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Kinglet Books

Fraud and Feta Ebook (#3)

Fraud and Feta Ebook (#3)

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Secrets and lies go together like crackers and cheese.

On windswept Driftwood Island, Brianna West serves freshly baked bread and mini cheesecakes in her cozy café. Surrounded by the quirky members of the Gourmand Society and other new friends, she finally feels a sense of belonging. But not everyone is so friendly.

An obnoxious journalist visits the island just before Christmas, intent on rooting out scandal and secrets best left buried. He winds up dead, his lifeless eyes covered with carefully laid slices of feta cheese. The prime suspect? A local kiwi farmer dating Brianna’s best friend. Brianna wades through island gossip to learn the truth, risking her own safety. Will she uncover the killer’s identity, or will this Christmas be her last?


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Brianna West pulled her sweater’s zipper higher against the chill of the late autumn air. Winter was coming to Driftwood Island and coming fast. That her ferry trip from the mainland had clear skies was nothing short of a miracle.
“Thanks for coming along with me to Vancouver,” her friend Macy Jones said. She tucked her gloved hands under her arms and raised her face to the sun. “Quick, soak up the rays before the sun drops below the horizon.”
Brianna raised her face to the glow of the afternoon sun, low on the horizon this late in November. Her brown curls jostled around her face, and she brushed them back absently. Seagulls cried, and the scent of saltwater filled the air. Only a few hardy souls joined them on the outer deck in the bracing sea breeze. The rest of the passengers huddled inside, waiting for the ferry to dock at Driftwood Island.
“I’m glad we went,” Brianna said to Macy. “I desperately needed some new clothes.”
“The selection is way better in the city than in Snuggler’s Cove.” Macy chuckled and pushed her blonde hair out of her eyes. “Belinda’s Boutique can have some fun stuff occasionally. But sometimes her eye for fashion is—how should I say it—an acquired taste.”
“I’m not always in the mood for neon florals,” Brianna agreed.
A man wearing tan trousers and a fluorescent safety vest walked by. He stopped when he saw them. “Macy Jones,” he said, his salt and pepper moustache waggling. “It’s been an age. How are you?”
“Rolling right along,” she replied. “It’s good to see you, Ben. Meet my friend Brianna. She opened the Golden Moon café in the summer.”
“I haven’t tried it yet,” Ben said.
“Well, you’re missing out.” Macy shook her head with a regretful air. “Best baked goods on the island, and I’m including Hilltop Farm’s cinnamon buns.”
Brianna appreciated her friend’s staunch support at all turns. “I’m still ironing out the details, but it’s going well.”
“I’ll check it out some time,” Ben promised. “I’m based in Vancouver now, not on Driftwood, but I still visit occasionally.”
A couple walked by. The man’s booming voice didn’t leave any room for Brianna’s reply, and the woman’s cackling laughter drowned out thought. Once they’d passed, Macy caught Brianna’s eye and snickered.
“Not a pair of delicate flowers,” she said.
“They were nothing,” Ben said with a shake of his head. “You should have heard the two who came on the ferry yesterday. So loud and obnoxious. Pushing past customers, yelling at each other across the deck, cutting lines like they owned the place. They even had a shouting match between them—some disagreement over who knows what. It was ‘John’ this, and ‘idiot’ that. Horrible people.”
“What a nightmare,” said Macy. “I guess that’s customer service for you. Oh, no, what if they come into the café?”
“As long as they buy plenty of food, I can put up with noise,” Brianna said.
Macy continued to chat with Ben while the ferry drew closer to Driftwood Island. Brianna’s stomach rumbled, and she remembered with a start the spanakopita she’d tucked in her bag from a bakery in Vancouver. She’d recently started making the flaky feta and spinach-filled pastries at the Golden Moon, and she wanted to see how hers stacked up. She hadn’t been hungry then, but she liked to plan ahead. Besides which, the bakery had smelled too good to resist.
It was market research, she argued to herself as she unwrapped the spanakopita from its paper bag. She needed to keep abreast of the latest pastry developments in her industry.
Crispy cheese decorated the edge of the golden phyllo pastry, and hints of green filling lined the fold. As a connoisseur of fine pastries, Brianna nodded approvingly at the perfectly crafted triangle. She took a deep sniff, savoring the full-bodied scent of feta and spinach. Then she bit into the golden crust.
Three chews later, she nearly gasped aloud. This was perfection. This was heaven. She hadn’t known how good spanakopita could taste until this moment. Buttery flakiness melted into a pungent, savory cheese flavor heightened by the earthiness of spinach. Her first reaction was of pure bliss.
Her second reaction dampened her joy. How had the bakers of this marvel crafted such a fine specimen? More importantly, why wasn’t Brianna’s own spanakopita this good?
Something shriveled inside her. What was she doing, pretending to bake? If she couldn’t produce masterpieces like this pastry, did she deserve to host a café like the Golden Moon? Was she a fraud?
A seagull watched her with beady eyes, waiting for her to drop a flake of pastry. Part of her wanted to toss her treat to the bird in a fit of pique. She jammed the rest into her mouth instead and glared at the seagull. No way was she going to waste this pinnacle of cheesy glory on a bird.
The seagull flapped away in disgust. Brianna was left to chew her food and ruminate on her failings as a successful baker.

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