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Rosie Books

Lemon Murder Pie (A Sunny Side Up Cozy Mystery Book 5)

Lemon Murder Pie (A Sunny Side Up Cozy Mystery Book 5)

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Look Inside Chapter 1

Sunny, sweetheart, there’s no time to explain this in a note. I’ve found out something important related to the break-in that happened at the cottage a few weeks ago. Meet me at the café the minute you can—have your coffee and come quickly. Aunt Rita.

I scanned the handwritten letter I’d found in my aunt’s sun-yellow kitchen, blinking away sleep. It was just past 7:00 a.m., and my aunt, the hard worker that she was, had already left for the Sunny Side Up Café.

Her grumpy cat, Bodger, sat next to his half-full bowl of kitty food, eyeing me with his usual measure of disdain. Granted, that disdain had decreased over the past few weeks. One might’ve said Bodger liked me—he wasn’t about to claw at my ankles when I walked by anymore.

“What do you think, Bodger?” I asked. “Did she look upset when she left this morning?” I turned the letter over, but there was nothing written on the back.

Aunt Rita had left the note propped up against the coffee machine, knowing full well that I had to have my morning cup before I began thinking straight.

Bodger let out a low meow and flicked his tail. I couldn’t decide whether he was concerned or not, so I fixed a pot of coffee, yawning.

Now that I thought about it, Aunt Rita had been acting strange lately.

She’d been getting up even earlier than usual—and that was saying something since she rose before the early birds got a shot at the worms. Aunt Rita had a sense of mystery about her. She was the type of woman who kept her cards close to her chest, but she’d been pretty open with me.

Why was she changing her behavior now? And what was the note about?

I sipped my coffee, walked through to the living room, styled in creams and teals, and found my favorite dog in the world fast asleep on the sofa. Usually, Fudge, chocolate brown with curly fur, slept outside—shedding was a nightmare. Aunt Rita must’ve let him in.

“Good morning, Fudge,” I said.

He cracked an eyelid then let out a cute yip. Fudge wasn’t the type of dog who lounged around—he leaped to his feet, barking and jumping, trying to lick my cheeks.

“All right, all right.” I laughed and ruffled his fur, holding my coffee mug out of reach. “So, you saw Aunt Rita this morning too?”

Fudge barked, I assumed in the positive.

Bodger meowed from the kitchen—his annoyed “Give me more food now even though I haven’t finished my food” meow. Or was it the “This morning’s breakfast has been sitting out for a total of twenty minutes and is now spoiled, so you had better give me another bowl of fresh food immediately, peasant” meow?

Boy, that was a mouthful.

I walked through to the kitchen, picked up his bowl of kibble, and jostled it around before placing it back on the tiles. Satisfied, Bodger settled in front of his bowl again.

“Every morning, eh, Bodger?”

The end of his tail shuddered. 

With my morning routine out of the way, there was nothing left for me to do other than get ready for work at my favorite café and anticipate two things on the agenda for today.

First, whatever it was my aunt had to tell me about the break-in that had happened at the cottage a couple weeks ago.

And second, I had a date with Nick this evening.

Butterflies erupted in my stomach.

Nick and I had been on three dates in the past two weeks, and things had been going slowly. Well, but slowly. That suited me fine—I’d been through enough drama with my ex-husband, Damon, to last me a lifetime.

When I wasn’t worried that Nick would lose interest—a legacy of Damon’s behavior, I figured—I was stressed that my ex-husband’s nasty past would come back to bite my heels. Or other parts of my anatomy I’d prefer spared from pain.

Twenty minutes later, a car horn honked outside my aunt’s cottage.

“Coming,” I yelled, though Didi couldn’t hear me from the street.

I let Fudge out for the day, set the house alarm, then hurried into the small, neatly kept front yard. I waved at my friend, seated behind the wheel of her mother’s car.

Didi rolled down the windows. “Ready for another day in paradise?” she called, grinning at me. She wore glittery eye make-up and had streaks of purple in her shoulder-length black hair.

“Absolutely.” I shut the picket gate behind me, grimacing at the humidity. That was one part of living in Parfait, Florida, I wasn’t accustomed to. Heat and humidity in the early hours of the morning.

I got into the passenger seat and put on my seatbelt. Then I paused, frowning.

My aunt’s VW Beetle, blue, with an egg decal along the side, was still parked in our driveway. Usually, she took the car when she went into work early, which was why Didi was picking me up today. Perhaps, she’d decided to walk?

Then why didn’t she mention that in the note?

I shook the worries out of my head, dismissing them as humidity-induced paranoia. “How are you this morning, Didi?” I asked. “Sleep well?”

“Not really,” she replied, pleasantly. “I stayed up late to watch a livestream of the new release from SITS. It was amazing. Ji-hoon was… he was like an angel in the video.” She did a cutesy dance move and put up a peace sign. 

Didi was a major K-Pop fan. I’d once gone with her to a “Stars in the Sky” concert—her favorite group. 

“That’s great,” I said. “Did you enjoy it?” K-Pop definitely wasn’t my type of music, but it made me happy when Didi was happy. Especially since she didn’t have many friends her age.

“It was perfection,” Didi announced, her eyes on the road as we wound back into town and around to the boardwalk where the Sunny Side Up was situated.

Sunlight glimmered on the water, and a few early morning joggers paced their way down the boardwalk, past the Hungry Alligator restaurant and the other eateries, bakeries, bookstore, and animal shelter in the seaside street. The white sands were graced by surfers out to catch waves before the town woke up.

Didi parked her mother’s car next to Nick’s, and we entered the café, the air-conditioned interior providing instant relief. 

Sounds of prep came from the kitchen, and Karl, Didi’s boyfriend and one of the other servers in the café, sat at a table with its checked white and yellow tablecloth, wiping down menus.

I made a beeline for the office door behind the coffee bar at the back of the café, my aunt’s note fresh in my mind.

She’d said to come see her immediately.

I knocked on the office door then entered. “Auntie?”

I stopped, my hand still on the doorknob.

The office was silent, the leather chair tucked against the desk as it had been left the night before, the computer and desk lamp off.

What on earth? Where was Aunt Rita?

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There’s nothing sweeter than revenge. Except for lemon murder pie…

Life has returned to normal in Parfait, Florida. Unfortunately, normal is a relative term for Sunny Charles, who’s hoping that everything will stay peaceful in the Sunny Side Up Café.

Her wishes aren’t answered. When Sunny’s aunt goes missing, she’s convinced that nefarious causes are to blame, ones related to Sunny’s looming past and newly deceased ex-husband.

To make matters worse, a friend of Sunny’s new beau is murdered—a case of poisoning by lemon meringue pie. If Sunny doesn’t solve the case, she might wind up losing two people in one fell swoop.

With strange figures watching her from under shadowy eaves, and the certainty that all is ill in this cozy small town, Sunny’s got to solve two cases in one. That or risk losing everything she holds dear.

Can she figure out whodunit and free herself from her past? Find out in the final installment of the Sunny Side Up Cozy Mystery series—grab your copy today!

Continue reading if you enjoy: 

  • Cozy small towns
  • Stories with pets and food
  • Laugh out loud humor
  • ZERO profanity and gratuitous scenes 
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