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Authors: Michele Scott

A Vintage Murder

BOOK: A Vintage Murder
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Table of Contents
Praise for
Silenced by Syrah
“A lively, well-written novel that leaves you wanting to read more.”—
“[A]n enjoyable read . . . A very pleasant way to pass an afternoon.”—
Murder by the Glass
“Nikki is such a fun character.”—
The Best Reviews
“The writing fairly sparkles . . . A murder mystery, a love triangle, and gourmet recipes with wine pairings . . . what’s not to love?”—
Romance Divas
“Another fun and very readable mystery by Michele Scott . . . Her protagonist is someone with whom most women readers can identify—a modern woman with flaws and limitations just like all of us.”—
Murder Uncorked
“All the sparkle, complexity, and romance of a fine champagne. This mystery is one you’ll want to read right through with a bottle of good wine and some of the author’s tasty canapés at your side. I loved it and look forward to more installments.”—Nancy Fairbanks
“A perfect blend of murder and page-turning fiction!”
—Holly Jacobs
“The first in a series that has great potential . . . The Napa Valley is a lush setting, and foodies will drink in the wine lore and will savor the recipes for tasty tidbits.”

The Mystery Reader
“Edgy and suspenseful . . . Sleek, smart characters add realism to a mystery made more colorful by the fabulous Napa Valley setting.”—
Romantic Times
The Wine Lover’s Mysteries by Michele Scott
The Horse Lover’s Mysteries by Michele Scott
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Penguin Group Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.) Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.)
Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi—110 017, India Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196,
South Africa
Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
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 coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: The recipes contained in this book are to be followed exactly as written. The publisher is not responsible for your specific health or allergy needs that may require medical supervision. The publisher is not responsible for any adverse reactions to the recipes contained in this book.
A Berkley Prime Crime Book / published by arrangement with the author
Berkley Prime Crime mass-market edition / July 2008
Copyright © 2008 by Michele Scott.
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014
eISBN : 978-0-425-22254-6
Berkley Prime Crime Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
are trademarks belonging to Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To my son, Anthony,
who reminds me
not to take myself so seriously.
This book would have never been written without the help of a man I have never had the pleasure to actually meet: Geoff Cardwell, Officer in Charge, Barossa C.I.B., South Australia Police. He was instrumental in helping me learn as much as possible in a short amount of time about the Barossa, and I am indebted to him for that. E-mail is a good thing for a writer. Geoff, I hope we meet one day and share a glass of Shiraz together. I would also like to thank Sandra Harding and Mike Sirota, who continually champion me. Along with Karen MacInerney, who is a dear friend and one of the best writers I know. Thanks for listening to me whine, K. A big thanks to my husband and kids and even our dogs and cats who sometimes had to wait for dinner. I will now take you all to Cold Stone. I promise. This time I mean it. The book is done.
Chapter 1
Nikki Sands could not believe where she was and what she was doing. But what she really couldn’t believe was with whom she was doing it. She looked out the car window. The valley was breathtaking, covered in grape vines, with soil the color of buttered toffee as the sun cast its morning rays across the landscape. Although she’d seen plenty of vines working at the Malveaux Winery in Napa, this was different. She was far away from home.
She couldn’t help but smile. Even inside the car she could smell the rich soil and the aroma of ripe fruit that hung in the air. God, it was intoxicating. She breathed in deeply, closing her eyes. When she opened them again, she shook her head in amazement. Was it possible that she actually sat smack dab in the middle of a Monet painting? Because if that was at all possible, this was what it would feel like—kind of blurred but completely serene. Peaceful. Yes that’s where she must be—in the middle of a painting. The view spread out in front of her: rolling hills of green set behind a charming village filled with church spires rising high from ancient stone buildings, and amidst it all were rows of manicured vineyards. Napa had charm in and of itself, but this place felt almost as if Nikki had been tossed back in time to a yesteryear of simplicity and rustic elegance.
The last forty-eight hours had been a whirlwind, and even though she still had some jet lag, everything in her world felt right. Well, almost everything. She knew that on another continent, in another part of the world, she’d left someone with a broken heart, and that did not feel good. In fact, she knew she’d have to deal with it, with
sooner than later, or the guilt would eat her alive. There was a part of her that couldn’t help feeling like a monster for making the choice she had, but the logical side—the one not connected to her heart—helped her realize that by making that choice, she’d actually wound up sparing him more pain in the long run. The truth was, the relationship she’d decided not to pursue would’ve never worked. No matter how hard she would’ve tried to convince herself that it was right, her heart would’ve belonged to someone else, and it was that “someone else” she was now with.
And when the man beside her took her hand and gave it a squeeze, a surge of electricity shot up from her toes and warmed her entire body, confirming that yes, she’d made the right choice. He glanced over at her. “I can’t believe you’re really here with me.” Nikki’s stomach swirled with a mixture of nerves and something she hadn’t felt in years—passion, not lust, but real passion. “I really can’t believe it. I didn’t know if you would come. I’d hoped.” He pulled the car off to the side of the road.
“What are you doing?” she asked.
“This.” He took her face in his hands and kissed her. “Thank you for being here with me,” Derek said and then kissed her again.
“There’s no place else I’d rather be,” she replied.
Derek pulled back onto the road. They were on their way to the Hahndorf Winery in the Barossa Valley of Australia, to meet with the owner, Liam Hahndorf, and his wife. Derek’s goal was to secure a distribution and licensing agreement with Hahndorf Wines. The popularity of Australian wines was on the rise in the States. Derek felt they made a great product, and when Liam Hahndorf had approached Derek, he saw the potential in the deal. Essentially, the Hahndorfs would send certain vintages to the States with the Malveaux name on them. The Malveaux Winery would then distribute them in the U.S.
“Tell me a little bit about Liam Hahndorf,” Nikki said. “You’ve obviously met him before and you think he makes a good wine.”
“Yes, he does. He and his wife Grace started the winery about fifteen years ago and they’ve done well. Liam is a smart businessman. I’ve met him a few times, and he’s real personable. The last time I saw him was about six months ago. He was in L.A. at the same time I was.”
BOOK: A Vintage Murder
10.62Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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