USA Today Bestselling Author
Shunned by her friends,
betrayed by her lover,
charged with murder.
After being acquitted of murder, botanist Fern Geller tells herself she’s turning her back on the past. She intends to learn everything she can about poisonous plants by completing a six-month contract at the Garden of Death. Only then does she find the answer she seeks. But, when she returns to the conservatory where the first murder took place, she discovers the new boss is missing and several others are dead. Fern is once again the chief suspect.
FBI agent London Behring should know best that appearances can be deceptive…and deadly. Fern is as beautiful as an angel, and just as gentle. He can hardly believe someone would accuse her of murder. The first set of murder charges against her had been dismissed. The question is, why would she come back to the scene of the crime – at the very moment she would fall under suspicion a second time? Does she possess the seeds of malice that would be required to walk away after committing so many crimes?
The one thing London knows he needs to do is keep his guard up at all times while he finds out the truth. Fern’s charm could prove to be the very lure that’s impossible for him to resist.
Fern Geller is a PhD botanist who’s been working in England at the Garden of Death. Her specialty is poisonous plants and before leaving the US had been working to find antidotes for them. Her interest in those plants earned her the nickname Dr. Death. Now she’s returned and looking for the director of the Conservatory Reginald Drover. She informed him she needed to talk to him when she landed but hadn’t yet heard back.
As she starts her search for the elusive man she runs into a tour group and speaks with her friend Brittany who’s leading the tour.
She learns there have been a couple of deaths at here that have caused issues for funding. What she doesn’t expect is to run into a couple of FBI agents in the coffee room near Reggie’s office. One of them informs her Reggie is missing and not just for an hour or two. When she sees the other, London, she wasn’t thrilled either. In those agonizing days of her trial he hadn’t helped, he believed what his brother Derek was saying and in spite of the fact they loved each other, he stayed away.
Fern’s next interaction with London was in the backyard of Reggie’s home as she backed away from the porch, she smelled the poison and wasn’t going any closer.
This is a favorite scene.
She left the parking lot and drove to Reggie’s home. She still wasn’t sure he lived in the same place. She’d kept in contact with him for the last six months, and he hadn’t said anything about moving, but that didn’t mean anything. Reginald was just as forgetful as he was good at avoiding people. She pulled into his driveway, happy to see it looked the same as it had late last night. She got out and checked the side garage door. She recognized Reggie’s vehicle inside. That was a good sign, right? Although, last night she hadn’t exited her vehicle to check Reggie’s garage. The car may have been there even then. She walked up to the front door and knocked.
No answer. She pressed the doorbell and waited. And waited. Nothing. She was afraid to open the front door. She looked in through the windows but couldn’t see anything. Not quite knowing what else to do, she walked around to the back door where the kitchen veranda was. As she neared the porch, she froze.
She saw no sign of anyone. It was quiet. However, there was a smell, not of death or decay— although both were here.
But of poison.
She slowly backtracked and came up against a hard body. She screamed and bolted. Only to get snagged and held firm. She twisted in hard arms to glare at London. Of course it was him. “What the hell are you doing scaring me like that?”
He raised an eyebrow and stared at her. “What the hell are you doing here?”
“I told you at the conservatory, I’m looking for Reggie. You say he’s missing. Well, I’m worried. Did you get a warrant to go in?”
He just stared at her, as uncompromising and unhelpful as always. “Why were you backing up?”
“Because I didn’t like the smell,” she snapped. She didn’t know if he understood. Probably not. In London’s case, it was way too confusing to know what he thought.
He raised his head and sniffed the air. Shrugged. “I don’t smell anything.”
“Of course you don’t.” She shook her head, freed herself of his hands that he still hadn’t dropped and turned to walk around the house to her car.
“Where are you going now?”
“What about this smell you were talking about?” he asked in a mocking voice.
She shrugged. “The only thing I can do is tell law enforcement. Since I’ve told you, I’ve taken care of my civic duty.”
She picked up speed. She didn’t know if he would continue to follow her or not, but she wasn’t hanging around. She had no idea if Reginald lay inside the house, but now that more suspicious circumstances had been encountered, she hoped London would do the right thing.
Dale Mayer. Seeds of Malice (Kindle Locations 184-205). Valley Publishing.
We met FBI agent Grant Summer in ‘Hide’n Go Seek’, in this book Stefan has asked him to talk to Fern. She has an extreme dislike for the FBI and police for the way she was treated. She has an odd sense of déjà vu as bodies start turning up. To add even more angst neither Reggie or Derek can be located.
Thankfully the times of death put her with solid alibis but the use of poison and the connections of the deceased to the conservatory have Fern with London’s help re-examining her past.
I love the way Stefan has helped Fern in the past and the way Grant steps in to help as well.
Twists and turns, suspense and intrigue and a rekindled romance that simmers then sizzles.
Just two more books and I’m caught up! I started this series on book 14.
5 Contented Purrs for Dale!
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Dale Mayer is a USA Today bestselling author best known for her Psychic Visions and Family Blood Ties series. Her contemporary romances are raw and full of passion and emotion (Second Chances, SKIN), her thrillers will keep you guessing (By Death series), and her romantic comedies will keep you giggling (It’s a Dog’s Life and Charmin Marvin Romantic Comedy series).
She honors the stories that come to her – and some of them are crazy and break all the rules and cross multiple genres!
To go with her fiction, she also writes nonfiction in many different fields with books available on resume writing, companion gardening and the US mortgage system. She has recently published her Career Essentials Series. All her books are available in print and ebook format.