Tag Archives: Penguin Random House

A day in the life of Pixie Poe by Lorna Barrett

When I was a little girl, I dreamed of being a movie star like Loretta Young, Ava Gardner, and Rita Hayworth. Oh, sure—my girlfriends were into Star Wars, styling their hair to look like cinnamon buns and ogling Han Solo, but not me. I wanted to wear silk gowns, fur coats, dance the night away on moonlight nights on ocean liners while drinking champagne (even if I didn’t know what that meant), and having fun, Fun, FUN – and kissing lots of boys. I liked to kiss boys. . .a lot.

Of course, my family wasn’t able to provide for a lifestyle filled with glamorous days and even more heavenly nights, so I guess it wasn’t surprising that I fell for any guy with a fancy line and a promise of better things to come. I made some bad choices, hung with the wrong people, and got arrested a lot of times. I ended up spending something like ten years in the slammer. Not all at once, you understand, but a few months here, a year or so there.

I had a lot of times on my hands while in stir and I used it to my advantage. I took secretarial classes (just watch me take shorthand at lightning speed. . .not that anybody uses it anymore), and I read. The library was kinda crappy—at least most of the girls thought so. Really old stuff—like the Maltese Falcon, anything and everything by Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, and on and on. I loved it. Those vintage mysteries reminded me of the wonderful old movies I loved as a kid.

So is it any wonder I ended up working in a vintage mystery bookstore. Of course, there were a couple of stumbling blocks along the way. Like, I kind of antagonized the owner of the store until she couldn’t stand the sight of me. But cooler heads prevailed, and her sister kinda sorta made her give me a chance, and that was the first time in my life I didn’t blow it.

And now I feel like I’m living the life of a movie star. I got me a fella, and a diamond ring, and he’s gonna make an honest woman of me. And I’m even getting a wedding shower. Can ya beat that?

My name is Pixie Poe (I’m a direct descendent of Edgar Allen Poe, you know) and I’m the luckiest girl in the world! Hope you’ll read all about my latest adventures in A Just Clause.

You can read more about Pixie in A Just Clause, the 11th book in the “Booktown” mystery series.

Just when things are getting back to normal in Booktown, Tricia and Angelica have their lives turned upside down by a shocking visitor from their past in this latest entry in Lorna Barrett’s New York Times bestselling series.

Tricia Miles, mystery bookstore owner and amateur sleuth, is in for a surprise when her ne’er-do-well father, John, comes to town—and promptly becomes a prime suspect in the murder of a woman with her own scandalous past. Even Tricia’s faith in the old man is shaken when the Stoneham police break the news that her father is a known con man who has done jail time.

But what about bestselling thriller author Steven Richardson? Is it a coincidence that he arrived for a book signing just before the crime or that the victim was found with a signed copy of his latest bestseller?

From merlot to murder, Tricia is determined to clear the family name before another body shows up and ruins Stoneham’s first—and highly anticipated—wine and jazz festival.

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About the author
The immensely popular Booktown Mystery series is what put Lorraine Bartlett’s pen name Lorna Barrett on the New York Times Bestseller list, but it’s her talent — whether writing as Lorna, or L.L. Bartlett, or Lorraine Bartlett — that keeps her there. This multi-published, Agatha-nominated author pens the exciting Jeff Resnick Mysteries as well as the acclaimed Victoria Square and Lotus bay Mystery series, and the Tales of Telenia adventure-fantasy saga, and has many short stories and novellas to her name(s).

Visit Lorraine at lorrainebartlett.com, or lornabarrett.com, or on Facebook, on Cozy Chicks, or on her Amazon Author Page

All comments are welcomed.

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When all hell breaks loose by Tori Sinclair as told to Elizabeth Lynn Casey

Have you ever been moving along through life, feeling like everything is going great, when, all of a sudden—Bam!—all hell seems to break loose?

Yeah, I figured you probably have. . .

It’s not fun, is it?

In a matter of days (actually, let’s make that hours), I found a dead body (in the trunk of a car), fell and hit my head (on a slab of concrete), saw one of my closest friends cry like I’ve never seen her cry (gut wrenching, I tell you), had another accuse me of being a traitor (and when seen through her eyes, I get it), and have had to accept the unacceptable where yet another one is concerned (though trust me, I’m fighting it with everything I am).

If I drank, I’d be drinking right now.

But since I don’t, I guess I better figure something else out. And fast.

You can read more about Tori in Patterned After Death, the 12th book in the “Southern Sewing Circle” mystery series.

Everyone in Sweet Briar, South Carolina, knows former high school football stars Jake Davis and Noah Madden. The two were fierce rivals once and now, twenty years later, the dueling quarterbacks haven’t lost their luster. So townsfolk are surprised when Jake and Noah team up for a business venture. And there’s only one suspect when Noah turns up murdered.

Margaret Louise, Jake’s mother and one of the founding members of the sewing circle, isn’t about to take the attack on her son’s reputation lying down. In fact, she’s in full mama-bear mode. And Tori and the rest of the Sweet Briar gang are more than willing to help her sharpen her claws to catch a killer.

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About the author
Elizabeth Lynn Casey (of the Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries) is a pen name for Laura Bradford, the national bestselling author of several mystery series, including the Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries, the Amish Mysteries, the Tobi Tobias Mysteries, and the Jenkins & Burns Mysteries. Laura is a former Agatha Award nominee, and the recipient of an RT Reviewer’s Choice Award in romance. When she’s not writing, Laura enjoys making memories with her family, baking, and being an advocate for those living with Multiple Sclerosis.

To learn more, visit her website: www.laurabradford.com, or hang out with her on Facebook and she can also be found occasionally tweeting at: @Bradfordauthor.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Patterned After Death. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends June 12, 2017. Good luck everyone!

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A day in the life with Laurel Inwood by Kylie Logan

Anyone who loves good food and enjoys cooking it has had the fantasy–owning their own restaurant. We picture ourselves greeting loyal customers and their friends (because of course all those loyal customers have talked us up to everyone they know). We imagine recommending wines from our extensive cellar, ordering the freshest and tastiest produce, coming up with new food combinations, new pairings, and new recipes that knock the socks off customers and critics alike.

And then there’s reality.

Believe me, I know. I’ve worked in the restaurant business a long time, most recently at Sophie’s Terminal at the Tracks in Hubbard, Ohio.

Wine pairings?


Soft candlelight and linen table cloths?

Not a chance.


Now there’s something we can talk about!

You see, in addition to taking care of all the usual restaurant business–updating the menu with our latest ethnic specials, handling the staff, making sure our patrons are happy–we here at Sophie’s have had a couple challenging mysteries to sort through lately. It started last year when the Lance of Justice, a local TV investigative reporter, was killed. I documented that case in “Irish Stewed.” Now this year . . .

I have to admit, I’m catching my breath here. Rocky Arnaud was not only Sophie’s best friend, she was helping me with our latest French specials. And to think of what happened to her . . .

The cops insisted it was suicide, but I knew from the start they were wrong. Rocky was more full of life than people half her age. She was a fan of French music, enjoyed French cooking, and loved nothing more in the entire world that Pacifique, the charming farm where she grew specialty vegetables and herbs. Rocky dead? The very thought still clutches as my throat and sends my heartbeat racing.

There was only one thing I could do and that was to investigate. I’ll let you read the details in “French Fried,” book #2 in the Ethnic Eats series, but let me just tell you that things got pretty complicated, what with the Statue of Liberty commemoration going on in town, and a famous historian visiting, and the over-the-top author on book tour, the one who’d written the sweeping French saga that was being turned into a TV series.

A day in the life? It’s hard enough to take care of everyday business in a restaurant. It’s even more of a challenge when there’s murder on the menu!

You can read more about Laurel in French Fried, the second book in the “Ethnic Eats” mystery series.

Poison du Jour

The Statue of Liberty is 130 years old, and for the struggling residents of Hubbard, Ohio, any opportunity to bring in tourists is reason enough for a celebration. Laurel Inwood and her aunt, Sophie, are pitching in. Sophie’s Terminal at the Tracks, a former greasy spoon turned charming ethnic eatery, will be offering French cuisine for the entire week.

For expert help with their quiche and escargot, the ladies turn to Raquel “Rocky” Arnaud, a former French chef and friend of Sophie. What looks like a match made in heaven turns rank as quickly as buttermilk on a summer’s day. Rocky turns up dead and when her nightly red wine shows notes of oak, cinnamon, and poison, Laurel turns from soufflé to sleuth.


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About the author
Kylie Logan is the bestselling author of the Ethnic Eats and the League of Literary Ladies mysteries. She has never had the fantasy of owning a restaurant and, in fact, finds it a challenge simply to decide what to cook for dinner each day. She does, however, enjoy good food almost as much as she enjoys a puzzling mystery. As Casey Daniels, she also writes the Pepper Martin mysteries. You can find her online at Facebook (Kylie Logan and Casey Daniels) or at www.kylielogan.com.

All comments are welcomed.

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A day in the life with Sabrina Tate by Kay Finch

I’m in the habit of looking at life through a good news/bad news window. For example, a restaurant might serve the best food I’ve ever eaten – that’s good news. They might also be the most expensive place I’ve ever eaten – that’s the bad news. A friend might have a health scare, which is very bad news, but recovers and the episode creates a new grateful attitude in that person’s life – good news. I view the events in my life the same way.

The good news is that I was able and could afford to leave my office job in the big city and move to Lavender in the heart of the Texas Hill Country where I planned to focus on writing mystery novels. Bad news is that I’m very easily distracted – and there’s plenty in Lavender to distract me, especially when dead bodies turn up. There’s no way I can stay at my laptop and write fiction when there’s a real murder to be solved.

Good news is that here in Lavender I can spend a lot of time with my dear Aunt Rowe. Bad news is Aunt Rowe is more than a handful. She does things that run-of-the-mill women her age probably wouldn’t consider doing. Like signing up with her senior friends to participate in a rodeo when none of them have any rodeo experience. She rented a pumpkin cannon for the annual pumpkin festival and pranced around the cannon to the point where I feared she would volunteer to be shot out of the cannon herself.

Good news is when I moved to Lavender a special black cat strolled into my life. You may have heard I named him Hitchcock because the suspense in my writing improved whenever he sat by my side and watched me write. Hitchcock lives with me in the Monte Carlo cottage, and I enjoy his company even though he gives me a good scare now and then. The bad news about Hitchcock is that some people in town actually believe my sweet cat is the legendary Bad Luck Cat. I try every which way to convince them he’s a normal, simple, and loveable black cat. He is not responsible for any deaths. In fact, he’s helped save my life more than once. Hitchcock brings me nothing but good luck, and that’s the best good news of all.

Good news in The Black Cat Sees His Shadow is I met a lovely young woman, Tia Hartwell, who looks remarkably like me – the sister I never had. Bad news is Tia’s involvement with a man who ends up dead at the annual pumpkin festival. Of course, I have to step in and help.

You can read more about Sabrina in The Black Cat Sees His Shadow, the third book in the “Bad Luck Cat” mystery series.

Mystery novelist Sabrina Tate and her cat, Hitchcock, set out to catch a conniving killer in the next Bad Luck Cat mystery from the author of The Black Cat Knocks on Wood and Black Cat Crossing.

The town of Lavender, Texas is buzzing with tourists, and local businesses are pulling out all the stops for the annual Pumpkin Days Festival. On the eve of opening day, Sabrina comes face-to-face with her doppelgänger, Tia Hartwell, a caricature artist at the festival. The similarities between the two women are striking, including their matching black cats.

Sabrina learns that her new twin Tia has an enemy: bad-tempered jewelry vendor Calvin Fisher. When Fisher is found slumped over dead in his pickup, Tia tops the suspect list. With the help of her feline sidekick, Sabrina must clear her new look-alike friend before she finds herself in a deadly case of double jeopardy.

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About the author
Kay Finch is the National Best-Selling author of the Bad Luck Cat Mysteries by Berkley Prime Crime – Black Cat Crossing, The Black Cat Knocks on Wood, and The Black Cat Sees His Shadow, a June 6, 2017 release. Though Kay’s character, Sabrina Tate, has left the paralegal profession behind to move to the Texas Hill Country, Kay still works as a paralegal at a Houston, Texas law firm. She resides in a Houston suburb with her husband and pets.

Connect with Kay at www.kayfinch.com

All comments are welcomed.

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A day in the life with Brooklyn Wainwright by Kate Carlisle

Kate Carlisle is the bestselling author of the Bibliophile Mysteries and the Fixer-Upper Mysteries (as seen on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries). In each Bibliophile Mystery, San Francisco bookbinder Brooklyn Wainwright solves a modern day murder linked to a rare book in her care. Her latest is Once upon a Spine. Read Chapters 1 and 2 free at KateCarlisle.com.

There are a lot of things I should do today. Organize my billing, exercise, make dinner—delicious and with zero calories, of course, so Derek’s mouth will water tonight, and his jaw will drop three months from now when I walk down the aisle. Here’s what I’m going to do: call my mom, visit a rare book I covet at my favorite bookshop, and scarf down a decadent piece of pie. I just found out that my future in-laws are coming from England to “get a look at” me, as Derek so eloquently put it, and I’m nervous. I’m call-my-mommy nervous. I’m pie-nervous.

(Although to be fair, I will grab at any excuse for pie.)

I’m sure I’ll love them. After all, they raised the most honorable man I know. The question is, what will my proper British in-laws think of me and my hippy-dippy California family? I’m probably not what they expect. People assume bookbinders are stodgy academics. They’re often surprised to learn that I was raised on a commune and am more comfortable in Birkenstocks than penny loafers.

Their surprise turns to shock when they discover I’ve solved more than ten murders.

That’s me. Brooklyn Wainwright, professional bookbinder, amateur sleuth. Not that I’m going to add the latter bit to my business cards anytime soon.

The call to my mom connects just as I enter Brothers Bookshop. I wave to the brothers—ex-brothers-in-law, to be precise—and go straight to the coveted book. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, encased in glass like the rare and precious thing it is.

“What’s wrong?” Mom asks, before even saying hello. She has a sixth sense when it comes to her kids.

“The British are coming.” I lean down for a closer look at Alice, willing the beauty of this sweet little book to lift my mood. It’s a first edition, sort of. This charming children’s book has a history almost as convoluted as the story it tells.

“Derek’s parents?” She squeals. “Oh, that’s wonderful! When? Your father and I will come into the city to be with you. I can’t wait to meet them.”

My heart stops dead. No! No, no, no, no, no. “You don’t have to—”

“We’ll take the smaller guest room,” she goes on, ignoring my interruption. “They can have the larger one.”


“Oh, should I come early to cleanse the place, in case there’s any residual negative energy from the murder?”

I give up. When Becky Wainwright sets her mind to something, there’s no dissuading her, and she’s set her mind on not only meeting Derek’s parents, but staying with them—with us—in our loft.

What could possibly go wrong? I ask myself with dark humor. You know, the fatalistic kind that has cops joking at a crime scene because it’s the only way to cope with something more terrible than a human can truly comprehend.

I might need two pieces of pie.

You can read more about Brooklyn in Once Upon A Spine, the 11th book in the “Bibliophile” mystery series.

San Francisco bookbinder Brooklyn Wainwright stumbles through the looking glass in a tale of murder, rare books, and a quest for the perfect pie. . .

Brooklyn’s oh-so-proper future in-laws are traveling from England to meet her, and if that’s not enough to set her on edge, rumors abound that the charming Courtyard Shops across the street may be replaced by high-rise apartments. Their trendy neighborhood will be ruined unless Brooklyn and her fiancé Derek Stone can persuade the shopkeepers not to sell.

But with a rare edition of Alice in Wonderland causing bad blood at the Brothers Bookshop and a string of petty vandalism making everyone nervous, Brooklyn and Derek feel like they’re attempting six impossible things before breakfast. Then the owner of The Rabbit Hole juice bar is felled by his own heavy shelves, and the local cobbler lies dead beside him. An accident . . . or something more sinister? Things get curiouser and curiouser when a second priceless copy of Alice is discovered. Will it stir up more trouble within the close-knit community?

As the Brits descend, Brooklyn learns they’re not so stuffy, after all. Derek’s dad is won over with chocolate cream pie, and his psychic mum would kill to help Brooklyn solve this murder—before another victim takes a tumble.

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All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a signed copy of Books of a Feather. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends June 8, 2017. Good luck everyone!

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A day in the life with Mackenzie Harris by Jenn McKinlay

Did you ever have that one life changing event? That one moment where you made a decision that changed the course of your life forever? I’m Mackenzie Harris, Mac to my friends, and this was mine.

Three days back in town and I was late meeting my friend Emma, so I took a short cut through an alley and was striding quickly down the uneven pavement when I heard a fierce growl that made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end. I stopped and slowly turned to my right.

There behind a dumpster next to the shattered remains of what looked like several pots of tulips was a brown dog, baring its teeth and looking like it wanted to rip my throat out.

“Easy, boy,” I said. My heart thumped hard in my chest and I glanced at the end of the alley to determine if I could escape if I ran. I had visions of trying and having the dog chase me down and clamp its powerful jaws on my leg or throat. I’d never make it.

I glanced back at the dog. It growled, keeping low to the ground. It had a big blocky head and from what I could see of its shoulders, it was built strong. Oh, man. Why couldn’t it be a Yorkie or a Shih Tzu?

I took a cautious step away and the dog growled, deeper and meaner. Then I heard a thumping sound. It was wagging its tail. What was that supposed to mean? I took another step away. The dog growled and it rumbled low and deep from its chest.

Okay, so the stepping away thing wasn’t really working for the dog. I stood still and studied the face staring at me from behind the dumpster.

“You don’t want me to leave, do you?”

The dog whimpered and I felt my heart clutch in my chest, maybe the poor thing was hurt.

“Listen, I don’t speak dog,” I said.

I glanced around, looking for help. There was no one, just me and the dog. I slowly crouched down, watching how the dog reacted.

“It’s okay,” I said. I kept my voice soft and kind. “I’m not going to hurt you.”

The dog whimpered and then wagged. Maybe it was hungry. I wished I had a dog treat, but then I remembered the granola bar in my pocket. Maybe some food would make the dog trust me.

I carefully pulled out the granola bar. I took off the wrapper and noticed that the dog never looked away from me.

“It probably tastes like rocks and sticks to you but it is food, I swear.” I held out my hand. The dog stared. I moved closer and the dog lowered itself to the ground, making me tense up and then it wagged.

“You’re really giving me mixed signals here,” I said.

I inched closer. I didn’t know what I’d do if the dog attacked her at this point. Die, I supposed.

“I’m not going to hurt you,” I said softly. “I promise.”

My legs were beginning to cramp and I was sure we were going to be in this stalemate until nightfall when the dog belly-crawled toward me just a few inches and stopped.

“Good dog,” I said. “That’s right. I got you.”

The dog crawled forward again, stopping just in front of my hand. I waited. The dog’s tail was still wagging and its ears were flopped to one side. The warm brown eyes never left my face. I really wished I could tell what the puppy was thinking.

To my surprise, the dog nudged the granola bar aside with its cold nose and pressed the top of its head into the palm of my hand.

“Oh,” I said softly.

The dog’s head felt like warm velvet beneath my fingers and it looked up at me with big brown eyes that seemed to have witnessed a world of hurt.

“It’s okay, baby,” I said. “You’re going to be okay.”

The dog made a deep shuddering sigh as if it was psyching itself up for something, then it cautiously climbed into my lap. The dog’s posture was rigid as if bracing for rejection. There was no question it was taking a huge leap of faith in trusting me. I felt my throat get tight as I looked into the dog’s earnest face, I could see the pretty eyes imploring, Please don’t hurt me!

“It’s okay, you’re safe now,” I said. I hugged the dog close until I felt it relax against me.

Now what to do? It was a ridiculous question. There was only one thing I could do. I had to take the puppy to the one guy I’d been avoiding like a case of the flu over the past few days. Gavin Tolliver, the town veterinarian, and the one man my poor heart had never forgotten during my seven years away from home. In short, I had to see a man about a dog.

You can read more about Mackenzie in About A Dog, the first book in the NEW “Bluff Point” romance series.

Fall in love with a little help from man’s best friend in New York Times bestselling author Jenn McKinlay’s contemporary romance debut.

Mackenzie “Mac” Harris fled her hometown of Bluff Point, Maine, after being left at the altar—and seeking solace in the arms of her best friend’s off-limits brother. Now, seven years later, she’s back to attend her best friend’s wedding—safe, or so she thinks, from the mistakes of her youth.

But Gavin Tolliver has never forgotten the woman who has always held his heart. And when Mac rescues a stray puppy named Tulip, only Gavin, the town’s veterinarian, can help. With a little assistance from Tulip, Gavin vows to make Mac realize that their feelings are more than just puppy love. . .

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About the author
Jenn is the New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly, and USA Today bestselling author of several mystery series and will be debuting her women’s fiction series on May 30, 2017, starting with the title About a Dog. She lives in sunny Arizona in a house that is overrun with kids, pets and her husband’s guitars. Visit her website at www.jennmckinlay.com.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life with Monica Albertson by Peg Cochran

Bringing in the Bees

Many people don’t realize that work on a cranberry farm continues all year round. They know about the fall harvest if they’ve seen the bogs flooded with water and the ruby red cranberries massed together before being sucked into the hopper.

Fall is also the time when the cranberry farmer has to be vigilant against frost, prepared to flood the bogs should the temperature go below freezing. More than once I’ve had to get up in the middle of the night to help my brother with the flooding.

During the winter, the bogs are flooded and when ice has formed, sand is spread out on top. When the water melts in the spring, the sand will filter down to the cranberry crop to encourage growth and keep out weeds. Winter is also the season when farmers spend time maintaining and repairing their equipment.

I’m busy, too. Our farm store is open all year long. We’ve added a commercial kitchen at Sassamanash Farm and I’ve been making our signature cranberry salsa for a local gourmet food chain. I also bake all sorts of cranberry goodies like scones, muffins and bread.

There’s still a danger of frost come spring so farmers are ready to flood the bogs at a moment’s notice. When the weather gets warmer, there’s weeding to be done as well as cleaning accumulated debris from the ditches that funnel water out to the bogs.

It late spring and I was walking toward the farm store and my new kitchen when I noticed a truck parked in a field alongside one of the bogs. It was stacked with unusual looking wood boxes—I’d never seen anything like them before.

My brother Jeff was talking to the driver of the truck.

“What are those boxes?” I pointed toward the truck.

Jeff smiled. “Those are bee hives. We’ve rented bees to pollinate the crop.”

I must have looked dumbstruck because Jeff went on to explain.

“There aren’t enough native bees to do the job. Cranberry flowers aren’t their first choice and most of them flock to the other flowers around the farm.”

The thought of a swarm of bees being released all at once made me rather nervous. I’ve been stung, and it hurts!

“Isn’t it dangerous?”

Jeff shook his head. “Nah. The bee keeper knows what he’s doing. You just have to be careful not to rile up the bees.”

I didn’t like the picture a swarm of riled up bees formed in my mind.

“Don’t worry. You won’t get stung,” Jeff said.

No, I thought later. I didn’t get stung. But someone else did and it proved fatal.

You can read more about Monica in Dead and Berried, the third book in the “Cranberry Cove” mystery series.

It’s hive time for murder in the latest Cranberry Cove mystery from national bestselling author Peg Cochran.

It’s June in Cranberry Cove and Monica Albertson’s plan to sell cranberry relish to chain stores is taking off. The cranberry bogs are in bloom, and local beekeeper Rick Taylor and his assistant Lori Wenk are bringing in bees to pollinate the blossoms. When a fatal prick fells Lori, the buzz is that Rick is to blame.

In trying to clear her friend’s name, Monica discovers that more than a few people in Cranberry Cove have felt the power of Lori’s venom, and it looks as if this time she may have agitated the hive a bit too much. With the fate of the farm on the line, Monica must get to the bottom of the crime before another victim gets stung.

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About the author
A former Jersey girl, Peg now resides in Michigan with her husband and Westhighland white terrier, Reg. She is the author of the Sweet Nothings Lingerie series (written as Meg London), the Gourmet De-Lite series, the Lucille series, the Cranberry Cove series and the Farmer’s Daughter series.

All comments are welcomed.