Murder by the Cup -Le Doux Mysteries Book 1 by Abigail Thornton

Murder by the Cup
Le Doux Mysteries Book 1
By
Abigail Thornton

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She’s always been
her family’s dirty little secret,
but now she’s finally free…

Wynona Le Doux would never have chosen to be born into the most powerful, ruling witch family in all of Hex Haven. And she certainly wouldn’t have chosen to be cursed at birth and grow up without powers. Nor would she have ever wanted to add ‘amateur sleuth’ to her resume.

It seemed fate left her no choice.

Having been hid from the public since birth because of her curse, it isn’t until Wynona’s grandmother helps her escape on the Spring Equinox that Wynona manages to make a few decisions for herself…that is until a dead body is found in her tea shop.

She’s only six days away from her grand opening when the police mark off the area as a crime scene, putting her plans on hold.

Even with an alibi, the chief of police has Wynona at the top of his suspect list and the grumpy vampire seems determined to put her behind bars. Despite that, it isn’t until customers begin cancelling their appointments that Wynona knows she has to step in and solve this crime or lose her dream forever.

Without any magical powers, she’s going to need all the help she can get. A wingless fairy, a too-handsome landlord and a purple mouse are not exactly the dream team she had in mind.

This book was free with newsletter sign up and I was very surprised to find myself addicted to this series.

Wynona Le Doux was cursed and born without powers to the most powerful witch family in Hex Haven. As such she was considered worthless and treated as such. Her Grandmother Saffron took her under her wing and taught her all about herbs and making custom teas. It was her grandmother’s death that allowed Wynona to escape the clutches of her family to open a tea shop in town.

She selected the best baker in town Chef Atherton Droxon to provide the pastries she would serve. He was definitely cantankerous but the delicacies he would provide would be more than worth dealing with the man.

Flowers for the tables would be from her new fairy friend, Primrose the premiere flower arranger in town.

The last thing Wynona expected was a visit from her sister Celia. Celia is nothing but rude and insulting something Wynona was very used to, but when she uses magic to go after a mouse, Wynona is holding back tears. She hates her family’s disregard for life other than their own or their peers. Voices from the kitchen cause Celia to leave without stating why she was there. The best is that the little mouse survived the blast of magic.

After her meeting with Chef Droxon, where she successfully gets him to sign a contract with her, there’s quite the commotion as the chef accuses a worker of stealing his recipes. It’s her warlock landlord, Roderick Caligari, who breaks it up and although they had the thief, he manages to escape while she’s calling the police. It’s a long tedious process before everyone has been questioned. She even gets a sort of compliment from one of the officers, Amaris Nightshade.

Now you’d think that would be enough drama before an opening, but fate has other things in store for Wynona’s shop. The next day after setting out a pizza crust for the mouse, she discovers her office door ajar and within the room a body, well sort of, it was ash, but with the clothing untouched. Prim had arrived to witness this discovery as well and of course the authorities needed to be called in again. This is where we meet Chief Ligurio and Deputy Chief Rascal Strongclaw.

This is a favorite scene.

“Ms. Le Doux?”

She spun. “Yes?”

It was the officer with the delightfully messy hair. Once again, Wynona had the feeling the man was a shifter. There was something inherently predatory about him, but not in a bad way. He just seemed strong and confident, and his movements were smooth and calculated.

“Would you mind stepping into the kitchen to answer a few questions?” he asked. His golden eyes were narrowed, making him look slightly intimidating, but Wynona realized he wasn’t even looking at her.

Frowning, she glanced over her shoulder to see Roderick looking smug, staring right back at the officer. Shaking her head at the weirdness of it all, she began to walk his way. “Of course,” she responded.

“Do you need me to come?” Roderick called.

Wynona waved him off. His presence was comforting, but it wasn’t like she was afraid of the police. She knew she was innocent. Surely the truth would come out. “Thank you,” she murmured as he held the door open for her. Stepping inside, she leaned her hip against a counter and folded her arms over her chest. “What can I do for you, Officer Strongclaw?”

He snorted. “Just call me Rascal.”

Wynona couldn’t help the bubble of laughter. “Rascal?”

The officer didn’t look the least bit embarrassed. “Yeah.

My parents cursed me with a very pretentious name, but my friends quickly nicknamed me Rascal.” He shrugged his massive shoulders. “It stuck.”

“I think the real question is, does it fit?” Wynona asked.

A slow smile spread across his delicious face. “I hate to admit it, but yeah… probably.”

She laughed softly. “Good to know.” A piece of hair fell across her face when she tilted her head. “But now I’m curious about your full name.”

Rascal shook his head. “Nope.” He made some notes in a small notebook. “That’s privileged information. Plus, I’m the one supposed to be asking the questions here.”

Wynona nodded slowly. “Ah… gotcha.” She grinned. “I’ll just have to ask around.”

Rascal winked. “Good luck.” He sobered. “You ready for me to ask some questions about the murder?”

All humor fled and Wynona nodded. “Yes. Go ahead.”

“Before we start, I’m sorry about my boss. He’s been around a long time and sometimes wants to jump to the end, rather than take all the necessary steps in between.”

Wynona nodded her understanding. “I get it. I’m sure everyone gets a little burnt out in a job like this.”

“We can,” Rascal mumbled. He cleared his throat. “Okay. Let’s start from the beginning. You said you were the last one to leave yesterday?”

She nodded. “Yes. I had a meeting with Chef Droxon where we had a taste test and picked out what pastries he was going to supply for the shop.”

“Did you pick anything good?” His golden eyes sparkled with good humor.

Wynona barked a laugh, her hands automatically covering her mouth. “Aren’t they all good?”

“Point taken.” Rascal nodded. “Continue, please.” His pen was poised above his notepad.

“I stayed here after everyone left…” Wynona’s eyes shot open. “Oh my goodness. How could I have forgotten?”

Rascal gave her an expectant look.

Wynona tucked the stray hair back, eager to share her memory. “A man tried to steal Chef Droxon’s little black book yesterday.”

Rascal didn’t move. “What?”

“Yes. A man was pretending to be one of Chef Droxon’s employees. I was walking around giving out tea gift bags to everyone to say thank you, and the man panicked when I tried to give him one. Just as he ran me over, Chef Droxon came in screaming that someone had stolen his recipe book. Then Roderick arrived and saved me from the dog pile, but while I was calling the police, the man escaped.”

Rascal closed his eyes for a moment and shook his head. “Let me get this straight. A thief tried to steal Chef Droxon’s recipes. He ran you over?”

His eyes ran up and down Wynona’s body as if to check on her story and she felt a flush rush up her neck. White skin was such a curse sometimes.

“Mr. Caligari played hero and saved the day.” There was no mistaking the slight edge of resentment in his tone, though Wynona had no idea why. “The book was returned, but the thief escaped. Sound about right?”

Wynona nodded. “That’s it in a nutshell.”

Rascal nodded several times and scribbled on his notepad for a few moments, putting a finger in the air for her to wait. Grabbing the radio that was attached to his collar, Rascal relayed a message. “Chief. There was a robbery here yesterday. We need to get the paperwork on it.” Rascal glanced her way. “You did say you called the police?”

“Yes,” she clarified. “I spoke with Officer Nightshade.”

“That explains it,” Rascal muttered. “She’s off duty today.” He then told his chief the same information.

“I want that folder now,” Chief Ligurio snapped.

Wynona gasped. She waited until Rascal was able to focus on her again. “Can I look at the body again?”

He narrowed his eyes. “Got another hunch?”

Wynona nodded. “I think maybe the body is the thief from yesterday.”

“And how will you be able to tell that? It’s nothing but ash.”

“His shoes.” Wynona took off walking. She couldn’t believe she’d forgotten about yesterday’s debacle, but as soon as she’d retold the story, the recollection of the man’s non-squeaky shoes burst back into her mind with a vengeance.

Wynona could feel Rascal behind her as she dashed through the main room and down the hall. She stopped in the doorway, Rascal’s large presence, warm and comforting behind her. “It’s him,” she whispered.
Abigail Thornton. Murder by the Cup (Kindle Locations 675-722). Angel Music.

Much to the chief’s dismay, Wynona gets more and more involved in the investigation, she has too much at stake to not do something to help speed things along.

Even with much flirting going on with both Roderick and Rascal vying for her attention, Wynona is determined to clear her name and open her tea shop on schedule.

There’s much going on in this book and we meet some very interesting characters. There’s suspense, intrigue, laughter and surprises as this case evolves into more than is initially observed.

I have to confess I am devouring this series, I can’t get enough of these characters.

5 Contented Purrs for Abigail!

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Ever since I was in elementary school I have wanted to be an author. Career day was a bit rough, since there is no official uniform for this job. Pajamas and a laptop maybe? Although my clothes change from day to day, my job as a wife and mother doesn’t. My days are filled with my 5 children and enjoying time with my husband, while my evenings are filled with creative time. I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

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