The Begonia BribeIntroducing Rob Columbus, paramour of Cam Harris, the sleuth in The Garden Society Mysteries:

Today is one of those days I’m glad to be me. Alarm set for ten AM, lunch date with my gorgeous girlfriend, Cam, afternoon baseball games (watching a college one, then playing one in the local amateur league) and then doubleheader basketball in the evening. Oh, I know, some of you are shouting ‘get a job’ but that’s the beauty of it; I’m a sports reporter, so this is my job. I get up late because I have to stay up late, prioritizing the syndicated sports stories for my editor and meeting my own deadlines, but during the day most days? Sports, sports, sports.

Roanoke is smallish, and not what you’d call a prime sports market, but between colleges and being a stone’s throw from Washington DC, I get to enough live games to keep me happy. And I also get to write off the fancy cable that lets me watch four games at once, so I’m not complaining.

Very often.

There is the issue of defining sports. My boss seems to feel anything with an element of competition qualifies as sports, which is how he roped me into covering the Little Miss Begonia Pageant my girlfriend is coordinating. Now this isn’t college age beauties in swimsuits. This is elementary school girls, competing on talent, coordination, and poise.

Cam’s best friend Annie has been Tweeting me messages harassing me since Cam told her I’d be the reporter for the event. She even photoshopped a picture of me with a tiara and sash. That’s Annie, though. Any chance to tease someone and she takes it. It’s a good thing she bakes the world’s best brownies and brings out Cam’s playful side, or I might be annoyed.

I will just have to hope this event is as exciting as the last one I helped Cam with—that one ended up with a couple murders: a young reporter’s dream!


Thanks to Penguin, I have one (1) copy of THE BEGONIA BRIBE to give away. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. The book will be shipped directly from the publisher. Contest ends May 24; US entries only per publisher’s request.


You can read more about Rob in The Begonia Bribe , the second book in the “Garden Society” mystery series. The first book in the series is The Azalea Assault.

The Begonia Bribe Synopsis
Roanoke, Virginia, is home to some of the country’s most exquisite gardens, and it’s Camellia Harris’s job to promote them. But when a pint-sized beauty contest comes to town, someone decides to deliver a final judgment.

A beauty pageant for little girls—the Little Miss Begonia Pageant—has decided to hold their event in a Roanoke park. Camellia is called in to help deal with the botanical details, the cute contestants, and their catty mothers. She soon realizes that the drama onstage is nothing compared to the judges row. There’s jealousy, betrayal, and a love triangle involving local newsman—and known lothario—Telly Stevens. And a mysterious saboteur is trying to stop the pageant from happening at all. But the drama turns deadly when Stevens is found dead, poisoned by some sort of plant. With a full flowerbed of potential suspects, Cam needs to dig through the evidence to uproot a killer with a deadly green thumb.

Meet the author
Alyse Carlson is the pen name for Hart Johnson who can be found at Confessions of a Watery Tart, Facebook, her author page, or Twitter.

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

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