Title: Engaged in Trouble
Author: Jenny B. Jones
Genre: Cozy Mystery, 1st in Series
Published: March 30, 2017
~ Synopsis ~
When a washed-up pop star inherits a wedding planning business, it’s all bouquets and bliss until a bride turns up dead.
Paisley Sutton shot to stardom as a teenage rock sensation, but ten years later that star has fizzled out, just like her bank account. When she unexpectedly inherits her aunt’s wedding planning business, Paisley leaves the glamour of Los Angeles for a charming small town in Arkansas. Thinking she’ll arrive in Sugar Creek and liquidate the moldly property, Paisley’s shocked to find Enchanted Events has experienced a major makeover and is now the place for brides. She’s got two months to keep Enchanted Events afloat if she wants to sell and rekindle her music career with the profits.
Paisley’s tossed into a world of vows and venues, but her most difficult challenge comes in the form of one demanding bride. When this Bridezilla’s found facedown in her cake, all fingers point to Paisley as the prime murder suspect. And she does not look good in prison orange.
This former pop princess will need the help of her gun-toting, ex-CIA grandmother and her handsome neighbor, Beau Hudson, to unravel the mystery and clear her good name. As she and her unruly posse dig into Bridezilla’s life, she discovers the woman had a long list of enemies. The closer Paisley gets to the truth, the more her own life is in danger.
Love is in the air this wedding season, but before Paisley can help the ladies of Sugar Creek say, “I do,” she’s got to unveil a killer. Or find herself the next target.
Engaged in Trouble is the first book in the long-awaited Enchanted Events cozy mystery series by award-winning author Jenny B. Jones. If you like laugh-out-loud adventures, small-town romance, unforgettable, sassy characters, and a mystery to keep you guessing, then you’ll love this new page-turning series.
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~ About Readers are Saying ~
Funny and fast-fast paced, this is a great cozy. ~The Book’s the Thing
Engaged in Trouble was a super fun and quirky cozy mystery! The story/plot fast paced full of twists and turns and surprises that kept this reader captivated from the very beginning. ~My Reading Journeys
This book is a combo of chick lit and cozy mystery. Humor is spread throughout the book with mystery and a touch of romance. It’s a quick read with “laugh-out-loud” fun. ~Socrates’ Book Reviews…
~ Excerpt ~
In Engaged in Trouble, Paisley Sutton, gets a bit of good luck—inheriting her great-aunt’s musty, dusty wedding planning business. But in true Paisley form, bad luck soon follows—stumbling upon a dead customer. I thought I’d share chapter from from the novel so we could peek in on Paisley just as everything’s about to fall apart…
“The witching hour begins at noon today.” Henry handed me a coffee as soon as I entered his office the next morning.
I inhaled the comforting scent and took my first sip. “Do I even want to know what you’re talking about?”
“Sasha Chandler. She has a twelve o’clock appointment for her cake tasting. The Measuring Cup Bakery brings samples daily, so our brides can taste test here. ”
“Two days in a row of this WBE (worst bride ever). Are you sure you’re not trying to run me off?”
“The town is abuzz of your throwdown with Evan Holbrook yesterday.”
“Discussion. We merely had a discussion.” A very loud one. In which I did all the talking.
“Well, the newspaper’s already called for a statement, so back off on the public meltdowns during company hours, okay? I did not deliver this place from a ‘granny’s scary basement’ reputation to see it transcend into a ‘Jerry Springer’s loudest episode’ reputation. Am I clear? This is a business, not a reality show.”
“Yes, sir. And I found out today is Alice’s birthday, so do something nice for her.”
Henry scrunched his nose. “Like what?”
“I’ll email you some ideas, Mr. Crabby.”
“I’m not jumping out of a cake.”
“And for that she’s probably grateful.” I plucked a glass bottle of champagne from my bag and set it on his desk. “Here’s my idea. We offer a coffee service until noon, then champagne ’til closing. What do you think?” My red fingernail tapped the label. “It’s even locally sourced.”
Henry nodded slowly. “The idea has potential. We can do a trial period. But let’s get back to Sasha Chandler.”
“Maybe some Sugar Creek label champagne will help her disposition.” Or a lobotomy. Whatever. “Good luck to the poor soul who deals with her today.”
He sat down at his computer and tapped at his keyboard. “That would be you.”
I sputtered on a swallow of coffee. “I don’t think so.”
“I do,” he said. “She’s our only cake tasting today, and I want you to see how it works. Cupcakes representing the cake choices are delivered by ten each day. You’ll need to review your notes in the binder on this, of course.”
“I don’t want to brag, but I know cake.” Mostly the eating of it. “Let someone else take this.”
Henry raised one dark eyebrow. “Why?”
“Because she’s my ex-fiancé’s fiancée. Something you no doubt knew.”
“Maybe.” He brushed a piece of lint from his charcoal pants. “Even if I wanted to help you, I can’t. I have a twelve o’clock with the mayor’s daughter, Layla’s out sick, and everyone else has appointments. It’s all you.”
I rested my forehead on the desk. “I should fire you.”
“Uh-huh.” He chuckled. “I dare you to try it. By the way, I’ll have you a desk here by the end of the day. We’ll share the office.”
“Can we put a couch in here for twice-daily naps? Maybe a lava lamp or two?”
At my suggestion of a jumbo TV and popcorn machine, he walked out.
The next two hours passed with my shadowing Henry. He gave me a crash course in our payment plans, the latest trends in wedding themes, and updated me on local venues. I watched him diffuse a powder keg of a momma not getting her way, deal with two suppliers who were late on shipments, then give one of our employees a talking to for being repeatedly late. Though his tone could be a little harsh, the man had business skill coming out his every pore. Meanwhile, I was saturated with information and completely overwhelmed. This was a lot harder than learning a melody and shaking my tush behind Jaz on stage. Not that tush-shaking didn’t have its challenges.
“Okay, you’re up,” Henry said as twelve o’clock neared. “The Dragon Bride’s in the parlor room.”
“You tend to Sasha today, and I’ll make sure it’s the last time. You’re taking one for the team, and your staff knows it.”
“Fine. But I’d feel better going in with a garlic necklace or holy water.”
The parlor was a cozy room with antique dining chairs around a few white tables. Pale sage walls hosted framed vintage bridal prints and white chandeliers hung from the ceiling. Violin music softly played, and the air smelled of sugar and dreams.
Sasha Chandler sat in one of those chairs.
I approached her like a woman given the task of routing a bear from its cave. “Good afternoon.”
She looked up, and I expected hate to flare from her pretty brown eyes and venom to spew from her lips.
But she simply said, “Hello.”
I set a flute of bubbly champagne on her table. “So. . . I’m sorry for the scene with Evan yesterday. I can’t stand your fiancé, but I want you to know that it won’t affect the service you’ll receive at Enchanted Events.” I recited the words Henry had written out for me to memorize. “You’ll still get the same top notch care from the staff here, and—” I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t continue with the drivel. “Look, I’m just gonna go grab the cupcakes, okay?”
She mutely nodded before picking up her champagne. Her hand shook slightly as she lifted it to her lips and drank. The entire thing.
I paused at the door. “Um, Miss Chandler, is everything okay?”
She swiped at her eyes and sniffed. “Just go get the cake.”
I returned a short while later with a plate of cupcakes and gave her the schpiel I’d been coached to say. “The Measuring Cup Bakery has prepared a selection of five cake samples for you today. We have the white cake with a layer of strawberry—”
“First of all, stay away from Evan.” Sasha’s voice snapped with fierce warning. “Never speak to him again. And second, bring me some more of this.” She tapped her empty glass. “I think I can handle handle tasting cake without your hovering.”
“Oh.” What a peach this one was. She and Evan deserved each other.
I stomped back into the staff kitchen, whipped open the refrigerator, and grabbed the bottle of champagne. That woman! That arrogant, shrew of a woman. Who was she to talk to me like that? The way she treated people was deplorable. How had she survived high school without being stuffed in a locker?
Taking the long way back to the parlor, I made a detour through the shop and greeted a few brides. I had a lovely conversation with a teary-eyed grandmother who had the honor of being her granddaughter’s matron of honor, before assisting another customer as they picked out napkins for an engagement party.
Fifteen glorious minutes later, the champagne and I returned to the parlor.
Where I found the bride facedown in her icing.
Rushing to her, I lifted her head and did not like what I saw.
“Sasha, wake up.” I swiped the dueling colors of icing from her face. “Someone help us! Call 9-1-1! Henry!” She wasn’t breathing. I whispered a prayer for help. For divine intervention. For the girl to open her eyes, draw a deep breath, and say something cutting and cruel.
“Paisley, what in the—” Henry rushed into the room, his whole body jerking to a stop as he took in the chaotic scene. “What’s happened?”
I slid my hand up Sasha’s neck and groped for a pulse.
And found none.
I met Henry frightened gaze.
“I think we just lost a bride.”
~ About the Author ~
Award-winning, best-selling author Jenny B. Jones writes romance, cozies, and YA with sass and Southern charm. Since she has very little free time, Jenny believes in spending her spare hours in meaningful, intellectual pursuits, such as eating ice cream, watching puppy videos, and reading celebrity gossip. She lives in the beautiful state of Arkansas and has worked in public education for half of forever. She loves bluegrass, a good laugh, and strong tea. She adores hearing from readers.
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~ Giveaway ~
Win one of three ecopies of Engaged in Trouble