My days are pretty similar. I get up early, drink two cups of very strong coffee from my French press, and get ready to run. I’m a chocolatier and if I want to sample my products and still be able to kick butt on the softball field, exercising every day is crucial.
I share a shop – Chocolates and Chapters – with my best friend, Erica Russell. She and her sister run the book store side. Can you imagine a better combination than chocolates and books?
It looks just like it sounds: a homey, welcoming store with books lining the walls, tempting customers to pick one up and read in an overstuffed chair, and the smell of chocolate enticing them to choose from my selection of sinful sweets. Chocolates and Chapters had become an unofficial community center for our little town of West Riverdale, Maryland. Our smattering of mismatched couches and coffee tables now host various committee meetings, knitting circles, book clubs and birthday parties.
Mondays are my favorite day of the week. That’s when I decide what chocolate magic my assistants and I will perform that week. I take stock of my supplies and then imagine. Will we make simple but amazing caramels, filled bonbons or elaborate truffles decorated with airbrushed designs? I could decide. I was queen of my little chocolate world. Wizard of the magic I’d create in my kitchen. Some people think of chocolate as an expression of passion and love, but to me chocolate is food and family and friends. It means kindness and giving.
My assistants open up the store on Mondays but have learned to steer clear of the kitchen for a few hours. I get to play and compose without interruption.
Unfortunately, one Monday doesn’t go as planned. Our friend is found murdered right in our shop, making Erica and I top suspects. State police Homicide Detective Roger Lockett didn’t know us like our small town police department does, but he’s going to learn that we’ll do anything to protect our store, our friends, and our town.
And we’re going to have a delicious story to tell.
Death is Like a Box of Chocolates
Whether it’s to satisfy a craving for chocolate or pick up the hottest new bestseller, the locals in charming West Riverdale, Maryland, are heading to Chocolates and Chapters, where everything sold is to die for…
Best friends Michelle Serrano and Erica Russell are celebrating the sweet rewards of their combined bookstore and chocolate shop by hosting the Great Fudge Cook-off during the town’s Memorial Day weekend Arts Festival. But success turns bittersweet when Main Street’s portrait photographer is found dead in their store, poisoned by Michelle’s signature truffles.
As suspicion mounts against Michelle, her sales begin to crumble and her career seems whipped. With Erica by her side, Michelle must pick through an assortment of suspects before the future of their dream store melts away…
Includes Scrumptious Chocolate-Making Recipes!
You can read more about Michelle in Death is Like a Box of Chocolates, the first in the new “Chocolate Covered” mystery series by Berkley Prime Crime.
GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on November 6 for the chance to win a copy of DEATH IS LIKE A BOX OF CHOCOLATES. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.
Kathy Aarons is the author of Death is Like a Box of Chocolates and research for the series was such a hardship: sampling chocolate, making chocolate, sampling more chocolate, and hanging out in bookstores.
After growing up in rural Pennsylvania and attending Carnegie Mellon University, Kathy built a career in public relations in New York City. She now lives in San Diego with her husband and two daughters where she wakes up far too early, and is currently obsessed with the Broadway Idiot documentary, finding the perfect cup of coffee, and Dallmann’s Sea Salt Caramels.