In my new culinary mystery, Billionaire Blend, coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi is working hard to make a success of a beloved business that’s been serving Greenwich Village for over a century. In this tough economy, it’s a continual struggle to keep her employees happy and her historic coffee shop from falling apart. Then boom! It really falls apart.
Some nut sets off a car bomb on the street outside, badly damaging the landmark building. During the explosion, Clare saves the life of a charming, young billionaire named Eric Thorner, who thanks Clare by hiring her to create the most expensive coffee blend in the world. Unfortunately, the car that was blown sky high belonged to Eric. Someone wants the billionaire dead. But who?
Enjoy this peek at the first chapter…
Billionaire Blend: A Coffeehouse Mystery by Cleo Coyle
“Guess where I am? You can’t imagine . . .”
Pressing the phone to my ear, I waited for Mike Quinn’s gravelly voice to ride a cellular wave up the Eastern Seaboard.
“Given the choice,” he finally said, “I’d rather imagine . . .”
That shouldn’t have surprised me. After all, Michael Ryan Francis Quinn was a decorated narcotics detective, and if there was one thing the NYPD looked for when recruiting from their uniformed force, it was imagination—that and “inquisitiveness, insight, and an eye for detail.” (According to Quinn, the New York brass referred to these as “the four I’s,” although I had pointed out the last one started with an E.)
For the past six months, Quinn had been working in Washington, DC, where a U.S. attorney had drafted him for a special assignment. He wasn’t permitted to tell me much about his Justice Department job, although I did deduce his Federal Triangle desk phone had caller ID because he always answered my rings with a husky hello reserved only for me.
Just the sound of his voice relieved the tension I’d been feeling about the night ahead. Of course, I didn’t have a clue what was really ahead. If I had, I might have gone straight home and pulled the covers over my eyes.
In a short space of time, I’d be bribing a bomb squad lieutenant, cracking a mathematician’s seventeen-digit passcode, and conjuring culinary ideas for a billionaires’ potluck.
That I could handle. But raiding a forbidden coffee plantation; stopping a Slayer (while working with one); and fixing my daughter’s love life? I think even 007 would have flinched.
At this point in my story, however, my life was manageable, even pretty nice. I was sitting on hand-rubbed leather in a private limo, and a good cop was purring in my ear.
“Let’s see now . . .” Quinn continued. “I’m imagining you in your duplex above the coffeehouse. I’ve got a nice blaze going in the bedroom, the champagne’s poured, and—”
I glanced at the glass partition separating me from the male chauffeur. It wasn’t raised all the way.
“I’m not at home,” I explained. “I’m on my way to dinner. You’ll never guess where—”
“You better just tell me, Clare. I have a conference call in twenty.”
The “boyfriend voice” was gone, the warmth chilling into a tone I knew far too well—stoic, emotionless cop.
I should have replied with something generally reassuring, like: “I miss you” (which I did); “I wish you were here” (ditto); or even . . . “On your next visit, I’m baking you up a Triple-Chocolate Italian Cheesecake like the one you inhaled on New Year’s Eve” (which I planned to).
But I didn’t say any of those things. My excitement level was so high that I simply blurted the news—
“I’m riding in a chauffeured limo, on my way to dinner at the Source Club!” The silence stretched on so long I was sure our connection was lost.
“You’re pulling my leg.”
“I’m not pulling anything.”
I couldn’t blame the man for doubting my words.
Even I had trouble believing it. The Source Club was one of the most élite enclaves in Manhattan. With my anemic bank account, I was lucky to get into Sam’s Club, let alone a zillionaires club.
“So what’s the story? Did your former mother‑in‑law give up and sell the Village Blend to a national chain?”
“Bite your tongue.”
“You inherited a fortune from a lost relative?” He grunted. “Maybe I’d better get you to the altar already—in handcuffs, if necessary…”
To read the complete first chapter of Billionaire Blend, click here.
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PRAISE FOR BILLIONAIRE BLEND:
“…a highly satisfying mystery.” –Publishers Weekly
“Top Pick!” –RT Book Reviews
*Starred Review –Kirkus
Billionaire Blend is a culinary mystery. Take a peek at its delicious recipe section by clicking here.
Here is the official book trailer for The Coffeehouse Mysteries:
Comment-to-Win Contest Prizes:
1 autographed copy of Billionaire Blend: A Coffeehouse Mystery
1 gimme coffee! Large latte cup and saucer, made in Italy
1 package of Cleo’s new Coffee Pick: Laughing Man Coffee, a company co-owned by actor Hugh Jackman to help farmers in the developing world (all profits to charity).
Contest ends Monday, December 23rd, at midnight; US only.
Meet the Authors
Cleo Coyle is a pseudonym for Alice Alfonsi, who writes in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini. In addition to their New York Times bestselling Coffeehouse Mysteries, their Haunted Bookshop Mysteries (written under the name Alice Kimberly), are bestselling works of amateur sleuth fiction for Penguin. When not haunting coffeehouses or hunting ghosts, Alice and Marc are bestselling media tie-in writers who have penned properties for Lucasfilm, NBC, Fox, Disney, Imagine, and MGM. Alice is a former journalist and children’s book author; Marc an author of military nonfiction and thrillers. They live and work in New York City. To find out more…
Visit their online coffeehouse at www.coffeehousemystery.com
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