Sweet Ginger Poison (Ginger Lightley Cozy Mystery Series)

Ginger investigates the death of a young man who died after eating one of the cakes from her bakery.

Ginger Lightley and the entire town are shaken by the horrible accident.

But then the newly appointed police chief accuses one of Ginger’s employees of murder. Ginger rejects the crime scenario laid out by the young police chief and secretly determines to solve the crime herself.

Raves for Sweet Ginger Poison

“If you’re in the mood for a fun, quick cozy mystery, this is the book for you.” – Amazon reviewer

“It was such a fun read with just enough mystery to keep you turning the pages until the exciting conclusion.” – Goodreads reviewer


Read the four-chapter excerpt…

Chapter 1

Navy Newcomb dropped the looseleaf notebook on the man’s desk. “There you go. All of Ginger Lightley’s secret cake recipes are in that book.”

The man behind the desk picked up the notebook and flipped through a few pages. “You were supposed to make copies of the recipes—not steal the whole book. Now she’s gonna know that somebody has her recipes, you idiot.”

Navy clenched his teeth. “Are you gonna pay me the five thousand or not?”

“Don’t you get it? You screwed up. This ain’t worth squat. You said you could get me copies.”

Navy snatched the notebook away from him.

The man stood up. “What are you doing?”

Navy walked toward the door.

“Wait. Come back.”

Navy turned. “I’ll bet I can find somebody who’ll pay for this thing.”

“I’ll pay you, man.”

“The full five thousand?”

“Yeah, sure. But you’ve got to give me a little time to get the cash together.”

“No. You’re just stalling. You’re gonna try to rip me off.”

“Navy, come on, I didn’t know you were gonna show up here at seven o’clock in the morning. I’ll get you the money as soon as the bank opens. Come back around ten.”

“You’d better not be lying to me.”

“I promise: I’ll have the money for you at ten o’clock.”

Navy stepped in close to the desk and held up his fist. “How about I give you a bloody nose as a reminder?”

The man held up his hands. “Whoa. Settle down. Look, man, I apologize for calling you an idiot. That was way out of line. That’s not what I really think of you.”

“Yeah, right.”

“Dude, I am impressed that you were able to swipe Ginger’s recipe book from right under her nose. I don’t know how you did it.”

“Thanks.” Navy checked his watch. “I’ve got to go.”

“Wait. How about a cup of coffee for the road?”

“Sure, thanks.”

“You need cream or sugar?”

“No.”

The man walked out of his office, into a hallway.

Navy knew that the money wouldn’t solve all of his problems, but at least he wouldn’t lose his car. And he could take Kayla out for an expensive dinner tonight. She’d love that.

The man came back with the coffee. “Here you go.” He handed Navy the cup with one hand while holding out the other hand for the notebook.

“Thanks.” Navy took the foam cup and reluctantly gave the man the notebook. He wondered if he was making a big mistake.

The man seemed to sense his concern. “Don’t worry. You can trust me.”

Navy wasn’t convinced.

The man said, “Hey, I’m not stupid. I know if I rip you off, you’ll make sure that Ginger finds out who has her stolen recipe book. Right?”

“You bet your butt, I will.” Navy thought about it for a moment. “Five thousand. Cash.”

“That was the deal.”

“See you at ten.” Navy walked out.

The alley was pitch black. How fortunate that the overhead light was burned out. Navy was sure that his car couldn’t be seen from the street. He stood for a moment as his eyes adjusted to the darkness. Gradually the black Corvette began to materialize in the faint moonlight. He made his way around to the driver’s side and got in. Sunrise would come soon. He started the engine and carefully eased up on the clutch. The powerful automobile crept slowly through the dark alley toward the light of the street.

Navy held his breath as he pulled onto the road. He looked around. No witnesses. He turned on his headlights and headed toward Coreyville Country Home. It was two miles north of town. He hated the place. The name implied fresh air, butterflies, and shade trees, and Coreyville Country Home had all of those things—much like a cemetery. It was really just a place where you lie around and wait to croak.

He had taken the volunteer job to impress his mother. Every morning, way earlier than he liked to get up, he’d drive to Ginger Lightley’s bakery, Coreyville Coffee Cakes, pick up the day-old cakes, and deliver them to Coreyville Country Home for the residents. Ginger donated the cakes. He donated his time and gas.

Navy Newcomb was born into money. Big money. Not that his mother had ever shared much of it with him. She had paid him to do well in high school. He’d never amount to anything, she always said, unless he got a good education. After graduating near the top of his class, he had no problems getting admission to The University of Texas.

But the summer after his freshman year he overheard his mother talking to the family lawyer and discovered that there was a trust fund waiting for him when he turned twenty-one. His father had set it up before he was born. So, his sophomore year was all about partying. What was the point of a college degree anyway? Navy would never have to work.

After flunking out of college and goofing off for a couple more years, he turned twenty-one and got his two million bucks. He’d been disappointed that it wasn’t more. That was nearly four years ago, before the sports cars, boats, hookers, gambling, and drugs. All he had left was the Corvette. It was the only thing that made him feel like a man, and even that wasn’t really his. Not until he paid off the bank. But things were looking up. With that five thousand dollars, he could pay off his car loan.

And sooner or later, his mother would start to believe that he had changed. This volunteer work would convince the crazy old woman to give him more money so he could rebuild his life. Taking over the delivery job kinda gave him the creeps though. The old man who’d been doing it was dropping off a tray of coffee cakes one morning and had a stroke, right there in the kitchen of the nursing home. They rushed him to the hospital. A week later, he was back at Coreyville Country Home—as a resident.

Navy took a sip of his coffee. Then he reached to the bakery tray that was sitting on the passenger seat and grabbed one of Ginger Lightley’s little coffee cake loaves. It was a Sweet Ginger Cake—his favorite. There was only one today. He unwrapped it and wolfed it down. Delicious.

When he arrived at the nursing home, he drove around back to the kitchen entrance, got out, and carried the tray to the door.

He rang the bell, and one of the cooks let him in. She took the tray from Navy and began to move the little cakes from the tray to the counter. “You ate some of them didn’t you?”

“No, of course not. They’re for the residents.”

“Look, I understand. You’re a growing boy.”

“I’m not a boy.”

She eyed him as though he were still wealthy, and that maybe he’d be interested in a mature woman like her. She was sort of sexy—in a cafeteria-lady-in-a-hairnet kind of way.

She handed him the empty tray. “Before you go—you wanna taste one of my cherry tarts?”

He wasn’t absolutely sure she was talking about food, but he was still starving. “Sure. Why not.”

She went to get one and brought it back to him, smiling. “Hope you like it.”

He set down the tray and took a bite of the tart. “Good.”

She smiled.

He stuffed the rest of it in his mouth and mumbled, “Very good.”

Her smile broadened. “Thanks.”

Navy began to choke.

“I’ll get you some water.” She hurried to the sink.

His throat continued to tighten.

He went out the door and ran to his car.

Navy swung open the passenger door.

He slid into the seat and popped the glove box.

It felt like there was a golf ball stuck in his throat.

Navy fumbled through the contents of the glove box. He yanked out the owner’s manual and dropped it on the floorboard. Then a Dallas map, a pile of receipts, and other paperwork. Finally the glove box was empty.

Where is it?!

He gasped for air.

He would run back inside. They had nurses. They could help him.

He stood up and ran toward the building, then slowed, staggered.

The cook ran toward him.

Everything began to swirl.

He was falling forward. He had no control of his body.

Navy passed out just before his face hit the pavement.

Next Chapter —>