Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Showcase - Getaway With Murder by Diane Kelly

Today I'm showcasing Getaway With Murder, Diane Kelly's debut in her brand new Mountain Lodge Mysteries series.
Enjoy!

ISBN-13: 9781250815972
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperback
Release Date: 10-26-2021
Length: 304pp
Mountain Lodge Series #1
Buy It: Amazon/ B&N/ IndieBound

ADD TO: GOODREADS

Overview:

Getaway With Murder is the first in a cozy series from Diane Kelly set in a lodge in the Blue Ridge Mountains, where secrets hide behind every hill.

As if hitting the half-century mark wasn’t enough, Misty Murphy celebrated her landmark birthday by amicably ending her marriage and investing her settlement in a dilapidated mountain lodge at the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains. With the old inn teetering on both a bluff and bankruptcy, she must have lost her ever-loving mind.

Luckily, handyman Rocky Crowder has a knack for rehabbing virtual ruins and for doing it on a dime, and to Misty’s delight, the lodge is fully booked on opening night, every room filled with flexible folks who’d slipped into spandex and ascended the peak for a yoga retreat with plans to namastay for a full week. Misty and her guests are feeling zen—at least until the yoga instructor is found dead.

With a killer on the loose and the lodge’s reputation hanging in the balance, Misty must put her detective-skills to the test. Only one thing is as clear as a sunny mountain morning—she must solve the crime before the lodge ends up, once again, on the brink.


Read an excerpt:

CHAPTER 1


I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

—Henry David Thoreau (1854: Walden)

Misty

I’d just finished signing the divorce papers when my trim, tanned husband walked into the conference room, carrying a paper cup. He sat the steaming chai tea latte in front of me. The barista had written “Miss T” rather than “Misty” on the cup, but I supposed that name wasn’t heard often anymore. It belonged to ladies of a certain age—ladies like me, who’d turned fifty years old this very morning. As I sipped the delicious brew, both my stomach and heart warmed. I gave Jack a grateful smile. “Maybe we should rethink this divorce.”

We shared a chuckle. It was no secret I wasn’t a morning person. If not for my snowy-white cat standing on my chest and demanding her breakfast each day, I’d sleep until noon. Jack, on the other hand, liked to rise with the sun. Our biorhythms weren’t our only difference. Jack couldn’t get enough of the Outer Banks but, while I enjoyed the sandy beaches, North Carolina’s notorious riptides terrified me. I preferred the mountains in the western part of the state. I loved altitude and everything that went with it. Hiking in dappled woods. Long-range views from a mountaintop. Snowflakes falling in a peaceful hush. Unfortunately, Jack felt carsick on the winding roads up the mountain, cursing every hairpin turn. He never got the hang of skiing, despite several lessons. He feared frostbite if the thermometer dipped below fifty degrees, even if dressed in a parka and fleece-lined boots.

Opposites attract, but sometimes the attraction doesn’t hold forever. Still, while Jack and I had agreed to go our separate ways, we had no regrets. We’d enjoyed two decades together and raised two wonderful, well-adjusted sons, but our relationship had run its course. So, here we were, “consciously uncoupling.” We’d easily agreed on the division of our property. Jack would keep the house in Raleigh. I’d get the anniversary clock we’d bought to celebrate our first year of marriage, plus the investment accounts. I’d reinvest the funds in a new venture this very afternoon.

Mitchell, our younger son, sat at the table with us, playing games on his phone while Jack signed the paperwork. Both boys had my pale freckled skin, dark brown hair, and hazel eyes, but their physique was all Jack, tall and lean. My body was rounder and softer, more so each year despite brisk daily walks. But if the price of aging was a few extra pounds, I’d gladly pay it. Growing old had its downsides, but it sure beat the alternative.

I turned to Mitch. “Good thing you’re grown so we don’t have to fight over you.”

“I’d let you have him,” Jack teased, “and all his laundry, too.”

Mitch rolled his eyes. He knew Jack and I couldn’t be prouder of him and his brother. Both had been honor students in high school, and members of the marching band. They’d landed in occasional trouble that could be chalked up to kids being kids, but who’d want a perfect kid anyway? I was glad they had minds of their own. While our older son Jack, Jr., or J.J., was a sophomore at Duke, Mitch would start his first year at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill very soon. In fact, once we finished here, Jack and I would move Mitch into his dorm. It was mid-August, and classes would begin in just a few days.

Fortunately, our boys had been neither surprised nor upset when we’d told them we were calling it quits. J.J. had put it best when he’d said, “You two seem more like roommates than a couple.” He wasn’t wrong. I couldn’t even remember the last time Jack and I had engaged in marital relations. Maybe after his office holiday party last December? But even though our marriage didn’t last, we’d always hold a special place in each other’s hearts.

Jack finished signing and set the pen down. Our mission here complete, we thanked the attorneys and stood to go.

* * *

An hour later, the three of us were in Mitchell’s dorm room. I made my son’s bed for what I both hoped and feared was the last time. While tears filled my eyes, Mitch champed at the bit, wanting his parents to leave so he could stroll the halls and meet the other new Tar Heels. I wiped a tear from my cheek, plumped his pillow, and glanced around to determine if we’d forgotten anything. “Where’s your phone charger?”

“Right here.” Mitch pulled the cord from the front pocket of his jeans.

I took it from him and plugged it in at his desk. “Keep your phone charged. I worry when I can’t reach you.”

My son groaned. “Trust me. I know.”

It was Jack’s turn to question him now. “Got your electric toothbrush?”

“Yes!” Mitch snapped. “Five tubes of toothpaste, too. Enough for the whole semester.”

Jack worked in sales for a dental equipment supplier. “What about floss?”

Rather than answer his dad, Mitch pointed to the door. “Go!”

I stepped toward him. “Not without a goodbye kiss.”

He made a gagging sound, but suffered through me giving him a peck on the cheek. Jack ruffled his hair. “Stay out of trouble, dude.”

* * *

Jack and I stopped at our cars in the parking lot, and he turned to me. “Your birthday gift is waiting for you at the lodge.”

“What is it?” Jack was a famously thoughtful gift giver, always finding the perfect thing. Over the years he’d surprised me with a seat warmer for my car for ski trips with the boys, high-powered binoculars to enjoy the birds and views on my hikes, and a pair of spiky metal crampons to attach to my snow boots so I wouldn’t slip on the ice.

He grinned. “You’ll see.” He stepped forward and enveloped me in a tight hug.

I hugged him back, my throat tight with emotion. “There’s no one I’d rather be leaving.”

Taking my words in the spirit intended, he concurred. “We had a darn good ride.” He cleared his throat, overcome with feelings too. After a last squeeze, we released each other.

As Jack headed off on sales calls, I swung by the house to round up Baroness Blizzard. My boys nicknamed her Yeti for her ice blue eyes and bountiful white fur. She’d skitter off if I grabbed at her, so instead I crouched and held out a treat. “Here, girl! It’s tuna! Your favorite!” She swished her tail and eyed me suspiciously. I raised the treat to my mouth. “If you don’t want it, I’ll eat it.” Her smug expression said Go ahead. Eat it. I dare you. She’d called my bluff. As I reached for her, she leaped off the couch and bolted. Luckily, I’d had the forethought to close all the doors. She found herself trapped at the end of the hall. I snatched her up, squashed the wriggling cat against my chest, and ran for her carrier. I shoved her in, tossed the treat in after her, and fastened the lock. “Off we go!”


Copyright © 2021 by Diane Kelly.

Praise:

"When I thought I was on the right path to solving this puzzle, the author threw in a monkey wrench that gave me pause . . . Overall, a terrific addition to the cozy genre and I look forward to the next book in this delightfully charming new series."―Dru's Book Musings

Praise for Diane Kelly:

"[Diane] is beloved for her delightfully fun amateur sleuth sagas."―Woman's World (A Book Club Pick of the Week)

"This is a pleasant and comfy read, particularly for dedicated HGTV fans familiar with the concept of flipping houses."―Mystery Scene Magazine

"A cat, a can-do heroine, and a corpse in the flower bed. You're going to laugh."―Christie Craig, New York Times bestselling author of the Texas Justice series

"[A] well-written mystery, interesting characters and a cat that shares feelings."―Red Carpet Crash

"The author does a fine job sussing out crazy characters, frenetic fans, and more in this finely tuned plot. Ms. Kelly definitely knows the winning recipe of cozy mysteries. I absolutely love her stories! Murder With a View is a perplexing page-turner!"―Romance Junkies

About the author:
Diane Kelly is a former state assistant attorney general and tax advisor who spent much of her career fighting, or inadvertently working for, white-collar criminals. She is also a proud graduate of the Mansfield, Texas Citizens Police Academy. Diane combines her fascination with crime and her love of animals in her stories. Diane now lives in North Carolina, where she spends her days catering to her demanding cats or walking her dogs in the region’s beautiful woods.

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