Karen’s Killer Book Bench #Cozy #Mystery: LITTLE GREY CELLS, Mysterious Ink Bookstore Mysteries Book 2 by Leeann Betts

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Mysterious Ink Bookstore Mysteries Book 2


A missing woman, a suitcase buried in a ceiling, and a rare manuscript. Who hid them? And why? And who wants them now?

Mysterious Ink Bookstore Mysteries Book 2


Chapter 1

Margie Hanson sighed and sat back from the ream of papers scattered on her dining room table. So much work, and so little time. And money. Granted, sales of rare and vintage books had increased since she inherited the shop four months before, but the day-to-day grind of selling used mystery books for a couple of dollars apiece wouldn’t pay the rest of the bills.

Or for the much-needed electrical upgrade to the entire building, brought to light on a recent inspection by the friendly guys at the local fire department.

I wish Grandma Carly could visit. Again.

She sipped her coffee to settle her nerves. And her thoughts. She could run this small business. And spearhead the needed renovations. As a college graduate in library and information sciences, she might not have much life experience yet, but surely she had enough intelligence to figure out who to hire.

What had the pastor said this morning in his message? I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

She exhaled. “Lord, give me strength, please.”

Of course, Ted Bloom, her Great-Aunt Rosella’s former love interest—that relationship having been nipped in the bud due to the woman’s untimely death in May—had already offered to do the work for a good price, but she wasn’t sure. His bid, certainly the lowest of the four she’d received to date, didn’t include some of the work the other companies had, including hauling off trash and moving or covering furniture. And when she asked, he admitted not carrying liability insurance. Meaning that she couldn’t sue him if something went wrong on the job. Or after, with his workmanship.

All of which boiled down to saving money and doing that part of the project herself, or forking out the additional money and leaving everything in the truly capable hands of a professional team instead of a one-man band. Either of which she could manage financially.

Still. . . with his bid at less than the cost of a new laptop—plus materials, of course, as were the other three estimates—while the others started at around the price of a used she-shed, perhaps she should go with cheap and roll up her sleeves. Sweat equity, and all that.

Not that she was a big fan of sweat.

She picked up her cell and dialed Ted’s number before she talked herself out of her decision. “Hi, Ted. It’s Margie Hanson.”

“Hi there. Made a decision? I could start tomorrow. I’ll email a list of materials. You can call the order in and I’ll pick it up on the way in.”

“Before I commit, what’s your anticipated schedule?”

“We’ll start in the binding room and work our way toward the store so that we get there on Monday, when you’re closed. I should be able to do the retail area in one day.”

“Sounds like a plan.” She sat back in her chair. His plan of action made perfect sense, which relieved a load of worries. “

“And you can work straight through? Excepting Sundays, of course. No other jobs planned?”

“Nope. I’ve been putting some folks off until a little later hoping you’d call.”

“Appreciate that, Ted. What do I need to do to be ready for you, besides the materials?”

“Choose your new paint colors, if you want to do that at the same time.”

“I’m going with a dove grey on the walls, white trim and ceilings and doors.”

“Ah, traditional, I like it. Rosella wouldn’t, of course.” He chuckled. “Oh, I miss her so much.”

Margie believed him. A few months ago she wouldn’t have. Not when she suspected him of killing her great-aunt. But now that she knew him better, she saw some of what Rosella did. “Anything else?”

“If you want to arrange a roll-off dumpster for tomorrow, that will be perfect. Shouldn’t fill it but the once for the project.”

She made a note. “Got it. What else?”

“Cover or move anything you don’t want getting dusty, including anything flammable. And if you feel comfortable working on the ceiling, you could take down the light fixtures. Just make sure the switches are off. And no standing in a puddle of water.”

This time a guffaw filled her ear.

She forced a half-smile. Must be an old electrician’s joke. “I can probably manage that. See you at nine tomorrow, okay? That gives me time before the shop opens. In case you need something else.”

Another laugh. “A pot of coffee, and a box of pastries from the bakery, and I’m good to go. See you then.”

She finished her java and considered her next move. A call to the dumpster company for the roll-off. She left her name, number, address, and asked for a unit to be delivered the next morning. By that time, Ted’s list waited in her Inbox. She called the local home improvement big box store then followed their directions on how to place her order online. Which she did.

That much accomplished, she checked her list. Right. Demolition work. Well, not really. Fluorescent fixture removal. Shouldn’t be difficult. She’d helped her dad around the house while growing up. Small stuff, to be sure, but, after all, she was a college graduate.

She could do this.

Meet Author Leeann Betts…

Leeann Betts writes contemporary romantic suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical romantic suspense. Together she and Donna have published more than 30 novellas and full-length novels. They ghostwrite, judge writing contests, edit, facilitate a critique group, and are members of American Christian Fiction Writers, Writers on the Rock, Christian Authors Network, Pikes Peak Writers, and Sisters in Crime. Leeann travels extensively to research her stories, and is proud to be represented by Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary LLC.


Links to Leeann’s website, blog, books, etc.:

Website: www.LeeannBetts.com
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Blog: www.AllBettsAreOff.wordpress.com

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What Can Be Online University: online courses on the craft of writing

Etsy online shop of original artwork, book folding art, and gift items: https://www.etsy.com/shop/Dare2DreamUS


Special Giveaways: Leeann will give away an ebook copy of LITTLE GREY CELLS to one lucky reader who comments to her question on Karen’s Killer Book Bench blog. QUESTION: Do you prefer standalone novels or series (or both), and why?

Happy Reading!


Thanks, Leeann, for sharing your story with us!

Don’t miss the chance to read this book!

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17 Responses to Karen’s Killer Book Bench #Cozy #Mystery: LITTLE GREY CELLS, Mysterious Ink Bookstore Mysteries Book 2 by Leeann Betts

  1. bn100 says:

    standalone, want a complete story

  2. Crystal says:

    I prefer both. Why? I love reading a series to how the story unfolds and what the plot twists and turns are. I also like to analyze a book and see if it the situation or situations can happen in real life, I like to see how the characters deal with the problems that they face and how they solve them. Most of all, I like to see if I can see if I can guess who the person or people who did it. I like a book that keeps me on the edge of my seat and keeps me guessing.
    This book looks like a great read. It makes me want to read and review it in print format. Would love to do this.
    I look forward to reading this book in print, learing more about the author and their books.
    Thanks for chance to Win.
    Hope I Win.

  3. Kathleen Bylsma says:

    For cozies, I prefer series because I like to watch characters grow…also, the authors I read generally write such compelling characters, I want to see more of the side characters.

  4. Karen Docter says:

    Good morning, Leeann, and welcome back to Karen’s Killer Book Bench. I like Margie already. A capable young woman. I’m intrigued by the hint of mystery. I want to know more about Ted and the aunt’s relationship. He seems a bit too eager to do the work. Cannot wait to find out what happens.

    I love series with standalone books, not so much straight series. Meaning, I don’t want to commit to a bunch of books to find out what happens to one person. I like series that ties together a place or a family, but with standalone books in the series. For instance, six brothers in a series, with each brother getting his own book. I guess it’s because I really don’t have time to commit to more than one book at a time and I do like endings. 🙂

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this story with us. I like, and write, both stand alone books and series. I’m currently working on the 5th, and final, story in my Heartland series. I love to read series because I get caught up in the characters and their lives, and I hate to finally have to say goodbye to them!

  6. Good first Chapter. Tweeted. Much luck with your sales.

  7. Eileen AW says:

    Thanks for sharing your book with us. Sounds intriguing but I definitely need more. Or was that your plan?!?

  8. Love the title. I like series that are read as standalone. No cliffhangers.

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