I emerged from the cool, dim interior of the distillery and cast an eye toward the sky. A storm was brewing. Seems I could’ve chosen a better day to abandon my role as silent partner at Abbey Glen to lend a hand with the spring-cleaning. I was filthy and overdue for a drink and a shower, but before I could manage either a taxi pulled into the cobblestone courtyard. The rear door opened and I caught sight of a ridiculously high heel emerging from the car followed by a pair of dark green tights and a microscopic tartan mini skirt.
Samantha Thorpe-Jones. For a moment I couldn’t comprehend seeing her here. Why was she here? We’d worked at the same London paper for years but I photographed wars; she penned the society pages. I barely considered us colleagues let alone friends.
“Abigail,” she trilled freezing half way to an air kiss as she caught sight of my bedraggled appearance.
“What have you done to yourself?”
I ignored her. “Why’re you here?” I countered.
“The very question I keep asking myself,” she glanced around the courtyard and shuddered. “How can you stand being stuck up here in the wilds of Scotland? You’re a London girl, a sophisticate, not a,” she groped for the mot juste, “not a farm hand.”
“Was there something particular you wanted with me, Samantha, or did you just stop by to toss around a few insults?”
“I’m here to interview you, silly goose. Gazette’s star photographer has mid-life crisis,” her hands framed the headline in mid-air. Then a crease appeared between her carefully groomed brows. “Surely they told you I was coming?”
“’Course not. They knew I’d refuse.”
Samantha’s frown deepened. “You can’t. I’m already here.”
I turned and stated walking. “You’d better come up to the house while we sort this out.”
“Is it far?” she demanded.
“Just up the road,” about a mile I finished under my breath. I stifled a grin as she wobbled awkwardly along the dirt road in my wake. As we approached the house I saw a familiar figure nibbling at the clover in my front garden.
I heard a sharp intake of breath behind me. “It’s escaped from somewhere,” Samantha hissed. “Is it dangerous?”
“Oscar? No, he’s just waiting for me.”
“It’s a sheep? Chops on the hoof.”
“No, yarn on the hoof,” I corrected.
Oscar approached our guest enthusiastically. He was blessed with a protective nature and had been known to run off unwanted intruders when needed. He must’ve decided Samantha was all right as she was with me.
But Samantha wasn’t all right. She shrieked as soon as Oscar came within a foot of her and quickly retreated behind my mini Cooper. I was tempted to pull out my phone and take a little video of her being pursued in dizzying circles around the car by Oscar. He was having a grand time.
I let them play for a few minutes and then, not knowing what else to do I said, “Oscar, heel.” He took three more turns around the car before trotting over to me looking for a treat. I gave him a small piece of licorice and grabbed him by the wooly nape, leading him back through the nearby pasture gate and closing it firmly behind him.
“Your safe from the ravaging beast,” I called opening the front door.
Samantha scurried in behind me looking unnerved. I took pity on her and poured us each a large whisky before pointing her to a chair.
“This yours?” she managed after downing the offering in one go.
“We think so.”
“And this your life now? Mucking out distilleries and herding sheep?”
“Not entirely. I work with a charity foundation, I sit on the board of a woman’s shelter in Glasgow and I still take assignments from the paper when they appeal to me.”
“But you don’t miss the excitement of city life?”
“Honestly, no. This life suits me. Things here move to the rhythm of seasons not deadlines. It sane and peaceful.”
Samantha gave me a sideways glance. “Not always so peaceful from what I hear.”
“If you’re here to dig for dirt on the murders, forget it.”
The gleam in her eye told me I was right, but her reply was cut off by a knock at the door. I slipped away to answer the summons, thankful for a moment to gather my thoughts. I opened the door and found the other half of the distillery’s ownership standing on the stoop. All six foot two of him, his green eyes taking in the smudges of dirt on my face with an amused twinkle.
I’d hoped to keep him away from Samantha, but it was too late. She’d followed me into the hall.
I sighed and gave in. “Samantha, this is Grant MacEwen, my partner at Abbey Glen.”
“Is he now,” she purred looping an arm through his and drawing him toward the sitting room. She turned and smirked back over her shoulder at me. “Suddenly, I see the attraction.”
You can read more about Abigail in Death Distilled, the second book in the “Whisky Busines” mystery series.
Photojournalist by trade, distillery owner by blood, and amateur sleuth by necessity, Abigail Logan learns that murder can’t stay bottled up forever in this charming Whisky Business Mystery.
It’s been three months since Abi Logan last checked in on Abbey Glen, the celebrated whisky distillery she inherited. With her oversize wheaten terrier, Liam, by her side, Abi returns to the quaint Scottish village of Balfour. But her relaxing Highland homecoming takes a stressful turn when she unearths an unseemly bit of village history, welcomes a group of Japanese whisky enthusiasts, and becomes shepherdess to an unexpected flock of sheep—all within the first twenty-four hours. Still, nothing’s more stressful than murder. . . .
Local celebrity Rory Hendricks is the hotheaded, hard-rocking former frontman of the Rebels—and Abi’s girlhood crush. After meeting him in person, Abi can’t say no to anything he asks, like photographing his upcoming show . . . or figuring out who’s trying to kill him. Turns out someone’s been bumping off his old bandmates, with the drummer dead under mysterious circumstances and the keyboardist in a coma following a hit-and-run. Now a series of threatening messages leads Rory to think he’s next on the chopping block. And the band has a devil’s share of broken hearts and bitter disputes in their past, leaving Abi a huge batch of suspects to sift through—all before the killer takes another shot.
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About the author
Melinda Mullet, was born in the US to two British parents. She grew up between Texas and the UK, eventually studying English Lit at an American university before deciding to embark on a career in international law.
After many years in the legal trenches she is happy to be known as a former lawyer, a travel junkie, and a life-long advocate for children’s literacy causes both domestic and international.
Melinda lives just outside of Washington, DC with her whisky-collecting husband, two extraordinary young women she is proud to call her daughters, and an obedience school drop out named Macallen. Connect with Melinda at melindamullet.com.
All comments are welcomed.