Authors: Dianne Harman
Murder at Jade Cove
(A Cedar Bay Cozy Mystery
Series - Book 2)
Copyright © 2014 Dianne
All rights reserved,
including the right to reproduce this book, or portions thereof, in any form
without written permission except for the use of brief quotations embodied in
critical articles and reviews.
This is a work of fiction.
Names, characters, places, and incidents either are 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
Website, Interior & Cover design
Vivek Rajan Vivek
Paperback ISBN: 978-1505333701
To all of my readers who
made this series so popular, I thank you for buying my books, reading my books,
and sharing them with others. To Vivek for his constant support and wise
guidance, I thank you. And to my husband, Tom, for his unwavering support.
You’ve made all of this possible! Plus you’ve gotten to be a good cook in the
Table of Contents
“Mike, I’ve got to deliver this cake
to Jeff Black,” Kelly said, opening the refrigerator and taking out her special
“Well, I hope you made
another one for me. You know it’s my favorite and I don’t think anyone can
resist a cake that rich. I just hope you put a lot of that killer icing on it.”
“Sorry, sweetheart, I only
had time to make one. Jeff Black is very particular when it comes to food and
he told me that’s the only chocolate cake he’ll eat. Everyone knows he doesn’t
give out many compliments, since he’s not the nicest person in the world to
deal with, so it really means something coming from him. You know, tomorrow’s
the big day for him. Seems hard to believe he’s going to have the ranch house
demolished and begin building a hotel and spa on his property. He told me Marcy
was going to Portland to spend some time with her sister while he stays here to
oversee the construction.”
“Yeah, I know. That
project’s really controversial and has nearly torn the town apart,” Mike
replied. “For the last few months it’s almost been armed warfare in our sleepy
little town. I didn’t know when I took the job of county sheriff I’d be trying
to keep peace in a town because some Las Vegas style hotel and spa was going to
be built just a few miles outside of town. Some people are really for it and
others hate it. Even though I’m not in favor of it, I’m glad a decision was
finally made by the County Supervisors, although a lot of people aren’t happy
with the results. I have to give Jeff credit for sticking with his dream of
building a hotel and spa right there on the cliff overlooking Jade Cove and
going through all the hoops to get it approved. It’s going to really change
this area. I sure hope it’s for the better, but I still have misgivings.”
“Well, I’m as happy as you
are it’s over. With Amber’s murder a few months ago and now this, Cedar Bay has
had more than enough to deal with. Anyway, Rebel and I will be back in an hour
or so. Jeff asked me to deliver it tonight so he could have it for the
construction workers tomorrow. He wants to get off on the right foot with them
and figures a piece of chocolate cake will be a good way to start.”
“Smart move on his part.
I’m glad you’re taking Rebel with you and make sure you have your cell phone
turned on. Jeff’s house is a little remote and I worry about you being alone
out there. Kelly, don’t raise your eyebrows at me when I’m looking after your
safety. Please indulge me. Even though his property is fenced and pretty
secure, I’ll feel better knowing that dog is with you for protection.”
“Mike, you know Rebel
doesn’t let me go anywhere without him. See, he’s already standing by the
door.” She looked over at the big boxer waiting patiently for her to open the
door and take him with her. She’d gotten the beautiful dog several years
earlier from the family of a drug agent who was killed while he was on duty.
They decided to move and she’d never regretted buying the dog from them. Rebel
had been trained to attack and detect drugs. He was a natural born guard dog
and from the moment Kelly had taken him home with her, his main goal in life
was to make sure Kelly was safe. He always kept her in sight except for the
rare occasions when she couldn’t take him with her.
Mike was a big man and he
filled the doorway while he waved goodbye to them. An easy grin, a receding
hairline, and about ten extra pounds made him seem like everybody’s friend,
however, there was no denying the mantle of power the man easily wore. Everyone
agreed he was a man you didn’t want to cross, but just the kind of person you
wanted as your county sheriff.
She doesn’t understand why
I worry about her,
Mike thought as he walked over to the large chair he loved to
sit in and watch the sun begin to set over the bay.
But what man wouldn’t?
She’s beautiful, has an incredibly voluptuous figure, her complexion’s like
fine porcelain, and that thick, lustrous black hair she always wears in a
ponytail or swept up in her signature tortoiseshell clip – yeah, it’s nice to
be engaged to a woman like her. Every time I see her I feel like I’ve won the
I don’t think this location could be
any more beautiful
, Kelly thought fifteen minutes later, as she drove up the
long driveway to Jeff Black’s ranch house.
Even though I’m not in favor of
the hotel and spa, I can sure see why Jeff and some of the others thought this
would be a perfect location.
Towering cedar trees framed the circular
driveway that led to the large ranch house perched on the cliff overlooking
Jade Cove and the ocean beyond
The cove was horseshoe shaped, about two
hundred yards wide and no more than a quarter of a mile in length. Jeff owned
the land on the south side of the horseshoe along with the land in the center
which was where the ranch house was located. The Bureau of Land Management
owned the property on the north side of the horseshoe.
The view from the Black’s
ranch house was spectacular. Waves crashed against the cliffs and created tide
pools that teemed with all kinds of sea life. An occasional ship could be seen
in the distance beyond the mouth of the cove, silhouetted against the
blue-green ocean. In the winter, seals clung to the rocks while eagles soared
above. Mother Nature provided a non-stop show from dawn to dusk at Jade Cove.
Wonder how many people
have found a piece of jade on this beach? I used to bring Julia and Cash out
here when they were young and they loved it. Not sure there’s anything more
exciting than finding a piece of jade that’s washed up on the shore. The people
who come to the spa and hotel will love it.
She heard the roar of the
waves and smelled the crisp salt air when she opened the door of her minivan.
“Let’s go, Rebel,” she said as she let him out of the van and walked up to the
front door of the ranch house which overlooked the cove. She put the cake down
on the porch and rapped the door knocker three times. Lights were on in the
house, but no one answered the door.
“Jeff’s probably out in
the old mining shack he converted into his office. He told me once he spends a
lot of time out there. Follow me, boy. It’s not far.”
Kelly picked up the cake
and started walking towards the small ramshackle building located near the edge
of the cliff. She could just make out the silhouette of the old building in the
I was right.
Jeff must be there. I can see some
light coming from it.
She followed the narrow rocky path that led to the
shack and when she got there she put the cake down and knocked on the door of
the old weathered shack. She waited and when there was no response, she knocked
Jeff’s one of those people who concentrates so completely on whatever
he’s doing sometimes he doesn’t notice anything else. He probably doesn’t even
hear me knocking
. She turned the doorknob, opened the door a few inches,
and called out, “Hello, Jeff. Are you here? It’s Kelly and I’ve brought you
that special chocolate cake you wanted.” There was no response. She walked into
the shack and looked around. Papers were scattered all over his desk, but there
was no sign of Jeff.
Rebel began growling,
moved away from her, and started to walk out the door. She looked down at him.
The guard hairs along his spine were raised, creating a wide swath of black.
“What’s wrong, boy?” she asked, reaching down and patting him. He growled again
and pushed against her legs, indicating she should follow him. He went around
to the far side of the shack and she walked behind him. He stopped suddenly and
backed up against her legs, all the time growling in a deep guttural tone. She
looked in the direction he was facing and saw a body lying on the ground. It
was Jeff. The dirt around him was covered with a bright red pool of blood.
Kelly stared at his body in disbelief.
I can’t believe what I’m seeing. He’s
dead, and it looks like he was murdered. I can see a large bullet hole in his
chest that’s soaked in blood. I’ve got to call Mike.
He followed her as she ran
back to the minivan. When she got to it, she opened the door, reached into her
purse with a shaking hand and pressed Mike’s number on her cell phone. A few
seconds later, he answered.
“Hey, sweetheart, expected
to see you, not hear from you,” he said. In a tearful voice, she told him what
she’d discovered. “You and Rebel stay in the van. I’ll be there in a few
minutes. Kelly, do not get out of the van and make sure your doors are locked.
The killer could still be in the area.” He ended the call.
She pressed the door lock
button and put her arm around Rebel. He sensed something was wrong and pushed
against her. She wasn’t the only one shaking.
Fifteen minutes later she
heard the sound of sirens. Kelly lowered her tense shoulders and let out a deep
sigh of relief when she saw the flashing blue and red lights on Mike’s car
coming up the driveway.
opened the door of the minivan as soon as Mike pulled up next to her and ran
into his arms. Seconds later Mike’s deputy sheriff pulled his patrol car up
next to Mike’s. “Oh Mike, it was awful. Rebel found him. Jeff’s dead. He’s on
the far side of his office, the old shack out by the cliff. You can see the
lights coming from it when you walk down the path.”
Rebel, you stay here and get back in the van. We still don’t know if the killer
is around. I’ve called the county coroner and some other crime scene
investigators and they’ll be here in a few minutes. Now, do as I say and get
back in the van. Turning to his deputy he said, “Rich, let’s go.” The two of
them walked along the path that led to the shack located at the far end of the
Jeff’s beachfront property, guns drawn.
remembered Jeff telling her that the old shack had been used by the jade miners
who had taken jade out of the side of the cliffs for many years until it no
longer became profitable. The shack had been there before Jeff had been born.
When he’d inherited the property from his parents, he’d converted it into an
office. His wife, Marcy, didn’t want to give up one of the rooms in the ranch
house in order to provide an office for him.
few minutes later the county coroner arrived with two of his assistants and
they rolled a gurney out of their van. Kelly opened her window and pointed to
the shack in the distance. “Jeff’s body is next to that building. Mike and Rich
are out there now. He told us to stay in my van.”
think that’s good advice. Have you seen anything that makes you think the
killer is still around?” the coroner asked, his hangdog jowls wobbling as he
spoke. Everyone knew how much he liked to eat and Kelly imagined he was
probably enjoying his dinner when he got the call from Mike.
It’s been quiet from the moment we got here. Since Rebel isn’t growling or
barking, I imagine that whoever did it is long gone.”
so, but I agree with Mike. I think you should stay where you are.”
more sheriff patrol cars arrived. The occupants took cameras and evidence kits
out of their cars, preparing to gather DNA evidence, fingerprints, and anything
else that might help determine who killed Jeff Black.
it’s not as if no one wanted him dead. He had enemies. There were a lot of
people who didn’t want to see this land turned into a commercial hotel and spa.
Finding suspects won’t be hard to do, but finding out who killed him will be.
No one would ever nominate Jeff for the “Most Popular Citizen Award.” This is
going to be a nightmare for Mike. I wonder how I can help him.
As if he could read her
mind, Rebel barked, indicating he wanted to help Mike too.
as she was considering what she could do to help Mike, he rapped on her window.
“Kelly, you can get out of the van now. I think whoever did it is long gone,
plus I need to get a statement from you. Tell me everything you saw and did
from the moment you left our house to the moment I got here.” He turned to
Rich, “Come on over here. I’d like you to hear what Kelly has to say, and then
I need to ask her a few more questions.”
Kelly finished, Mike said, “Kelly, did you notice anything about the Black’s
property, the ranch house, or the shack that seemed unusual to you?”
As I told you, I rapped the knocker on the ranch house door and no one
answered. The lights were on, but when no one answered, I assumed Jeff had left
them on while he was out at the shack.”
you touch anything?”
touched the knocker on the ranch house door and the doorknob at the shack. I
think those are the only things I touched.”