Monday, April 02, 2018


Crust No One

A Bread Shop Mystery #2
Winnie Archer

Cozy Mystery

Business is booming at Yeast of Eden. But with a deadly mystery taking over
the seaside town of Santa Sofia, the Mexican bread shop can’t
possibly leaven a killer’s appetite . . .
For once, Ivy Culpepper feels fulfilled. An apprenticeship at Yeast of
Eden has opened her world to time-honored baking techniques under
owner Olaya Solis’s guidance—as well as the freshest small-town
gossip, courtesy of chatty regulars known as the Blackbird Ladies.
Ivy even begins accepting that she and restaurateur Miguel Baptista
may never again rekindle their romance—despite the undeniable
tension between them . . .
But she’s tied to Miguel again when his trusted produce supplier goes
missing. Old Hank Riviera’s financial troubles would make anyone
consider running away forever. And with his relationship woes, there
are plenty of people who might want to see Hank disappear. As Ivy,
with the help of her octogenarian sidekick, turns to the loose-lipped
Blackbird Ladies for leads, she soon finds herself caught in a web of
lies stickier than a batch of Olaya’s popular pastries . . .

CRUST  NO ONE Excerpt:

My mother left an indelible mark on me, as all mothers do on their children. I grew up loving walks
on the beach, collecting seashells, and reading mystery novels (Agatha, my sweet fawn pug, was named after the grande dame of mystery, after all). She also gave me my love of photography by gifting me with my first camera and sending me out for the afternoon.

I took pictures of everything I saw. That was that. My fate was sealed, for better or for worse. The one thing she did not impart on me was her cooking ability. She had had finesse in the kitchen, and she worked to the very end to get better and widen her skills, but I’d always been too busy to spend much time baking and creating stews and casseroles and things in Dutch ovens. 

That all changed after she died. The kitchen was the very place I found the most solace. I hadn’t known it would be like that, but Olaya Solis, before I’d ever formally met her, had me all figured out. She’d become a surrogate mother to me, but no one could replace the real thing. I saw my mother everywhere and in everything. Most of all, at the ocean.

Now, as I parked my mom’s car—my car—in the Baptista’s parking lot, it was the beach that called to me. I slung my camera bag over my shoulder and started toward the restaurant, but abruptly stopped and redirected my footsteps toward the pier and the wooden steps that led down to the sand. 

The day was cool, a brisk breeze blowing in from the water. A few people strolled along the shoreline, walking their dogs or playing with children in the surf. I did none of those things. My feet seemed to direct themselves; I ended up at a cluster of rocks and perched on the edge of the flat bolder that sat in front of the formation. I tilted my head back against the cool breeze and let my eyes flutter closed. This spot on the beach had been one of my mom’s favorite places in Santa Sofia. Maybe in the world. At this moment, it almost felt as if she were here with me.

A mist of water kissed my cheeks and a shiver passed through me. The breeze seemed to call my name. I smiled to myself. Maybe she actually was. I grabbed my camera from my bag, walked along the shoreline, and took a few shots of the pier to capture the moment: the rocks off in the distance, the
breaking waves, the seaweed strewn on the waterpacked sand.


The light wind carried my name across the surf.


I turned toward the restaurant. It wasn’t the wind calling my name. It was Miguel. He stood on the pier and waved.

I took a deep breath before turning my back on the ocean, letting the loss of my mother fade to a warm memory. I trudged up the beach toward the pier.

Miguel watched me, leaning in to give me a kiss on my cheek when I finally reached him. A shiver of—something—went down my spine. Which is not what I wanted to feel. I wasn’t in high school anymore, after all, but Miguel still seemed able to coax a schoolgirl quiver out of me.

I swallowed as I backed away, creating space between us. “Sorry it took me so long. The Winter
Wonderland Festival. It takes a lot of planning.”

He brushed away the apology. “Oh, yeah, I know. We have a booth. Soup. Tamales. Chips and salsa.”
He winked. “And queso.”

I couldn’t help my smile, but deep down there was an ache in the pit of my stomach. I tried not to care, but I couldn’t help myself. I wanted to ask him why he’d left all those years ago. I wanted to know. Or did I? Did I really need to dredge up our history? Maybe he simply hadn’t loved me enough and couldn’t see a life with me. If that was the case, did I really need to know that? Better to leave well enough alone.

“So, you have some ideas for the brochure?” I said, getting down to business.

“I do,” he said. His green eyes, set against his olive skin, suddenly seemed . . . I don’t know—detached.

I couldn’t read his expression. It was as if the effort of being jovial had taken its toll and now he was
done. He gestured with his arm, sweeping it in a circle toward the ocean. “I want a new menu. And I want a brochure to put at some of the local hotels, motels, and bed-and-breakfasts. Is that something you can do?”

“It depends. What do you want them to look like?”

“I want them to capture the setting. The ocean. The coast. Seafood. But all of it infused with Baptista’s Mexican culture.”

I gave a slow blink, my lips pressing together in contemplation. Or, if I was being honest, bafflement.
Nothing like some high expectations. I had no idea how to capture all of that.

“It’s a little vague,” he said.

I nodded in agreement. “A little.”

“I don’t have much direction, Ivy. I just know we need to freshen things up. Not all that much has
changed since my grandfather first opened the place, and that was in the fifties.”

I reached back into my memories. “Didn’t your parents remodel it when we were in high school?”

“The kitchen had an overhaul. They re-covered the old Naugahyde booths and got new tables, but my folks never did much more than that. We can afford to make some changes now. My dad . . . he had life insurance, so . . .” He trailed off, swallowing.

His father had died of a heart attack a few months before my mom had passed away. It was one thing we still had in common.

“So you want to remodel Baptista’s, but we’ll have to wait until the remodel is done to take pictures.”

He shook his head. “I’m going to do the renovations in sections. I can’t afford to have the place closed completely. But it’s time. I’m going to start with the dining room on the right, then work my way to the left. I’ll do the patio last. Too cold for that right now, anyway.”

The wind had picked up, whipping strands of my curls across my face. Miguel reached out, pulling a piece of my hair free from my eyelashes. “That . . . um . . . sounds like a good plan,” I said, just as someone called Miguel from the restaurant.

We both turned to see Mrs. Baptista, Miguel’s mother, standing at the end of the pier just outside the restaurant. She waved her arms over her head. “Miguel! Ven aqui, mi’jo!”

“Todo esta bien?” he called.

I remembered enough Spanish to know she’d called for him to come to her and he’d asked if everything was okay. Her response was insistent.

“Ven, ven! Ahorita!”

Miguel and I locked eyes for a split second before we both hurried toward the restaurant. Miguel, with his long stride, beat me there, but I wasn’t far behind.

The indefatigable Winnie Archer is a middle school teacher by
day and a writer by night. Born in a beach town in California, she
now lives in an inspiring century-old house in North Texas and loves
being surrounded by real-life history. She fantasizes about spending
summers writing in quaint, cozy locales, has a love/hate relationship
with both yoga and chocolate, adores pumpkin spice lattes, is devoted
to her five kids and husband, and can’t believe she’s lucky
enough to be living the life of her dreams.

the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!


Mary Preston said...

I do love a cozy mystery.

James Robert said...

Congrats on the tour and I appreciate the book description and the great giveaway as well. Love the tours, I get to find books and share with my sisters the ones I know they would enjoy reading and they both love to read. Thank you!

katieoscarlet said...

I love a good mystery and this sounds great. Congrats on your tour.