Welcome to my stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Grounds for Murder (A Coffee Lover’s Mystery) by Tara Lush. Stop by each blog on the tour for interviews, guest posts, spotlights, reviews and more!
Grounds for Murder (A Coffee Lover’s Mystery)
by Tara Lush
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Grounds for Murder (A Coffee Lover’s Mystery)
1st in Series
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (December 8, 2020)
Hardcover: 320 pages
When Lana Lewis’ best — and most difficult — employee abruptly quits and goes to work for the competition just days before the Sunshine State Barista Championship, her café’s chances of winning the contest are creamed. In front of a gossipy crowd in the small Florida town of Devil’s Beach, Lana’s normally calm demeanor heats to a boil when she runs into the arrogant java slinger. Of course, Fabrizio “Fab” Bellucci has a slick explanation for jumping ship. But when he’s found dead the next morning under a palm tree in the alley behind Lana’s café, she becomes the prime suspect.
Even the island’s handsome police chief isn’t quite certain of her innocence. But Lana isn’t the only one in town who was angry with Fabrizio. Jilted lovers, a shrimp boat captain, and a surfer with ties to the mob are all suspects as trouble brews on the beach.
With her stoned, hippie dad, a Shih Tzu named Stanley, and a new, curious barista sporting a punk rock aesthetic at her side, Lana’s prepared to turn up the heat to catch the real killer.
After all, she is a former award-winning reporter. As scandal hangs over her beachside café, can Lana clear her name and win the championship — or will she come to a bitter end?
In my book, GROUNDS FOR MURDER, heroine Lana Lewis is a coffee lover whose family owns a café on a beautiful Florida island.
Lana’s one of those people who knows all about different coffee blends and has preferences on what kind of milk to use in a latte. She also realizes that for her coffee shop to be successful, she needs to sell food.
She bakes treats to sell to her customers, but they all have only a handful of ingredients.
In writing my book, this is where I drew on my own preferences and experiences to create my character. I love simple recipes. Because I have a day job and write fiction, it’s not like there’s a ton of time left over for much else. But my husband often gets that puppy-dog look and says, “did you make anything sweet?”
My favorite thing to make is three-ingredient Nutella brownies. Flour, eggs, Nutella. Boom! You have a tray of amazing brownies. Rice Krispy treats jazzed up with coconut and dried pineapple are another go-to snack.
Baking needs to be simple. And delicious. And sugary.
For my heroine Lana, she an ulterior motive for baking sweet treats. The island’s handsome police chief comes into her café every day to buy one of her baked goods, and she realizes that she can leverage his love for snacks into gathering more information about a suspicious death.
Here’s an excerpt from GROUNDS FOR MURDER.
I inhaled, impatient. “Aren’t you going to tell me what the autopsy report said?”
Chief Noah Garcia polished off the rest of the baked treat in one bite and shrugged.
“It’s public record, you know,” I said through a clenched jaw. “I’m not above filing a freedom of information request for the report.”
He took a sip of his water. This guy was entirely too cool and collected.
“I’ll bring you another treat if you tell me.”
Lord, even his smirk was adorable. “I think that’s blackmail. Or extortion. I could arrest you for that.”
“And I have some info that might be of interest.”
His dark eyebrows furrowed. “Have you been snooping around?”
“No,” I yelped. “I ran into Paige Dotson, that’s all. Have you talked with her?”
“Not yet. She hasn’t returned my calls.”
My eyes widened. “Oh, really? That’s suspicious, no?”
“What did Paige say to you?”
I shrugged, trying to play it as cool as Noah. “She was trying to get into Fab’s apartment last night. Claimed she had a key.”
“What were you doing in Fab’s apartment?”
I straightened my spine indignantly. “My family and I own the building. I was cleaning the hallway and stairs.”
“Sure you were,” he muttered.
“I confronted her. We had a nice chat. She talked about how he was with other women, but claimed she didn’t care. And she was prepared to take her things from the apartment. I suggested she speak with you first. See? I’m on your side.”
I paused and we stared at each other. The temperature rose about ten degrees. “I’ll get you that other brownie and you can tell me about the autopsy report.”
He fiddled with the collar of his polo shirt, as if could feel the warmth, too.
I fetched the brownie, my skin on fire because I knew he was staring at me. I set it in front of him and folded my hands primly on the table. “Spill.”
About Tara Lush
Tara Lush is a Rita Award finalist, an Amtrak writing fellow, and a George C. Polk Award-winning journalist. For the past decade, she’s been a reporter with the Associated Press, covering crime, alligators, natural disasters, and politics. She also writes contemporary romance set in tropical locations. A fan of vintage pulp-fiction book covers, Sinatra-era jazz, and 1980s fashion, she lives with her husband and two dogs on the Gulf coast.
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Grounds for Murder Tour Participants
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MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
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Christy’s Cozy Corners – GUEST POST
Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW
Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW, RECIPE POST
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