I can’t describe all the feelings that came over me that first day back at the old farm and pumpkin patch my grandparents had worked for so many years. Certainly nostalgia, guilt, and grief.
They’d been missing since I was twelve. My mother and I had come to see them one day and they were gone. There was still coffee and cornbread on the stove. It was like they were about to sit down for breakfast – and disappeared.
We looked everywhere for them. My mother alerted the police with no results. She hired private investigators who could never find anything more than the police. I guess we finally gave up. The farm sat idle and empty all those years, slowly falling apart.
Except the pumpkin patch that re-seeded itself and kept producing big, orange pumpkins that were either eaten by wild animals or stolen by teenagers.
I felt nostalgia for the little girl I’d once been spending time there as often as I could when I was growing up. I’d loved my grandparents and felt as though they’d been ripped out of my life that day.
Guilt had haunted me for years. Even though I couldn’t do much with the land or trying to find them when I was a child, I’d grown up finally and still hadn’t tried to look for them again. Coming to Mystic River, Virginia to pay the taxes on the property and sell the old place made it all come flooding back to me. What was I doing?
Grief for my grandparent’s loss made me decide that I had to find them – no matter what it took. There had to be avenues that hadn’t been explored. No one just disappears.
But what really made me decide to stay was the excitement I felt when I pulled into their driveway and saw the old place again. I couldn’t wait to walk the land and smell the richness of the living earth. I looked at the old pumpkin patch and something tugged at my heart.
Stay, it said. Stay and build something here as your grandparents and great-grandparents did.
Now if I can just figure out how to manage Jack. He’s taken care of the land for the last sixteen years, keeping things together for my grandparents. He swears my grandfather asked him to take care of things before he disappeared. But I’m not sure I can trust him and he has this uncanny knack for sneaking up on me.
At least Jack seemed to be my biggest problem, but looking back at it, I realize that he was only the beginning.
You can read more about Sarah in Give ‘em Pumpkin to Talk About, the first book in the NEW “Pumpkin Patch” mystery series, published by J. Lavene.
GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on August 27 for the chance to win a print copy of Give ‘Em Pumpkin to Talk About. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected.
About the author
Joyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, bestselling mystery and urban fantasy fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. Their first mystery novel, Last Dance, won the Master’s Choice Award for best first mystery novel in 1999. Their romance, Flowers in the Night, was nominated for the Frankfurt Book Award in 2000. They have written and published more than 70 novels that are sold worldwide for Harlequin, Penguin, Amazon, and Simon and Schuster. They have also published hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in Midland, North Carolina with their family and their rescue pets—Rudi, Stan Lee, and Quincy.