Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Crust No One by Winnie Archer






Crust No One
A Bread Shop Mystery #2
by Winnie Archer
Genre: Cozy Mystery

Business is booming at Yeast of Eden. But with a deadly mystery taking over the seaside town of Santa Sofia, the Mexican bread shop can’t possibly leaven a killer’s appetite . . .
For once, Ivy Culpepper feels fulfilled. An apprenticeship at Yeast of Eden has opened her world to time-honored baking techniques under owner Olaya Solis’s guidance—as well as the freshest small-town gossip, courtesy of chatty regulars known as the Blackbird Ladies. Ivy even begins accepting that she and restaurateur Miguel Baptista may never again rekindle their romance—despite the undeniable tension between them . . .
But she’s tied to Miguel again when his trusted produce supplier goes missing. Old Hank Riviera’s financial troubles would make anyone consider running away forever. And with his relationship woes, there are plenty of people who might want to see Hank disappear. As Ivy, with the help of her octogenarian sidekick, turns to the loose-lipped Blackbird Ladies for leads, she soon finds herself caught in a web of lies stickier than a batch of Olaya’s popular pastries . . .







I took a deep breath before turning my back on the ocean, letting the loss of my mother fade to a warm memory. I trudged up the beach toward the pier.

Miguel watched me, leaning in to give me a kiss on my cheek when I finally reached him. A shiver of—something—went down my spine. Which is not what I wanted to feel. I wasn’t in high school anymore, after all, but Miguel still seemed able to coax a schoolgirl quiver out of me. I swallowed as I backed away, creating space between us. “Sorry it took me so long. The Winter Wonderland Festival. It takes a lot of planning.”

He brushed away the apology. “Oh, yeah, I know. We have a booth. Soup. Tamales. Chips and salsa.”

He winked. “And queso.”

I couldn’t help my smile, but deep down there was an ache in the pit of my stomach. I tried not to care, but I couldn’t help myself. I wanted to ask him why he’d left all those years ago. I wanted to know. Or did I? Did I really need to dredge up our history? Maybe he simply hadn’t loved me enough and couldn’t see a life with me. If that was the case, did I really need to know that? Better to leave well enough alone.

“So, you have some ideas for the brochure?” I said, getting down to business.

“I do,” he said. His green eyes, set against his olive skin, suddenly seemed . . . I don’t know—detached.

I couldn’t read his expression. It was as if the effort of being jovial had taken its toll and now he was done. He gestured with his arm, sweeping it in a circle toward the ocean. “I want a new menu. And I want a brochure to put at some of the local hotels, motels, and bed-and-breakfasts. Is that something you can do?”

“It depends. What do you want them to look like?”

“I want them to capture the setting. The ocean. The coast. Seafood. But all of it infused with Baptista’s Mexican culture.”

I gave a slow blink, my lips pressing together in contemplation. Or, if I was being honest, bafflement. Nothing like some high expectations. I had no idea how to capture all of that.
“It’s a little vague,” he said.

I nodded in agreement. “A little.”

“I don’t have much direction, Ivy. I just know we need to freshen things up. Not all that much has changed since my grandfather first opened the place, and that was in the fifties.”
I reached back into my memories. “Didn’t your parents remodel it when we were in high school?”

“The kitchen had an overhaul. They re-covered the old Naugahyde booths and got new tables, but my folks never did much more than that. We can afford to make some changes now. My dad . . . he had life insurance, so . . .” He trailed off, swallowing.

His father had died of a heart attack a few months before my mom had passed away. It was one thing we still had in common.

“So you want to remodel Baptista’s, but we’ll have to wait until the remodel is done to take pictures.”

He shook his head. “I’m going to do the renovations in sections. I can’t afford to have the place closed completely. But it’s time. I’m going to start with the dining room on the right, then work my way to the left. I’ll do the patio last. Too cold for that right now, anyway.”

The wind had picked up, whipping strands of my curls across my face. Miguel reached out, pulling a piece of my hair free from my eyelashes. “That . . . um . . . sounds like a good plan,” I said, just as someone called Miguel from the restaurant.


The indefatigable Winnie Archer is a middle school teacher by day and a writer by night. Born in a beach town in California, she now lives in an inspiring century-old house in North Texas and loves being surrounded by real-life history. She fantasizes about spending summers writing in quaint, cozy locales, has a love/hate relationship with both yoga and chocolate, adores pumpkin spice lattes, is devoted to her five kids and husband, and can’t believe she’s lucky enough to be living the life of her dreams.


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