Book Blitz & Excerpt: The Heavenly Hazelnut Murder + Giveaway

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The Heavenly Hazelnut Murder

by CC Dragon

General Release Date: 5th January 2021

Heat Rating: Simmering
Format: EBOOK
ISBN: 978-1-83943-403-7
Sexometer: 1
Word Count: 54,935
Language: English
Book Length: NOVEL
Pages: 216
Genres: COMEDY AND HUMOUR, CONTEMPORARY, CRIME AND MYSTERY, SWEET ROMANCE

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Book Description

Everyone has secrets…even a pastor.

Life had been back to normal in Sweet Grove, with smoothie sales up and murders down to zero. With Gran’s shop doing well, Belle helps her best friend by tending bar at the Honey Buckle whenever needed. Belle tries her best to like Pastor Luke, who she’s been dating for the last few weeks, but when she finds out he’s been less than genuine, things end badly. Their break-up is epic gossip all around the small town.

When the pastor turns up dead, people rush to suspect her. Apparently, their fight about her spending so much time in a bar was overheard. Belle knows she didn’t do it, but who would kill a pastor? Who else would have a motive? With the handsome but romantically complicated sheriff asking her a lot of questions, Belle decides she needs to get to the bottom of it ASAP.

This had better be the last murder in Sweet Grove, or Belle’s amateur sleuthing might become a habit…

Reader advisory: This book contains references to parental abandonment, off-page murder and brief references to domestic abuse and infidelity.

Excerpt

“Harry!” I shouted across the back of the Honey Buckle bar. “Keg change now, please!”

One of Katie’s brothers gave me a thumbs up and went to the back.

“Busy?” Lurlene teased as she nursed a margarita.

“As a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest, thanks for your concern,” I replied to my old high school nemesis. She and I had an uneasy truce, or she was being fake-nice. Sometimes it was hard to tell. In the south, people were nice when they were insulting a person to their face.

She smiled and glanced at my hands as I set down fresh coasters. “I could fix up your nails. A nice French tip or something. Clean but to actually show you’re a lady.”

“Thanks, but I do too much baking with Gran. I can’t risk any chips coming off in the dough,” I replied.

“Wear gloves. That’s how real places prep food. Yuck,” Lurlene said.

“Everything we do is homemade to the highest standards. Gran is a clean freak and you know it. But gloves are a good idea,” I admitted. “We use them at the shop, of course, but a lot is made at home.”

Katie sighed. “This is cute, you two actually talking nice for a minute, and we’re all happy you started cosmetology school, Lurlene, but Belle has customers. She’s here to work. Get yourself a life.”

Lurlene glared at Katie. That wasn’t normal for Katie at all. She got firm when needed with people who overindulged, but she’d never snap at paying customers. Maybe I was just off today?

“Sorry, it’s hard to be nice to customers and be efficient. We were cackling like hens. Where’s Martha?” I asked Katie. I had a degree in hospitality but the small town south had its own rules about being nice. I missed the city for the anonymity and the money. Still, Gran had had a few spells and needed someone around. My parents had run off after I was born, and my grandfather was dead, so it was down to me. I’d never minded being an only child before and I loved Gran to bits, but it’d be nice to have someone to share the pressure with—to run options with. But no, there was just me.

Martha, another friend from high school, was working tonight too. Katie pointed to the tables of thirsty patrons and I caught a glimpse of Martha in the crowd. “She’s got the tables now. You’ve got new guys at the bar. Keep ’em coming.”

I turned and smiled at the new guys. “What’s your poison?”

“Four beers,” one ordered.

I popped open four bottles of beer.

“We wanted tap,” he said, like I was an idiot.

I grinned. “People in hell want ice water. Keg is dead. I’m waiting for a change. You want it now? Then you get the bottle. Next round will be tap.”

They grumbled, but I kept a smile plastered on my face. More complaining and they might get around half off, but I wasn’t giving it away because we were busy.

Martha walked up with a tray of empties. “Sorry, my ex called twice. Like he can’t watch his own kids for one night.”

Harry carried out a keg. “Make way, ladies. I’m here to rescue the bar.”

“How helpful.” Martha blushed.

“You could’ve checked the kegs before opening and been a real knight in shining armor,” I scolded.

“Have you met my sister? We’re going to waste the last five glasses in one keg because it’s close to change? That’s not how you make money,” Harry warned.

Katie poked me in the arm. “He’s right. Let him work, and you hit the blender. Girls’ night in the corner and they want another round of margaritas.”

“On it. Strawberry again?” I enjoyed the blended drinks. It felt like making smoothies at my own shop.

“Yep, then we’ll be out of strawberries, but they won’t care. If they want another round, switch them out to lime.” Katie waved it off and her many bangles jingled.

She looked like she should be running a bar. Always dressed like a cowgirl, Katie wore a tight T-shirt that promoted her establishment. Big jewelry and a big smile were part of her ensemble. Her family was a mishmash of a train wreck, like mine, so we’d been besties forever.

While Katie filled Martha’s orders for the tables, I blended up a bunch of frozen cocktails. Harry set up the keg and drew himself one.

I shot him a look. “Saw that. Not when you’re working.”

“Gotta test my work for quality.” He grinned. “It’s mostly foam, it’s for the customers. They’ll get a good pull.”

“Working okay?” I teased.

He nodded.

“Great. I think we’re stocked now up here, so take those dirty glasses with you to the back. Run a load of glasses, then we might need you bouncing. People seem to want a keg attached to their mouths.”

“You’re as bossy as my sister,” he said.

“I’m happy to run the dishwasher if you want to tend bar. Bouncing, that’s not me. I’m a tiny blonde. They’d just laugh at me.” I checked my image in the mirror behind the bar. My ponytail was still high and tight. Makeup was fine. I wore a Honey Buckle T-shirt, jeans and gym shoes with good support. What? No one saw my feet behind the bar. When I went out, I could rock heels like any good southern girl, but the right shoes for the right job…

“Fine. I don’t like dealing with people. I got a new job anyway. Day job,” Harry said.

“Congrats. But your sister needs you now and that’s what family is for.” I nudged the tray of empty glasses at him to clear.

He did and disappeared in the back.

I loaded the margaritas up on a fresh tray as Martha picked up another one ready for her tables. “He’s so nice,” Martha said.

“Harry? Yeah, a prince. He’ll want a hug for running the dishwasher. Need me to take these?” I asked.

“I’ll do it. You spill,” Katie cut in.

It was true. I’m not the best with a tray. When I tried to waitress once, I failed miserably and ended up working in coffee shops. “I slung coffee at Starbucks for years, but those cups generally had lids. Why does coffee always have a lid and alcohol so rarely does? Seems like people drinking booze would spill more,” I pondered.

Katie chuckled. “They spill it, they want more, so they’ll just buy more. Better for business not to have lids. Coffee people would just demand a free refill.”

“You really did find the perfect business to run,” I teased my best friend.

“Thanks. Gotta go introduce the band. Gus is sitting with them sometime tonight…hope that’s okay,” Katie said.

“Sure. I’ve been dating Luke for a few weeks. Gus is old news,” I said. Gus was the local sheriff who’d been flirting with me since he moved into town. Unfortunately, his past was more complicated than he’d let on. Everyone had a past, but if a man doesn’t ’fess up and the other woman still has the ring, it’s just too much drama for me. Even if the man was tall, handsome, musical and seemed good at heart.

Katie arched an eyebrow but headed off. As the band played, without Gus as of yet, the crowd calmed down to nurse their beverages instead of downing them like they were dying of thirst.

Martha and Katie made it to the bar and we restocked a bit before enjoying the music.

“What happened with Gus?” Martha asked.

“Nothing, I told you…we were solving a murder together. We also happened to run into his ex-fiancée at a dive bar. She gave him the ring back. Very weird. But I’m not looking for that sort of drama or a guy that fresh off of a super-serious relationship,” I said.

“You and Pastor Luke are a couple now? Rebound maybe, but it’ll never work,” Lurlene snarked.

“Oh, goodie, are we back to the mean girls thing?” I teased.

Lurlene shook her head. “I’m being nice here. See, people always think I’m being mean when I’m trying to be constructively kind and give them a heads-up on the rest of the world. How people really think. You’re too sweet and Katie is too polite to tell you, but the pastor isn’t going to get serious about someone with your history. Your past—it’s not your fault but it’s not a secret.”

“That’s a pretty crappy pastor,” Martha remarked then waved back at a table signaling her. “I’m going to make a round.”

“Thanks, Martha. Lurlene, quit it,” Katie warned.

“No, go on. A pastor is going to judge me for my parents running off after I was born and leaving me with Gran? They were young and clearly not ready to be parents. That’s not my fault. I was raised right by my grandparents,” I defended myself.

“That is all true. You even try extra hard to be a Goody Two-shoes, and he’s not going to judge you for their behavior…he’s going to judge you for yours. Running off to the big city alone,” she pointed out.

“Otherwise known as going to college,” I replied.

“Not all colleges are big-city ones. Plus you’re working in a bar. You’re simply not pastor’s wife material,” she said.

“We’re just dating! I’m not looking for a husband! Hey, has anyone seen Big Ed? I know I don’t work every night, but he was a regular and he’s been gone awhile.”

“He’s a long-haul trucker. He’ll be gone a week or so at a time. Then he’s home for a week or just a weekend. Give it a week or so and he’ll turn up—he always does.” Katie waved it off.

“Nice trying to dodge the topic. You’d be better off with a guy like Gus.” Lurlene winked.

Just then, Gus sat at the bar. “Are my ears burning?’

“Katie mentioned you’d be sitting in with the band. Guess you’re late,” I replied.

“Sitting in doesn’t mean their whole set. What’s this I hear about your grandmother letting the musicians park on her land?” he asked.

I lifted a shoulder. “She’s nice to people. They needed a place to park and I guess the trailer lots around town were full. That or the guys made too much noise.”

“Very charitable of her. Any trouble, you call me.” Luke appeared through the crowd like he’d been lurking and listening.

I did my best to mask my surprise. He sat on the other side of Lurlene and another guy sat next him. There was enough of a resemblance between them that I knew he had to be a cousin or some relation.

“Hey, what can I get you two?” I asked.

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About the Author

CC Dragon

A loyal Chicago girl who loves deep dish pizza, the Cubs, and The Lake, her close fam moved to TN so she ends up visiting the South more than she ever planned! CC Dragon is fascinated by the magical and paranormal as well as the quirks of the south. She loves creating characters who solve mysteries. A coffee and chocolate addict who loves fast cars, she’s still looking for a hero who likes to cook and clean…so she can write more!

Check out CC Dragon’s website and follow her on Instagram.

Giveaway

Enter to win a fabulous Goody Bag and a FREE CC Dragon mystery book!

CC Dragon’s The Heavenly Hazelnut Murder Giveaway

CC DRAGON IS GIVING AWAY THIS FABULOUS PRIZE TO ONE LUCKY WINNER. ENTER HERE FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A LOVELY GOODIE BAG AND GRAB YOUR FREE CC DRAGON MYSTERY BOOK! Notice: This competition ends on 13th January 2021 at 5pm GMT. Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.


Spotlight & Excerpt: Love’s Sweet Return + Giveaway

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On Tour with Prism Book Tours


Love’s Sweet Return
(Keepers of the Light #1)
By Krystal M. Anderson
Sweet Historical Romance
ebook, 115 Pages
January 7, 2020

Keepers of the Light is a multi-author series that I’m ecstatic to be part of. Set in a small coastal Oregon logging town, these sweet stories feature the two lighthouses that guide ships past the treacherous shoreline and the couples who find their happily-ever-afters.

About Love’s Sweet Return

She lost the only thing she ever truly wanted: love. What could be worse? But when Charlotte Pullard’s ship wrecks off the Oregon coast in a terrible storm, she wakes in the unfamiliar keepers’ quarters of a lighthouse. When the keeper who pulled her from the wreckage turns out to be the man she loved and lost, can Charlotte find it in her heart to forgive him and embrace love’s sweet return?

Find out in this sweet historical small-town romance full of walks on the beach, the gathering of close friends, a simple coastal Christmas, and a sweeping love story centered around a majestic white lighthouse.

(Affiliate link included.)
Goodreads | Amazon

Excerpt

Oregon, December 1869

Charlotte Pullard opened her eyes to the gray of dawn, blinking slowly. Gradually, a beamed ceiling came into focus… but it wasn’t her ceiling. Whose ceiling was it? She closed her eyes again, thinking.

She’d kissed her mother goodbye. Something about that felt sad, wrong somehow. Maybe she hadn’t wanted to leave. And her father… her father…

Gasp!

Charlotte’s eyes flew open and she sat up so quickly that her head began to spin. Sinking back down to the pillow, she touched her forehead softly, her breath coming in short bursts. Her father had sent her away, as easily as a load of freight aboard one of his many vessels. She’d placed one foot mindlessly over the other, turning her back on all she’d ever known. It was to be a short trip, no longer than two days until she’d reach Crescent City, California. Then the sky puckered sourly, darkening beyond the shade of rain to something far more formidable.

The storm.

The storm with waves as big as mountains, waves so steep that her stomach would flutter every time the ship slid down the sides of them. The water was icy cold, the thunder as loud as rocks grinding together. Or had that been the ship crashing into protruding basalt?

She shook her head at the nightmare, the terror and tumult of the darkness that seemed unreal, yet too vivid to be fantasy. Then she remembered Woody, that he’d dragged her below deck to her room and shouted at her to stay put. No sooner had the words spilled from the sailor’s mouth than she found herself in the water, so breathtakingly cold and angry that it consumed her every thought and feeling…

A tear ran down her temple.

It was horrible, all of it. Yet here she was, alive, in a quiet room somewhere on shore. No, not entirely quiet, for there were the waves, not villainous and uncaring as she remembered, but rhythmic and steady.

She placed her palms flat against the mattress and slowly, so slowly pressed herself upright. There. That wasn’t so bad. Breathe in, breathe out. The deep breaths made her throat and lungs burn.

What day was it? Where was she, exactly? Where was the rest of the crew? Loud questions filled her head, vying to be first to receive an answer, but she plucked them away.

One thing at a time.

The bedroom was small and bright in the early morning light, containing only the bed she sat upon, a three-drawer bureau, and a washstand, which snagged her attention. Fingers darting to her unadorned neck, Charlotte swung her bare feet to the floor and stood, snatching the golden locket from the washstand. She’d never taken it off, not since he’d given it to her on that chilly, cloudless night last spring. A small smile stretched her lips as she cradled the token in her palms, lost in the memory of his strong hand on her cheek, how he had almost kissed her; how happy she’d been gazing into his blue eyes as deep and stimulating as the ocean itself.

But she knew the tragic ending to that story. Maxwell Tucker had filled her heart and head with his affections, then abandoned her to heartache, confusion, loneliness. Worst of all, she knew wholeheartedly that she could never love another as she’d loved him. It was that small word that kept the golden locket in her pocket always.

Love.

For no matter the pain he had later put her through, he had given her the cherished necklace out of love. The locket – and the memories – were all she had left of those happy days, and each time she opened it, those joyous recollections tumbled out.

Standing tall, Charlotte stretched her hands high above her head, rolled her shoulders, then used her fingers to comb through her tangled copper tresses. Rips and stains covered her dress… and hadn’t she been wearing stockings? She groaned, knowing she must look awful.

Her rumbling stomach drew her out of self-inspection and through the little cottage. Good heavens, but it was a mess! The furniture, though in good condition, lay in heaps about the sitting room, and the kitchen looked like it hadn’t had a thorough cleaning in ages. Whoever it was who lived in this grimy little place must be dreadfully slovenly. Then she noticed the staircase at the back of the house and couldn’t keep herself from wandering towards it. Curious, she climbed one set of stairs to a low-ceilinged garret and gasped in pleasure, lacing her hands together. The single window let in soft, muted light, perfect for reading one of the books from the rows of shelves filling the narrowest wall.

Thrilled as she was to have found the library, she quickly forgot about the books, for the shelves continued around the entirety of the room and displayed the most wonderful collection of seashore knickknacks she’d ever seen! Sea shells in every shape and color, the largest as big as her head, the smallest as little as the fingernail on her pinky; white sand dollars and chunks of coral; bright green and blue sea glass, smoothed by the ocean. Oh, she could spend a week in this room examining each and every piece! It would only be fair to amend her earlier hasty assessment of the occupant, she decided. Whomever this charming cottage belonged to must be utterly fascinating.

Pursing her lips, Charlotte remembered herself and her situation and backed out of the room. She should be mindful of her host, not traipse around his or her personal space as though it were a public museum. And where was this person, anyway? Perhaps she’d find him or her at the top of these stairs. Up she climbed, bewildered by the number of steps.

Finally, she came upon another room with a closed door, but after peeking inside to find it dark and devoid of persons, she continued her ascent, fighting lightheadedness. Next came an open, round room with a padded chair and writing desk topped with an ink pot and book, and some sort of mechanical device in the very center opened to the room above. Suddenly, the random tower made sense. I’m in a lighthouse!

Rungs of a ladder rose to access the top of the tower, and on that ladder, two legs in soiled men’s trousers. Charlotte cleared her throat loudly.

The man stilled but did not come down.

“Excuse me, good sir,” Charlotte began, thinking maybe he was hard of hearing. The silence was getting a bit awkward. “I’d like to thank you for bringing me here after that awful storm. Do you know where the others…”

Her sentence trailed off as the man descended, as she began to recognize his trim waist and broad shoulders. He stood at the bottom of the ladder, hesitating to turn around. He didn’t need to – she knew exactly who he was.

Excerpted from Love’s Sweet Return by Krystal M. Anderson. Copyright © Krystal M. Anderson.

About the Author

Krystal M. Anderson is a Utah, USA native and a wife and mother of four young children, including a set of twins. She loves telling stories to her children and they remind her to write down their favorites. She grew up on horseback and treasured any time spent riding through the red sands and sagebrush, always yearning to find out what was over the next ridge. Nothing makes her happier than being a wife and mother… but reading is a very close second!

Website | Goodreads | BookBub | Facebook

Tour Schedule
(Posts go live on the day they’re scheduled.)

December 8th: Launch
December 9th: Krystal M. AndersonLove’s Sweet Return
December 10th: Julie Coulter Bellon – The Marquess Meets His Match
December 11th: Delaney Cameron – Because You Loved Me
December 12th: Rachelle Paige CampbellLove Overboard
December 13th: Raneé S. ClarkFinding Taylor
December 14th: Chrissy ElliotFinding Home on Winslow Island
December 15th: Aspen HadleySuits and Spark Plugs
December 16th: Shanna HatfieldThe Christmas Bargain
December 17th: D. E. MaloneLove, Lies and Mistletoe
December 18th: Melissa McCloneSweet Yuletide
December 19th: Sarah L. McConkieThe Promise of Miss Spencer
December 20th: Kimberley MontpetitMostly Dangerous
December 21st: Kate O’KeeffeDating Mr. Darcy
December 22nd: Regina ScottAlways Kiss at Christmas
December 23rd: Grand Finale

Tour Giveaway

One winner will receive a $70 (USD) Amazon eGift Card

Open to US and internationally to those who can receive the gift card through one of Amazon’s branches
Ends December 27, 2020

ENTER HERE

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Launch: Clean Romance for Christmas Tour

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On Tour with Prism Book Tours

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We’re excited to be sharing books from 14 clean romance authors with you this holiday season! Each day a different author and book will be featured. There is also a gift card giveaway below! If you’re a clean romance fan, join us on this tour!

Tour Schedule
(Posts go live on the day they’re scheduled.)

December 8th: Launch
December 9th: Krystal M. AndersonLove’s Sweet Return
December 10th: Julie Coulter Bellon – The Marquess Meets His Match
December 11th: Delaney Cameron – Because You Loved Me
December 12th: Rachelle Paige CampbellLove Overboard
December 13th: Raneé S. ClarkFinding Taylor
December 14th: Chrissy ElliotFinding Home on Winslow Island
December 15th: Aspen HadleySuits and Spark Plugs
December 16th: Shanna HatfieldThe Christmas Bargain
December 17th: D. E. MaloneLove, Lies and Mistletoe
December 18th: Melissa McCloneSweet Yuletide
December 19th: Sarah L. McConkieThe Promise of Miss Spencer
December 20th: Kimberley MontpetitMostly Dangerous
December 21st: Kate O’KeeffeDating Mr. Darcy
December 22nd: Regina ScottAlways Kiss at Christmas
December 23rd: Grand Finale

Books on Tour




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Tour Giveaway

One winner will receive a $70 (USD) Amazon eGift Card

Open to US and internationally to those who can receive the gift card through one of Amazon’s branches
Ends December 27, 2020

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