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A Scottish Confection (PAPERBACK)

A Scottish Confection (PAPERBACK)

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PAPERBACK. Book 7 in this delightful USA Today Bestselling cozy mystery series, Amish Cupcake Cozy Mysteries.

When the dashing Detective Damon McCloud's trip to Scotland takes an unexpected twist, leaving him missing, Jane wastes no time. She boards the next flight to Edinburgh, eager to unravel the mystery surrounding Damon's disappearance. And she’s not alone. She finds herself in accommodation with surprising guests.

With a determination as strong as a well-proofed dough, Jane refuses to let Damon down in his hour of need. Alongside her newfound friends, whose own pasts have weathered their fair share of storms, they concoct a recipe for success. The desire for a taste of triumph fuels their journey through the picturesque Scottish highlands, where they must navigate ancient castles and clandestine passages. With each step, they inch closer to uncovering the truth behind Damon's vanishing act, all while ensuring their own safety as the body count continues to rise.

Prepare for a feast of twists, turns, and tantalizing discoveries as Jane and her companions serve up justice with a side of mouth-watering suspense. Enjoy the blend of savory sleuthing, devious secrets, and a dash of danger that will leave you hungry for more.

Paperback.

 Paperback 266 pages
 Dimensions  5 x 0.60 x 8 inches (127 x 15.4 x 203 mm)
 ISBN 9781922595591
 Publication date March 22, 2022
 Publisher Clean Wholesome Books
usa today bestseller cozy mystery by ruth hartzler

Read a Sample

Chapter 1.

“Jane, have you heard from Damon yet?” asked Eleanor, at our usual pre-dawn breakfast.
Eleanor had created quite the spread. There were piping hot pancakes with shimmering maple syrup, sizzling bacon, runny eggs, and enough coffee to keep a small army on its toes. There was also coffee soup, a traditional Amish breakfast, for Matilda. The only problem with the spread was that I had not touched a single thing. I slumped at the table, my chin resting in my hands, and I sighed and sighed again.
“I am sure he’s fine,” I replied miserably. What was the point in having a boyfriend if he was going to disappear in Scotland? “He’s likely found someone called Skye. She’s probably the very attractive daughter of a dairy farmer.”
“Take Mr. Crumbles, Jane.” Matilda walked into the kitchen and shoved the big gray cat into my arms. “You’ll feel better. Patting a cute little kitten always makes me feel better.”
Mr. Crumbles bit my finger, and I was forced to let him go. He sprung on the table, stole a slice of bacon before Eleanor could shoo him away, and jumped to the floor. We all watched as he vanished around the corner, purring loudly.
“Honestly, Matilda,” Eleanor said. “A cute little kitten? Sometimes you say the strangest things.”
I sighed. There was tension between the two sisters, and I often found myself in the middle of it. If only I could bite someone on the hand, grab a slice of bacon, and vanish.
“I do not,” Matilda snapped.
“You’re just grumpy because you haven’t had your coffee soup, and it isn’t dawn yet,” Eleanor retorted. She exchanged a glance with me. “Isn’t that right, Jane?”
“I’m not grumpy,” Matilda protested. She patted my back. “I suppose you can’t eat because you’re worried about not hearing from Damon? He’s probably having a wonderful time visiting his mother.”
“Or Skye,” Eleanor added unhelpfully.
Matilda frowned. “Who is Skye?”
I replied, “She’s the young, thin, daughter of a Scottish dairy farmer.”
“Mr. Crumbles!” Eleanor cried suddenly. When no one was looking, he had crept into the room, and now he was running off with another slice of bacon. There would be no breakfast left for me if I didn’t eat something soon. Gingerly, I picked up a fork and poked my eggs.
“Scotland is full of wonderful sights like the Edinburgh Castle, Scottish Highland cattle, and the Loch Ness Monster,” Eleanor said.
Matilda stirred her coffee soup vigorously, causing a delightful aroma of coffee, and thankfully not stale bread, to waft through the air. “There’s no such thing as the Loch Ness Monster, Eleanor.”
Eleanor’s face formed a scowl. “How would you know?”
Matilda snorted rudely. “And Damon has already seen the sights of Scotland. After all, he was born there. He only left Scotland a few years ago, I believe. Isn’t that right, Jane?”
“Yes,” I said absently. Damon had flown to Scotland a month earlier to visit his mother, but I hadn’t heard from him for the past five days. That was unusual, as Damon liked to call me every morning, to say hello and to make sure I had not accidentally set fire to anything.
“I’m sure he hasn’t found another woman, if that’s what you’re thinking.” Matilda turned her attention to her breakfast, which she consumed rather noisily. After an interval, she added, “I wouldn’t worry, Jane. After all, I’m not worried about Damon. I’m worried about me. I haven’t had enough breakfast.”
Eleanor spoke up. “Jane, how did he seem when he last spoke to you?”
I plastered what I hoped was a nonchalant look on my face. “He seemed his normal self.”
“There’s a logical explanation for sure,” Eleanor said. “Maybe he lost his phone.”
“Then why didn’t he get another phone and call me?”
“Because nobody remembers anybody’s number these days,” Eleanor pointed out. “It’s not like when we were young and had to remember people’s phone numbers. These days, the phone remembers the numbers and calls people for you.”
Damon would remember my phone number, I wanted to say, but there did not seem any point in arguing.
Matilda rolled her eyes.
Undaunted, Eleanor pushed on. “Yes, that’s it! He lost his phone in a loch. Or maybe the Loch Ness Monster ate it,” she said. “Or maybe one of those Scottish Highland cows ate it. I’ve heard they are very friendly with people.”
Matilda groaned, “I’m afraid to ask, but why would cows that are friendly to humans eat phones?”
Eleanor crossed her arms over her chest. “I simply meant that those cattle have a reputation for being friendly. That means they would get close to people, unlike other breeds of cattle that wouldn’t get close to people. If you can’t get close to people, how will you eat their phones?”
The sisters continued to bicker. I stood up abruptly. “If he lost his phone, he could call the phone in Rebecca’s shop.”
I sat back down and ran my hand over my eyes. “I have a bad feeling. I think something’s happened to him.”
A sudden blast interrupted the conversation. The whole farmhouse shook. Matilda’s mug fell and shattered on the stone floor.
“What was that?” I cried.
The noise continued. It sounded as though the whole yard was falling in. It was a terrible racket.
“I’m going to see what’s going on.” Matilda picked up her coat. “I can’t identify that sound.”
I grabbed a flashlight. “I’m coming with you.”
“I’m coming too,” said Eleanor.
Matilda didn’t argue.
We hurried down into the living room, out the front door, and sprinted across to the barn.
I had expected to see Billy, the unruly and somewhat dangerous goat, wreaking havoc and maybe jumping up and down on my car, but for once, there was not a goat in sight.
Matilda grabbed my arm. “Stay under cover, Jane.” Matilda’s grip was like a vice on my arm. Her hand was warm from where she had been holding her bowl of coffee soup.
For the first time, I noticed that she and Eleanor were well-armed. Matilda was clutching a shotgun, and Eleanor was wielding a large hunting knife. I shouldn’t have been surprised, really. The knife’s handle was rubbed smooth and was missing a chunk at the tip. Matilda’s shotgun was ancient and dull, and the butt of the grip had deep dents from her calloused hand. It seemed the surge of adrenaline had suddenly made me observant.
The three of us hung back just outside the barn door. I did my best to stay calm, but my senses were heightened. The air was sharp and dry. It smelled of livestock, old leather, and hay.
I stood on one side of the door. Eleanor and Matilda stood on the other. We all stared at the barn door. We stayed like that for what seemed to me to be a long time, until we were sure that whatever it was that had made those frightening sounds was long gone.
I poked my head into the barn, and then quickly withdrew it.
“Jane, what is it?” asked Matilda. She pumped her shotgun. “Jane, what did you see?”
I shook my head. “Nothing.”
Matilda and Eleanor, who were standing right behind me, didn’t say anything. We crept away from the barn into the early morning dark. Whoever said, ‘It’s always darkest before dawn,’ was right. Somewhere, an owl hooted.
I showed the way with the flashlight I’d grabbed from the house. We crept to the edge of the orchard and took cover behind some apple trees.
“Be careful. Maybe Billy escaped,” Eleanor said under her breath.
But all was quiet. “Let’s go back to the house,” Matilda whispered. “Don’t let down your guard.”
As soon as we reached the porch, the screeching sound came again. Something was the matter.
I gripped my flashlight and peered into the fading darkness. Matilda and Eleanor aimed their weapons. We inched along, making our way to the barn.
Matilda said, “It’s coming from inside the barn!”
She raced to the door, Eleanor beside her, and me hard on their heels.
We all gasped when we identified the source of the terrible sound.

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