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Rival Secrets - A Whispering Pines Mystery, Book 5 (PAPERBACK)

Rival Secrets - A Whispering Pines Mystery, Book 5 (PAPERBACK)

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A sense of community. Quaint surroundings. Deadly rivalries. Welcome to Whispering Pines.

As the weather turns crisp, Jayne O'Shea and the other villagers prepare for the last big tourist draw of the season: the autumn equinox festival. It's a time to enjoy a bounty of food, the company of others, and the ever-popular cooking competition. Events in the baking division, however, turn from friendly to fatal when one of the contestants, a beloved nationally known chef, is found dead in the woods.

As all eyes turn to one of the villagers as the killer, Jayne knows that what's seen on the surface isn't always the truth, especially in Whispering Pines, and digs deep to clear the name of one of their own.


RIVAL SECRETS is the fifth book in the Whispering Pines mystery series about a woman determined to return her grandmother's village to the idyllic haven it used to be ... before all the secrets started rising to the surface.

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Chapter 1
THE WOMAN’S BODY LAY FACE down on the Fairy Path, halfway between The Twisty Skein and Ivy’s Boutique.
“You found her?” I asked Violet.
“No.” Violet shook her head, staring at the woman with a deep frown. “Ruby stopped by the Bean Grinder to get a chai on her way to open the Skein.”
“Open?” I asked. “That would’ve been before seven in the morning. Isn’t that kind of early to open a craft store?”
Violet turned her attention from the deceased woman to me, one serious eyebrow arched. “You’re very literal this morning, Sheriff Jayne. Ruby said she was on her way to work. I assume she planned to open at nine like always. By ‘open,’ I meant she would perform her opening procedures. I don’t know her schedule. Maybe she does paperwork at seven in the morning.”
I nodded, duly scolded. In the case of a death, especially one in Whispering Pines, anything out of the ordinary, no matter how minor, set off my instincts.
“I can’t believe she’s dead.” Violet stared again at the body. “It’s Gin, isn’t it?”
Long, coppery-red hair covered the victim’s face, but there was no doubt in my mind of her identity. That hair made Ginger “Gin” Wakefield instantly recognizable.
Wakefield, head baker and owner of Wakefield’s Treats and Sweets and former Whispering Pines villager, had come to the village to celebrate Mabon Fest. The villagers who had known her twenty years earlier were thrilled that she and her staff of celebrity bakers were coming for a visit. However, not everyone had been happy about her return. Sugar, the owner of the village sweet shop, had been childhood rivals with Wakefield. For Sugar, the woman’s return was bad enough. When Wakefield entered the festival baking competition, the competition Sugar was determined to win this year, unhappy didn’t begin to describe Sugar’s reaction.
“I think we’re safe to assume it’s Gin,” I told Violet. Other than to check for a pulse, I couldn’t touch the body until the medical examiner got here, so assuming her identity was all we could do.
“It’s going to be busy this weekend,” Violet mused, gaze once again locked on the body. “Just like every year, we start relaxing after Labor Day and bam, Mabon Fest. Then we relax again and bam, Samhain.”
“You were saying that Ruby found the body?” I asked, getting her back on topic.
“Right, sorry. Yes, Ruby knows we have a walkie-talkie at the Grinder, so she ran back over and asked me to contact you.”
Because cell phone coverage was non-existent in the village, I had distributed walkie-talkie units to various businesses. That way my deputy and I could always be reached should an emergency happen. And they happened on a regular basis around here. Strange for a place so small.

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