Pains and Penalties
A Geeks and Things Cozy Mysteries Novella #1
Cozy Mystery novella series.
the wake of her father's passing to take over the family's comic book
shop, she never expects to reconnect with her old flame, Detective
Christian Harper. But when elderly Mrs. Davies winds up murdered at
the annual Solstice Fair, Kalina can't help but get swept up in his
investigation and solving the case. While Detective Harper runs his
investigation, she cozies up to the dead woman’s best friend, Mrs.
Grant, and learns that she and a third woman, Ms. Ellicott, might be
targets. Someone has sent them notes with the cryptic warning ‘Lying
is a mortal sin’. As Kalina digs deeper into the women’s shared
past, she unearths the perjury that sentenced an innocent man to
prison. After discovering Ms. Ellicott dead in her home, Kalina and
Detective Harper must race to unmask the killer before vengeance can be sated.
The fairgrounds bustled with people stopping by vendors on both sides of the promenade, buying everything from handmade picture frames to tote bags with hand-painted waterscapes. The pastry judging tent sat at the far end of the promenade. They always did the judging early on to encourage people to buy the winning sweets. It was never that much of a real competition. Mrs. Margaret Grant always won for her blueberry and raspberry scones. It had been that way since Kalina was a little girl. Usually, Mrs. Agatha Davies also won for her European sponge cake with lemon drizzle. Kalina walked with purpose towards the judging tent until she felt a hand squeeze lightly on her wrist.
“Sorry,” she said when she saw Chris slowing her down. “I guess I still have some city habits to break.”
“It’s okay. You just don’t need to be in such a hurry. You know they announce the winners over the loudspeaker.”
She smiled sheepishly and fell into step beside him. The sun peeked out from behind a thin layer of cloud cover, highlighting thin veins of gold in Chris’s hair. For a moment she remembered them as two high school kids who thought they were in love. But that time was past. They weren’t kids anymore, maybe friends but nothing more. “So, did you ever settle down?”
“Nope. Still a bachelor. I guess I just never found the right girl. What about you?”
She shook her head. “There was a guy in college but … it didn’t end well.”
They reached the judging tent and found both Mrs. Davies and Mrs. Grant sitting behind their respective entries. Kalina bent down to place an order for Mrs. Grant’s scones and noticed another set of scones down the table manned by Andrea Nevins. She’d been a couple years ahead of Kalina and Chris in school. At the far end of the table, Captain Cahill stood beside someone Kalina didn’t recognize.
“Who is that?” She pointed at the woman.
“That’s Leslie Mayfield, Dan’s fiancée. She teaches at the elementary school. Benji is in her class.”
They moved down the table and Chris placed an order for Leslie’s apple tarts. “Good luck.”
Leslie tucked a piece of hair behind her ear, not so subtly flashing her engagement ring, and smiled big. She turned to Kalina and offered her non-bejeweled hand. “Hi, I don’t think we’ve met.”
“I’m Kalina Greystone.” They shook hands briefly. “My father used to own Geeks and Things up on Main Street. I moved back to run the store after he died.”
“Oh, right, of course.”
Dan leaned in and kissed Leslie on the cheek. “I think they’re about to start the judging.”
Kalina and Chris moved back into the crowd while the judges sampled the various sweets, concurring in low whispers and making notes on their clipboards. The town took the contest very seriously. Tension rose amongst the crowd as they awaited the announcement. At the far end of the table Mrs. Davies sat with her hands folded in her lap. Mrs. Grant shot Andrea annoyed looks as the judges handed the winning votes to the announcer, Theodore Maxwell. He cleared his throat and held the microphone too close to his mouth.
“We have the results of the baking contest. Remember, you can put an order in at any time to purchase the winning pastries. All proceeds go to the Wounded Warrior charity.”
The feedback on the speakers squealed and Kalina covered her ears along with many of the people watching. Theo held the mic further from his mouth and studied the first scrap of paper. “The winner for best fruit tart goes to Ms. Leslie Mayfield.”
Cheers went up from the crowd and Leslie grinned and waved. Captain Cahill let out a loud whistle, making his fiancée blush. He darted up to the stage and placed a huge bouquet in her arms. Theo waved his hand for quiet and the crowd settled down. “Best sponge cake, of course, goes to Mrs. Agatha Davies.” The crowd’s response was a little more subdued as Agatha stood up and took a little bow. Kalina noted the older woman’s cheeks were a bit flushed but she assumed it was just due to the excitement of yet another blue ribbon for her mantle. Beside Agatha, Mrs. Grant already had her hands on the armrest, ready to push herself up to accept the blue ribbon for her scones.
“And finally, the winner for the best scones is…” Theo stopped and turned to the judges. They nodded in unison and he faced the growing throng, clearing his throat as he did so. “The winner is Ms. Andrea Nevins.”
A hush fell over the crowd. Mrs. Grant jumped from her seat and marched toward the judges before Andrea could accept the ribbon. Chris stood beside Kalina, mouth agape as the older woman leaned in close enough to Theo’s microphone that her tirade carried across the fairgrounds.
“This is unacceptable. My scones were far better than hers.”
Andrea paled and dabbed her eyes before hurrying off the stage clutching the ribbon to her chest. A few members in the crowd patted her on the back and her older brother broke from the group to wrap an arm around her shoulders, leading her away.
“Mrs. Grant, please. This is just a friendly competition,” Theo said, trying to yank the microphone out of her reach.
She wasn’t having any of it. She waggled a finger at the judges, summoning them forward. “You three had better explain yourselves.”
From behind her, Mrs. Davies shuffled forward and tried to tug Mrs. Grant away but had no luck.
“It’s not that your scones weren’t good, Mrs. Grant. It’s just … Andy’s were better this year,” one of the judges said.
People began to disperse, no longer interested in seeing Mrs. Grant lose her temper with the judges. Kalina nudged Chris in the ribs and nodded back towards the booth. “I should probably head back to make sure AJ is doing okay.” She looked at her watch. “Besides, he’s probably looking for an early lunch.”
They walked side by side back down the promenade. Kalina made a mental note to stop by some of the booths near the end of the day to pick up some early Christmas presents for her sister and mother. The Geeks and Things booth came into view and she couldn’t keep a smile from tugging at the corners of her lips. A small group of kids clamored around the table, picking up action figures and T-shirts. Money changed hands rapidly and AJ gave her a double thumbs up when he spotted her.
“Well, I’ll leave you to hawking your wares,” Chris said.
“Enjoy the rest of the fair.” She waved and slid in behind the table next to her nephew.
He blew out a breath. “Thank God you’re back. It’s been super nuts. I’m starving.”
Kalina chuckled. “Yes, yes. Go get food. Bring me back a fried dough. Extra cinnamon sugar.”
He gave her a salute and raced out of the booth and toward the refreshment tent. Kalina settled into the metal chair behind the table and waited for people passing by to stop. She didn’t have to wait long before Leslie appeared with her big smile plastered to her lips. She’d pinned the ribbon to her blouse. The bouquet was nowhere to be seen.
“Congrats again on your win,” Kalina said.
“Thanks. I’m sorry I didn’t recognize you before. I guess I’m not all that good with faces unless they are my students.”
“No worries. I left town for a while after high school. Big city dreams. Earned my business degree and worked in Boston for a few years. But I guess my heart was always back here in town.” Kalina glanced around for Captain Cahill. “Where’s your fiancé?”
“Oh, getting some drinks from the refreshment tent. We’re going to celebrate. Did you want to buy some fruit tarts?”
“Sure. I’d love to.”
Their conversation died instantly when a high-pitched shriek went up from the direction of the food. Another scream followed it. Leaving cash box and merchandise untended, Kalina took off at a sprint. Thoughts of AJ spurred her forward. Leslie stood frozen in front of the booth for thirty seconds before she followed suit. Kalina arrived at the tent to find people bunched together in a semi-circle around one of the tables. Wheezing and choking noises echoed from within the middle of group and Kalina shoved her way to the front. AJ bent over a writhing Mrs. Davies. She lay on the ground, one hand pressed to her stomach, the other gripped around her throat. She’d already started to lose color in her cheeks. AJ looked up, his facial features contorted into a mask of helpless terror, and he said, “I think she’s dead.”
Forgive and Forget
A Geeks and Things Cozy Mysteries Novella #2
installment of the Geeks and Things Cozy series.
and she’s even rekindled her high-school romance with Detective
Christian Harper. But her world spins off-kilter when she finds her
high school best friend, Nadine Larrabee, huddled over her father’s dead body.
remember details. As Kalina keeps close to the investigation--certain
her friend is no killer--a horrifying family history unfolds,
providing motive for the girl Kalina once knew. Refusing to believe
Nadine is capable of such an act, Kalina peels back the layers of
family drama to find the truth.
Debts and Debtors
A Geeks and Things Cozy Mysteries Novella #3
third installment of the Geeks and Things Mystery series.
family have gathered to celebrate the holiday—their first since her
father’s passing—but all is not well when Savannah Chase,
Jillian’s college roommate appears on their doorstep. She’s
distraught over her missing husband. She just knows something’s
happened to him. Despite knowing Chris wouldn’t approve, Kalina
keeps tabs on the investigation. After all, Savannah is like family.
found in a foreclosed house in a area ripe for commercial
development. Kalina and Chris soon discover that Thomas had recently
changed jobs, giving up real estate for debt collection. But who
would want him dead? The more Kalina digs, the more she finds herself
in the cross-hairs of a dangerous man. She and Chris must solve the
case before she becomes the next victim.
Have and Hold
A Geeks and Things Cozy Mysteries Novella #4
and Things Cozy Mystery.
Kalina Greystone and newly promoted Police Captain Christian Harper.
But not everyone is thrilled for the happy couple. On the morning of
Chris’s promotional ceremony, they receive a shocking package—a
severed finger wearing an engagement ring! Under the guise of
last-minute wedding preparations, Kalina questions a local jeweler
who may have sold the ring adorning the finger. In fact, he’d sold
three such rings recently. When a second finger is sent to a local
reporter and the bodies of the victims are discovered near the beach,
Kalina knows there is little time left to find the third victim. But
why target these brides-to-be? After digging deeper, she uncovers a
startling connection between the players and must race to save the
woman who is the true target of the killer’s rage.
Saints and Sinners
A Geeks and Things Cozy Mysteries Novella #5
installment of the Geeks and Things Cozy Mystery series.
and eight months pregnant, she is ready to step away from sleuthing
and give all of her time to her family and Geeks and Things.
Unfortunately, sleuthing isn’t quite done with her. On a trip to
the cemetery to visit her father’s grave, she happens upon a dead
woman’s body. Video footage reveals the killer but the case takes
one bizarre turn after the next. The woman, Verona Maxwell, shares
fingerprints with Paige Fischer, a little girl who died over fifteen
years ago in a boating accident with her twin brother, Patrick. Or
did they? The killer looks an awful lot like Patrick. Having briefly
known the twins in her youth, Kalina searches their past in the hopes
of making sense of the present. But the more she digs, the darker the
reality becomes. Systemic abuse by Paige and parental neglect rise to
the surface, making her wonder if the past isn’t as buried as
everyone was led to believe.
Sarah Biglow lives in Massachusetts with her fiancé. She is a licensed attorney
and spends her days combating employment discrimination as an
Investigator with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.
she runs a TV recap blog with her best friend (and sorority sister),
Jen. Sarah currently enjoys an array of TV shows including (but
definitely not limited to) Once Upon a Time, Blindspot, Chicago Fire,
Chicago Med, Chicago PD, Grimm, The Flash and Arrow. She is always on
the hunt for new shows to binge!
the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!