Wendy Meadows Cozy Mystery Brewing Trouble (EBOOK)
Cherry's Cozy Capers Book 1

Brewing Trouble (EBOOK)

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His death was no accident… and now she’s next in line to die.

When local brewer Bernie Brewster is found dead in his own vat of award-winning craft bitter, all eyes are on his mysterious new bride – and the sole beneficiary of his will – Cherry Picker. Accused of being a murderous gold-digger and hounded by Bernie’s family, Cherry quickly finds herself tangled up in a struggle to prove her innocence. But with a killer still lurking, she knows that if she doesn’t act fast, she’ll become the next victim.

Cherry is guarding a secretive past… and the only way she can clear her name is to unmask the killer herself. Faced with unravelling a complex family with jealous rivalries and dark secrets, she discovers that Bernie’s killer may be closer to home than she thought.

Everybody in Bernie’s family has a reason to want him dead – and to solve this mystery, Cherry will need more than a few tricks up her sleeve…

Can Cherry prove her innocence and save Bernie’s prize brewery from the clutches of a murderer? Or will the killer catch up to her before she can find the truth?

Chapter One

The Ashton woodland was unforgiving if you didn’t respect the black bears it hosted, and Cherry Brewster was currently staring at one. 

Although he was just an eighty-pound furry cub with marble-like eyes and rounded ears, a chill swept over her. He was alone, sniffing the air, but that meant his mother wasn’t far away. Cherry feared if she made any threatening move, the snarling mother would bust through the thick bushes surrounding the cabin and tear her to shreds.

Daylight was disappearing fast, and she’d come out of the log cabin to load firewood into the fire pit to enjoy her last bonfire with her new husband, Bernie Brewster. It was the final night of their two-week remote getaway, and it had been a glorious honeymoon.

However, all romance-laced notions now evaporated. Blood rushed from her racing heart, and her breaths were short. She scanned the vicinity for signs of the mother and means of escape. 

“Come on over. I’ve got your back,” Bernie said as he stepped out of the cabin, a hunting rifle in one hand. In his fifties, he was a hulk of a man with a slightly protruding belly. The beard he’d trimmed for the wedding had regrown fast, and without his checked cotton shirt, jeans, and boots, he’d pass for a caveman. 

Cherry gulped. “Should I move?”

“Yeah, I’ve got you covered,” he replied. 

“Don’t you want to shoot in the air or something?” she asked as she took her first step.

“He’s a cub. He won’t attack you,” he said.

“He’s not the one I’m worried about,” she replied.

“I know,” he said.

Cherry put one foot in front of the other and made her way slowly to the front porch. The bear watched her, panting and twitching its ears. 

When she got to the porch, Bernie opened the screen door, and they backtracked into the cabin. Once inside, he lowered the rifle, but they kept watching the cub. 

“His mother isn’t far away,” he muttered. “But isn’t that cub beautiful?”

Cherry’s fight-or-flight response was easing, so she could now appreciate the cub’s salient features. Its black fur shimmered in the fading light, and its small frame seemed vulnerable against its surroundings. 

“It sure is,” Cherry said. “Funny how we’ve been here for two weeks, and it’s on our last night we have a bear encounter.”

“Nature saves the best for last. All you have to do is wait on her,” Bernie said. His left hand reached for her right and held it as they watched darkness swallow the landscape.

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