Friday, July 28, 2023

Excerpt Reveal: Saving Piper Moonlight by Joann Keder

 Saving Piper Moonlight
Joann Keder
(Piney Falls Mysteries, #2)

Publication date: July 13th 2020
Genres: Adult, Thriller

Goodreads / Amazon


The doorbell squawks from a speaker above my head, the biting sound of an injured chicken. “Lanie! There’s someone here to see you!”

When I reach the seating area of Cosmic Cakes and Antiquery, I'm pleased to find my best friend. November Bean, always chromatically dressed and in the middle of a new ritual, smiles at me. Today, she is dressed in matching buttercup yellow attire from head to toe, including the frames for her glasses and the head band taming her frizzy hair.

"Vem! What brings you—"

November steps aside, revealing a stranger.  She's young, probably twenty at most and just darling. She has short, dark hair and peculiar, almost violet eyes. As she smiles shyly, two dimples on either side of apple cheeks are visible.

“This scrumptillyicious woman is Lanie, my best friend in the entire universe. No offense to you, Cedar.”

Cedar opens her mouth to speak but changes her mind.

“Now that I’ve come into my own,” Vem continues, “I found I needed a strong woman with business acumen to guide my inner being to the path of success. I’ve got so much to teach you about that.”

“You’re watching words this month, right?” I gently remind her. "Word Waste Not, or something like that."

“I’m sure I have leftover words from yesterday. Meditative mumbling doesn’t count.”

I resist the urge to roll my eyes and turn my focus to the young woman. “Hi there! You must be Piper.” 

She reluctantly takes the hand I offer and shakes it.

“I’ve heard so much about your bravery. We’re so happy to have you in our community, and we’ll do our best to keep you safe.”

“Thank you, Lanie. I’m pleased to meet you.” She laughs nervously. “You’re the one who solved the mystery of the floaters. Isn’t that what they called them, Mrs. Bean?”

November blushes. “Yes, that’s what the Townies called them. Former Fallen Branch members who were murdered by Zion. But that’s all in the past. Just like Mrs. Bean. I’m just Vem now.”

“Zion is in jail awaiting trial. His lawyers have delayed it for almost nine months. I’m telling you that so you’ll know he can’t hurt you here.” I nod, hoping to reassure her. Instead, she has no reaction.

We stand for a moment in awkward silence. “There are many former Fallen Branch members here, but they’re all good people. I promise you that. Can I ask you about your eye color? It’s so unusual.”

“Oh that,” she giggles again. “I wanted to hide. One time, I even shaved my head. Anything to change my appearance to the Firestarters – that’s what I called the bad people who always try and take me. Last year, my mom took me to an eye doctor who told me it was possible to turn green eyes violet. He gave me these contact lenses. I thought, you know, I wouldn’t look like everyone else.”

It seems like a strange choice for someone who doesn’t want to be noticed. 

Vem looks at her large-faced, pale-yellow watch. “We have to get you over to the bakery. But first, I told my sacred rock guru I would bring Piper in so he could bless a rock for her. Will you go to the bakery and prepare Cosmo, Lanie? Try to soften him up a bit?”

“I could, for a—”

“Lanie and Cosmo are dating,” she explains to Piper. “Not the way you kids do it, where you sleep with each other first and then decide you want a relationship. No sirree. They did it the old-fashioned way. It was months before they even held hands, and they could be well into their golden years before they share a bed.”

“November!” I gasp. “That’s not appropriate.” I turn quickly so Piper can’t see the heat flare on my cheeks. “I’ll go prepare Cos. Though I think he’s already November-proof and Piper won’t be an issue.” 

Author Bio:

USA TODAY bestselling author, Joann Keder spent most of her years in the Midwest, growing up and raising a family on the Great Plains of Nebraska. She worked for sixteen years as a piano teacher before returning to school to receive a master's degree in creative writing. A mid-life move to the Pacific Northwest led her to re-examine her priorities. She now creates stories about life and relationships in small towns while her ever-patient husband encourages her on.

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