Gilt By AssociationI have a new recipe in the oven–Chocolate-Coffee Loaf. It’s going to be yummy. With cocoa and coffee, how can it not be? Easy too with one bowl mix-up. While that’s baking, I’m planning the finishing touches to my next house staging.

I’ve never staged a house with a HEARTS AND FLOWERS theme before but it seems fitting with Valentine’s Day right around the corner. Louise Downing and her husband have been married over thirty years, almost as long as my own parents. Louise and Chet have one of those Cinderella and Prince Charming romances. She was his secretary at The Pretzel Factory, the company he owned. They fell in love and he swept her into his lifestyle. I know all this because my mom and Louise have been best friends ever since Louise arrived in Kismet and they met at St. Francis of Assisi Church. There does seem to be a little tension between Louise and Chet now since he’s selling The Pretzel Factory and retiring. But they’re going to travel and live happily-ever-after, right?

I don’t think in terms of happily-ever-after. But I wonder if Grant Weatherford, my brother’s law partner, will be attending the Valentine’s Day dance. We seem to be establishing a deeper friendship ever since we delivered a litter of cocker spaniel pups together. The fact that he adopted one could mean he’s ready to move on from the tragedy in his past and care again. We could sit together for dinner at the dance. Kismet’s Give-from-the-heart Day includes a clothing and food drive as well as the community dance. My sister Nikki and I will be helping to decorate. Mom and Nana are helping with the clothing drive. Nikki is catering the dance and I’ve already gotten a glimpse of her heart-shaped cookies. I wonder if I’ll hear from Seth for the holiday. His fellowship in Trauma Medicine at Johns Hopkins is keeping him almost too busy to email. . .and I miss him.

I should call Bella to see if she’s getting any more sleep. With two kids and now a new infant son, she and Joe have both been sleep deprived. But they love little Benedict to bits. And their marriage seems to be back on track too. As soon as I can, I’ll take Megan and Timmy ice skating and give Bella and Joe some time alone with Benny.

Lady is nosing my foot because she wants to play. At seven months old, my cocker spaniel pays attention when we go through training in the back yard. She’s learned the “heel” command and hardly ever pulls on her leash. She and my long haired calico Sophia get along really well. They even exercise with a friendly chase most mornings. Oops! There they go now.

Time to take the Chocolate Coffee Loaf from the oven and have a taste!

You can read more about Caprice in Gilt by Association, the third book in the “Caprice De Luca” mystery series, published by Kensington. The first book in the series is Staged to Death.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on February 13 for the chance to win a digital copy of STAGED TO DEATH as well as a $10 Amazon gift card. The giveaway is open to everyone. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes.

About the author
USA Today best-selling author Karen Rose Smith will see her 87th novel published in 2015. An only child, Karen delved into books at an early age. She learned about kindred spirits from Anne of Green Gables, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew, and wished she could have been the rider on The Black Stallion. Yet even though she escaped often into story worlds, she had many aunts, uncles and cousins around her on weekends. Her sense of family and relationships began there. Maybe that’s why families are a strong theme in her novels, whether mysteries or romances.

Readers often ask her about her pastimes. She has herb, flower and vegetable gardens that help her relax. In the winter, she cooks rather than gardens. And year round she spends most of her time with her husband, as well as her four rescued cats who are her constant companions. They chase rainbows from sun catchers, reminding her life isn’t all about work, awards and Bestseller lists. Everyone needs that rainbow to chase.

Karen Looks forward to interacting with readers. Her website is the portal to her latest news, releases and social media feeds at It’s like a treasure map with new surprises to reveal at each click. For day to day chatting, search on Facebook for KarenRoseSmithBooks. Tweet with Karen on Twitter @karenrosesmith. Her blog, Cats, Roses…and Books! discusses whatever is uppermost in her mind at She hopes each and every one of her books brings you reading pleasure and warm feelings to surround your heart.

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