Listen to a narrated excerpt of Murder A La Mode
Ever think about seeing “that” guy again? You know who I’m talking about. The guy you were crazy for but then for some reason what you hoped for never happened? That’s what’s happening in our mystery excerpt today.
About the Book
From author Lena Gregory comes a delicious new series that will warm your heart and leave you guessing until the very end…
When twenty-five-year-old Danika Delaney, black sheep of the Delaney clan, returns home to Long Island to take over Jimmie’s, her eccentric uncle’s old fashioned malt shop on eastern Long Island, she’s not exactly thrilled. But things start to look up when her uncle tells her she can do whatever she’d like with the shop, and it seems she might realize her dream of a small trendy café. That is, until she discovers the body of her ex-boyfriend’s estranged wife in a melted puddle of rocky road in the malt shop basement. With her two sidekicks, her sister and a good childhood friend, in tow, Dani searches for–or stumbles upon—one clue after another. But as she narrows down the suspect list, she realizes if she’s not careful she may end up in a puddle of her own…
I froze in place and didn’t dare turn around. Why not just shoot me now, Karma, instead of prolonging the torture?
Luca Martinelli, whom I’d dated all through high school right up until senior prom when I’d gone to powder my nose and returned to find him lip-locked with Heather Teague, cheerleader extraordinaire. Heather had been everything I hadn’t—skinny, beautiful, popular, outgoing, sneaky, mean and always jealous Luca was dating me. Of course, he’d sworn it hadn’t been what I’d thought, but what else could he have said? Still, I’d known what I’d seen. Huh…whadda ya know? Seemed I did actually have a breakup that didn’t end on friendly terms.
The last I saw Luca—since classes had been over by prom and I’d managed to avoid him during graduation by showing up at the last minute, taking my place, then disappearing quickly after—he’d been chasing after me as I ran from the inn where the prom had been in full swing. I’d lost him somewhere around Oak Tree Lane, after I’d turned and screamed at him that I never wanted to see him again. If I wasn’t mistaken, which I most definitely was not since I’d kept tabs on him through my sister Meghan, he’d ended up marrying good ole Heather.
Harry had already gone past me and was embracing Luca warmly, which I could see reflected in the glass ice cream case since I hadn’t yet summoned the courage to turn around. Ah well, if I was going to live back in Watchogue, I wouldn’t be able to avoid Luca forever. Might as well get it over with. So, I plastered on my best smile and turned to face him.
Then I stopped short. The breath whooshed from my lungs, and I couldn’t manage more than a sputtered, “H-h-hello.”
Okay, as soon as I got home, Meghan was getting an earful. While she’d updated me on his whereabouts—college then back to Watchogue—his marriage to Heather, his job as some kind of computer expert, and even his volunteer firefighter status, she’d neglected to mention how gorgeous he was.
Luca had always been good-looking, with dark hair perpetually in need of a cut and gray eyes that could make your stomach tingle. He’d always been athletic, lean, and lanky, and he’d always had a killer smile. But now…
“Dani?” He aimed that smile at me with enough wattage to melt every ounce of ice cream in the shop.
My heart melted with it. In an instant, I was transported back to my teenage years and the way he’d made my heart go pitter-pat with just a look. Then the image of him and Heather superimposed itself over everything, and my insides went cold. “Luca. It’s good to see you.”
He took a wary step toward me, then stopped, and stuffed his hands into his well-fitted jeans pockets. “Danika, how are you? You look…amazing.”
“Thank you. You look…” Wonderful, incredible, like a Greek god chiseled in stone come to life. “Good, too.”
“So…um…it’s been a long time.”
“Yes, it has.” This encounter was too overwhelming in my current state. I had to get out of there, needed to breathe, clear my mind, get rid of the pounding headache starting to throb behind my right eye. “Anyway, I was just on my way out. It was good to see you, Luca.”
“Yeah, you too.”
“I’ll see you around.” I kissed Uncle Jimmie goodbye, gave Harry a hug, and started past Luca. I was almost to the door when he reached out and snagged my wrist.
“Wait, Danika, please. I…” He looked around the shop, thankfully empty but for Jimmie and Harry, neither of whom even bothered to feign disinterest. “I never got the chance to say I’m sorry, and I just wanted to let you know I am…sorry, that is. I…uh…that is, things shouldn’t have ended like they did.”
What could I say? I wanted to tell him he’d broken my heart, that he hurt me so badly I’d cried for a week straight, but what difference would it make now? “It’s okay, Luca. Water under the bridge, but I really do have to get going.”
“Oh, well, that explains everything,” a woman’s voice said from over my shoulder.
I whirled toward her. I’d been so wrapped up in Luca’s gaze that I hadn’t even heard the door open.
And there stood Heather, gaze glued to Luca’s hand, which still had a grip on my wrist. A grip that was suddenly uncomfortably tight. “I guess now I know why we’re getting divorced.”
A divorce? Wait, what? Meghan was so gonna get it when I got my hands on her.
Luca dropped my wrist like it was on fire. “Heather, please. It’s not what you think.”
Hmm…funny, those were the same words he’d uttered to me under similar circumstances. Only this time, he was telling the truth.
Uh-oh. A little niggle of doubt crept in. No way. Uh-uh. Forget it. I wasn’t dealing with this right now. I’d caught them kissing, for crying out loud.
“And what do I think, Luca? That you’d dump me for someone like her?” Heather laughed. “I don’t think so.”
“I’m not going to get into this here, Heather.” Luca glanced over his shoulder at Harry and Jimmie, who now sat side by side on matching stools, backs to the counter, slurping coffee and munching on the peanuts Jimmie kept for sundaes with their gazes fully riveted on the action unfolding. Man, this must be more entertaining than The Lawrence Welk Show, which Uncle Jimmie still managed to find on some streaming channel or another. It brought back fond memories of my childhood, sitting cross-legged on the floor while he reclined in his lounger drinking a bloody mary.
Heather huffed and spun on me then pointed a finger, interrupting my trip down memory lane. “And you’re not going to get away with this, either.”
I glanced over my shoulder to see if she was glaring at someone behind me, but no one was there, so I looked straight at her.
Heather stared back at me. “Don’t think for one minute you can prance back into town and take what’s mine because that is so not happening.” With that, she whirled like a pro on her four-inch Christian Louboutins and stormed out.
Not knowing what else to do, and if I was being honest, feeling a little bad for Luca, I looked him in the eyes and said what any self-respecting ex would say. “Good luck with that.”
Twin patches of red flamed on his cheeks, which I might have mistaken for embarrassment if not for his jaw clenched tight enough to shatter teeth. “Yeah, thanks.”
Oo…kaay. Time for me to get out of there. Quite honestly, I’d had about all I could take for one day, and I was seriously considering calling Marie and begging her to let me live in the spare closet. But on the bright side, at least tomorrow should be an improvement. Karma had had her fun. It wasn’t like things could get much worse.
Find Murder A La Mode at Amazon
About the Author
Lena Gregory is the author of the Bay Island Psychic Mysteries, which take place on a small island between the north and south forks of Long Island, New York, the All-Day Breakfast Café Mysteries, which are set on the outskirts of Florida’s Ocala National Forest, the Mini-Meadows Mysteries, set in a community of tiny homes in Central Florida, and the Coffee & Cream Café Mysteries, which take place in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island, New York.
Lena grew up in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island, but she recently traded in cold, damp, gray winters for the warmth and sunshine of central Florida, where she now lives with her husband, three kids, son-in-law, and four dogs. Her hobbies include spending time with family, reading, and walking. Her love for writing developed when her youngest son was born and didn’t sleep through the night. She works full time as a writer and a freelance editor and is a member of Sisters in Crime.
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