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Harmony Grove Series

Carol J. Post

Copyright © 2014 and 2021, by Carol J. Post

All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, no part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without express written permission from the author. The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or any other means without the permission of the author is illegal and punishable by law. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

ISBN: 978-0-9863802-7-3 (ebook)

ISBN: 978-0-9863802-8-0 (print)

Original Cover Design & Interior Format: The Killion Group, Inc.


Note to Readers

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18



Other books by Carol J. Post

About the Author

Note to Readers

An earlier, shorter version of this book was published through Love Inspired Suspense in February 2014 under the title Motive for Murder.

Chapter One

The house stood silhouetted against a cloudless sky, the landscape frosty and still under the onslaught of one of Central Florida’s infrequent cold fronts.

Jessica Parker drew in a deep breath and threw open the car door, stopping short of dinging the red Lotus sitting next to her Bug. As she stepped into the crisp air, she pulled her coat more tightly around her. The night sky stretched above, devoid of the moon, stars nailed to the inky backdrop. The cold around her mirrored the chill within.

Eight long years, and nothing had changed. The same huge oak dominated the front yard. The same potted plant waited by the front door, hiding the key to the house. And as she made her way up the cracked cement drive, she was hit with the same lack of warmth she’d always associated with home.

She squatted to tilt the pot, then heaved a sigh. The key was gone. Priscilla was still messing with her, even from beyond the grave. She straightened and tried the door. Locked, just as she expected. No problem. It had been years since she’d picked a lock. But that wasn’t a skill easily forgotten—like riding a bike.

She walked back to her car. The sliding glass door would be her best bet. It had been her most frequent middle-of-the-night point of entry after her sister had locked her out. Priscilla’s favorite pastime had always been thinking of ways to get her in trouble. Of course, Jessica had given her plenty to work with. But those days were over. She was a law-abiding citizen now.

After retrieving what she needed from her tool kit, she circled to the back of the house. Good, no Charley bar. A sliding glass door without it would be no match for a screwdriver in practiced hands. She squatted and slipped the flat tip under one of the doors. A twig snapped a short distance away. Her senses shot to full alert, and she eased to her feet, gripping the tool like a weapon. But all was still. Eerily so.

Of course it was. This was Harmony Grove, not Miami. At two a.m., all its citizens would be home in bed, fast asleep. Shaking off the last of the uneasiness, she resumed her work on the locked door, then slid it back in its track. She hadn’t lost her touch.

Her confident smile faded the instant she stepped into the kitchen and flipped the light switch. Ceramic tile had replaced the old vinyl flooring, but every cabinet door was open. Dishes and utensils filled both sinks and covered the countertops in haphazard stacks. Pots and pans littered the floor, and the overflow occupied the four-person table. What had happened here? A party to end all parties?

No, these weren’t dirty dishes. There were no chip bags, soda cans or other trash, no dried-on food on the plates. Someone had pulled everything from the cabinets and left it lie.

Jessica slid the door shut. One more thing dumped in her lap. Irritation surged up inside, her sister its target. Whether Priscilla was personally responsible for the mess didn’t matter. She’d done what she’d done, knowing all along the fallout would land on Jessica.

She closed her eyes as guilt tried to nudge aside some of the annoyance. She’d tried to let go of her animosity toward her sister, now more than ever. But this was so typical of Priscilla, acting with total disregard for anyone who might be affected by her selfish decisions.

Jessica pushed a stack of pans away from the edge of the table to clear a spot for her purse, then hung her jacket over the back of a chair. When she reached the end of the counter, she stopped in the open doorway. The tile in the kitchen continued into the living room and down the hall. Decorative throw pillows littered the floor, and couch cushions rested at haphazard angles. DVDs lay strewn in front of the entertainment center, its shelves empty.

A second room ransacked. What was going on? Had Priscilla gotten involved in things Jessica knew nothing about? Over the course of eight years, anything was possible.

As she moved farther into the room, her skin prickled. She shook off the uneasiness and picked up a photo frame lying face down on the end table. Priscilla stared back at her. An unexpected jolt coursed all the way to her toes.

She drew in a steadying breath. She’d buried the past, had boxed up her childhood memories so securely they’d never be able to find any path into the present. Or so she’d thought, until one phone call had tipped her entire world sideways.

Now she was back in Harmony Grove, standing in the home where she’d grown up,

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