Summer and Cade have gotten their relationship off the ground, but there’s one major block: his possessive boss, Una Graves. Not only does she own the orchard he tends, but insists he live with her rent-free (in a separate room, of course) and devote his off hours to her. In their short time dating, Cade has canceled numerous times to keep Una happy.
Force of nature that she is, Summer insists on an introduction and is walking with Cade toward the house one evening when Una appears out of nowhere, demanding to know what a stranger is doing on her property and threatening to have Summer arrested. Cade talks her out of calling the sheriff (who’s also his dad, Jake), but Una’s displeasure remains hot. And when Cade finally defies Una and takes Summer to Classic Movie Night, he returns home to find Una dead, asphyxiated by a gas leak from the kitchen stove and an empty bottle of wine nearby.
Summer’s “quasi-boyfriend” is the immediate suspect, and matters grow more serious when lawyer Ambrose James reveals Una very recently changed her longstanding will, which left the orchard and her money to Cade, to dispensing her fortune equally between her dramatic cousin, Paris, and sexpot niece Jamie, who has clear designs on Cade.
Knowing Cade didn’t kill Una, Summer and Tina devote themselves to finding the real murderer, struggling to determine the intentions of other interested parties. Summer also attempts to teach a sales class to a few Wonder Springs shopkeepers, which bellyflops when they’re appalled by Philadelphia prices.
Matters are ominous for Cade, but when deaths continue while he’s behind bars, Jake initiates a more extensive investigation. What they find is both surprising and blood-curdling, which creates an entirely new grab bag of trouble for the shifter sheriff and the girl with the zap.
B.T. Alive’s second Summer Sassafras mystery is full of humor, mystery, anger, astonishment, and breakthroughs. Even the menacing appearance of Uncle Enoch, who was last seen burning down Summer’s apartment building in Philadelphia, can’t dispel the joy of new romance … old romance … and the security of love, family, and the little town of Wonder Springs, Virginia.