GUEST POST and GIVEAWAY
Éclair and Present Danger
(An Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery
(An Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery
by Laura Bradford
Éclair and Present Danger by Laura Bradford is currently on tour with Great Escapes Book Tours. The tour stops here today for a guest post by the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.
The first book in the delicious new Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery series from national bestselling author Laura Bradford.
With her rent rising faster than her pie crust, bakery owner Winnie Johnson had hoped to be rescued by an inheritance from her wealthy friend and neighbor Gertrude Redenbacher. Instead all she inherits is the widow’s hostile hissing tabby, Lovey, and a vintage ambulance, restored by Gertrude’s late husband. As her dream crumbles, Winnie makes her final delivery - a peach pie to an elderly widower. But she finds Bart Wagner lying on his kitchen floor, smothered by a pillow.
To comfort her frightened and grieving neighbors, Winnie comes to the rescue with her baked goods - and an idea is born: dessert delivery via her ambulance and a new business called the Emergency Dessert Squad. When she’s not speeding to the scenes of dessert emergencies, Winnie is also racing to track down Bart’s killer - before she needs to call a real ambulance for the next victim ...
My oldest daughter and I created a "Tasty" type promo video. It’s kind of a spoof on those videos that take you through a step by step (at warp speed) process to create a variety of desserts. While our video isn’t at warp speed, we had fun with the same concept while promoting the book. Enjoy! ~ Laura
I’m sorry, could you, um, read that one more time, please?” Winnie Johnson rested her elbows on the edge of Charles Woodward’s desk and willed herself to concentrate. “I’ve been a little scattered these last few weeks, and I think my mind might be playing tricks on me.”
For a moment, she wasn’t sure he’d heard, but, eventually, he nodded, cleared his throat, and began reading from the semi-tattered paper in his hands.
“I, Gertrude Redenbacher, being of sound mind and body, do bequest my precious angel, Lovey, to my sweet neighbor, Winnie Johnson. I’m sure, given time, Lovey will come to adore Winnie just as much as I have these last two years.” Charles glanced up, his tired eyes pinning hers. “Are you still with me, Miss Johnson?”
All she could do was nod, and his focus shifted back down to the paper as she did. “Additionally, having never been blessed with any children of our own, I also must bequest to Winnie my late husband’s beloved vintage ambulance. He may not have finished restoring it to its original grandeur, but it runs, and it will keep Winnie from having to walk to the bakery in the rain.”
Nope. Her mind wasn’t scattered. She’d heard every last word exactly the same way the first go-round. Only this time, when the attorney’s monotone delivery came to an end, it touched off an almost maniacal laugh track in her head.
“Miss Johnson? Are you all right?”
She glanced around the room, her gaze falling on a miniature bonsai tree on the corner of the man’s desk. “Oh, I know what’s going on here . . .” Without waiting for a reply, she reached over, parted each branch, and then moved on to a complete and thorough inspection of the soil in which the tree was planted.
No camera . . .
“Miss Johnson, I notarized Gertrude’s wishes myself not more than six months ago.” Charles pulled the pot closer to his chair and brushed the disturbed soil back into place. “Her body was failing her, of course, but her mind was sharp as a tack. This is what she wanted.”
“Wait.” She fell back against her chair, a new and different laugh making its way past her lips. “Mr. Nelson put you up to this, didn’t he?”
“Mr. Nelson?” Charles parroted.
“Yes. Parker Nelson. My downstairs neighbor.” Suddenly, it all added up. Mr. Nelson was always playing tricks on her—whoopee cushions on her porch furniture, toy mice on her steps, even hiding her newspaper in a different place each day. Surely this whole cat-and-ambulance-bequeathing thing was just more of the same. “Okay. You got me.”
“I got you?”
“Yes. But how’d he get you to do it?”
“Mr. Nelson. How’d he get you to read that version instead of the real one?”
Charles let her finger guide his attention back to the paper on his desk before he pushed back his chair and stood. Then, leaning across the polished mahogany surface, he pressed the intercom button on the side of his phone. “Susan? Could you please bring in Miss Johnson’s items?”
“I’ll be right in, Mr. Woodward.”
Releasing the button, he spun the paper around and scooted it across the desk to Winnie. “I’ll need to keep the original, of course, but I’ll see that Susan makes a copy for you before you leave. That way you don’t have to worry about taxes on the vehicle in the event the government should ever question—”
A door opened behind her, and she turned to see the same kind yet efficient woman who’d whisked Winnie into the attorney’s inner sanctum within moments of her arrival. This time, though, instead of Gertrude’s file and a mug of steaming black coffee, the secretary handed her boss a pair of keys and a brown and white tabby cat who promptly turned and hissed at Winnie.
Praise for the Book
"Laura Bradford has done it again. Éclair and Present Danger is filled with interesting, realistic characters and a plot that will keep you turning pages all the way to the sweet reveal at the end. This scrumptious new series is not to be missed." ~ Paige Shelton, New York Times bestselling author
"A tasty, twisty tale full of felonies and flavor! Laura Bradford cooks up a delightful cast of characters led by clever amateur sleuth and dessert rescuer Winnie Johnson. The plot is delicious and moves at a swift pace, keeping the reader guessing while frantically turning the pages as Winnie tries to solve the murder of an old friend and make sure that his killer gets his just desserts." ~ Jenn McKinlay, New York Times bestselling author
Guest Post by the Author
1. Winnie is real.
When Éclair and Present Danger opens, we see Winnie at her lowest. She’s just realized that her last hope for keeping her beloved bakery (Delectable Delights) open is gone. Baking has been her passion since her line of vision was able to clear the countertop in her mother’s kitchen. It has become, in many ways, her identity. So having to walk away from her dream because of skyrocketing rent, is beyond painful. But she also knows that sulking won’t change anything.
2. Winnie honors her commitments.
Closing her bakery for the very last time was tough. And the thought of going home to her apartment and crying the night away definitely has its allure. But Winnie made a promise to her now deceased friend to deliver a peach pie, once a week, to the woman’s grieving husband. So Winnie puts her own heartbreak on hold in order to try and lessen someone else’s.
3. Winnie is resourceful.
Thanks to an offhand comment by another neighbor, Winnie comes up with an idea that could resurrect her baking dream. She literally stays up all night, jotting notes, researching operating costs, and crafting dessert names.
4. Winnie knows what she likes and makes no apologies for it.
As a young child, Winnie developed a special friendship with an elderly couple who lived along her school route. The experience was such a positive one, that she has gravitated toward similarly aged people ever since. Whether or not that’s to blame for her nonexistent dating life is of little to no concern for Winnie.
5. Winnie is a true and loyal friend.
She loves her friends, plain and simple.
So there you go. My top five list of reasons to love Winnie Johnson. Give Éclair and Present Danger a whirl and see if you agree …
About the Author
Laura Bradford (aka Elizabeth Lynn Casey) is the author of several mystery series and a handful of romance novels. She is a former Agatha Award nominee and the recipient of an RT Reviewer’s Choice Award. In her free time, Laura enjoys making memories with her family, baking, playing games, and catching up with friends. In addition to the Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery series, Laura writes the Amish Mystery series and the Jenkins & Burns Mysteries, as well as the Southern Sewing Circle Mystery series (as Elizabeth Lynn Casey).
Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to a print copies of Éclair and Present Danger and A Churn for the Worse by Laura Bradford and Needle and Dread by Elizabeth Lynn Casey (US only).