12:01 AM: I am fast asleep. Dreaming of NYPD Detective Mike Quinn…
5:00 AM: Wake up to inexplicable ringing. Alarm? No. Madame is calling—the octogenarian owner of the coffeehouse I manage. “Did I wake you, dear?” she asks. I mumble into pillow: “No, I was re-calibrating the espresso machine.” She tells me about an “idea” for our shop. Something about feng shui. I drift back asleep.
6:08 AM: Awaken to Java and Frothy sitting on face. Must have turned off alarm when Madame called. I shower fast, throw on jeans and a Henley; feed my furry girls. No time for me to eat!
6:25 AM: Unlock shop for pastry delivery. First managerial decision of day—take “quality control” sample (or three) of warm Doughnut Muffins. Set aside a few for Quinn to enjoy on his AM break.
7:30 AM: Morning crush! Two baristas arrive to help: NYU grad student Esther (half-asleep) and former farm girl Nancy (wide awake). I save us from going bankrupt on incorrect change by putting sleepy Esther on pastry fulfillment; Nancy on register.
10:18 AM: Matt Allegro calls from Indonesia. Matt is the shop’s globetrotting coffee hunter. He’s also Madame’s son, my ex-husband, and the father of our daughter Joy. “Stuck in Jakarta!” He shouts over wind. “Trying to get these amazing coffee cherries on a boat before the typhoon hits. I was wondering—” Call cuts off. My attempts to reach him go to voicemail. I stress-eat a Chocolate-Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookie, with my double espresso.
10:45 AM: Cheered by the sight of Detective Mike Quinn at my coffee bar. I make him my special vanilla bean latte. Take first break of day.
11:18 AM: Quinn’s police radio crackles—young heiress found in Chumley’s famous courtyard, “overdosed” on drugs; peacock feathers in one hand; Village Blend cup in other. “That’s odd,” I say. “Even for Greenwich Village.” Quinn says he’ll tell me more later. Invites me to dinner at my favorite bistro. Leaves one of his Doughnut Muffins uneaten. (Can’t let it go to waste!)
12:30 PM: Lunch rush. My assistant manager Tucker calls with apologies. He’s stuck at an Off-Broadway audition. I skip lunch to cover for him.
1:00 PM: Dante arrives for barista shift, paint stains on jeans. Rolls up sleeves to show off tattoos. Co-eds rush counter.
2:40 PM: Daughter Joy, chef in training, texts from Paris with Pots de Crème recipe. She’s “copied” me on self-portrait Instagram to street-wise detective Emmanuel Franco. I find Joy’s photo far too flirty and her décolletage way too low! Matt would flip if he knew Joy was sending anything to “that mook flatfoot,” let alone this! Fortunately she didn’t copy her father, who I pray is still alive. More stress-snacking…
3:15 PM: Matt calls again. (Thank goodness!) “Clare!” (Wind in background now sounds like freight train.) “The typhoon beat me to the harbor. Flooding and high winds, but the cherries are safe. Listen, this is important—” Call cuts off. Oh for the love of…
3:30 PM: Matt’s mother phones from high tea at the St. Regis, asks if I’ve acted on her suggestion. Must finesse this because I don’t remember her suggestion! She sounds happy. Feel it best not to mention her only son is riding out a typhoon.
3:55 PM: Detective Franco appears with ginormous box of Korean pub-style Supernatural Sticky Wings. Taking pity on lunch-less me, he shares. Two bites in, he asks about daughter’s next trip home. (After that photo, I’m not surprised.)
5:05 PM: Barista Gardner Evans starts his shift with the best playlist of day, including his jazz ensemble Four on the Floor.
5:30 PM: Another call from Matt. “Storm’s over. Let’s talk coffee roasts…”
6:30 PM: Madame drops in before dinner and theater with gallery owner boyfriend. She’s changed her mind about the feng shui. “Otto points out that long, silk curtains on our open French doors could blow into our fireplace and burn down the shop. Let’s forget about those curtains…” (Easy because I didn’t remember in the first place.) Time for another espresso—and giant cookie.
7:45 PM: Upstairs lounge opens for Esther’s Slam Poetry session.
7:50 PM: Mike Quinn arrives looking troubled. Current case a puzzler. After years apprehending career criminals, my narcotics expert boyfriend is used to going for usual suspects. But not all crimes are usual and “out of the box” is my specialty—and not just the pastry box.
I suggest we talk over dinner. Unfortunately, I add: “I haven’t sat down for a meal all day, but I’m stuffed!” Mike takes my hand. “Then have a glass of wine, and afterwards maybe we can share…dessert?” I nod emphatically and we head off.
11:59 PM: I am fast asleep. Dreaming of Mike…
Join Clare Cosi for a double-shot of danger in her latest case, A BREW TO A KILL, now a “must-read mystery” of the month at B&N; a Mystery Guild Featured Alternate Selection; an audiobook from AudioGo (BBC America); and a Top-7 Bookscan hardcover mystery bestseller.
When a mysterious driver runs down an innocent friend and associate, Clare embarks on a New York odyssey, tracking down clues through the city’s diverse boroughs to stop a ruthless killer whose dark plan has only just begun. A BREW TO A KILL includes more than 20 recipes. Get a sneak peek at many of them by clicking here.
And don’t miss HOLIDAY BUZZ, Cleo’s “holiday special” paperback release between her hardcovers. When two hard-working young bakers are murdered during glittering December parties in New York, Clare won’t rest until justice is served. Releasing December 4, 2012, HOLIDAY BUZZ features an array of holiday recipes, including cookies, desserts, main entrees, and festive drinks. A Mystery Guild Featured Alternate Selection.
Here is the official book trailer for the Coffeehouse Mystery series
** Thanks to the Cleo, I have one (1) signed copy of A BREW TO A KILL and an NYPD Latte Cup. Contest open to residents of the US only. Contest ends August 26. Leave a valid-email address with your comment. Book and cup will be shipped directly from the author. **
Meet the Authors
Cleo Coyle is a pseudonym for Alice Alfonsi, who writes in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini. Like their 12 Coffeehouse Mystery novels, their 5 Haunted Bookshop novels (written under the name Alice Kimberly), are national bestselling works of amateur sleuth fiction for Penguin. When not haunting coffeehouses or hunting ghosts, Alice and Marc are New York Times bestselling media tie-in writers who have penned properties for Lucasfilm, NBC, Fox, Disney, Imagine, and MGM. Alice is a former journalist and children’s book author; Marc an author of military nonfiction and thrillers. They live and work in New York City. To find out more, visit their online coffeehouse at www.coffeehousemystery.com.
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