Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Fortune for Fools: A Merchant Street Mystery #3


Thrilled to announce the release of my latest book! And at such an appropriate time. July 24th is Pioneer Day here in Utah, and this book has a back story about a pioneer couple, Robert and Abigail Dalton, who traveled by wagon in 1849 from Nauvoo to Salt Lake City. You won't believe what happens to them.

Story-line:  Risk-taker Zeke Abberley knows how to be bold when it comes to his antique shop on Merchant Street in Salt Lake City, Utah. He successfully bid on a collection of 1800s antiques in Nauvoo, Illinois that may contain a valuable Hayez painting. However, love is another matter. Afraid that all women are users, he’s always injuring his dates, particularly Lavinia Vega, who works at her father’s art gallery.

Studious Lavinia Vega is tired of proving to Zeke that she has no ulterior motives. When Zeke brings her a damaged painting to restore and authenticate, she is eager to help but not get involved. When she uncovers a hidden map behind the painting that leads to valuable buried coins, the game plan changes. Or so Zeke thinks.

Will the mysteries Zeke, Lavinia and her Poodle, Vivete, uncover teach them that fortunes are for fools and love is everlasting? 

Sweet Cravings Publishing:  http://bit.ly/WCQwxc
The ebook will be released on third-party sites next week and in paperback in 3 months.


Chapter One Excerpt:
Zeke Abberley stared at the damaged 1859 painting with a scowl on his face. Why me? He had bid on the Illinois estate sale as a whole specifically because of this piece and now it had arrived damaged, with a crunched frame and punctured canvas. He had been assured the painting was in perfect condition. He bit his lip, continuing to stare at the entrancing image of the unrecognizable couple from the Middle Ages embraced in a kiss with shadowy forms lurking in the background. Although one of Francesco Hayez’s best known works, this was not the most famous rendition of the pose or lighting—but still the mastery of Hayez. From Zeke’s research, it seemed this particular rendition had never been seen on the market.

That is, if it is an original Hayez. Zeke tapped his index finger on his lips. It still needed to be authenticated by an expert. The family selling the contents of their attic had no desire or time to search for appraisals and had posted the estate sale as a whole. Imagine finding a Hayez.

Although it appeared there were other prized antiques in the collection, Zeke hadn’t understood why he had wanted to purchase an out-of-state collection, especially with their antique shop overflowing as it is and sales down due to the economy. Something had possessed him, though, and this painting had something to do with it.

Aunt Adele walked into the room and set a box of pastries on the conference room table. “You’re looking down in the mouth. What’s happened?”

“Can you believe it? Can you just believe it?” he said, shaking his fist at the painting.

Life was definitely not going smoothly for Zeke. He and his younger brother, Zach, had that confrontation with Pop which had ended up with Pop walking out on them and the business.  Then Zach and Holly had married and left on a very long honeymoon. And he couldn’t forget Aunt Adele suddenly marrying Kipp Waterbury at their annual street BearBQ where they barbequed a bear. Aunt Adele hadn’t been around to help with the business, either. His disastrous relationship with Lavinia Vega, the break-ins on the street, and now the damaged painting did not bode well for Zeke either. He sighed. Yeah, most of them were happy events for those involved, but he had taken the blunt of everyone’s absence and had been working double duty for weeks on end. Sure everyone was back and the long winter blues were over, but all the lovebirds kept wandering off.

Trying to manage Abberley Antiques, Zach’s thrift shop, and Kipp’s clock shop had run him ragged. No wonder he was a basket case and his and Lavinia’s relationship had ended. It would have never worked out anyway, not with the way her father felt about his family and not with how reclusive Lavinia kept herself. After all their secret dates, she still hadn’t opened up to him. She was a closed book, albeit a beautiful, gorgeous closed book.

The memory of her attractive, vanilla blonde bob, soft, full lips, delicate curves, and hint of lilac perfume sent his senses tottering and his libido hopping. However, no one, and he meant no one, would ever penetrate that armored fortress guarding her frozen heart. Futile. Utterly futile.

“Did you hear me?” Aunt Adele asked.

“Oh, sorry. What did you say?” He laid the painting down on the table and pinched his chin.

“Do you think the shipping company damaged it?”

“Most likely. I viewed the painting on Skype and didn’t see the damage. Of course, it could have been masked. Just my luck.”

“It’s The Kiss by Francesco Hayez, isn’t it?” Aunt Adele said, moving to the small fridge for a quart of milk to go with the pastries.

“Yes, well, no. This is one of the five renditions Hayez did with different lighting, but not the most known. I don’t think this one has surfaced before. That is, if it really is a Hayez.”

“So I guess you know what you have to do.”

“What’s that?” He wrapped the painting back in brown paper and bubble wrap.

“Take it to Lavinia.”

He fumbled the painting as he tried to slide it into the box. It landed on the floor, and he accidentally kicked the painting across the carpet as he reached to pick it up. “Are you joking?”

“I can’t even mention her name without you turning into a spaz.” She smiled and shook her head. “Holly’s right. You have that—what did she call it?—pistanthrophobia.”


So, have you read the previous books in the series?


Worth the Wait: A Merchant Street Mystery Prequel
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/157zni5
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/11dVKy6

Story-line:  Dependable Adele Abberley is tired of seeing to everyone else’s responsibilities. When idealistic Kipp Waterbury drops by her antique store, will his romantic nature help her to view the world in a brand new light?


Time Will Tell: A Merchant Street Mystery #1
Sweet Cravings:  http://bit.ly/GLuBfR
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/17epZou

Story-line:  Holly just can’t figure out all the mystery on Merchant Street. Will her imagination run wild when people are willing to kill for a worthless clock and a sexy homeless man just isn’t all that destitute? Only time will tell. 


Hunting for Happenstance:  A Merchant Street Mystery #2
Sweet Cravings: http://bit.ly/1evhycC
Barnes &Noble:  http://bit.ly/1kGIDkL

Story-line:  Daniela is tired of waiting for love and life to come to her. When her Uncle Benito goes missing while out deer hunting, she asks Duston with his expert dogs to help find him. Will they both stop waiting for happenstance and shoot for what they want—love and happiness?


Can you name the dogs and their breeds in these three books? Please leave your answers in a comment along with your email, and I will enter you in a drawing for an ebook copy of any one of the books in the series. Good luck!

Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet Romance, Humor, Suspense...and Dogs!
Fly into a good book at:  http://www.dragonflyromance.com



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