sit on their stoops and watch the world go by. It’s the kind of place where almost everyone is on a first name basis and children get away with nothing because someone will spot you and call your mama. Food is deep fried, tea is sweet and everyone says grace before dinner.
I’ve spent all of my life here, unless you count the few months it took me to realize that I wasn’t cut out for college, and I sure don’t. College was great…for other people. Me? Not so much.
I’ve got a mop of wavy auburn hair that almost never cooperates and eyes that my mother calls “gunmetal grey”. They just look grey to me, but I don’t tell her that. I just let her talk me up because that’s what mothers are supposed to do.
It’s rumored that I am of Irish and German descent, but there isn’t any proof. That’s the way it works around here. Your heritage is whatever the people before you say it is. It doesn’t matter if they are bat shit crazy.
Recently, I was an employee at Yesterday’s Memories. It’s an antique shop that also sells used books and coffee. My grandmother started it when I was a kid and it’s always been one of my favorite places. A few months ago, my grandmother made the trip to live in heaven and left the shop to me. I got an abrupt upgrade from employee to owner, and I’m still figuring things out. The work isn’t so hard; I’ve been doing it all my life. The customers are another story. My grandma was friends with everyone and always knew the perfect thing to say. She remembered their kid’s names, their health issues and what they wore to church last Sunday. Me? I’m lucky if I remember what I wore to church last Sunday.
I always assumed the shop would be left to my mom or at least to me and my three brothers evenly, but somewhere along the way everyone had decided it should go to me and that’s how grandma set it up. I was also the recipient of Grandma’s old Victorian house. The outside was a cheerful yellow with white trim, and the inside was full of wood and vintage wallpaper. Grandma was sort of a furniture pack rat. The house had been stuffed with it. It never bothered me when Grandma lived here but I needed more breathing room in my living space. I’ve stuffed a lot of it into the storage building in my backyard until I can decide if I want to sell it or not.
With the open space and fond memories, I love living here…most of the time. Today, I’m not so sure. The air conditioning was on the fritz…again. I was sitting in my kitchen trying not to melt while I waited on my little brother Trent to come fix it. I heard his truck pull up and a few seconds later he walked through the open back door. He is the handiest guy I know and even he hates my air conditioner. We’re pretty sure it’s harboring a vendetta for all the times we left the doors open and let all the cold air out as kids. Trent and I share the same hair color and mother but not much else. Technically, he is my half-brother but neither of us ever cared about that.
He looked frustrated as he said, “You’re going to owe me big for this. This is the second time this month.”
“What do you want? It isn’t my fault and you’re the only one who knows how to fix it. Last time I tried it took a week for you to fix the damage!,” I huffed in response.
A small grin tugged at his mouth. I didn’t have a great history with electric devices of any kind. My bad luck ran all the way from computers to household appliances and my brother could make a career out of ribbing me about it. I glared at him as he beamed a smile.
“I want cookies. Chocolate chip.”
I sighed. A while ago, I had started dragging favors out of my brothers by promising them baked goods. Now, it was expected. Dammit. I felt a bead of sweat roll down my back and decided it was worth it.
“Okay, I’ll make your damn cookies.”
He shot me another grin and headed out the door to get started.