Red, White, and Blueberry Muffin Murder: Sneak Peek! – Addison Moore

Red, White, and Blueberry Muffin Murder: Sneak Peek!

It's almost here! Here's an extended peek into the next Murder in the Mix book! Enjoy!

•☆.•*´¨`*••♡ PRE-ORDER ALERT! ♡••*´¨`*•.☆•

Red, White, and Blueberry Muffin Murder is releases this Thursday! Amazon->  https://amzn.to/2ZWHw93 

Murder is afoot in Honey Hollow, and the Fourth of July is shaping up to be explosive. Each book in the Murder in the Mix series is a stand-alone mystery! So feel free to dive on in! Each book can be read FREE in Kindle Unlimited! Whoo-hoo! Happy haunted reading!

Book description:

My name is Lottie Lemon, and I see dead people. Okay, so I rarely see dead people. Mostly I see furry creatures of the dearly departed variety, aka dead pets, who have come back from the other side to warn me of their previous owner’s impending doom. 

It’s the Fourth of July, the festivities at Honey Lake are high, the sun is hot, and murder is afoot. Not only are Noah and Everett in dire straits with the mob, but the three of us have stumbled into a double homicide. And by the looks of it, Carlotta and Charlie’s nemesis might have bitten the big one, too. Evie is making her daddy insane with worry when she sets her sights on a college boy, and my mother and her wily boyfriend are walking a tightrope when it comes to the law. 

The Fourth of July in Honey Hollow is shaping up to be explosive.

Lottie Lemon has a brand new bakery to tend to, a budding romance with perhaps one too many suitors, and she has the supernatural ability to see the dead—which are always harbingers for ominous things to come. Throw in the occasional ghost of the human variety, a string of murders, and her insatiable thirst for justice, and you’ll have more chaos than you know what to do with. 

Living in the small town of Honey Hollow can be murder.

Chapter 1

My name is Lottie Lemon, and I see dead people. Okay, so rarely do I see dead people. Mostly I see furry creatures of the dearly departed variety who have come back from the other side to warn me of their previous owner’s impending doom. But right now, the only thing I’m seeing is a plate full of hot dogs stacked on top of one another like a pyramid.

“I can’t take another bite,” I call out in agony after eating five in a row—bun and all. 

Five.

“Sure, you can, Lot,” Carlotta calls out while dancing from side to side as she shoves another hot dog into her mouth and, God as my witness, the entire thing fits, and yes, the bun is in on the fun.

It’s late afternoon on the Fourth of July, and it seems every person in Honey Hollow—heck, every person in all of Vermont—is down at Honey Lake. The weather has been hot and humid all day, as the sun spears us with its summertime rays. 

The air is scented from a thousand grills going at once, and it’s a little smoky because of it. An entire sea of flags and buntings is set out in every direction the eye can see. There is even a smattering of red, white, and blue top hats, and pinwheels with the pattern of the flag on them floating around in the crowd. And on the north side of the lake they’re barraged with their own unique crowds as the Garage Sale at the Lake event takes place. It’s basically a giant thrift shop that has descended on Honey Lake, and it’s been a huge hit with everyone who comes across it. 

I’ve already picked up a couple sets of Depression era glass goblets, an enamel mixing bowl, and a vintage Barbie for Lyla Nell. There’s also an outdoor rug I had my eye on that would go perfectly on the porch. I’ve been trying to create a reading nook out there, and if that rug is still available next time I head that way, that beauty is mine.  

Honey Lake is drop-dead gorgeous this time of year with its cobalt water, sandy banks, the lake view houses on the south end, and the woods that line the northern edge. The water is teeming with every watercraft known to man, and there are throngs of people in their bathing suits lounging along the shorelines. But it’s the scent of fresh grilled hot dogs that’s sending everyone’s senses into overdrive as they line up to buy them from the vendor putting on the spectacle at hand. 

The yearly hot dog eating competition has just gotten underway and there must be at least thirty participants. Personally, I would never have signed myself up for the digestion-based fun, but my birth mother, Carlotta, signed up more than a handful of people and I was one of them.

“Lemon.” Everett takes a moment from his own noshing fest to look my way. He almost always calls me by my surname, and I always get a little giddy when he does just that. Although right now I’m more nauseous than I am giddy. “Don’t worry. I’ll do my best to secure the win. And I’ll pass the prize along to you. Why don’t you go down and hang out with Lyla Nell?”

Judge Essex Everett Baxter just so happens to be my husband. When we married over a year ago, it was technically just a business arrangement so he could secure his trust fund, but we never dissolved the union, and well, later on I decided we should give our romantic relationship another shot—so here we are, holy matrimony and all. 

Everett has black hair, cobalt eyes, hardly ever smiles, and has been known to garner more than his fair share of female attention. He’s arrestingly handsome and his body is put together in all the right ways just like the Good Lord intended.

I’ll win that prize for you, Lot,” Noah groans as if he were on his deathbed. 

And judging by the fact he’s already on his second platter, I’d say that deathbed scenario isn’t all that far off. Each platter contains fifteen hot dogs—buns included—and whoever can eat the most in ten minutes is crowned the Hot Dog King or Queen of Honey Hollow. Not only that, but the Hog Dog House right here in town is giving the winner a free hot dog every day for the rest of the year. 

“Don’t bother,” I tell Noah as I contemplate my next bite. “I don’t think I’ll eat another hot dog ever again after today. I’ll go get the baby so we can cheer the two of you on.”

Detective Noah Corbin Fox happens to be the father of the baby in question. Our sweet Lyla Nell will be four months old this month. Everett is every bit as much her father as Noah is. Noah and I were pretty serious, but since we had a few rocky starts and stops I thought I’d see if there was anything left with Everett, and boy, was there ever. 

Both Noah and Lyla Nell have dark hair that turns red at the tips, deep dimples, and daring green eyes. Noah, too, is a looker that women can’t seem to get enough of. I’m not sure how I got so lucky to have not one but two great men in my life, but I’ll be forever grateful I met the both of them.

“Lottie!” Lily, my faithful employee from the Cutie Pie Bakery and Cakery, runs up holding a wide-brimmed hat to her head. Lily Swanson is a pretty brunette who can be more than a bit pithy when she wants to. “We’re running out of blueberry muffins. I’m going to ask the kitchen staff to make as many batches as the ovens can handle. Why didn’t we think to frost them before?”

She takes off before I can so much as give her a thumbs-up. 

I’ve never frosted a muffin before, but when Mayor Nash, aka my biological father, asked me to cater a few desserts for the celebration down at the lake today, he specifically requested I bring along some frosted blueberry muffins. He said his mother used to make them with white vanilla frosting. So in honor of the grandmother I never met, I did just that. Actually, I took it a step further by adding some red and blue sprinkles to each one. And I have to admit, they look adorably festive.

Speaking of grandmothers, a week ago, my Grandma Nell’s ghost came back from the other side and showed me a vision that set both my teeth and my very soul on edge. I saw Noah and Everett arguing, then a gunshot went off and Everett took three bullets to the chest. I saw his ghost lift right out of his body. Not only was that disconcerting in every way, but then Nell told me that I had the power to stop it. 

When I asked Nell when this horrific vision was set to take place, she told me it would happen within the next month—and here we are, standing in that horrific window of time. 

A shiver runs through me because I can feel the clock ticking away as we draw near to that fateful moment. 

I look over at my handsome husband as he chugs a quick drink from his water bottle.

“Let’s have a big wedding.” The words blurt out of me without warning, and both Everett and Noah stop all movement as they look my way.

“What’s that?” Everett tips his ear toward me as if he couldn’t make out the words.

“I said let’s have a big wedding. We never had a proper wedding. I say we tell everyone we know to keep next weekend open and we’ll throw something together.”

Everett inches back. “A week? Throw something together?”

Noah belts out a laugh. “Way to distract him, Lottie. I have this in the bag.” He clears off the hot dogs on his platter and another platter miraculously turns up in its place with fifteen new hot dogs ready to go.

Everett shoots Noah a look. “I’m in, Lemon. Whatever you want.” 

He gets right back to work just as Carlotta chortles to the point where I think she might be choking.

“Way to go, Lot Lot!” she calls out from the other side of Noah. “You just cost Sexy and Foxy thirty seconds on the clock. Why don’t you go down the line and propose to all the men here? That might give us girls the advantage. There are only three of us, and there’s never been a Hot Dog Queen of Honey Hollow before.”

I make a face at her. “Well, I won’t be the queen. I’m out. It’s up to you and Evie.”

Evie lets out a hard groan from the other side of Carlotta before knocking the platter right off the table, thus disqualifying herself in the process. 

“I hate everything!” Evie howls. “I’m never looking at a hot dog again as long as I live!”

The crowd lets out a few whoops and hollers at her declaration. It’s mostly the teen scene that has gathered around to watch the spectacle. 

Evie, Everly, Baxter is Everett’s sixteen-year-old daughter that I adopted as my own last year. Her biological mother is a socialite who hid Evie from the world, more specifically from Everett, but thankfully, we found out about Evie, tracked her down, and now we’re one big happy family.

Carlotta finishes chomping down another hot dog. “Don’t just stand there, Lot. The men are gaining ground. Get to proposing, take off your top, offer everyone a free donut for a year as an incentive to quit! Do something. I want this win, Lot Lot.”

“Don’t listen to her. She’s a nutjob,” a female voice calls out from below and I spot my newly minted sister Carlotta, Charlie, Sawyer. Charlie and I are just about twins in every way with the same wavy caramel locks—hers is a touch darker—same hazel eyes, and the same ability to see right through to the other side. 

Carlotta, our shared birth mother, is basically an older version of the two of us with a smattering of gray hair and wrinkles. 

The three of us are actually something called transmundane, which is further classified as supersensual. There are many supernatural abilities that fall under the transmundane umbrella, but ours is the only one that can see the dead. 

Charlie just came into my life a few months back, and as it turns out, she’s my full-blooded sister, another product of the affair Carlotta had with Mayor Nash at the time. 

Carlotta just so happened to name both Charlie and me after herself. My adoptive mother, Miranda Lemon, decided to call me Lottie, and that’s all I’ve ever been known as. But when it was time to name my own daughter, I decided to name her Carlotta as well. 

Call it delirium, altruistic thinking, or serendipity, but I unwittingly pulled my poor sweet daughter right into the Carlotta cult I was a part of. Although, just like me, no one will call my baby girl Carlotta. She’ll go by the nickname I gave her, Lyla Nell.

I hold up the red paddle in front of me, formally disqualifying myself before making my way off the makeshift stage and taking a look at the contestants participating in the madness. 

Aside from Everett, Noah, and Carlotta, I recognize Mayor Nash, Evie’s old boyfriends, Conner and Kyle—yes, she had two, and at the very same time, although she’s currently single, unless you count that college hunk she’s been eyeing. And then there’s Forest (my brother-in-law), Alex (Noah’s brother), and Rooster Puddin’ aka Carlotta’s ex-boyfriend slash nemesis. Other than that, it’s a sea of unrecognizable faces, all moaning and groaning as they shove one last hot dog into their mouths as an oversized clock counts down the last thirty seconds. 

My eyes flit back to Rooster for a moment. He’s the one that stole those briefcases that belonged to Noah and Everett—or technically to the mob bosses they had agreed to work with in exchange for protection from the hits they had on them. 

Rooster waltzed into Honey Hollow last month after finishing a stint in prison. Apparently, he tricked Carlotta and Charlie into robbing a liquor store after hours while he supervised. He was essentially able to convince them that he owned the liquor store in question. Anyway, Carlotta and Charlie were furious and lied on the stand at his trial and landed him a nice stay at the Iron City Inn, Carlotta’s words, not mine. And well, as fate would have it, he’s come looking for revenge. 

My sisters, Lainey and Meg, pop up—and in Meg’s arms is the sweetest little four-month-old baby girl I ever did see. 

“This is so exciting!” Lainey trills.

“Says you,” Meg groans. 

Meg has black hair and pale blue eyes and looks like a Goth princess with fishnet stockings paired with shorts. And Lainey pretty much shares my caramel-colored hair and hazel eyes despite the fact we’re not blood-related. 

These happen to be the sisters I was raised with. I came into a few more sisters and a brother when I found out that Mayor Nash was my father. It’s been fun and interesting to watch my family expand in unconventional ways over the years.

Lyla Nell coos over at me in Meg’s arms and I scoop her right up and plant a kiss on her forehead. She’s wearing a frilly dress with red, white, and blue flowers printed all over it just for the occasion and looks every bit the pint-sized American beauty queen. 

And bouncing in Lainey’s arms is her little girl Josie, a blonde, amber-eyed cutie who was the first to crown my mother Glam Glam, her chosen moniker for her newly minted matriarchal position in life.

“Lyla Nell, have you been playing with your cousin Josie?” I lean over and land a kiss to the tip of Josie’s nose and she breaks out into a giggle fit, causing Lyla Nell to do the same. “I can’t believe she’s going to be one next month!” I say and the glee melts right off my sister’s face.

“Did you have to remind me?” Lainey makes a face at the thought. “It’s all moving way too fast. First, she turns one, then she turns twenty-one and brings home a biker named Bruno. And the next thing you know, she’ll be moving to Antarctica to study the effects greenhouse gasses have on the weather.” A wailing sound emits from her. “I need another blueberry muffin.” She stalks off just as the buzzer goes off and we look up to see an entire row of contestants who look more than a little green around the gills.

The tall blond man next to Carlotta is quickly crowned the Hot Dog King of Honey Hollow and rock music begins to blare over the nearby speakers as the festivities for the evening officially kick off.  

“Look at that,” Meg says, rocking her hip to mine. “That Clark guy won.”

“What Clark guy?” I ask, squinting over at him as Mayor Nash places a large gold paper crown over the man’s head. “Should I know who he is?”

Meg clucks her tongue. “You know him. He’s the one who had that horrible home invasion break-in a few years back. It was the same year I left for Vegas.”

Meg used to work the female wrestling circuit in Las Vegas as Madge the Badge. Now she works at the Honey Pot Diner, right next door to my bakery—in addition to working down at a gentlemen’s club in Leeds, teaching exotic dancers their dicey moves. The pay is decent, and I think she likes the dicey setting, too. 

“Oh, that’s right,” I say, bouncing Lyla Nell in my arms. “I think I remember something about that. It was pretty terrible.” 

Noah and Everett head our way, along with the winner and another man with dark curly hair.

“Lemon”—Everett pulls me in—“I’d love to introduce you to Bridger Douglas.” He slaps the dark curly haired man on his back. The man looks classically handsome and stands a few inches shorter than Everett. “Bridger and I used to hang out back in the day.”

Bridger laughs as he ticks his head back. “By hang out, he means barhop. I watched Everett pick up more women than should ever be legal. It was like watching a master at work. I was in awe. I could only hope to be so proficient in the female anatomy as this one.”

Noah leans my way. “Precisely why you should dump him, Lot.”

I laugh it off. “Nice to meet you, Bridger. I’m Lottie Lemon, Everett’s wife.”

The man’s mouth rounds out. “I’m sorry, I had no idea.” He smacks Everett’s arm. “You’ve finally been reeled in, huh? I’d say I was sorry to hear it, but it looks as if you caught a good one.”

Noah nods. “She’s smart as a whip and she bakes.” He pats the winner on the back. “Congratulations, Clark. It’s been a long time. Lottie, this is Clark Willoughby. He’s the one responsible for the garage sale madness taking place at the lake.”

Clark, the blond king, gives a jovial laugh. He’s about the same age as Noah and Everett. I’m guessing mid-thirties. He has a kind look about him and a calm demeanor despite his ability to pack away an entire hog’s worth of hot dogs. 

“It’s been a long time indeed, Noah. And yes, I’ve got a license to host the Garage Sale at the Lake event for the entire month of July. If it’s a hit, I might extend the event through August. This character right here is helping me out.” 

Bridger nods. “That’s right. I’m his partner in crime.” He winks over at Clark. “I manage the Willoughby Antique and Thrift Shops. He’s got three in the neighboring towns.”

“Ooh, I love antiques and thrift shops,” I say. “I’ll have a brand new home to furnish soon. I might just stop by.” 

It’s true. Last October, my house burned down, along with Everett’s, and since we were next-door neighbors, we’re building one big mega house over both properties. And I’m happy to say construction is about halfway finished. 

Clark pats his belly as he looks to Noah. “And if I remember correctly, it’s your girlfriend who owns the bakery.”

“That’s right,” Noah says, wrapping an arm around my waist. “Lottie owns and runs the Cutie Pie Bakery and Cakery. And this is our daughter, Lyla Nell.”

I nod. “I have a booth set up right behind me. If you can squeeze anything else into your stomach, you should try one of my patriotic blueberry muffins. They’re turning out to be quite the hit.”

Clark laughs as his crown sits askew. “I sure can, and I’m off to do that right this minute.” He takes off and I note Everett’s friend, Bridger, is looking at Noah and me with a look of morbid confusion. I’m guessing that confusion has to do with that whole wife-girlfriend thing. Believe me, it confuses me, too. 

“You know”—Bridger lifts a finger—“I’m in the mood for a muffin myself.” He zips off with a wild look in his eyes. 

I’m about to suggest we join them just as Carlotta and Mayor Nash join us.

“Good show, gentlemen.” Mayor Nash gives a mock bow our way before looking at me. “The Garage Sale at the Lake looks as if it’s going to be a great hit. Just so you know, your bakery is welcome to keep the booth open for the rest of the month and sell those blueberry muffins if you’d like.” 

Mayor Nash has light hair, mostly gray, light eyes, and a mischievous smile he wears nonstop. Now that he’s officially divorced from his wife, he and Carlotta have had a thing. It’s sort of an open relationship that for some reason works for the two of them. It’s a little strange knowing my biological parents are essentially together now—even if it does involve a third party on occasion. 

“Thank you,” I tell him. “The booth at the lake was such a hit last month, I don’t mind taking you up on it.” Last month, Honey Hollow underwent a beautification project that essentially shut down all of Main Street for thirty painful days and caused a financial pickle for almost every one of the businesses on it, including mine. But Mayor Nash allowed us to set up booths at Honey Lake, and that more than helped take the financial sting off. Having both my bakery and a booth at the lake would be a win. I don’t think the staff will mind since it’s temporary.

Mayor Nash nods to Noah. “Detective, there hasn’t been a homicide in weeks here in Honey Hollow. Any hope of keeping things that way for the foreseeable future?”

Noah winces. “I’ll do my part, but I can’t control the world.”

“So what keeps you busy down at the precinct when business is slow?” Mayor Nash says the word business with air quotes.

“There has been a string of ATM robberies all around Vermont for the past six months. It’s very strange. The security footage always seems to malfunction when this person steps up to the plate. He or she is heavily disguised, baseball cap, dark jacket, nothing that isn’t worn by every third customer. We can’t seem to catch them. But we’ve been marking bills as of late, and hopefully we’ll make some headway soon enough.”

I consider this a moment. “Noah, those bills are destined to get back into circulation. How are you going to trace them?”

“When they make their way back to the banks. It’s been hard for the banks to log the numbers, but at this point it’s a necessary evil.”  

“Well”—Mayor Nash flashes his pearly whites—“I’d better go mingle.” He winks. “I love it when all of my constituents are in one place. After an hour or two of power schmoozing, I can take the rest of the month off.” He dissipates into the crowd just as a large spotted cat leaps from behind Carlotta and lands on Everett’s shoulder.

A wild yelp shrills from me as I quickly give Lyla Nell to Carlotta. 

“Get her to safety!” I shout as I give Everett a few smacks on the chest, trying to scare the spotted beast away. It’s at least twice the size of my own cats, a couple of sweet Himalayan brothers named Pancake and Waffles, and it looks ten times as ornery as they could ever be.

“Lemon?” Everett twists his head as he offers a curious look my way.

“Don’t stop, Lot,” Noah says. “I’ll join in on the beating if you want.”

“Please do!” I howl as I give Everett a hard shove to the arm, trying to knock that prehistoric looking feline off of him. Everett is playing it way too cool if you ask me, but then, that’s Everett’s modus operandi in life—he’s cool as a cucumber no matter what the circumstances. “Go away!” I shout at the steely beast with hard yellow eyes. “My word, you probably have rabies!”

Lemon?” Everett’s brows furrow as he examines me.

Noah laughs so hard he’s in stitches. “I don’t know what you did to tick her off, but keep up the good work, Everett. Don’t worry, Lot. I’ve got a great divorce lawyer who can untangle this knot he’s roped you into.”

I spot a shovel leaning up against the stage that was built posthaste over the weekend, snatch it up, and swing it at Everett. He narrowly ducks out of the way in time to evade a decapitation, but I come at him again and knock him right over the top of the head this time.

Oops, sorry!” I shout as Noah breaks out into a spontaneous applause. 

“Don’t be afraid to aim below the belt, Lot.”

“Judas Priest,” Everett says as he comes up from his fancy duck and evade maneuver. He grabs the neck of the shovel, so I drop it and try to grab the cat with both hands, but it disappears into thin air, and I end up inadvertently strangling Everett instead.

Noah shakes his head. “I take it the big wedding is off, too.”

“Lemon?” Everett grabs ahold of my wrists and kisses each of my hands. “Are you having an allergic reaction to something you ate?”

“No, I was trying to get the cat off your shoulder. It about scared the living daylights out of me.”

“What cat?” Everett asks, glancing behind him.

A horrible moan evicts from my throat. “You didn’t see it either, did you, Noah?”

He shakes his head.

“That can only mean one thing,” I pant as I look out at the murky crowd. “Murder is afoot.”

•☆.•*´¨`*••♡ PRE-ORDER ALERT! ♡••*´¨`*•.☆•

Red, White, and Blueberry Muffin Murder is releases this Thursday! Amazon->  https://amzn.to/2ZWHw93 

Murder is afoot in Honey Hollow, and the Fourth of July is shaping up to be explosive. Each book in the Murder in the Mix series is a stand-alone mystery! So feel free to dive on in! Each book can be read FREE in Kindle Unlimited! Whoo-hoo! Happy haunted reading!

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