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Posts Tagged ‘cold case crumble’

I’ve welcomed Jennifer Joy back to Diary of an Eccentric to celebrate her latest release, Diamonds & Donuts: A Jessica James Cozy Mystery, the fourth installment of the Murder on the Equator series. Many of you know Jennifer for her Pride and Prejudice variations, but if you’re like me, your reading is varied and you’ll want to give her cozy mysteries a try. Jennifer is here with an excerpt from Diamonds & Donuts with an Austen connection — and keep reading for information on a promo deal for the first and second books in the series. Please give her a warm welcome!

As many of you are aware, I am a Regency romance writer with a special fondness for the characters in Pride & Prejudice. I love the history, the research, the innocent side of romance, and the intriguing contrast of people who lived at that turbulent period in time. It’s fascinating, and I enjoy every minute of it! In fact, I’ve already begun another standalone novel featuring a proud Mr. Darcy and a fiery Miss Elizabeth that I’m hoping to finish this summer.

So why did I start writing contemporary cozy mysteries set in my backyard? Because my backyard is GORGEOUS! And I wanted to share a piece of my life with you (except for the murder bits…that’s pure fiction). I wanted to write about the people who have had the most influence on me and my family without restrictions of time and place. That’s how Jessica James and her quirky friends came to be. Together, they solve mysteries and help conflict-averse, Jane-like Jessica bring out her inner, adventurous Lizzy. It’s a wild ride full of exotic destinations, third world quirks, a crazy cast of characters to root for, mystery, and humor.

The scene below is taken from a place near and dear to my heart, a waterfall about an hour away from my apartment: Pailon del Diablo. To say it’s beautiful is an understatement, but I hope you can appreciate a taste of its beauty in this excerpt. In this scene, Tia Rosa and Abuelita (elderly sisters who get Jessica into scrape after scrape) have conspired with Jessica’s grandma (whom she lovingly calls “Mammy”) to keep her out of her recently broken into apartment. Jake, adventure tour guide and Jessica’s love interest, drives them to the waterfall while Abuelita and Tia Rosa rig Jess’ apartment. It’s the calm before the storm, and I hope you enjoy it!

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An excerpt from Diamonds & Donuts, courtesy of Jennifer Joy

Liquid sunshine sprinkled on us halfway down the gravel trail, and I was grateful for the polyester blend shirt and yoga pants I wore. Everything got damp in the jungle.

Mammy stopped at a lookout to snap some pictures.

Jake turned to me, speaking low, “So what are Abuelita and Tia Rosa up to that they arranged for you to be out of the house most of the day? I’m guessing Mammy’s in on it, too.”

I smacked my forehead as comprehension lit the light bulb in my brain. The thing Tia Rosa had insisted on didn’t have anything to do with Jake and me.

It was a setup.

Jake looked at me in confusion, and I realized how stupid I must look. “Mosquito,” I mumbled, rubbing my hands against my yoga pants.

He was gracious enough to smile and ask no further questions.

Mammy turned around. The sweet expression of innocence in her smile and wide eyes convinced me that she’d overheard Jake. Also, whatever Abuelita and Tia Rosa were up to, she played a role in it.

With a sigh, I said, “Just promise me I’ll have a home to go back to?”

Mammy nodded gravely. “Oh, yes. They’re just making it safer for you until Jake’s friend can install the alarm.”

Jake chuckled. “This should be interesting.”

“I don’t feel safer,” I muttered, still feeling stupid for not seeing what Tia Rosa had so blatantly tried to communicate this morning. Abuelita wasn’t the only one who couldn’t take a hint.

We continued down the path, stepping over the springs of water streaming over the gravel.

Jake held his arms out at a patch of steeper incline. Mammy accepted with gusto, wrapping her arm around his and tapping her fingers against his bicep.

“Nice!” she said with a wink.

Jake laughed and shook his head while I tried to figure out how I could accept his help without actually touching him.

He made it easier when he grabbed my hand. The callouses on his fingers scratching my nerves into a frenzy. On a positive note, I didn’t melt or light on fire. I just had a harder time breathing.

“This should be interesting,” he said, talking to both of us as we proceeded down the path. “When I was in high school, Abuelita encouraged me to take a class on electricity.”

“Encouraged?” I asked in disbelief.

“Encouraged … demanded … I choose to remember my memories with Abuelita in a positive light,” he said.

I couldn’t help myself. “Think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure,” I quoted.

He looked down at me, his eyebrow raised. “Very well, Lizzy Bennet.”

We’d discussed literature before, but my heart melted just a little bit more at his knowledge of my all-time favorite classic, Pride & Prejudice. Most guys had no clue who Mr. Darcy was, let alone recognize a quote from my favorite book heroine.

He continued, “She wanted me to rig her windows with copper wires connected to batteries without shocking either of us.”

“Did you do it?” I asked, momentarily forgetting I was supposed to be nervous around him.

“Of course, I did. I earned extra credit for it, too. The only downside was that she forgot to tell my dad what she’d done, and he got a good shock when he cleaned her windows.”

I found comfort in not being the only one to get roped into Abuelita’s schemes.

Mammy said, “I doubt it was an accident. Bertha never did like your father.”

“Yeah, well, the feeling was mutual. But he stayed around another year after the incident. Washo is made of tougher stuff. I almost think Abuelita’s a little scared of him. She behaves herself more now that he’s around.”

I raised my eyebrows, trying to think of anything Abuelita was scared of. Respected, maybe. But scared? Nah.

“What do you think of Washo?” I asked.

Jake shrugged. “He’s a good guy. He helps Mom in the kitchen after he’s had a long day. He brings her lunch on his days off just so he can talk to her. She appreciates the break from the kitchen and loves eating food she hasn’t cooked.”

Mammy said, “That’s the way to any woman’s heart.”

Jake craned his neck to look at her. “Really? It’s that easy?”

Mammy grinned. “Not quite, but it’s a promising start.”

I did my best to shrink and be quiet, feeling like an intruder eavesdropping on their conversation.

Jake dropped my hand and pointed to a rock stairwell going back up the side of the mountain. “We’re here,” he said.

I looked at the stairwell, thinking how unfair it was to have to climb up it when we’d spent the last twenty minutes hiking downhill. Someone’s calculations had faltered.

The view from the top, however, silenced my inner grumblings. Ferns sprouted out of the rock face. The waterfall pounded into the river below with such a force, it vibrated in my chest and surrounded us with mist.

We continued forward and down another rock stairwell so close to the waterfall, it enveloped us in spray and roared in my ears. Whoever had carved the steps out of the mountainside were intrepid souls bent on sharing this natural beauty with others. And I was eternally grateful to them for going to the trouble.

The sun reflected off the spray, shooting dozens of little rainbows everywhere I looked.

Lady bit at the spray. To her, it must’ve looked like a giant hose nozzle. It sure felt like one.

We were sopping wet within seconds, but I was too full of awe to care.

I gripped the edge of the stone wall — the only barrier separating us from the roaring cauldron. I understood the waterfall’s name now. Pailón del Diablo. Devil’s Cauldron.

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The promo deal for Book 1 (FREE) and Book 2 (99 cents) ends Sunday, June 10, so act now! (The Amazon links are below with the description of each book.)

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Cabs, Cakes & Corpses (Murder on the Equator Book 1)

Defying the boundaries of her comfort zone … one murder at a time.

Jessica James isn’t the kind of girl who has adventures. She isn’t the kind of girl who hops on an airplane to a foreign destination. And she most definitely isn’t the kind of girl to traipse around in the jungle for a murder weapon. But one taxi ride changes everything.

Caught between the crime scene’s evidence and a hard-nosed homicide detective, Jessica is forced into one catastrophe after another as she searches for the truth. With the help of two elderly sisters (who are more troublesome than helpful), she’ll either catch a murderer … or end up in jail.

Will Jessica’s newfound bravery help her survive her vacation? Or will it make her the next victim?

Cabs, Cakes, and Corpses is the first novel in Jennifer Joy’s Murder on the Equator cozy mystery series set in the charming, touristy town of Baños, Ecuador — where majestic waterfalls carve through the Andes Mountains and the balmy jungle breezes carry your worries away to the tune of salsa music.

Read Cabs, Cakes, and Corpses to satisfy your craving for a quirky cast of characters to root for in this fast-paced story of mystery, humor, and discovery today!

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Rum Raisin Revenge (Murder on the Equator Book 2)

Just when she thought her vacation couldn’t get any worse, it does.

Jessica James has big plans to finally enjoy her vacation. But when she discovers a dead body in the freezer of a local ice cream shop, she’s soon mixed up in another mystery.

Caught between an investigation, an argument between two mischievous elderly sisters, and a televised fundraiser, Jessica finds herself neck deep in doughnuts, conflict, and unanswered questions.

Can Jessica stay out of trouble and off the camera while catching a criminal and raising money for a good cause? Or will she become the next headliner in the national news?

Rum Raisin Revenge is the second novel in Jennifer Joy’s Murder on the Equator cozy mystery series set in the charming, touristy town of Baños, Ecuador — where majestic waterfalls carve through the Andes Mountains and the balmy jungle breezes carry your worries away to the tune of salsa music.

Read Rum Raisin Revenge to satisfy your craving for a quirky cast of characters to root for in this fast-paced story of mystery, humor, and discovery today!

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Cold Case Crumble (Murder on the Equator Book 3)

Some secrets are best left buried.

Jessica James is helping her friends design the doughnut shop of her dreams. But when a skeleton is discovered under the foundation of the shop, the simple remodel turns into a full-fledged investigation.

With her friend’s livelihood on the line, Jessica cooks up a plan to discover the truth. But digging up the past unearths more secrets and Jessica’s troubles go from bad to worse when her dog disappears, her elderly “helpers” volunteer her to cater a school event, and the murderer claims another victim.

Will Jessica taste sweet victory and solve the cold case in time? Or will her investigation turn sour?

Cold Case Crumble is the second novel in Jennifer Joy’s Murder on the Equator cozy mystery series set in the charming, touristy town of Baños, Ecuador — where majestic waterfalls carve through the Andes Mountains and the balmy jungle breezes carry your worries away to the tune of salsa music.

Read Cold Case Crumble to satisfy your craving for a quirky cast of characters to root for in this fast-paced story of mystery, humor, and discovery today!

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Diamonds & Donuts (Murder on the Equator Book 4)

Family, Friendship, Community, and … Doughnuts.

A vandal is wreaking havoc in paradisiac Baños — and he’s got his sights set on Jessica James.

The grand opening of Jessica’s dream doughnut shop is days away. She’d rather sort sugary sprinkles than chase after another criminal. But when the crazed crook crosses the line, leaving nothing but a trail of flour behind him, desperate times call for desperate measures.

With the help of her trusted friends, Jessica determines to restore peace to her town, protect the people she’s grown to love, and save her shop from an unknown enemy out to sabotage The Sugar Shack.

Diamonds & Donuts is the fourth novel in Jennifer Joy’s Murder on the Equator cozy mystery series set in the charming, touristy small town of Baños, Ecuador — where majestic waterfalls carve through the Andes Mountains and the balmy jungle breezes carry your worries away to the tune of salsa music.

Read Diamonds & Donuts to satisfy your craving for a quirky cast of characters to root for in this fast-paced mystery of humor, travel, and discovery today!

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About the Author

Jennifer Joy

When Jennifer isn’t busy dreaming up new adventures for her favorite Jane Austen characters, she is learning Sign language, reading, baking (Cake really is her one weakness!), or chasing her twins around the park (because … calories).

Her wish is to continue to write sweet romances and mysteries with happy endings for years to come.

While she claims Oregon as her home, she currently lives high in the Andes mountains of Ecuador with her husband and two kids. All of them are fluent in Spanglish.

Right now, Jennifer is imagining how a courtship with such a turbulent beginning can possibly lead to a smooth Happily-Ever-After for Darcy and Elizabeth. She senses there’s more trouble to come and promises to keep a detailed account of events (because, let’s face it, it makes for fun reading!).

Connect with Jennifer Joy via Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter

Thank you, Jennifer, for being my guest today, and congratulations on your newest release!

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