Karen’s Killer Book Bench: Knight In Shining Apron (An Appleton, WV Romantic Mystery, Book 2) by Carole Brown

Front Cover1 w apple blossom

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An Appleton, WV Romantic Mystery


Starli Cameron gave up her career plans to be a concert pianist to marry the man of her dreams. He turned out to be a nightmare. When he dies in a car accident, Starli takes the insurance money and builds a successful and upscale restaurant: Apple Blossoms in rural West Virginia. Threats from someone determined to ruin her life and the suspicious romantic advances from her new chef force Starli to search her heart and finally turn to God for real healing.

Sir Joel Peterman-Blair, top notch chef from England, is roped by his uncle, into filling in as head Chef at Apple Blossoms. Joel, with his sanguine-personality, has always laughed and flirted his way through life. But now, confronted with and attracted to the most beautiful woman he’s ever met, Joel has to prove his sincerity and depth of character to his icy-cold employer. Can his love for God and for this woman reach out far enough to rescue her from her own mistrust and bitterness? Will he learn that life is not all play?

And can they both work together to find the source of threats that seem to be coming from Starli’s past?

An Appleton, WV Romantic Mystery


Chapter One

Starli Cameron slashed off the last name on her list, the last possible candidate.

It’d been a long day, in spite of loving her work, so saying that was saying the impossible—for her—because she’d never said it before.

She had to admit, she was picky when it came to her beloved restaurant, Apple Blossoms. Anything and anyone to do with it came with high scrutiny from her. She wanted the best and only that for her business.

That last chef applicant, with his incessant sniffing, had driven her crazy. And what about the pompous one who’d strutted into her office with his fake Italian accent itemizing his demands. She’d not had a chance to say a word about her requirements. Good thing too. His dismissal had been fast—although she hoped, politely done.

She ripped the paper from the tablet, crumpled it and tossed her pencil to the tabletop just as the loud pounding began.

Hurrying to the front door, hoping it would be one of her best friends—Toni or Caroline—so she could let off some steam, she flipped on the porch light and peeked through the peephole.

An eye glared at her, and she jumped back, heart beating like a woodpecker determined to get at the insects behind the tree bark.

Roland Stratton. 

He can’t see me.

“Starlie-e-e. Open up before I beat down this door.” He accompanied his words with a couple more loud bangs from his big hands.

 God, please, not again. Starli gripped the door casing. “What do you want?”

“Think you’ve got it made, don’t you? While Ryan is decaying in the ground, his wife is playing the high-rolling, successful businesswoman to the tilt. You couldn’t even give him a son, could you?”

Dear Lord, please help me. A knife twisted in her heart. “No. That’s not—”

“Don’t bother to deny it.” The voice roared, anger resounding through it. He kicked at an empty flower pot, sending it down her steps to crash at the bottom in a hundred pieces.

“I have to make a living.” Desperation surged through her. She hated the whine in her voice.

“What about the five hundred grand he left you? Remember that measly amount? Did you squander it? Hoard it?”

Starli’s insides froze a little more. Was Roland Stratton, Ryan’s brother, after the money? Too late. It’d all gone toward opening the restaurant.

She recognized the feelings raging through her. Anger, hurt, dismay, defeat. But she didn’t want to address them. Didn’t even want to acknowledge them. She peeked through the hole again.

Her husband’s brother staggered over to one of the porch stands and stared down at it. Then drawing back his leg, he gave it a vicious kick and sent it sailing across the porch.

“I went back to school and started the restaurant. That took money—”

“You’re as stupid as Ryan always said.” A coarse laugh grated through the door. “Too stupid to live. But you did, didn’t you, Starliee-e? Ryan died, but you lived.”

Starli pressed her head against the door.

When he moved away soon after Ryan’s accident, she’d thought she was done with the Strattons, that she’d at last find some peace.

But he hadn’t stayed away. His police reassignment back in Appleton scared her. She knew what the Strattons were capable of. What could she say to pacify him? Anything? Nothing?

“Look down at that ugly finger of yours, Starlie-e-e.”

Starli’s gaze dropped to her left pinkie. The crooked one. The reminder. Fear thudded in her chest.

“I think you need another reminder.” His coarse, drunken laugh drowned out the bang, bang, bang his fists repeatedly applied to the wooden door.

“No.” The single, whispered word exploded from her throat.

The sudden silence played in her ears like a dreaded dirge.

He was gone. For now.

Meet Author Carole Brown… 

CaroleAug14 (14) cropped

Besides being an active participant of many writing groups, Carole enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense, tough topics, romance and whimsy into her books, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?


Links to Carole’s website, blog, books, etc.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2aOmqAC

Personal blog:


Amazon Author Page:

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/browncarole212

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/sunnywrtr/boards/




Word Sharpeners:

Stitches in Time:


Front Cover1 w apple blossom**SPECIAL GIVEAWAY**: Carole is giving away a print (U.S. only) or Kindle (winner’s choice) copy of KNIGHT IN SHINING APRON to one lucky reader who comments on her **Author Peek** or Karen’s Killer Book Bench blogs. Thank you, Carole, for sharing your story with us.

Don’t miss the chance to read this book!

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12 Responses to Karen’s Killer Book Bench: Knight In Shining Apron (An Appleton, WV Romantic Mystery, Book 2) by Carole Brown

  1. Rose Arbor says:

    Thanks, Carole, for a wonderful excerpt. I would love to win your book.
    And thanks, Karen, for hosting her.

  2. Karen Docter says:

    Good morning, Carole, and welcome back to Karen’s Killer Book Bench. Roland is scary! Starli is going to need help from her hero. Joel sounds like just the man for her. Thanks for sharing your book with us. Can’t wait to read it!

  3. Nice introduction and excerpt: curious and curiouser! Hello, Carole and, thanks Karen!

  4. Lori says:

    Great post! I did enjoy the excerpt and hope to read more ?

  5. bn100 says:

    nice chapter

  6. Tammy Hall says:

    I so enjoyed reading the excerpt from Knight in Shining Apron. Sounds like an awesome read.

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