The Poppy McGuire Series

The Eleventh Hour
Poppy McGuire Mysteries Book 1
by Anina Collins
Genre: Cozy Mystery
196 pages
Poppy McGuire has always been a curious soul, but it’s her life that’s
usually the topic of conversation in the small town of Sunset Ridge.
But now one of the town’s most important citizens has been found
murdered, and everyone’s life is suspect.
What begins as a friendly wager with her old friend Officer Derek
Hampton soon becomes far more for Poppy, and she turns to Alex Montero
for help, but the enigmatic former Baltimore cop’s quiet way hides as
many secrets as each suspect they encounter.
Everyone in Sunset Ridge has something to hide, but Poppy and Alex are
determined to uncover the identity of the murderer. They just have to
watch that they don’t become the next victims.
pm- excerpt

I inhaled the delicious smell of my favorite coffee. The man certainly knew how to come bearing gifts first thing in the morning. But then it dawned on me. We’d never had coffee together, so how did he know this was my favorite? Lucky guess?

Taking it from him, I asked, “How did you know how to get it?”

Alexander gave me a sly smile that somehow made him even more attractive. “I’m a detective. It’s my job to know things like that.”

Oh, he was entirely too confident.

I offered him a seat at my kitchen table and took a drink of the dark roast coffee made exactly as I liked it—two sugars, three creamers, and ice. In fact, the temperature told me he’d gotten the number of ice cubes right too. Three. But how?

“So Mr. I’m a Detective, how did you know to get it just the right temperature and exactly the way I take it? I’m a pretty particular coffee drinker.”

Another smile, but this one was slow to spread across his face and so charming I almost looked away, worried I might blush at any moment. Almost. I didn’t look away, though, because I wanted the answer to my question.

“I pay attention to what goes on around me. I was sitting in The Grounds one morning when you came in and ordered that very particular cup of coffee. It stayed with me from that day.”

Still quite shocked at his even being there in my kitchen, I leveled my gaze on him and tried to determine if he was telling the truth or just trying to charm me. “So you’re telling me that you remembered the exact way I take my coffee, even though you didn’t know me from a can of paint…when did you hear this anyway?”

“A week or so ago.”

“From a week ago, when I was a perfect stranger to you and simply some person ordering a coffee, you remembered that this morning and got me my coffee just like I like it?”

He chuckled. “Yes, and the girl behind the counter knew how you took your coffee when I told her it was for you. I’d forgotten how many ice cubes, if we’re being honest.”

I took another sip of coffee and couldn’t help but smile. He probably charmed the pants off Jennie. And he probably didn’t have to remember anything about how I took my coffee because he just told her it was for me.

Detective indeed.

“So what are you doing here, Alexander?”

The smile slowly faded, and after taking a drink from his cup, he lowered his head slightly and looked me directly in the eyes. “I came to apologize for what happened last night.”

This guy had the most delicious brown eyes I’d ever seen. Brown like expensive milk chocolate, and at that moment, I felt myself getting lost in those eyes.

Snap out of it, Poppy! This isn’t some high school date. If he’s willing to make peace, maybe you can get his help on the case, so get your head out of the clouds and say something!

I turned away to break our shared gaze and then looked back at him. “I guess I should apologize too. I should have handled that differently. I’m sorry.”

“I am too. I shouldn’t have pulled my gun on you, and for that, I’m truly sorry. I have no excuse.”

Something in those eyes of his told me he did have an excuse but he wasn’t going to tell me. All the better because I sensed hurt lay behind how he acted.

Extending my hand, I offered my own olive branch. “No harm, no foul. Maybe if we pretend like we’re meeting for the first time we can put those other times behind us. Hi, I’m Poppy. Nice to meet you.”

That slow smile returned, and he took my hand in his to shake it. “Hi, Poppy. I’m Alexander, but my friends call me Alex.”

“Hi, Alex.”

And with those two words, everything between us changed. I didn’t know why or how, but suddenly I had a feeling that he would become one of the most important people in my life. At the same time, I felt like I’d known him my entire life, even though I’d just met him days before and this was the first time we’d ever spoken more than a handful of civil words to each other.

Strangely, our conversation came to an abrupt halt after reintroducing ourselves to one another. He seemed content to sit there next to me and drink his coffee in silence, so I took the opportunity to study him as he seemed to have studied me already.

He was definitely a good looking man. I didn’t need to spend much time studying him to see that. Dark, thick hair and those delicious brown eyes that told anyone who looked into them that there was a story in his past gave him an exotic feel. With the last name Montero, he was likely Italian or maybe Greek. Sunset Ridge didn’t have many citizens with those ethnic backgrounds, which made him stand out even more.

I let my gaze drift over him as he sat there silently and couldn’t help notice his hands. Strong looking, they were bigger than even my father’s working class hands and had long fingers. I’d noted that he wasn’t married the first time we’d met because of the lack of a wedding band, but now that I sat right next to him, I could see the lighter skin where it had sat on his ring finger until recently.

So where was Mrs. Montero? Was she the woman I’d read about in the obituary from nearly five years ago? Possibly, but if that was the case, why was the mark where the wedding band had been still so clear? Five years was a long time to wear a wedding band for a wife who’d died.

I wanted to ask about his wife, if only to say I was sorry because it seemed like I should and if that wedding band mark was any indication, he still hurt. But I didn’t. Alex and I were practically strangers, and strangers didn’t pry like that.

At least this stranger didn’t.

If he was sitting with one of those committee ladies and they had any inkling of a wife in his past, the poor man would now be dodging questions left and right about her. Those Founders’ Day ladies were nothing if not nosy.

The thought of Alex stuck in a room with those four made me smile, and I looked up from staring at his hands to see he had seen where I was looking. Quickly, I turned away to avoid his gaze, feeling oddly embarrassed.

“You have a nice house here. Very cozy.”

I turned back to see him scanning my kitchen, as if he were studying it like I’d been studying him. “Thank you. I like it.”

“It’s a big house for just one person.”

I wanted to ask how he was so sure I lived alone, but he didn’t even have to be a half-way decent detective to know that. A few minutes with my father the other night at the bar and he likely had my entire life story.

“I guess,” I mumbled, sort of hating how awkward things had gotten between us already.

He didn’t continue the conversation, but that seemed to be the type of person he was. Talk about opposites. I was what my father had always called a Chatty Cathy, but Alex parsed out words like they cost him money every time one came out of his mouth.

Sitting quietly for a few more minutes, the question that had been on my mind earlier before I got lost in those eyes of his and the idea that his past was some kind of tragedy came back to me.

Why was he here?

Breaking the uncomfortable silence, I asked, “Alex, why did you come here today? I mean, you could have just apologized and then left or simply called me to say you were sorry. Instead you come here and say you’re sorry and then say little else. What are you doing here?”

I cringed at how blunt that sounded. I never meant to phrase things so succinctly. They just came out that way. Before I could apologize, though, he nodded and began to speak again.

“I like how forthright you are, Poppy. That kind of frankness is refreshing, so I’ll return the favor. I’ve heard a number of things about you, and all of them point to someone who’s smart. You’re different than everyone else I’ve met in this town. I also know this is the first time you’re working with Derek on one of his cases. To be honest, I know why he likes to have you around, but I have to believe you want to work with him on this Geneva Woodward case because you’re a detective in your heart and not because you have some secret love for the brother of our police chief.”

A mixture of stunned disbelief at how much Alex knew about me and amusement at the thought of my having any romantic feelings for Derek washed over me. My brain felt like it short-circuited, and not knowing what to say, I let out a laugh as the thought of Derek and me settled into my mind.

“Did I say something funny?” Alex asked, his gaze intently focused on me now.

“No. I guess I just got sidetracked by the idea of Derek and me together since, to be honest, I felt a little exposed by the rest of what you said.”

“So no secret romance between you and him?” he asked with a smile that told me he was trying to make things less uncomfortable.

I shook my head and screwed my face into an expression that was meant to show my distaste for anything like that with Derek Hampton. “No. He’s nice, but he’s not my type.”

“I had a feeling. As for the other things I said, I didn’t mean to make you feel like I’ve been prying into your personal life. Your father loves you a great deal and he likes to brag about you. I will admit I checked into what he said and found he wasn’t exaggerating. Your job at The Bottom Line might be beneath you, but you’re good at it. See? You are a detective in your heart.”

After Hours
Poppy McGuire Mysteries Book 2
202 pages
While life in Sunset Ridge is quaint and charming during the day, what
happens after the sun goes down might shock the citizens of this
small town. Things are heating up in Poppy McGuire’s home town, and
it isn’t just the July weather.
Poppy and her new partner Alex have their eyes opened to the realities of
Sunset Ridge after dark when a traveling salesman is murdered in his
room at the Hotel Piermont, a common destination for cheating spouses
on the outskirts of town. When they find out what he sells, the
mystery gets even more interesting.
Top of the Hour
Poppy McGuire Mysteries Book 3
204 pages
Controversy sells as much as sex, and nobody knows that better than the local
radio morning DJ who loves to talk politics. His shows enrage people,
but who hated Lee Reynolds enough to shoot him point blank and leave
him for dead in the woods outside of town?
Poppy and Alex have no shortage of suspects and for once aren’t at odds on
who they like for the crime. But all is not well between the
partners. This time, murder has brought with it a new love interest
for Poppy, but Alex isn’t happy with this turn of events.
Will he lose Poppy, the one person he trusts in Sunset Ridge?
The Darkest Hour
Poppy McGuire Mysteries Book 4
210 pages
Poppy and Alex come up against their toughest case yet, and they
may never be the same again.
When someone close to both Poppy and Alex is found brutally murdered, all
the clues point to Alex as the killer. But Poppy knows in her heart
that her partner could never commit such a heinous crime. As the
evidence begins to mount against him, Poppy must race against the
clock to prove that the man she trusts with her very life isn’t the
murderer, even as everyone around her is convinced of his guilt.
But if Alex isn’t the killer, who is? As the mystery unravels, the past
and present finally meet in Sunset Ridge.
Happy Hour
Poppy McGuire Mysteries Book 5
266 pages
Poppy and Alex are back for another mystery in Happy Hour, the fifth book
in the Poppy McGuire Mystery Series!
Springtime brings warm weather and murder to Sunset Ridge, and for Poppy,
this particular case strikes close to home.
Antiques dealer Marcus Tyne is found dead in the front seat of his friend’s
car outside of McGuire’s after a Cinco de Mayo celebration, but at
first glance, there’s no reason why he’s dead.
Until the coroner finds out he’s been poisoned.
When a second man is poisoned, Poppy and Alex are thrust into a mystery
that threatens to tear them apart. While they struggle to solve the
case as their differences become more apparent, a murderer walks free
in Sunset Ridge and may have another victim in their sights.
The Witching Hour
Poppy McGuire Mysteries Book 6
207 pages
In the middle of a late summertime heatwave, a woman Poppy interviewed
for an article on paganism is found with a dagger buried in her chest
in the woods out near Alex’s house. Initially, Stephen and Craig are
given the case, but when Derek determines that this murder shouldn’t
be their first big case together, Alex and Poppy are brought in to help.
But Stephen has never liked Poppy, and tensions quickly begin to run high
between the two sets of partners. The Sunset Ridge police force can’t
afford to have infighting if they want to solve this case before a
fear of witches takes hold in town.
It doesn’t take long before everyone reaches their breaking point and
Alex wonders if he will be a Sunset Ridge police officer for much
longer. Life is about to change for him and Poppy, but will that
change mean the end of his time in town?
The Finest Hour
Poppy McGuire Mysteries Book 7
Join Poppy and Alex for the final Poppy McGuire mystery!
For three years, Poppy and Alex have worked together solving cases in
their small town of Sunset Ridge, first as just co-workers but later
as partners in nearly every sense of the word. Now they’re about to
take the final step and become husband and wife, but in the midst of
getting ready for what folks around town are calling the wedding of
the year, the murder of someone involved in the preparations makes
their plans go awry.
Samuel Morrow, the kind man who has run Morrow’s Jewelers for over twenty
years, is found murdered in an apparent break-in, and there’s no
shortage of suspects who may have had a reason to kill him. Oddly
enough, something very valuable to Poppy and Alex is missing from his
store too. Is the theft connected to the murder?
As they hunt for Samuel’s killer, carefully eliminating suspect after
suspect, they must juggle cake tastings and reception planning, as
all the while someone’s watching their favorite amateur sleuth. Will
Poppy and Alex solve the case and reach the altar, or will the killer
make their ever after far less than happy?
Anina Collins has always loved a good mystery. As a child, her favorite
books were Nancy Drew books passed down from her grandmother, and as
she grew up, she moved on to Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan
Doyle and their famous detectives. She currently lives in North
Carolina and writes her Poppy McGuire Mystery series.

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A River of Silence * Release Blitz

Mystery
Date Published: January 24, 2018
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
 
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When Detective Winston Radhauser is awakened by a call from dispatch at 12:45a.m., it can mean only one thing—something terrible awaits him. He races to the Pine Street address. In the kitchen, Caleb Bryce, nearly deaf from a childhood accident, is frantically giving CPR to 19-month-old Skyler Sterling. Less than an hour later, Skyler is dead.
The ME calls it a murder and the entire town of Ashland, Oregon is outraged. Someone must be held accountable. The police captain is under a lot of pressure and anxious to make an arrest. Despite Radhauser’s doubts about Bryce’s guilt, he is arrested and charged with first degree murder. Neither Radhauser nor Bryce’s young public defender believe he is guilty. Winston Radhauser will fight for justice, even if it means losing his job.
 

 

Excerpt
Prologue
1988
In only eleven minutes, Detective Winston Radhauser’s world would flip on its axis and a permanent line would be drawn—forever dividing his life into before and after. He drove toward the Pima County Sheriff’s office in Catalina, a small town in the Sonoran Desert just twelve miles north of Tucson. Through the CD speakers, Alabama sang You’ve Got the Touch. He hummed along.
He was working a domestic violence case with Officer Alison Finney, his partner for nearly seven years. They’d made the arrest—their collar was sleeping off a binge in the back of the squad car. It was just after 10 p.m. As always, Finney wore spider earrings—tonight’s selection was a pair of black widows he hadn’t seen before.
“You know, Finn, you’d have better luck with men if you wore sunflowers in your earlobes.”
She laughed. “Any guy intimidated by a couple 14-carat web spinners isn’t man enough for me.”
He never missed an opportunity to tease her. “Good thing you like being single.”
The radio released some static.
Radhauser turned off the CD.
Dispatch announced an automobile accident on Interstate 10 near the Orange Grove Road exit. Radhauser and Finney were too far east to respond.
Her mobile phone rang. She answered, listened for a few seconds. “Copy that. I’ll get him there.” Finney hung up, then placed the phone back into the charger mounted beneath the dashboard.
“Copy what?” he said. “Get who where?”
She eyed him. “Pull over. I need to drive now.”
His grip on the steering wheel tightened. “What the hell for?”
Finney turned on the flashing lights. “Trust me and do what I ask.”
The unusual snap in her voice raised a bubble of anxiety in his chest. He pulled over and parked the patrol car on the shoulder of Sunrise Road.
She slipped out of the passenger seat and stood by the door waiting for him.
He jogged around the back of the cruiser.
Finney pushed him into the passenger seat. As if he were a child, she ordered him to fasten his seatbelt, then closed the car door and headed around the vehicle to get behind the wheel.
“Are you planning to tell me what’s going on?” he asked once she’d settled into the driver’s seat.
She opened her mouth, then closed it. Her unblinking eyes never wavered from his. “Your wife and son have been taken by ambulance to Tucson Medical Center.”
The bubble of anxiety inside him burst. “What happened? Are they all right?”
Finney turned on the siren, flipped a U-turn, then raced toward the hospital on the corner of Craycroft and Grant. “I don’t know any details.”
TMC was a designated Trauma 1 Center and most serious accident victims were taken there. That realization both comforted and terrified him. “Didn’t they say the accident happened near the Orange Grove exit?”
“I know what you’re thinking. It must be bad or they’d be taken to the closest hospital and that would be Northwest.” She stared at him with the look of a woman who knew him almost as well as Laura did. “Don’t imagine the worst. They may not have been in a car accident. Didn’t you tell me Lucas had an equestrian meet?”
Laura had driven their son to a competition in south Tucson. Maybe Lucas got thrown. He imagined the horse rearing, his son’s lanky body sliding off the saddle and landing with a thump on the arena floor. Thank God for sawdust. Laura must have ridden in the ambulance with him.
But Orange Grove was the exit Laura would have taken on her drive home. The meet ended at 9:00 p.m. Lucas always stayed to unsaddle the horse, wipe the gelding down, and help Coach Thomas load him into his trailer. About a half hour job. That would put his family near the Orange Grove exit around ten.
The moon slipped behind a cloud and the sudden darkness seemed alive and a little menacing as it pressed against the car windows.
Less than ten minutes later, Finney pulled into the ER entrance and parked in the lot. “I’m coming with you,” she said.
He shot her a you-know-better look, then glanced toward the back seat where their collar was snoring against the door, his mouth open and saliva dribbling down his chin. It was against policy to leave an unguarded suspect in the car.
“I don’t give a damn about policy,” she said.
“What if he wakes up, hitches a ride home and takes out his wife and kids? Put him in the drunk tank. I’ll call you as soon as I know anything.” He ran across the parking lot. The ER doors opened automatically and he didn’t stop running until he reached the desk. “I’m Winston Radhauser. My wife and son were brought in by ambulance.”
The young nurse’s face paled and her gaze moved from his eyes to somewhere over his head.
With the change in her expression, his hope dropped into his shoes. He looked behind her down a short corridor where a set of swinging doors blocked any further view. “Where are they?”
It was one of those moments he would remember for a lifetime, where everything happened in slow motion.
She told him to wait while she found a doctor to talk to him, and nodded toward one of the vinyl chairs that lined the waiting room walls.
He sat. Tried to give himself an attitude adjustment. Maybe it wasn’t as bad as he thought. Laura or Lucas could be in surgery and the nurse, obviously just out of nursing school, didn’t know how to tell him.
He stood.
Paced.
Sat again. The hospital might have a policy where only a physician could relate a patient’s condition to his family.
His heart worked overtime, pumping and pounding.
When he looked up, a young woman in a lab coat with a stethoscope around her neck stood in front of him. She had pale skin and was thin as a sapling, her light brown hair tied back with a yellow rubber band. Her eyes echoed the color of a Tucson sky with storm clouds brewing. “Are you Mr. Radhauser?”
He nodded.
“Please come with me.”
He expected to be taken to his wife and son, but instead she led him into a small room about eight feet square. It had a round table with a clear glass vase of red tulips in the center, and two chairs. Though she didn’t look old enough to have graduated from medical school, she introduced herself as Dr. Silvia Waterford, an ER physician.
They sat.
“Tell me what happened to my wife and son.”
“I’m so sorry,” she said. “It was an automobile accident on Interstate 10.”
The thread of hope he held started to unravel. “Are Laura and Lucas all right? I want to see them.”
Her throat rippled as she swallowed. “There is no easy way to say this, Mr. Radhauser. I’m so sorry for your loss. But there was nothing we could do for them.”
All at once the scene bleached out. The tulips faded to gray as if a giant flashbulb had gone off in his face. The doctor was rimmed in white light. He stared at her in disbelief for a moment, praying for a mistake, a miracle, anything except what he just heard. “What do you mean there was nothing you could do? This is a Level 1 Trauma Center, isn’t it? One of the best in the state.”
“Yes. But unfortunately, medical science has its limits and we can’t save everyone. Your wife and son were both dead on arrival.”
His body crumpled in on itself, folding over like paper, all the air forced from his chest. This was his fault. Laura asked him to take the night off and go with them. Radhauser would have avoided the freeway and driven the back way home from the fairgrounds. And everything would have ended differently.
He looked up at Dr. Waterford. What was he demanding of her? Even the best trauma center in the world couldn’t bring back the dead.
There was sadness in her eyes. “I’m sure it’s not any comfort, but we think they died on impact.”
He hung his head. “Comfort,” he said. Even the word seemed horrific and out of place here. Your wife and son were both dead on arrival. Nine words that changed his life in the most drastic way he had ever imagined.
“May I call someone for you? We have clergy on staff if you’d like to talk with someone.”
A long moment passed before he raised his head and took in a series of deep breaths, trying to collect himself enough to speak. “No clergy, unless they can bring my family back. Just tell me where my wife and son are.” His voice sounded different, deeper—not the same man who went to work that evening.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “But when deaths occur in the ER, we have to move them down to the morgue.”
Radhauser stood. Beneath his anguish, a festering anger simmered. Laura was a good driver. He was willing to bet she wasn’t at fault. More than anything now, he needed someone aside from himself to blame.
Outside, a siren wailed, then came to an abrupt stop. The sound panicked Radhauser as he headed for the elevator, waited for the door to open, then got inside. He pushed the button to the basement floor. He’d visited this hospital morgue once before to identify a fellow police officer shot in a robbery arrest gone bad. The door opened and he lumbered down the empty hallway.
As he neared the stainless steel door to the morgue, a tall, dark-haired man in a suit exited. At first Radhauser thought he was a hospital administrator. The man cleared his throat, flipped open a leather case and showed his badge. “I’m Sergeant Dunlop with the Tucson Police Department. Are you Mr. Radhauser?”
“Detective Radhauser. Pima County Sheriff’s Department.”
Dunlop had a handshake Radhauser felt in every bone in his right hand. “I’m so sorry for your loss, Detective.”
“Are you investigating the accident involving my wife and son?” Radhauser looked him over. Dunlop wore a pin-striped brown suit with a yellow shirt and a solid brown tie—the conservative uniform of a newly-promoted sergeant. The air around them smelled like antiseptic and the industrial solvent used to wash floors. “Have you determined who was at fault?”
Dunlop hesitated for an instant. “Yes, I’m the investigating officer. From the eyewitness reports, your wife was not to blame. A Dodge pickup was headed south in the northbound lane of Interstate 10 near the Orange Grove exit. No lights. He hit her head-on.”
Radhauser cringed. The image cut deep. “Was he drunk?”
“I need to wait for the blood alcohol test results to come back.”
The anger building inside Radhauser got closer to the surface every second. Silence hung between them like glass. He shattered it. “Don’t give me that bullshit. You were on the scene. What did you see? What did the breathalyzer read?”
Dunlop’s silence told Radhauser everything he needed to know. “Did the bastard die at least?”
“He was miraculously uninjured. But his twin boys weren’t so lucky.” Dunlop’s voice turned flat. “They didn’t make it.” He winced, and a tide of something bitter and hopeless washed over his face. “The idiot let them ride in the pickup bed. Five fucking years old.”
“What’s the idiot’s name?”
“You don’t need to know that right now.”
Biting his lip, Radhauser fought against the surge of rage threatening to flood over him. “Who are you to tell me what I need to know? It’s not your wife and kid in there. Besides, I can easily access the information.”
Dunlop handed him a card. “I know you can. But you have something more important to do right now. We can talk tomorrow.” He draped his arm over Radhauser’s shoulder the way a brother or a friend might do.
The touch opened a hole in Radhauser’s chest.
“Say goodbye to your wife and son,” Dunlop said, then turned and walked away.
In the morgue, after Radhauser introduced himself, a male attendant pulled back the sheet covering their faces. There was no mistake.
“Do you mind if I sit here for a while?” Radhauser asked.
“No problem,” the attendant said. “Stay as long as you want.” He went back to a small alcove where he entered data into a computer. The morgue smelled like the hallway had, disinfectant and cleaning solution, with an added hint of formaldehyde.
Radhauser sat between the stainless steel gurneys that held Laura and Lucas. Of all the possible scenarios Radhauser imagined, none ended like this.
Across the room, two small body bags lay, side by side, on a wider gurney. The twin sons of the man who killed his family.
The clock on the morgue wall kept ticking and when Radhauser finally looked up at it, four hours had passed. He tried, but couldn’t understand how Laura and Lucas could be in the world one minute and gone the next. How could he give them up? It was as if a big piece of him had been cut out. And he didn’t know how to go on living without his heart.
###
For an entire year afterwards, Radhauser operated in a daze. He spent the late evening hours playing For the Good Times on Laura’s old upright piano. It was the first song they ever slow danced to and over their fourteen years together, it became their own.
He played it again and again. The neighbors complained, but he couldn’t stop. It was the only way he could remember the apricot scent of her skin and how it felt to hold her in his arms on the dance floor.
Night after night, he played until he finally collapsed into a fitful sleep, his head resting on the keyboard. The simple acts of waking up, showering, making coffee, and heading to work became a cruel pretense acted out in the cavernous absence of his wife and son.
 
About the Author

Susan Clayton-Goldner was born in New Castle, Delaware and grew up with four brothers along the banks of the Delaware River. She has been writing poems and short stories since she could hold a pencil and was so in love with writing that she was a creative writing major in college.


Prior to an early retirement which enabled her to write full time, Susan worked as the Director of Corporate Relations for University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona. It was there she met her husband, Andreas, one of the deans in the University of Arizona’s Medical School. About five years after their marriage, they left Tucson to pursue their dreams in 1991–purchasing a 35-acres horse ranch in the Williams Valley in Oregon. They spent a decade there. Andy road, trained and bred Arabian horses and coached a high school equestrian team, while Susan got serious about her writing career. 
Through the writing process, Susan has learned that she must be obsessed with the reinvention of self, of finding a way back to something lost, and the process of forgiveness and redemption. These are the recurrent themes in her work.
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Murder Simply Brewed * Vennetta Chapman

I actually borrowed this from the library- I love our local library e book program. Now that I have Mom connected she will start reading this way.   Lisa 

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book link

Amish Village Mystery #1 

When the coffee shop manager is murdered in Middlebury’s Amish Artisan Village, two women from different walks of life must join together to solve the mystery.

Spring has arrived in Middlebury, Indiana, and Amber Wright is optimistic about the growing profit from her collection of Amish shops—until she receives a call that Ethan Gray is dead. Hurrying over to A Simple Blend, she finds a solitary hole in the front window and the store manager lying next to the espresso machine, dead from an apparent heart attack. All the money is still in his register.

When Amber hires a young Amish woman, Hannah Troyer, to take over the shop’s duties, the two women become fast friends—as well as amateur sleuths. The police believe Gray’s death is a by-product of vandalism, but Amber and Hannah aren’t convinced.

Clues that don’t add up, a neighbor who is pulled into the midst of the investigation, a town with secrets to hide, and a blossoming romance—all will combine to push Amber and Hannah into unfamiliar roles in order to reveal answers to the mysteries around them.

“Chapman’s latest is a mix of mystery and romance with vivid characters, a realistic setting and themes of loss, trust and love.” — Romantic Times, four-star review

Lisa Book thoughts – I picked this book out because I needed a break from what I usually read. I lived many years around the Amish in Indiana & Michigan this author weaves a great story about the people.the culture in a story about life & murder.  The characters and the setting are real and take you time when things were simple or maybe not. If you are a fan of mysteries or Amish read this book and I  also will be sharing this with my Mom it’s something she would enjoy too.  Lisa 

Red Velvet Revenge *

Enjoy another Book & Eat some cake today !!!!  Lisa 

 

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From the New York Times bestselling author…

It may be summertime, but sales at Fairy Tale Cupcakes are below zero–and owners Melanie Cooper and Angie DeLaura are willing to try anything to heat things up. So when local legend Slim Hazard offers them the chance to sell cupcakes at the annual Juniper Pass rodeo, they’re determined to rope in a pretty payday!

But not everyone at the Juniper Pass is as sweet for Fairy Tale Cupcakes as Slim–including star bull-rider Ty Stokes. Mel and Angie try to steer clear of the cowboy’s short fuse, but when his dead body is found face down in the hay, it’s a whole different rodeo.

With a vengeful murderer on the loose, the ladies are quickly realizing that while they came to save their business, they may have to save themselves–and that’s no bull.

INCLUDES SCRUMPTIOUS RECIPES

Better Dead * Book Blitz

Better Dead
Pamela Kopfler
(A B&B Spirits Mystery #1)
Published by: Kensington
Publication date: December 26th 2017
Genres: Adult, Mystery

As the owner of a charming Louisiana bed and breakfast, Holly Davis believes in Southern hospitality—but she draws the line at welcoming the ghost of her cheating husband . . .

Burl Davis checked out of this life a little earlier than expected—before Holly could serve him with divorce papers over his extramarital flings. Unfortunately, it was not before he nearly bankrupted her beloved B&B, Holly Grove, a converted plantation that has been in her family for generations. Holly would never wish anyone dead, but three months later she’s feeling a lot more relief than grief.

Until Burl’s ghost appears as an unwelcome guest. Before his spirit can move on, her not-so-dearly departed needs Holly’s human help to bust up the drug smuggling ring he was involved with. She has reservations, to say the least, but agrees to assist him if he’ll make a show of haunting the B&B to draw in visitors. But when Holly’s former love, Jack McCann, mysteriously resurfaces in town and checks in, she has to wonder if her B&B is big enough for the ghost of her husband and the very real physical presence of her old flame . . .

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

Click here for an awesome sneak preview excerpt for this book!

 

Author Bio:

Pamela Kopfler is Southern-fried and sassy. She writes award-winning humorous mysteries with a kick of Southern sass. Her debut novel, BETTER DEAD, is the first in her B & B Spirits mystery series. (Kensington Books)

She can stir up a roux, mix a cocktail, shoot anything (as long as it doesn’t have eyes), and loves swapping stories. Putting words on the page keeps her alligator mouth from overloading her hummingbird heinie in real life. It doesn’t hurt to be married to a saint who is an attorney either. She marks her time on earth by the lives of the dogs she has loved and who often show up in her stories. Her current fur baby is a seventy-pound pup in black. He thinks he’s a fearless hunter when he’s not pretending he’s a lapdog.

Pamela lives in South Louisiana where the spirits are restless, the food is spicy, and the living is divine.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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Dial Meow for Murder * Book Tour

Dial Meow for Murder
A Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery #2
by Bethany Blake
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Even an experienced pet sitter like Daphne Templeton can be fooled by
animal behavior: how can an adorably tiny fuzz ball named Tinkleston
be capable of sudden flying leaps with cat claws bared? But human
behavior remains even more mysterious, especially when Tinkleston’s
owner is murdered on the night of a gala fundraiser for Fur-ever
Friends Pet Rescue.
Accompanied by her unflappable basset hound, Socrates, Daphne plans to take
charge of Tinks the Terror and leave the crime-solving to handsome
detective Jonathan Black. But while luring the prickly Persian out of
hiding, she uncovers clues that might take suspicion off her own
mother. Maeve Templeton already has a reputation as a killer—in
real estate. How far would she go to bag Sylvan Creek’s most
coveted property, the Flynt Mansion?
To expose the truth, Daphne finds herself donning a deranged clown
costume on an autumnal adventure that might just be crazy enough to
work—if it doesn’t get her killed.
Includes recipes for homemade dog treats!
Doggone charming from start to finish!”
—Cleo Coyle, New York Times bestselling author
on Death by Chocolate Lab
Bethany Blake lives in a small, quaint town in Pennsylvania with her husband
and three daughters. When she’s not writing, cooking for pets and
people or riding horses, she’s wrangling a menagerie of furry family
members that includes a nervous pit bull, a fearsome feline, a blind
goldfish, and an attack cardinal named Robert. Like Daphne Templeton,
the heroine of her Lucky Paws Mysteries, Bethany holds a Ph.D. and
operates a pet sitting business called Barkley’s Premium Pet Care.

Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!

 

The Sweetheart Mystery

The Sweetheart Mystery
Brash & Brazen #4
by Cheryl Ann Smith
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Harper Jane Evans is so over pro
cheerleading but she’s not quite ready for prison. Good thing she’s
got a badass ex-boyfriend ready to go to bat for her . . .
Sure, Harper made a few unsavory threats against her team’s manager—she’d
had a few drinks and she despised the skimpy uniform he expected her
to wear. That didn’t mean she wanted him dead. But when the sleazy
dude is found murdered in his tighty whiteys, Harper is the number
one suspect—and former FBI agent Noah Slade is the one man who can
help. Too bad she once told Noah she never wanted to see him again .
. .
Noah may have done a number on Harper’s heart all those years ago, but
he’s determined to do right by her now. Yet the fiery beauty isn’t
the only demon from his past, which makes hunting down a murderer by
her side . . . complicated—never mind the powerful attraction still
pulsing between them. Good thing he’s willing to do just about
anything to keep from losing Harper again. And an old love just might
bring her a new career—assuming she can stay out of jail . . .
National bestselling author Cheryl Ann Smith became hooked on
romance at age fourteen when she stayed up all night to read The
Flame and The Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Her own writing journey
happened much later, when one afternoon she ran out of books and
decided to write her own. Previously, she has published five sexy
Regency novels and one novella with Berkley in her School for Brides
series.
Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!

 

Sunday Spotlight * A Scone to Die for

Sunday Mystery Spotlight –

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Free at this Time

Scones, a tea shop in England, a kitty & a murder – yes, please!”
When an American tourist is murdered with a scone in her quaint English tearoom, Gemma must solve the mystery with the help of the nosy Old Biddies and a mischievous little feline named Muesli. But between her bossy, matchmaking mother and the return of her old college love as a handsome CID detective, Gemma soon has her hands full and her head spinning!

Murder is bad for business, especially when customers think your scones are more deadly than delicious. With the body count rising and her tearoom going bust, can Gemma find the killer before things turn to custard?
(*Traditional English scone recipe included)

This book follows British English spelling and usage.
Clean read: no graphic violence, sex, or strong language.
Genre: humorous culinary cozy mysteries, cat cozy mystery series / women amateur sleuth / British detective mystery

 

My thought : Book1 in this series set in an English Tea Room. Gemma finds a dead body with a scone in his mouth & all look to Gemma as the murderer. In this cozy mystery set in England -with a great cast of characters and fun. Also includes a great recipe. Try book1 while it’s Free & start this great series out- Lisa

Review * Dial Meow for Murder

 

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book link

Even an experienced pet sitter like Daphne Templeton can be fooled by animal behavior: how can an adorably tiny fuzz ball named Tinkleston be capable of sudden flying leaps with cat claws bared? But human behavior remains even more mysterious, especially when Tinkleston’s owner is murdered on the night of a gala fundraiser for Fur-ever Friends Pet Rescue.

Accompanied by her unflappable basset hound, Socrates, Daphne plans to take charge of Tinks the Terror and leave the crime-solving to handsome detective Jonathan Black. But while luring the prickly Persian out of hiding, she uncovers clues that might take suspicion off her own mother. Maeve Templeton already has a reputation as a killer—in real estate. How far would she go to bag Sylvan Creek’s most coveted property, the Flynt Mansion?

To expose the truth, Daphne finds herself donning a deranged clown costume on an autumnal adventure that might just be crazy enough to work—if it doesn’t get her killed.

Includes recipes for homemade pet treats!

My Net Galley Review- A purrfect cozy mystery with Daphne and her four legged friends. Daphne is a fun loving zany mystery solving sleuth and she has come across another murder in this 2nd book. She must find a lost bad tempered cat and solve a murder. Buy she’s not alone with her quest. She got a cast of characters both 2 and 4 legged to help. Enjoy this fun Sunday read.  Lisa   

Death 0f the Kona Man

Death of the Kona Man
Aloha Lagoon Mysteries Book 9
by Catherine Bruns
Genre: Cozy Mystery
From USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bruns comes the next deadly
delicious Carrie Jorgenson adventure in paradise…

Carrie Jorgenson is living the dream in Hawaii. She has a steady job as a
waitress at the Loco Moco Café, a hot new love interest in her
manager, and the curtain’s about to rise on her role in a local
theater production. But when she’s asked to deliver food to a guest
at the Aloha Lagoon resort—who then drops dead!—her dreams
quickly become the stuff of nightmares.
World renowned food critic Randolph Cremshaw has no shortage of enemies.
He’s rude, patronizing, and famous for his one-star reviews. After
the coffee Carrie delivers is discovered to have been poisoned, she
and the café quickly rise to the top of the suspects list. A jealous
co-worker, thefts at the restaurant, and a performance that threatens
to blow up in Carrie’s face only make things worse. With an already
full plate, Carrie is also forced into making a decision that may
change everything for her. But this all pales in comparison when she
comes face to face with Randolph’s killer and what might be the final
curtain call…of her life.
Recipes included!
**Suggested to Read Death of the Big Kahuna first!**
**On sale from Oct 10th – 17th!**
About Aloha Lagoon:
**Books can be read in any order and they’re from multiple authors!**
There’s trouble in paradise…
Welcome to Aloha Lagoon, one of Hawaii’s hidden treasures. A little bit of
tropical paradise nestled along the coast of Kauai, this resort town
boasts luxurious accommodation, friendly island atmosphere…and only
a slightly higher than normal murder rate. While mysterious
circumstances may be the norm on our corner of the island, we’re
certain that our staff and Lagoon natives will make your stay in
Aloha Lagoon one you will never forget! visit us at
www.alohalagoonmysteries.com
The Aloha Lagoon Mysteries:
Ukulele Murder (book #1)
Murder on the Aloha Express (book #2)
Deadly Wipeout (book #3)
Deadly Bubbles in the Wine (book #4)
Mele Kalikimaka Murder (book #5)
Death of the Big Kahuna (book #6)
Ukulele Deadly (book #7)
Bikinis & Bloodshed (book #8)
Death of the Kona Man (book #9)
Catherine is the USA Today best selling author of the Cookies & Chance
mysteries. She lives in New York with her very patient husband, three
sons, and assorted cats and dogs. Catherine has a B.A. in English and
is a former newspaper reporter and press release writer. She also
writes the Cindy York and the Aloha Lagoon (Carrie Jorgenson)
mysteries. Her next Cookies & Chance mystery, Silenced by Sugar,
releases in January 2018.
Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!