Where do you go when your life implodes on the Internet in front of millions of viewers? Well, if you’re me, Scarlett Parker, you hop the first plane out of Tampa, Florida and jet across the pond to your grandmother’s hat shop in Notting Hill. London, that is.
On the scale of bad break ups, with one being the “it’s not you it’s me” and ten being the “crazy ex-boyfriend stalker showing up at your wedding,” my break up would stick a solid nine point nine landing. The boyfriend of two years, who also happened to be my boss, yeah, he was still married. And I found this out when I walked into the anniversary party he was hosting for his wife at the hotel I managed for him. Good times.
I have no recall of the events, but apparently, according to the video that went viral, I have a pretty good cake flinging arm. So, needless to say, when my cousin Vivian called to check up on me after this fiasco, I was in a bit of a funk.
Now our grandmother, Mim, had passed away five years before and left her hat shop Mim’s Whims to the two of us. Viv was a natural fit as she grew up in Notting Hill and had helped in the shop since we were kids. Nowadays she is considered one of the hottest milliners in London and her career is definitely on the rise. Me? Well, hats are not my gift. The few hats I attempted over the years all came out looking like chamber pots. As you can imagine, there’s not a big market for hats like that. Pity.
My parents raised me in the States, but having spent all of my school holidays in London with Mim and Viv, I could feel the lure of a properly brewed cup of tea, clotted cream and cottage pies drawing me back to my mother’s homeland. Truth to be told, I hadn’t been back since I’d started seeing the rat bastard boyfriend and I felt a bit guilty about leaving Viv alone to deal with the business all by herself.
You can imagine my surprise when I came out of the underground at Notting Hill Gate, and it was not Viv who was waiting for me but her business manager Harrison Wentworth. Having just been burned by a good looking man, I was not inclined to trust him right away, but then he told me that his uncle had been Mim’s business manager and he had taken on the role when his uncle retired. That seemed reasonable.
It was not until we were on our way to the shop, however, that he told me the real reason he was picking me up instead of Viv. It wasn’t because she was meeting with a client or had gotten caught up in the throes of her latest project. Oh, no. The truth was my cousin Viv was missing.
Thanks to Penguin, I have one (1) copy of CLOCHE AND DAGGER to give away. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. The book will be shipped directly from the publisher. Contest ends August 8; US entries only per publisher’s request.
You can read more about Scarlett in Cloche and Dagger, the first book in the new “Hat Shop” mystery series.
Meet the author
A true Anglophile, Jenn McKinlay loves all things British. In her idea of a perfect world, every day would include high tea or wearing a fabulous hat, or both. This adoration of all things U.K. inspired her to write the “Hat Shop” Mysteries, which are set in London, one of her most favorite cities in the world. She now gets to visit London regularly—for research purposes, of course. Jenn is the New York Times bestselling author of the “Library Lover’s” mysteries, the “Cupcake Bakery” mysteries and writes under the names Josie Belle and Lucy Lawrence as well.
Books are available at retail and online booksellers.