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Holiday Corner Christmas Cozy Mystery Book 5
BY DB McNICOL
What do money and baking have in common? Dough!
Holiday Corner is abuzz with excitement. The Cookie Box food truck is being repurposed by the owner of Sweet Kneads Bakery, Alberta (Bertie) Baker, with the help of her twin niece and nephew, Melody and Maxwell. AND, Cinnamon (Cinda) Starr, a famous actress and singer, is moving to town where she is repurposing an old mansion and converting it to an independent living facility for seniors as Snowball Village.
After reading an article in the Holiday Times newspaper, Cinda discovers the author is her financial advisor, Robin Finch, and she invited his to speak about elder fraud to the residents of Snowball Village.
When a fire ravages a local business, the town bands together and shows their true town spirit by organizing a huge charity benefit event for the owner. But things take a dark turn when Robin is accused of defrauding his clients when money goes missing from several accounts, including the charity funds that were collected.
Is Robin the thief? If not, then who could be responsible?
Two months later…
Once again, the Dash-in Diner was the hot spot for the latest gossip. The front page of the Holiday Times boldly announced the winning bidders in the first annual police auction. The one item of interest was that Alberta Baker, owner of the Sweet Kneads bakery, had placed the winning bid for the food truck that had been formerly known as The Cookie Box.
Of course, no one mentioned that Bertie was the only bidder.
Today a corner booth table hosted the coffee klatch attended by Joy, Emily, Catherine and Andy. The waitresses in the diner called them the Fearsome Foursome. They just called themselves the girls.
Catherine pointed to the newspaper headline. “Can you believe it? That old Cookie Box is going to be resurrected. I wonder what Randall will think about this.”
Emily frowned. “Oh my, do you think they will be making cookies again?”
Joy shrugged. “No idea, but since it’ll be mobile, I think it’s a great add for my business.” She turned to Andy. “What about you?”
“Sorry, did you say something?”
“Get your head out of the clouds, dearie,” Emily chuckled. “We all know what, or should I say WHO you’re thinking about.”
Andy blushed and shook her head. “I’m not. I just was thinking about my patient load this week. I may have to bring in another nurse or technician to help soon. Now, what were you talking about?”
The others laughed and pointed to the newspaper. ‘The Cookie Box!” they shouted simultaneously.
Emily waved Frank Lawson, the local sheriff, over to the booth. “Well, I think it’s great idea. Now that the Baker twins are out of school, they can help her with this. Don’t you agree, Frank?”
“Agree to what? I never blindly say yes, even to an attractive woman like you.”
Emily blushed. “You old flirt. It’s a good thing I know you are already spoken for or I might take you up on the offer. You could be my boy toy.”
Everyone laughed at the good-natured banter as Frank leaned down to kiss Joy on the cheek. “You’re looking mighty fine today. So what am I agreeing to?”
“We were talking about Bertie winning the Cookie Box in the auction. Emily thought the Baker twins might help her out. Have you heard anything about that?”
“Might have, but everything was said in confidence. I’d expect a public update from Bertie before the next issue of the newspaper. You’ll just have to wait.”
Emily stood and motioned for Frank to sit. “Well, I’m not waiting. I’m going to talk to Bertie right now.” She gathered up her ever-present red and green tote and strode off to pay her bill.
“Did we upset her?” Andy asked.
Catherine and Joy both said, “Nope!”
Catherine added, “That’s the Emily Dear we all know and love. If there’s anything new going on in town, she’ll find out everything.”
“Speaking of news, what’s this I hear about you and Wynter Wolfe?” Frank asked Andy. “You two seem to be the hottest couple in town.”
Andy laughed. “You’d think the Sheriff would have more important things to deal with than gossip about couples.”
Frank wiggled his eyebrows. “Oh, so you two ARE a couple!”
“We’re just friends. We have a lot in common and enjoy each other’s company,” she responded.
Joy and Catherine exchanged looks. “Sure,” they chimed.
Andy shrugged. “Okay, so we hit it off. He’s a great guy and understands the need to be flexible with my job duties.” She leaned in closer, “Best dating I’ve done since college!”
The ladies all giggled like teens and Frank laughed and winked at Joy. “Well, I’ll leave you all to your gossip. Some of us have real work to do.”
Donna is a retired IT professional who never thought she had a creative bone in her body. Over a dozen books later, she’s proven herself wrong. From police procedurals to traditional to cozy, she loves writing a good whodunit with a wide cast of characters. She currently lives in rural Tennessee with her husband and two silly black goldendoodles.
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