Today, we get a sneak peek at Book 1 of Mainely Mysteries. Remember to leave a comment for a chance to win. We’ll announce a winner next Monday.
Emily looked around with shining eyes.
“I’ve only been on this end of the island a few times, back when I was a kid and one of my parents had a reason to go and see Mr. Derbin.”
“It’s a lot different from the other end of the island,” Nate said. Mr. Derbin had a pebble beach, but most of his shoreline was rocky and untamed. His cottage was set back from the water, on high ground that sprouted thick brush. Behind the little log house rose a craggy slope covered with evergreens. The old man had kept the buffer between his property and the other cottages. It was almost as though he still had the entire island to himself.
She turned and looked back down the path, toward their boat and the rippling surface of Blue Heron. “What a view. I didn’t realize how much I missed the lake.”
“Doesn’t your mother live near the ocean now?”
“Not really. I mean, you can’t see the water from her house or anything.” She wrinkled her nose. “You can smell the mud flats at low tide. But here. . .well, at the house in Baxter we had a great view of the lake, and the cottage is right on the rocks, you know?”
Nate nodded, smiling at her childlike pleasure. “Did you drive by your old house?”
She shook her head. “Not yet. The marina was my first stop in town.”
They reached the doorstep, and he nodded for Emily to knock while he held the box.
“Your folks got one of the best lots,” he said. “I always liked that cottage.”
“Yeah, it’s great. Just a little beach, but it’s on the end of the row, so we never felt crowded.” She looked anxiously toward the porch door. “Should I knock again?” Without waiting for his reply, she raised her fist and rapped again.
Nate frowned. “Usually he’s on the dock when I come, or else he comes to the door right away. Oh, well. Maybe he went out for a walk.” He shifted the box so that it rested against the door jamb and tried the knob. “Nobody ever locks anything out here.” He stepped inside and set the box down on the verandah. “I’ll just leave it here for him.”
“Maybe we should put his milk in the refrigerator.” Emily stepped past him and peered inside the cottage. “Mr. Derbin?” she called. “Hello! Mr. Derbin?”
She gasped and stepped back, slamming into Nate. He caught her arms and pinned her against his chest for an instant while she regained her balance.
“What is it, Em?”
He stared past her into the next room. Henry Derbin lay on the floor, one hand stretched out toward them, a pool of blood spreading from his battered head across the linoleum.