An Unexpected Package–A Troll Falls release

Previously in the blog hop… Kathleen J. Robison 

(Scroll to the end for the giveaway.)

“You do realize, don’t you,” Josh said as we made our way up the drive toward the house, “there isn’t enough coffee for a full pot. I’ll have to make a cupping brewer.”

“For me?” I asked, giving him a pointed look.

He didn’t exactly snort, but the noise he made sounded an awful lot like a snort. “In your dreams, dear.”

I thought about replying, but it had been my idea to skip the whole coffee roasting process the afternoon before. The idea of going out in the cold to stand in the barn while the coffee browned to the point it started cracking hadn’t interested me at the time. And now, when I really wanted coffee, it was too late.

The front of the house came into view, and something on the porch caught my eye just before the van pulled past the end of the driveway. I frowned and glanced down to make sure what I held in my hand was actually what I thought it was. It was. Mail from the mailbox we’d just stopped to check. It also appeared that I’d missed a call. It probably came through while we were driving through the valley down the road a bit from the farm. I swiped the notification off my watch and looked back toward the porch again. “It would be nice if the mailman would leave the mail when he drops off packages.”

Josh glanced my way momentarily, but quickly went back to checking the mirrors as he started backing the van toward the front of the house. Being helpful, I answered the question he didn’t ask. “There’s a package by the front door.”

Josh leaned to the side to better see in the mirror, but didn’t say anything about the package. I figured it must have been for his parents, but hadn’t his mom said they didn’t have anything ordered that would come before Friday?

I could, of course, wait until the van stopped and go check to see who it was for, but why wait? “Do we have anything coming?”

“Not as far as I know.”

Unexpected packages were always interesting, but they usually ended up being something boring that we’d forgotten we’d ordered. Like vitamins. Or an oil filter for the car.

Which reminded me… “Is the car still having trouble?”

“Yeah.” Josh put the van in park and shut the engine off, and as much as I didn’t want to start the whole grocery-carrying-in process, we couldn’t exactly postpone it until later. “Nothing changed,” he added as we hopped out.

That didn’t sound good. The van was fine, but driving it all the way to work and back twice a day when fuel prices were this bad? That sounded even worse.

We met at the back of the van, with Josh holding out the package for me to take. It was long and narrow, and having been recently thinking of the car, my first thought was that he’d ordered windshield wipers.

But almost as quickly as that thought came to mind, I ruled it out because I had been the one standing beside him when he changed the wipers in the parking lot at Sam’s Club. In the rain, mind you, but there’d been enough coffee that day so concessions could be made.

Today? I took the package, immediately checking for a shipping label in the process. Oddly enough, there was no indication of who made the delivery, and most of the label had been scuffed so badly—in the back of the truck most likely—that it was impossible to read the name.

The box was dirty too, and I wasn’t getting any coffee so I had nothing to lose. “Here,” I called as I tossed the box back at Josh. “It must be yours. I don’t have anything ordered.”

“Careful, dear,” he warned. “Remember the package you were throwing around at Christmas, dear?”

Yeah, I remembered. I don’t think I’ll ever live that one down. Throwing a box at Josh thinking he’d bought me a container of chili powder, when in reality he’d ordered a crystal ornament instead. (I had to buy my own chili powder. Thankfully, the ornament was okay!)

It took a little while before we got everything unloaded and inside, and only after I’d had a chance to check with Josh’s parents did we sit down at the table, the box between us, and Josh carefully guarding the one cup of coffee he’d been able to make. Somehow, I’d have to distract him and steal the mug, but for the time being we were all more intrigued by the box.

Once again, we all assured him we didn’t have anything ordered, so he carefully cut the tape. Kids poked heads over shoulders and under arms, and we all waited with bated breath. The thought kept crossing my mind that we’d ordered something pretty boring and simply forgotten that we’d ordered it. 

But that thought was disproved the moment Josh opened the lid of the box to reveal a rose. One single red rose. 

“Weird.” I don’t know who said it, but whichever kid it was seemed to have voiced the thought we all shared. Then someone else helpfully shoved a hand in the box, pulled out a small envelope, and waved it in Josh’s face. The card hit him on the nose and momentarily blocked his line of sight so I could have stolen his coffee—if only I’d thought to do that before the card was lowered again. “There’s a card.”

“I can see that,” Josh said as he seemed to me to place a protective hand around his mug, preventing any possibility of anyone else getting hold of it. Namely, me.

We all waited while he opened the envelope and pulled out a plain white card. He stared at in silence before handing it to me. 

With kids clamoring to know what it said, I silently read over the single line of text several times. It had been handwritten, but that didn’t exactly tell me anything. Finally, I glanced up and lifted a hand to silence the cries. “All it says is, ‘Coming, yours is.’”

“What’s coming?” Someone asked while another wanted to know why the words were phrased that way and another asked if we knew who it was for.

“That sounds like a threat,” one of the older kids suggested, putting what I’d been thinking into words.

It did sound like a threat. It also didn’t sound like anything that belonged to us. It sounded like a practical joke, or maybe an inside joke—something that only meant anything to the person it was intended for.

We checked the shipping label again, but no matter which way we looked at it or how good the lighting was, we couldn’t decipher who it was for. The rose was pretty. However, I couldn’t help but think that somewhere out there in the great, wide world, someone was probably waiting for this package. Or waiting for this package to be delivered.

We’d have to make a special trip back to town, but I couldn’t in clear conscience keep what didn’t appear to be for me. Which also, sadly, meant I couldn’t “accidentally” drink half of Josh’s coffee when I poured it into a travel mug. 

“We could return it to sender,” I suggested. That missed phone call came to mind as I wondered whether it had anything to do with the package. Probably not. The only people who call me were sitting in the room with me, or the hospital, and Buddy wasn’t due for an appointment for another couple of months. Which meant it was probably a spam call.

That decided, I turned my attention to the problem sitting on the table in front of me. Maybe the barcode faintly printed on the side of the box would mean something to someone with the correct kind of scanner?

“But where will it go?” one of the kids asked.

Only for another to grin as they handed over the tape dispenser. “Wherever mis-directed mail goes,” he said. “They’ll probably send it to Abu Dhabi.”


Will the mystery of where these roses are coming from and what the messages mean be revealed? Check HERE tomorrow to see. Maybe Nancy will know the answer. 😊


A Troll Falls: A 1940s Fairytale-Inspired Mystery (Ever After Mysteries Book 10) by [Marji Laine]

Murder. Even the word sounds ugly. Almost as ugly as the corpse on the shore.

Dallas, Texas, 1948

Opal Stedman enjoys caring for old Mrs. Farnesworth. But keeping her sister Ruby out of trouble, well that is another issue entirely. Especially now that Ruby has stepped into high society with her new beau. A dubious man. Maybe even duplicitous.

Even the handsome security guard warns her sister about him.

When a body is dragged onto the shore of the lake that borders their home, rumors and worries over the new man become assurances. But why has he involved her household in these gruesome shenanigans?

And why are Opal’s loved ones suddenly having “accidents”?

Loosely based on the little-known fairy tale of “Snow White and Rose Red” this mystery twists its way all along the banks of White Rock Lake during its heyday.


Now for the fun part. The giveaway! Sign up here to be entered to win $5 and an ebook copy of A Troll Falls