Crushed VelvetThat jerk! That jerk of a husband of mine. He wants me to sell my tea recipes to an Italian food distributor. How could he? He knows the whole theme of Tea Totalers is French—that was my dream, to own a French-themed tea shop. I thought he understood. I mean, he always cracks jokes that the only reason I married him was because he had a French last name. When I said I wanted to serve food from France, he probably thought I meant French Fries.

I know he thinks the only reason I’m mad is because of the French/Italian mix-up, but it’s so much more than that. This tea shop is my whole world. You’d think it meant something to him too considering we met at the World Tea Expo. But lately I’ve been thinking that Phil doesn’t care all that much about me and my dreams. He spends more and more time away from home. He said the taxi fares at night are better than during the day, but if he really was doing it for the money, then why was he so eager for me to sell out? And now he’s going to meet with that distributor, I just know he is. That’s why he’s going to Los Angeles tonight instead of tomorrow morning like we’d planned. Los Angeles! Why anybody would want to spend their time in that big city instead of San Ladrón, our nice, quiet, and peaceful town, is beyond me. Even my friend Poly Monroe moved from there to here and she’s happy (but that might be because she’s about to reopen the fabric store.)

I grabbed the jambon and brie (ham and cheese, my aunt fanny!) sandwich that I’d made for Phil’s trip and took a bite, and then another. So much for the thoughtful picnic basket I packed for his trip. I finished the sandwich in four bites and guzzled tea straight from the fresh pitcher that I’d brewed for him too. That’ll show him, I thought. He could get a crummy burger from a drive-thru for all I cared. Maybe that’s what it would take for him to calm down and realize how well I took care of him.

I knew I shouldn’t be mad at Phil. He was just trying to help us make ends meet while Tea Totalers got on solid footing. Feeling guilty about the empty picnic basket, I set about packing a new one and brewing a pitcher of calming tea. That would have to help matter. Sure, Phil complained that the last time I tried this recipe he didn’t feel so well, but I could tweak the recipe. Maybe this time it would turn out differently.


You can read more about Genevieve in Crushed Velvet, the second book in the “Material Witness” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. The first book in the series is Suede To Rest.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on August 17 for the chance to win a print copy of Crushed Velvet. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected.

About the author
After two decades working for a top luxury retailer, Diane Vallere traded fashion accessories for accessories to murder. CRUSHED VELVET, the second book in the nationally bestselling and Lefty-Nominated Material Witness Cozy Mystery Series, comes out August 4. Diane is the current president of Sisters in Crime Los Angeles, and was co-chair of the 2015 California Crime Writers Conference. She also writes the Madison Night and Style & Error Mystery Series. Diane started her own detective agency at age ten and has maintained a passion for shoes, clues, and clothes ever since.

Visit Diane at www.dianevallere, on Twitter or on Facebook

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