Today Amy Spector is visiting, the first of my fellow Naked Gardener writers. It’s Amy’s first visit to my blog, so please help me make her feel extra welcome! ❤️
Hello everyone! First, I’d like to thank Nell for letting me drop by and share a little about myself, and my new release for our World Naked Gardening Day project!
I always enjoy writing as part of a group, though up until now, other than taking part in a few anthologies, my group project experience mostly consists of working one-on-one with Ofelia Gränd (aka Holly Day) on a series of supernatural/paranormal/horror collections. And I’ve noticed, the larger the group, the more decisions there are that need to be made. But I’m easy going, something I credit to being a middle child. The quiet one. The peacekeeper. Embarrassed by attention, and still—even as an adult—regularly horrified by scenes my family make.
Which brings us to The Death of Digby Catch. A story about murder, struggling with forgiveness, instant attraction, and ill-behaved family that makes you—if not want to crawl under a rock—want to move far away.
I personally still live close to my family, but I do try and limit being out in public with some of them. LOL
In the Death of Digby Catch, Theo Webb has a complicated relationship with his mother. And when he returns for the funeral of the family’s estate groundskeeper, Digby Catch, the strain is still very much alive. And it doesn’t help that she has an eye for younger men.
At least, not when he might just have his eye on the same man.
You can read the blurb and an excerpt from the story below.
It had been more than eighteen years since August Catch’s uncle Digby had disappeared to the Cape to mourn the death of his sister. So, when August arrives at Arachne’s Loom to collect his late uncle’s things, he wasn’t expecting to find stories of a man larger than life. Or the very real possibility that Digby’s death may not have been from natural causes.
Theo Webb has had few people in his life that he loved, and fewer still he could trust. But the estate groundskeeper, Digby Catch, had been one of them. Returning home for his funeral, he’s thrown together with Digby’s nephew, and the attraction is instant. But so is Theo’s certainty that things surrounding Digby’s death don’t add up and that at least one person isn’t telling the truth.
Discovering a killer is difficult when someone is desperate to keep more than just their identity a secret. And when all the clues point in one direction, even Theo isn’t sure what to think. The two of them must work together if they’re going to solve a murder, and not let the thing growing between them be a distraction.
But then, maybe a distraction is exactly what they need.
“You look nice this morning.”
She made a noncommittal noise, too absorbed in the paper she was reading, just as his father had always been on those rare occasions when he joined them for breakfast. But she did look nice, in a pale blue blouse and a colored tint to her lips she’d been wearing for as long as he could remember.
Theo was hit then with a sad longing for something he couldn’t quite put his finger on, so he busied himself with breakfast, not looking up from his plate until he heard the door to the room open.
“Mrs. Webb?” Silvia, his mother’s assistant, was always so serious Theo thought it a miracle she’d stayed at his mother’s side for as long as she had. “Mr. Catch is here.”
He looked up then, and sat straighter in his chair.
August Catch was even more spectacular looking now after a few hours’ sleep and some dry clothes than Theo had imagined possible.
“Mr. Catch. Welcome to Arachne’s Loom.” His mother was out of her chair, animated in a way that only the presence of an attractive man was able to accomplish. “So glad you came.”
“Please, call me August.” He stole a look at Theo, and Theo smiled and tried hard not to apologize. For what exactly, he didn’t know, not yet. But there would inevitably be something, and it would be mortifying. The day was still young.
As she walked their guest down the length of the buffet, encouraging him to fill his plate, and practically wrapping herself around his arm like a snake, Theo’s appetite disappeared altogether.
“So, August.” They’d taken their chairs, and his mother had folded her newspaper and placed it on the corner of the table next to Theo. “Is this your first time to the Cape?”
“Yes.” August took his cloth napkin as he spoke, unfolded it, and placed it on his lap. “Digby invited me up to stay with him a few times, but it never worked out.”
“I think he might have been eyeing you as his replacement.” His mother was smiling, leaning toward him, making slow, deliberate circles on the tablecloth with one French-tipped nail. “Tell me, do you enjoy World Naked Gardening Day as much as your uncle did?”
“Good Lord, Kitty.” Theo was saved from having to cover his mother’s mouth with his hand by the appearance of her lawyer. Never had he been more happy for the arrival of Dante in his life. “Let the poor man eat his breakfast.”
“August?” Instead of looking embarrassed, his mother just smiled. “This is my dearest friend in all the world, Dante Lolan. Dante, this is August Catch.”
“Nice to meet you.” Dante poured a cup of coffee and took a seat at the far side of the table, looking less than pleased.
“Glad to see you’re feeling better.” Theo’s mother was still smiling serenely, as if she liked annoying the man.
“You’ve been sick, Dante?” Theo grabbed onto the change of subject.
“It was nothing. A little stomach bug. So, Mr. Catch.” Dante put an abrupt end to that conversation too. He didn’t like to share his personal life. It made Theo wonder what he and his mother found to talk about. “What is your plan, and how can Mrs. Webb be of service?”
“Well.” August picked up his fork, fiddling with it a few moments, before putting it back down. “I believe my uncle had a bedroom on the estate? I thought I could go through his things this afternoon, box up what I’ll be keeping, and make arrangements to ship it back…home.” He hesitated on the word home. “Or depending, swap out my rental for something larger and drive it back myself.”
“A house.” Theo wanted more than a single nightmare of a breakfast to get to know Digby’s nephew. “There’s a groundskeeper cottage at the back of the property. Near the greenhouse. Three bedrooms, one and a half baths, a kitchen, living room, and a study. It’ll probably take a little longer than an afternoon.”
“I’ve already had boxes and bubble wrap dropped off. And I’ll send you over a few of the girls to help.” For once, Theo hated his mother’s love for efficiency. “I’m sure you have a life to get back to.”
“Mom, August might want a little privacy.”
“Oh.” His mother turned and blinked at him, as if she’d just realized that they were talking about August’s dead uncle’s belongings. “Of course. I wasn’t thinking.”
“No. That’s alright, but yeah. I might prefer a chance to go through at least some of his things myself. But if you don’t mind, as soon as I think I’m ready, I would be grateful for the help.”
“Not to break this up, but there are a few things we need to discuss, you and I.”
Dante held Theo’s mother’s gaze for a long moment before she seemed to give in. She stood, pardoning them both, leaving Theo alone with August at the table.
“After breakfast, I can walk you over to the groundskeeper’s cottage.” August gave him a smile and did little more than slowly pick at his plate. “Digby used to use one of those…little utility vehicles to run around the property, but it’s not far, and a beautiful walk. “
“I’d appreciate it.” August gave him another one of those polite smiles, and Theo felt like he was failing at whatever it was he was trying to do. Maybe it was just that since Theo felt like he somehow knew August, he hoped August would look at him with the same recognition, and not paint him with the same brush as his mother. Or if nothing else, their shared connection with Digby would make them fast friends.
“So, you’re ground manager at a horse farm?”
“Up until recently.” August seemed relieved at the subject change. “The Blue Horse. It was more of a horse center really, with an equestrian history museum and campgrounds. And they host different events throughout the year.”
“Sounds nice. Do you ride?”
“No. I had someone that was teaching me.” August shrugged, and then seemed to abandon the pretense of eating altogether. “But that fell through.”
After a few moments of silence, Theo made a show of checking to see if anyone might be listening, looking to his right and then to his left, before leaning in. “How about we swap plates and then I’ll walk you over before my mother gets back. She’ll never even know you weren’t particularly hungry.”
This time August gave him a genuine smile, and Theo would have sworn he felt butterflies.
“You’d be my hero.”
You can check out another excerpt on my website at HERE.
About Amy Spector
Amy Spector grew up in the United States surviving on a steady diet of old horror movies, television reruns and mystery novels.
After years of blogging about comic books, vintage Gothic romance book cover illustrations, and a shameful amount about herself, she decided to try her hand at writing stories. She found it more than a little like talking about herself in third person, and that suited her just fine.
She blames Universal for her love of horror, Edward Gorey for her love of British drama and writing for awakening the romantic that was probably there all along.
Amy lives in the Midwest with her husband and children, and her cats Poe, Goji and Nekō.
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