For Florida diner owner Gia Morelli, there’s no such thing as too much breakfast—unless it kills you . . .
When Gia Morelli’s marriage falls apart, she knows it’s time to get out of New York. Her husband was a scam artist who swindled half the millionaires in town, and she doesn’t want to be there when they decide to take revenge. On the spur of the moment, she follows her best friend to a small town in Central Florida, where she braves snakes, bears, and giant spiders to open a cheery little diner called the All-Day Breakfast Café. Owning a restaurant has been her lifelong dream, but it turns into a nightmare the morning she opens her dumpster and finds her ex-husband crammed inside. As the suspect du jour, Gia will have to scramble fast to prove her innocence before a killer orders another cup of murder . . .
Praise for Lena Gregory
“Hold on to your plates for this fast-paced mystery that will leave you hungering for more!”—J.C. Eaton, author of the Sophie Kimball Mysteries, on Scone Cold Killer
“Family secrets, old mansions, and a growing list of murder victims—these elements and more blend together to make an intriguing as well as entertaining cozy mystery.”—RT Book Reviews on Occult and Battery
“As breezy and salty as a gust of wind off the chilly bay waters.”—Juliet Blackwell, New York Times bestselling author of the Witchcraft Mysteries on Death at First Sight
“An intriguing opening to a fun new series.”—E. J. Copperman, national bestselling author of the Haunted Guesthouse Mysteries on Death at First Sight
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
"I'm just surprised you got out of New York without killing that son of a —"
"Savannah!" The harsh sentiment hurled with all of Savanah's sweet, easy-going, southern-girl charm caught Gia Morelli off-guard, and she stared at her best friend.
"What?" Feigning innocence, Savannah propped a long, hot pink nail beneath Gia's chin and shoved her mouth closed. "It's September in Florida, honey. You keep that open too long, you're bound to get a mouthful of lovebugs."
"What's a lov —" Gia waved her off. "Never mind. It doesn't matter."
"All that matters is that you're here now." Savannah hefted Gia's overnight bag from the back seat of the cab she'd taken from the airport while Gia paid the driver. As the cab pulled away, Savannah slung her free arm around Gia's waist. The four inch heels on her sandals only brought her to Gia's chin. "I'm just glad it's over."
If that wasn't the understatement of the year ...
Gia wrapped her arm around Savannah's shoulders and squeezed. "Me too."
The two of them stood together on the sidewalk, staring up at the glossy new sign above the shop — Gia's shop — door. All-Day Breakfast Café. A Grand Opening banner hung limp in the humidity beneath it.
Gia's gut cramped. The hot Florida sun threatened to melt the makeup right off her face. The long skirt, light sweater, and knee-high leather boots that had left her slightly chilly in the brisk, early-morning, fall air in New York a few hours ago, were practically suffocating her now. She wiped her forehead, ignoring the flutter in her stomach and the fact that her nerves, rather than the stifling heat, were probably making her sweat.
"Enough of that. Come on. Let me show you what I've done with the place since you were here last." Savannah's growing excitement was contagious.
The knot of tension loosened a little.
"I was just making sure everything was ready when the taxi pulled up." She grinned and started forward. "I thought you weren't coming in until tonight?"
Gia shrugged, not yet ready to explain her need to escape sooner. She forced a smile. "Last-minute change of plans."
"Well, I'm glad you're here to stay this time." Savannah weaved her fingers through Gia's and squeezed her hand. "But you should have called me. I'd have picked you up at the airport."
Gia glanced at her, trying to hide the pain and fear she knew her friend would see anyway. "Thanks, Savannah. I know you would have, but I needed to do it myself."
A brief flicker of pity softened Savannah's expression, but then a smile emerged. She tugged on Gia's hand, then released her and started toward the front door. "Well, you're home now. And wait until you see the finishing touches I've made to the shop. You're going to love them."
Gia took another moment to admire the historical, two-story building that housed the shop. Her shop. The pale yellow paint with white trim had been a great color choice. Standing proudly on one corner, it fit nicely with the other shops along Main Street in the small, artsy, tourist town of Boggy Creek. Nestled a bit south of Central Florida's Ocala National Forest, the town was known for its festivals, art and craft shows, and seasonal fairs. Her breakfast café would be the perfect addition. She hoped.
Shaking off another attack of nerves, she caught up to Savannah where she'd waited on the walkway.
"I can't believe you're finally here to stay this time," Savannah said.
"Me neither." The past year, since she'd found out about her husband's — ex-husband's — illicit and illegal activities, had flown by in a blur of confusion and betrayal. Savannah had been her rock, the one person who'd steadied her and helped her move toward a future. "Flying down for a day or two at a time wasn't easy."
"No, it wasn't, but you did it," Savannah reminded her, then gestured toward the café. "And just look what you've got to show for it."
Pride surged. "You're right."
"Do you like the sign?" A small wooden sign with hand-painted lettering hung in the front window framed by blue and white gingham curtains, proclaiming the café, Closed. "I picked it up at the fair last weekend."
"I love it." She turned to her friend. "Thank you, Savannah. For everything. I never would have been able to get the shop set up or the house or anything without your help."
Savannah shrugged it off, as she always did. "You're very welcome. But the truth is, you're a strong woman, and you would have managed, even without my help." She grinned. "I just made it a little easier. Now, come on. Enough dwelling on the past. It's time to take your first step toward the future."
"You're right." Taking a deep breath, Gia scrubbed the tears from her cheeks and headed up the walkway to the door. She had a lot to accomplish if she was going to open the next day. And she was definitely going to open the next day, no matter what.
Savannah held the door open.
Gia paused. Despite the intense heat, a chill raced through her, raising goose bumps. She glanced over her shoulder. People walked along the sidewalk, a few kids on bicycles headed toward the park at the end of Main Street, and cars crept through the crowded town. No one seemed to be paying any attention to her, and yet ...
The sensation had become all too familiar since word of her husband's scam had been made public. But that was in New York. And she was no longer in New York.
"Are you sure you want to open tomorrow?" Leaning against the open door as if she had all day, Savannah waited, eyes closed, face tilted up toward the warm sun.
"I'm sure. It's time to move on." Leaving the past behind her, Gia strode through the doorway and tried to see the shop as a customer would for the first time. She'd been hoping to create the cozy feel of home. With Savannah's help, she'd nailed it.
Savannah let the door fall closed. "We could take a trip down south, maybe head to the Keys for a week or so. Lie on the beach, paddleboard, enjoy the night life ..."
"As appealing as that sounds, I need to jump right in. It'll be easier for me if I'm busy."
Savannah shrugged, accepting Gia's answer, even if she couldn't understand it. She spread her arms wide and turned in a circle. "So, what do you think?"
Before Gia had left a few weeks ago, she'd ordered the tables and chairs. Now, round tables of varying sizes dotted the room, covered in navy blue cloths. Light-colored, wood chairs with homemade cushions, surrounded them. Savannah had always been amazing at anything craft related. A skill Gia didn't share, but admired immensely. "Did you make these?"
"I did. I got the fabric months ago at a craft fair." She untied a cushion from one of the chairs and turned it over. "See, there's a zipper in the back of each one, so you can take them off and throw them in the wash. There are stacks of them in the storage closet in the back by your office."
"Yup. Come on back."
Gia followed her through the shop, her footsteps echoing off the distressed bamboo flooring.
Since she'd been there last, Savannah had added some beautiful finishing touches, including paintings of local scenery — at least, Gia assumed it was local. It seemed like it, but she hadn't had time to see much on her visits. Most, well, pretty much all, of her time had been spent setting up the shop. She hadn't even seen her new house yet, though Savannah had sent tons of pictures, and it looked beautiful.
Savannah pushed open a swinging door at the back of the dining room, but instead of turning left and heading into the kitchen, she let the door swing shut behind Gia and opened a door on the right.
Gia stepped into the small office space. A desk and chair took up most of the room. Not just any desk, but Savannah's desk. The same desk she'd crammed into the closet of a bedroom they'd shared when the two of them had been roommates in New York. For years she'd skirted around that desk, stubbing her toes more often than not on her way past. But Savannah would never get rid of it, said her Pa had made it, and it had sentimental value. "That's your desk."
Savannah smiled. "I'm not using it right now, anyway, so I took it out of the spare bedroom and put it in here. Just for now, mind you. You can give it back once you get on your feet and get your own."
Gia swallowed back tears and surveyed the rest of the small room. A battered file cabinet sat in one corner behind the desk, and a set of wooden bookshelves lined one wall. "Oh, my gosh, Savannah. I don't know what to say."
"I figured you'd need quiet space now and then to place orders and stuff."
"It's perfect." Gia turned in a circle as she tried to recall the layout of the back rooms. "Wasn't this part of the storage closet?" "Yup. I had my brother, Joey, extend the closet to the back wall, so you didn't even lose that much storage space. I figured you'd want your office to be right by the door, though, so you can still hear what's going on in the kitchen and the café if you leave the door open."
"It's amazing, thank you." She threw her arms around her friend's neck. "You've done so much for me, Savannah."
"That's what friends are for." Savannah hugged her, then stepped back. "I'm just glad you're out of there now. I was worried sick every time you went back."
"I know. I'm sorry."
"Don't be silly. It wasn't your fault." She lowered her gaze, but Gia didn't miss the flash of anger in her eyes. "I'm just glad you're here and ready to start over."
Gia just nodded. There was really nothing to say. Her divorce had been a bitter disaster, played out in the media for the whole world to see. Everywhere she'd gone, she'd been hounded by reporters — when she was lucky. On the worst days, her husband's victims had been pounding on her door and blowing up her phone.
The only respite she'd had through the entire ordeal had been the weekend escapes during which she'd managed to set up her shop. Thankfully, she'd been smart enough to keep working throughout her marriage, despite Bradley's insistence that she quit. Between that nest egg and the meager divorce settlement that was left after the lawyers and victims had been compensated, she'd been left with just enough to put a down payment on the beautiful building that housed the café and upstairs apartment and to buy a small house. She'd thought about living in the apartment for a while, and had stayed there on her brief visits, but she really wanted a place to go home to separate from the café. Of course, she wished she'd seen the house first, but beggars can't be choosers, and it was pretty much all she could afford anyway.
A loud crash from outside the back door startled her. She jumped and whirled toward the sound. A tremor shook her. Sweat sprang out on her forehead and trickled down the side of her face.
Something squeezed her shoulder.
Gia practically jumped out of her skin.
Savannah jerked her hand back and frowned. "Are you all right?" How could she explain the panic attacks she'd suffered this past year? How could she reveal the paranoia, the prickling sensation at the back of her neck that would come over her at random moments, the absolute conviction that someone was watching her? How could she tell Savannah about the death threats she'd received without making her worry even more? Easy, she couldn't. "I'm sorry. I'm fine. You just startled me." She forced a laugh. "What was that noise, anyway?"
Savannah's eyes narrowed, and she stared at Gia for a moment longer, then, thankfully, she let the matter drop. "Sounded like the dumpster in the parking lot out back."
Desperate to escape the claustrophobia threatening to suffocate her, as well as Savannah's far too observant gaze, Gia shoved open the back door.
The instant she emerged from the air-conditioned shop, the humidity slammed into her chest. Her breath shot from her lungs as if she'd gotten punched.
Savannah's laughter helped shake the last of the paranoia that had gripped her. "Don't worry. You'll get used to it."
"I'm not so sure."
"Trust me. It won't take long before you're looking for a jacket when the temperature falls below seventy."
"Somehow, I doubt —" She stopped short, not sure what exactly she was looking at. A man, clad in dirty, threadbare jeans, hung from the dumpster.
"Harley? Is that you, Harley?" Savannah strode toward the dumpster, then stopped and propped her hands on her hips. "You get down from there right now. What has Trevor told you about taking stuff out of dumpsters?"
The man pulled his upper body out and swung himself down to the concrete. His cheeks flushed, though whether from the intense heat or embarrassment, Gia had no clue. He lowered his gaze to the ground and smoothed a hand over his scruffy, more-gray-than-blond beard. "Sorry, ma'am."
Savannah's tone softened. "Don't be sorry. You didn't do anything wrong, but you're going to get sick if you eat stuff out of dumpsters." She reached as if to put a hand on his arm.
He lurched back.
"It's okay, Harley. But if you're hungry, just ask. You know that."
He nodded, glanced longingly at the dumpster once more, then headed off across the parking lot, slowed by a bad limp.
"Harley?" Gia called after him.
He stopped and turned but didn't make eye contact.
"I'm opening tomorrow, and if you come in, I'll treat you to breakfast on the house."
He nodded and started away again.
Savannah leaned close, pitching her voice low. "He won't come inside."
She didn't know his story, but something about him touched her. Perhaps the lost look hovering just below the surface in his bright blue eyes. She yelled after him. "I'll leave a bag out back, right beside the door."
He waved over his shoulder but kept walking.
Gia stared after him, as he shuffled across the remainder of the parking lot, his gait steady but stilted, and disappeared into a bunch of trees bordering the lakefront park. "What's up with him?"
"Don't worry about Harley. He's harmless. Everyone around here ..." She gestured toward the row of shops behind them. "Well, they sort of take care of him."
Savannah shook her head. "I don't really know, but he won't even go inside a building, so I assume so."
"Where does he live?"
"Wherever he can find somewhere to hang out."
"What about when it rains?" Weird how she'd walked past dozens of homeless people every day back home, without ever really seeing them as individuals, but this one man touched her in a way they hadn't. She wished she could go back and take notice, see each of them as a unique person with their own story, their own tragedy.
"The park has picnic areas and other sheltered spaces without walls. Technically, he's not allowed to be there, but no one chases him away. Now, come on."
"Huh? Come on where?" She shook off her concern. She'd leave something for him to eat when she closed tomorrow. Hopefully, he'd take it. "Where are we going?"
"To see your new house, silly. I'm so happy you got here in daylight."
A small thrill coursed through her. Her very own house.
"And I assume you'll want to come back to the café afterward...." Gia nodded as she held the door for Savannah to reenter the shop, then hurried through after her. "I want to make sure everything is perfect for tomorrow. I'll probably do a lot of the prep tonight."
"So we should swing by the shelter on the way to the house."
"Shelter?" The glass-domed cake dishes lining the counter distracted her from whatever Savannah was going on about. They'd be perfect to display quiche and breakfast pies, a variety of muffins, and scones. A row of stools allowed for counter seating, which would give her room for an extra ten or twelve customers. She started counting the stools.
"Yeah. Can you believe they just shut down a pet store last week? The animal shelter is overloaded with puppies."
Her concentration faltered, and she lost count. "Puppies?"
"Yeah." Savannah grinned.
"You're getting a puppy?"
"No, you are."
"Why in the world would I do that?" The thought of a pet was appealing. She'd never had one before, not even as a kid, and the company would be nice, but she'd probably choose something less ... intense. Like a fish, or maybe a parakeet.
Excerpted from "Scone Cold Killer"
Copyright © 2018 Lena Gregory.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Scone Cold Killer is the first in what I think will be a terrific new cozy mystery series. Gia Morelli is no Jessica Fletcher. Gia has left New York and her cheating, scam artist of a husband. She heads to small town Florida and her bestie Savannah (a former Broadway wannabe). Moving to Florida is total culture shock. It is too quiet has bugs, snakes and bears and someone is trying to frame her for murder. But she isn’t alone. She is making new friends and a new life. She even has a new puppy. She is going to make it if someone doesn’t kill her first. I loved Gia. She takes the hits and keeps on chugging. Sure it helps that Savannah and Hunt have her back but I think her puppy Thor gives her something to live and fight for. I am really looking forward to more adventures with Gia and company.
Don't forget to add this fast-paced, fun mystery to your summer time cozy reading list! Moving to Florida from New York wasn't in the long term plans for Gia Morrelli, but after her ex-husband was found guilty of fraud, she needed a fresh start! The All-Day Breakfast Cafe was the start of something wonderful, but will it end just as quickly as it begins when a dead body is found in the dumpster out back. Join Gia in opening her new cafe - come in and meet all of the friendly folks that live in Boggy Creek, find out who you can trust in this new town, all while enjoying a wonderful breakfast of eggs, home fries, and grits. You will love meeting new puppy Thor and laugh out loud when Gia encounters her nemesis AKA the spider! Thank goodness Gia has Savannah and Hunt in her corner to help her solve this murder and get through a tough beginning to her new life in Florida!
I live in Florida so know that boggy creek is a road in Kissimmee and is no where near the Ocala national forest. But it's artistic license I guess. I really enjoyed this book a lot and recommend it .
4.5 Stars I’ve been a fan of Lena Gregory since her first book came out in 2016. Her Bay Island Psychic Mystery series is one of my favorites. When I found out she had a new series, I have to admit I was skeptical. I tend to have a favorite series by an author and find that at times, the new series fall short of my expectations. In my opinion, Lena has proven that she isn’t a one series hit wonder. Scone Cold Killer has captured everything I love about Lena’s writing. Gia Morelli was living a happy life. She loved her job working behind the counter at a New York deli. She knew her customers by name. They knew her. She also loved her husband Bradley and the life they built together. So what, if he worked long hours and he didn’t really discuss his job. When he was indicted for stealing millions from clients, she believed in him and stood by him. That is until tons of victims started coming forward and she found out about all of his extramarital affairs. Now that Bradley has been found guilty, their divorce is final, and Gia has been proven innocent in her former husband’s misdeeds, she’s ready to move on and start over. With the encouragement of her best friend Savannah, Gia moves to Boggy Creek, Florida and opens her own restaurant, the All-Day Breakfast Cafe. Gia is all excited for her first day. Things get off to a shaky start when Gia doesn’t have a southern breakfast staple and her cook turns out to not really be much of a cook. This is all stuff Gia can overcome. Unfortunately, things get worse. Gia finds the dead body of Bradley in the dumpster behind the cafe and the police are looking at her. Good thing she has Savannah and Savannah's cousin Detective Hunter Quinn on her side. Scone Cold Killer is a wonderful start to Lena’s All-Day Breakfast Cafe Mystery series. I loved the characters and the character building. I found myself enjoying the story rather than focusing on who the killer was. Lena is very good at misdirecting which is something I appreciate. I have to admit I was surprised by the killer, but my spidey senses did go off. I simply love Lena's mysteries and I’m looking forward to the next book in this series. **I received a copy of this book from the author and voluntarily reviewed.**
I am a big fan of all things breakfast, so this new series was right up my alley. Gia Morelli has arrived in Florida, where her friend Savannah lives to open up her new café, The All Day Breakfast Café. There are wonderful characters to get to know, a dog and a scheming ex that winds up dead. All in all this was a great start to a new series, I can't wait to read the next one!
backstory just oozing out of these characters SCONE COLD KILLER by Lena Gregory The First All-Day Breakfast Café Mystery Gia Morelli wanted nothing more than to leave New York City and start a new life in Florida without the taint of scandal surrounding her. With the help of her good friend, Savannah, she opens her All-Day Breakfast Café with relative success, despite not having grits to serve and dealing with a lazy cook she needs to fire. Gia soon discovers that her past has followed her when she takes out the trash only to find the dead body of her ex-husband in her dumpster. Does someone want her to pay for her ex-husbands sins? Friendship is one of the key themes in SCONE COLD KILLER. What does it mean to be a friend? What lengths will you go to to help a friend? Do I want to be friends with the people inhabiting this book? I have some issues with Gia Morelli. While she certainly is a well developed character, I found her fearfulness, admittedly warranted to some degree, and carelessness off putting. The secondary characters, however, are interesting, likable people with whom I want to hang around, especially Earl, Harley, and Savannah. There is backstory just oozing out of these characters and I can't wait to read more about them. The first All-Day Breakfast Café Mystery is a promising start to a new series. There is an interesting mystery with lots of undercurrents, good food, a cute puppy, and a warm feeling of friendship. FTC Disclosure – The publisher sent me a digital ARC provided through NetGalley, in the hopes I would review it.
Dollycas’s Thoughts Divorced from her scam artist husband Gia moves to Florida to reboot her life by opening the All-Day Breakfast Café. She has been working on the project for weeks with her old college roommate and best friend Savannah and is excited about her grand opening. The opening wasn’t very smooth, first Gia didn’t have grits on her menu and her fry cook was way out of her depth when she has to cook more than one meal at the same time. Gia can get grits and she can fire the cook but finding the body of her ex-husband in the café’s dumpster is not something she can fix. In fact, most of the town thinks she committed the murder. When another body is found she starts thinking she may have been safer in New York. Before she can pack up her pots and pans Detective Hunter Quinn tells her he knows she is not guilty and will do everything to protect her. But Gia and Savannah decide to investigate on their own and the good detective may not be able to save them this time. Ms. Gregory has created such wonderful characters for her All Day Breakfast Cafe Mysteries. Gia thought she left her troubles behind but they have followed right behind her. Her diner should be pretty successful after she handles a couple issues with her staff. She is not your typical cozy protagonist because she fears almost everything around her and Florida has many things to be scared of in addition to a murderer, you know, like snakes, spiders, and bears, oh my! Savannah is a wonderful best friend. She tries to be supportive and find something positive about all the big and little bumps in the toad that rise up to meet Gia. I love the way she decided Gia needed a dog and Thor seems to be the perfect fit. Detective Hunter Quin “Hunt” and Gia have a little romantic spark, but after her past experience, Gia is a little gun shy about dating or having a man in her life. My favorite supporting character though is Earl. Gia’s first customer who is shocked there are no grits on the menu. But he quickly becomes a regular customer and Gia is thrilled about that. Earl reminds me of an elderly gentleman that frequented my mother’s restaurant many years ago. It is that man’s image that pops into my head as I read about Earl. This story ebbs and flows at a perfect pace. The author has a nice descriptive writing style that brings the characters and each scene to life. The mystery is complex with plenty of suspects. Filled with twists and some scary turns, this was not an easy mystery to solve and I didn’t figure out until the reveal. I enjoyed the touches of humor and romance that are expected in a cozy mystery. There is so much for the author to build on as the series continues. Kudos, Ms. Gregory, this series is off to a terrific start. Cozy lovers, you will love this story!
Lena Gregory has done it again! She created an engaging mystery with likable characters. A Scone Cold Killer is the debut book in the All-Day Breakfast Cafe series, and it doesn’t disappoint. New York native Gia Morelli is starting over in Florida after a nasty divorce from a sketchy husband, but it seems her ex-husband and his shady past catch up with her despite the 1,000 mile move. When her ex shows up dead in the dumpster behind her new dinner, Gia is forced to figure out who did it to clear her name and fight for the life she is building anew. I enjoyed this book and read it in one sitting. I am definitely looking forward to the next book in the series. Shelly9677
Author Lena Gregory has served up a wonderful first course in her All-Day Breakfast Café Mystery series. I was hungry for this series the moment I heard about it! I mean, an All-Day Breakfast Café? That’s my kind of place to eat! So, I had very high hopes going into SCONE COLD KILLER. I wasn’t disappointed. I enjoyed the setting, and could vividly picture the café in my mind. The eclectic cast of characters made for an interesting read. I enjoyed most of them. There is one character that I’m still unsure about, but am withholding judgment until the next book in the series. I look forward to seeing how all the characters grow, and how author Gregory fleshes them out. An easy, flowing read, I flew through this tale quickly in one setting. The mystery was tight, and well done. I thought I had it figured out, only to find I had missed an important clue, and guessed wrong. So, that made for a surprising ending for me. SCONE COLD KILLER is story cozy fans are sure to love. And the All-Day Breakfast Café Mysteries will certainly be on your must read list!
Lena Gregory has quickly become one of my favorite authors. Her books automatically make it to my must-buy list. Even when I read one of her books via Netgalley in digital form, I want a paperback copy for my favorites shelf. Part of the appeal are the adorable giant sized dogs in each story I have read so far, and on the covers, but it is Lena's voice and ability to keep me turning pages that makes her among my favorite authors. Her books keep me eager to know what will happen next while wanting the story to continue as long as possible. Scone Cold Killer has all the aspects I love in a cozy type mystery but the edge of a true romantic suspense novel, emphasis on the suspense. While detective Hunt Quinn is sizzlingly sexy, he takes his job seriously and is truly one of the good guys. Gia Morelli still has a hard time trusting him as her experience with men, and cops, has been less than reassuring. A great story about starting over when the past keeps sneaking up behind you and won't go away. Fantastic cast including a best friend such as we all wish we had in our lives. I am looking forward to the next book in this series. It will be perfect beach reading.
Scone Cold Killer by Lena Gregory is the first book in An All-Day Breakfast Café Mystery series. Gia Morelli has relocated from New York to Boggy Creek, Florida. Her ex-husband was an investor who stole millions from his clients and Gia needs to escape the upset investors. Gia purchased two properties and is turning one of them into the All-Day Breakfast Café. The other property (which she purchased sight unseen) will be her new home. Her best friend, Savannah helped her get the café ready for customers and she has hired two employees (she failed to look at their applications or check references). Gia opens her café the next day and it is a hit with the customers. The only drawback is her new cook, Maybelle who can only cook one meal at a time and lacks social skills (in other words, lazy and rude). At the end of a long day, Gia goes outside to put the trash in the dumpster and sees an arm sticking out. Gia recognizes the ring on the hand as well as the expensive manicure and realizes that her ex-husband’s crimes have finally caught up with him. Later that night when Gia arrives home, she discovers that someone has broken in. They are looking for something, but what? Gia then finds a threatening note in her mailbox. The killer believes she has something of her ex-husbands and they are willing to kill to get it. Gia needs to discover what it is they want before she ends up the next victim. Scone Cold Killer has a good pace with plenty of activity. I felt, though, that the characters and town lacked development. We are told very little about the Boggy Creek. I was not fond of the main character, Gia Morelli. She is an emotional mess who should not be running a business. She jumps at every little noise. She starts shaking, sweating, etc. She is nervous thanks to the investors that have been harassing her in New York (someone needs to find her a good therapist). Gia is also afraid of spider, snakes (I can relate to this one), wild animals and so much more. Gia had a complete meltdown when she was confronted by a spider (it was just ridiculous). It seems that Gia did not do her research on her new town (unaware that wild animals were nearby). Would you hire someone without looking at their application or checking with past employers? Gia did! Would you open a restaurant without checking to see what locals like to eat? Gia seemed oblivious that Southerners like grits (I do not get the fascination, but my Father loved them). She is also scatter brained and a dreamer (her attention drifts in the middle of conversations). I can see how Bradley was able to take advantage of Gia. Gia came across as annoying and off-putting. Drama surrounding Gia and her anxiety took up a good portion of the book. Savannah, on the other hand, was a character I liked. She has a great attitude and personality. It is a shame she is not the main character. There is a love interest for Gia in the form of Detective Hunter Quinn. We know that he is handsome, well built, sexy, and manly (we are told this quite a few times). I never felt the connection between the two characters (no spark). The dialogue between them is lackluster. If I was Hunter, I would run (not walk) away from the anxious and whiny Gia. I was hoping that the mystery would be compelling to make up for the rest of the book, but I was once again disappointed. One tiny clue (if you need it) gives it away. Scone Cold Killer was not a good fit for me.