Trouble in Store: A Novel

Trouble in Store: A Novel

by Carol Cox


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Historical Suspense and Romance
in the Wild West

Fired from her most recent governess position, Melanie Ross must embrace her last resort: the Arizona mercantile she inherited from her cousin. But Caleb Nelson is positive he inherited the mercantile, and he's not about to let some obstinate woman with newfangled ideas mess up all he's worked for. He's determined to get Melanie married off as soon as possible, and luckily there are plenty of single men in town quite interested in taking her off his hands.
The problem is, Caleb soon realizes he doesn't want her to marry up with any of them. He's drawn to Melanie more every day, and he has to admit some of her ideas for the store unexpectedly offer positive results.

But someone doesn't want the store to succeed, and what used to be just threatening words has escalated into deliberate destruction and lurkers in the night. When a body shows up on the mercantile steps—and the man obviously didn't die from natural causes—things really get dangerous. Can Melanie and Caleb's business—and romance—survive the trouble that's about to come their way?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780764209567
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/01/2013
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 763,006
Product dimensions: 8.30(w) x 5.50(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Native Arizonan Carol Cox has an abiding love for history, mystery, and romance. The author of more than 25 books, she believes in the power of story to convey spiritual truths. A pastor's wife and homeschooling mom, she makes her home with her husband and daughter in a remote spot in northern Arizona, where the deer and the antelope really do play—within view of the family's front porch. Learn more at

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Trouble in Store 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
ButterflyBlessingsBlog More than 1 year ago
This was a wonderful story with engaging characters and an interesting plot. As I read I could almost picture everything happening as if it were a movie playing on TV. Although a strong and determined woman, Melanie acts more realistically like a woman from her time period than the women in many modern novels. The men are also more considerate to women -- which was expected in those days. It was fun to see those manners contrasted (in a western town where women were scarce) and the eager proposals Melanie received. I love the way the author wove in the mystery and suspense aspects with the romance and humor. It all seemed very well balanced. Caleb was a great hero and I loved Levi and his toy soldiers. This one was easy to read and it was hard to close the book on these characters. I thank the author and the publisher for my copy - though it had no influence on my review.
SweetPea_3 More than 1 year ago
Melanie Ross is the spunky heroine who seems to go from one disaster to another. This leads to some humourous situations and prickly predicaments. Caleb is an upstanding citizen, just trying to make a living for himself and his young son. He's taken over the mercantile after his Uncle's death and IF he was looking for a partner, Melanie would not fit the bill. I enjoyed this story. It's more of a historical romance set in the Arizona West than a suspenseful mystery but it has its own charm. The characters are likeable, if not always completely believable (the Mayor and his wife are fully stereotypical), the plot has some unique twists that make it pretty hard to solve the mystery, and the verbal sparring between the two protagonists is witty and lighthearted. This book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
Digging4Pearls More than 1 year ago
Melanie Rose has little options before her after being fired from her position as a governess. With only the promise that a deceased cousin left an inheritance for her, she travels to Arizona not knowing what she'll find. Caleb Nelson takes offense when Melanie shows up in town and claims that half of the mercantile he owns belongs to her. He tries whatever he can to persuade her to leave, but she isn't convinced and keeps coming up with ways to improve business. But as time passes, they both are threatened by someone who doesn't want the store to succeed. Will Melanie stay and fight or will she run for safety in Caleb's arms? This book was provided free for review by Bethany House Publishers.
SarahScribbles More than 1 year ago
Another Great Western Mystery from Carol Cox! After reading Love in Disguise last year, I couldn’t wait to get into Carol Cox’s latest release, Trouble in Store! Even though this is another Arizona mystery, I found that it’s not related in to Love in Disguise, which is a definite plus for non-series readers.    By the end of the first chapter, I couldn’t wait to see what would happen to Melanie. When Caleb entered the picture, I quickly found myself just as interested in his life and how he and Melanie would (or wouldn’t!) get along. Both characters could exasperate me at times, but they were endearing and realistic, and I truly found myself caring more for them at every turn.    The mystery takes a few chapters to begin unfolding, but I didn’t feel bored for a minute over the course of the story. I loved trying to sleuth alongside the shopkeepers, and the author was good at making me second-guess my suspicions.    I wouldn’t say this is specifically a “suspense” novel, since the mystery is equally balanced by romance and history, but it was an intriguing read nonetheless. The ending tied up all the story’s threads nicely, and I think the action was spaced just right to keep the reader on edge but not totally breathless. (Keep in mind, this is still a murder mystery; I’ve just been reading extremely intense ones lately so my reading adrenaline has been pretty high!) I would recommend Trouble in Store especially to fans of historical fiction, romance and slightly milder mysteries. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I’m looking forward to whatever trouble remains in store for Carol Cox’s next novel.  I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my review. 
KayMKM More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this historical romance novel set in the Old West of Arizona Territory in 1885. I think Melanie Ross, the heroine, is an example of a strong-willed woman, who is able to roll with the punches and come out on top. I love the way she meets each obstacle with zest and determination. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy stories of women who defy the odds and make their own way in times when that was very difficult to do.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
amybooksy More than 1 year ago
Trouble in Store is my favorite written by Carol Cox so far. It was fun at times and even had some action and mystery to it, too. I would highly recommend this book! It is great! 5 plus stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MoVerCA More than 1 year ago
This was one of those books that I didn't want to put down. I find Carol Cox to be a fantastic author with a good sense of humor interwoven in her stories.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
not the real page rurner i had hoped for, but stil a good read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read this one in one sitting. Great characters, good story, heartwarming and very romantic without any gratuitous sex. I really enjoyed it. I am sure you will, too!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent I enjoyed it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great and exciting story loved it!
GingerS219 More than 1 year ago
Carol Cox brings us another wonderful story. Trouble in Store takes us back to the 1880's when women had few choices. So what did feisty women like Melanie Ross do? They winged it, and sometimes managed to land in an excellent situation that also allowed for love.  From page one, I enjoyed this novel. The story line kept me riveted to my seat and the banter between Caleb and Melanie made me smile on more than one occasion.  ***I received this book from the publisher/author for purposes of review. The above is my honest opinion.***
PattiJoM More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed TROUBLE IN STORE by author Carol Cox. For me, the story had the ideal blend of romance, history, and suspense, and I was eager to continue reading. The author's style of writing is a pleasure to read, and her characters came alive for me. I look forward to reading more books by Carol Cox. FIVE STARS!!
dgottreu More than 1 year ago
Trouble in Store by Carol Cox is a very well written Christian historical romance that takes place during the mid nineteenth century in Arizona Territory. Melanie Ross was the governess to three children and the untruthful words of the young boy led to her dismissal from the job. Being homeless and with very little money, Melanie decides to travel to the Arizona Territory to run the mercantile that her cousin left to her. When she arrives in Cedar Ridge she learns that her cousin’s partner has left his half of the store to his nephew Caleb and Caleb has no intention of sharing the mercantile with Melanie. She sets about changing displays in the store and Caleb has to admit that some of them are worthwhile. To hopefully get her out of the store and his life, Caleb convinces several of the men in town to ask for her hand in marriage. Many men propose but Melanie refuses them all and Caleb has to admit that he is glad for he is starting to have feelings for her. It appears that someone in the town does not want the mercantile to succeed and has been leaving threatening notes and soon the threats become destructive and dangerous actions. Carol Cox did an excellent job in the development of the characters in this story. From the very first page, Melanie was like a good friend and I was almost glad that she was dismissed from the governess job for that gave her a chance to spread her wings and find happiness and love and to get away from three children that were a trial even for their mother. Even though Caleb was not very nice in his treatment of Melanie at the beginning, I was hoping that he would open his eyes and see what a great lady Melanie really was and fortunately the author gave him a change of heart early in the book. Not only did Melanie and Caleb become so real that I felt they were close friends of mine, most of the people in the town were also like old friends. There were several twists and turns in the plot line and suspense was woven throughout most of the book. The author did a great job of keeping me guessing as to which person in town was threatening Melanie and Caleb. I was somewhat surprised when the culprit was revealed for I was totally wrong. I especially like the way that the author had both Melanie and Caleb putting their trust in God and praying for help to be able to forgive others. The story has a great ending and I hope there will be a sequel. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes a well written Christian historical romance set in the west in the mid nineteenth century. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
AngiOakley More than 1 year ago
I love Carol Cox’s new book “Trouble in Store”. It has the perfect blend of mystery, intrigue, humor, romance, and a wonderful spiritual thread that runs through the story. Set in 1885, the story opens in Marietta, OH where Melanie Ross is employed as a governess. Circumstances beyond her control turn her life upside down and force her to seek new employment, as well as a home, in a new place, and she decides to follow up on a lead provided by her late cousin. Destination: Cedar Ridge, Arizona Territory. Melanie arrives in Cedar Ridge, hoping that the best friend of her cousin will be kind enough to give her a position at his mercantile, only to find that the man’s handsome nephew is now the new proprietor and he doesn’t seem to want her help. But Melanie doesn’t let that stop her, butting heads with the stubborn man right from the start. Yet at times, a quiet kindness surfaces, causing her to take a second look. Caleb Nelson has been running the mercantile just fine by himself and he doesn’t need the help of an obnoxious female, intent on making a bunch of changes to his store. He tries several times to discourage her from staying, but the stubborn woman doesn’t discourage easily. Despite the fact that she gets on his nerves, Caleb sees her kindness towards others and how she seems to care about those around her, and he finds himself being drawn to her. All the while, there are curious things going on. Mysterious happenings, threatening notes, and…a murder, each of them forcing Caleb and Melanie to work together to try and figure out who is behind them. But the real question is, will they be able to fight the growing attraction between them? Or does God have another plan? “Trouble in Store” is a fun read and will keep you in suspense, making you keep turning the pages to see what happens next. I give it 5 stars!
VicG More than 1 year ago
Carol Cox in her new book “Trouble in Store” published by Bethany House Publishers takes us into the life of Melanie Ross. From the back cover:  Fired from her most recent governess position, Melanie Ross must embrace her last resort: the Arizona mercantile she inherited from her cousin. But Caleb Nelson is positive he inherited the mercantile, and he’s not about to let some obstinate woman with newfangled ideas mess up all he’s worked for. He’s determined to get Melanie married off as soon as possible, and luckily there are plenty of single men in town quite interested in taking her off his hands. The problem is, Caleb soon realizes he doesn’t want her to marry up with any of them. He’s drawn to Melanie more every day, and he has to admit some of her ideas for the store unexpectedly offer positive results. But someone doesn’t want the store to succeed, and what used to be just threatening words has escalated into deliberate destruction and lurkers in the night. When a body shows up on the mercantile steps–and the man obviously didn’t die from natural causes–things really get dangerous. Will Melanie and Caleb’s business–and budding romance–survive the trouble that’s about to come their way? The Mercantile was half owned by her cousin who died and left his half to Melanie.  Since she has been fired and blacklisted in Ohio she decides to go to Arizona to run her half of the store.  The other half ownership of the store has shifted to Caleb, as his Uncle also died.  Now Melanie and Caleb clash over how the Mercantile should be run even though Melanie has great ideas that Caleb agrees with.  So Caleb tries to marry off Melanie to find that he really doesn’t want her to go.  Then they find a body and set out to find who else wants to ruin the Mercantile.  Ms. Cox has crafted a fine mystery in that both Melanie and Caleb have to work together to figure out who wants to ruin the Mercantile.  There is history in the running of the Mercantile and how these two characters relate to each other throughout the story is what really keeps us interested and flipping pages.  The small town of Cedar Ridge, Arizona and the people who live there become real and are brought to life by a gifted storyteller.  On top of everything Ms. Cox has also given us a romance.  I really liked ”Trouble In Store” and I look forward to more stories from the very talented Ms. Cox. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers.   I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
booksandwindows More than 1 year ago
*I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.* Aptly named, Trouble in Store is true to its title.  There is plenty of trouble going on at the Cedar Ridge Mercantile. Mysterious notes, tampering with store products, and unexplained deaths plague the owners of the mercantile.  Assumptions are made and rumors fly as the mystery surrounding the mercantile goes unsolved.  Will Melanie and Caleb discover who is causing all this trouble? This mystery and intrigue occurs in the midst of Melanie arriving in town and trying to settle in as rightful owner of half of the mercantile.  Her unexpected arrival turns Caleb’s life upside-down when she claims the mercantile as belonging to her.  To say they butt heads would be an understatement.  They have conflicting ideas on how to successfully run the store, and they have a difficult time getting along.  Both are stubborn. I had a difficult time getting drawn into the story, as Melanie’s character rubbed me the wrong way, and I felt like there were plot holes, where previous conversations were referenced that the reader did not witness.  Also, scenes that I thought would be important to the storyline were not included in the plot, but were assumed to have happened later on in the novel, as they were referred to. However, this book is a light, enjoyable read with intrigue and a dash of romance.  I enjoyed reading about the daily life and activity of the mercantile and enjoyed this quaint and charming setting.
wfnren More than 1 year ago
A little chuckling, a little mystery When Melanie Ross is fired as a governess she doesn't know what she'll do. She has no family, no money and no friends she can ask to help her. As she is packing her things she finds herself reading some letters she's saved from her now deceased family she comes across one from her cousin George in Colorado telling her that she's always welcome to come out there and work in the mercantile with him and his business partner but George has since died. Then she finds a letter from Alvin Nelson, George's business partner, letting her know that he is keeping all of her cousin's things for her and the invitation still stands for her to come to Colorado. Now she has a place to go but no money, that's when Mr Deaver enters and gives her a large sum for her severance pay, so now she finds herself leaving Ohio and moving to Colorado. Upon her arrival in Colorado she goes straight to the Ross-Nelson Mercantile to introduce herself to Alvin. The proprietor is very busy as she enters and after waiting a few minutes she tries to pitch in and help. The problem is that it isn't Alvin, and the new owner doesn't know anything about Melanie. The new owner is none other than Alvin's nephew Caleb and he doesn't believe she owns half the mercantile but when she threatens to get the sheriff to see how he see's it, Caleb backs down because he's afraid she may just be right. Now we have two people that don't see eye to eye trying to run one store, not only that, someone wants them out of town. Alvin has been finding threatening notes since he moved to Colorado to help his Uncle Alvin, these notes are continuing, a man is found murdered on the back door stoop, someone is breaking in and wreaking havoc and putting Melanie's life in danger. Not only all of that, Caleb sic's all of the bachelors onto Melanie to try to get her to leave. I so enjoyed this book, I found myself chuckling throughout even with the touch of mystery and murders. There is even an "S" shaped lady in the story, a very important lady in town no less. I would recommend this book as a good, fun, read and one you might not be able to put down until you are finished with it. This is the first book I've read by Carol and I now have another author that I 'have' to follow.  Thank you to Bethany House for providing this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255
Writingsof_Rosie More than 1 year ago
Another amazing story from Carol Cox! Carol did a great job pulling me right into the story with the first chapter. Melanie is such an easy character to like despite her stubbornness and slight impulsive behavior. Even though I knew misfortune would befall her early on, I still hurt right alongside her. I loved her desire to improve the mercantile; however, I'm not sure her methods were the proper way to get what she wanted. Ha! Ha! Caleb is a fabulous hero! He's such a great father to his son, Levi, and does the best he can to also run a store single-handedly. I thought the transition from disliking Melanie to falling in love with her was well paced and realistic. I loved how protective he is. He and Melanie make a great couple. I just studied this time period for my studies and I'm pleased to find little details in the story that I know I would have missed had I not studied this era. I also must admit I'm very impressed with how vivid the Arizona territory appeared in my mind's eye. Very beautiful, very rustic, very western. I truly enjoyed the mystery Carol implemented and I wish the book could have spanned longer. I hated seeing it come to an end! I received this book from Bethany House in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done. Thanks!
Wanda_Barefoot More than 1 year ago
My Favorite Scene: "Caleb raised his hand, cutting her off. "Let's not spoil the evening." He turned his head slightly and gave her a wry grin, adding "We can always get back to arguing tomorrow. For now, let's relax and— Wait a minute. I know just the thing." He rose and went over to one of the shelves and returned with the music box in his hands. After moving their bowls aside to clear a space in the middle of the table, he wound the key and set the box down with care. Then he lifted the lid and slid the lever inside to the right. The mechanism whirred, then the cylinder began to rotate and a tinkling melody filled the air. Melanie's heart quickened when she recognized the tune. "'Liebestraum.' That was one of my grandmother's favorite pieces. She used to play it on her piano when I was a little girl." She leaned her head against the back of the chair and let the music sweep her away, back to a time when she felt safe... protected... loved. Closing her eyes, she could envision the way she used to bob and pirouette to the music while her grandmother's fingers moved nimbly across the ivory keys. When she opened her eyes again, she saw a glimmer of amusement in Caleb's eyes and realized she had been swaying in her chair, as though dancing again in her grandmother's parlor. Her cheeks flamed when she thought how foolish she must have appeared. But Caleb didn't seem put off in the least. Instead, he stretched out his hand and bowed. "Would you care to dance?" "Here? Now?" She studied his face, Was he making fun of her? his smile was still in place, but it was a kind, inviting smile, not a mocking one. Wordlessly, she let him help her to her feet and placed her left hand on his shoulder. His steps were light and sure as he waltzed her around the small open area od their "dining room." The touch of his fingers on hers and the warmth of his hand at her waist sent a tingle from her neck to her toes. She stared into his eyes, wondering if he felt it, as well. Their feet glided across the floor in unison with the music, slowing as the mechanism wound down and coming to rest as the last notes faded away. She could feel Caleb's pulse under her fingertips, matching the beat of her own heart. They stood together in the silence— not moving, not speaking, just staring into each other's eyes. Caleb licked his lips and tilted his head down. "Melanie?" His voice sounded husky in the stillness. "Yes?" He caught his breath and she heard him swallow. "I think it's time for Levi and me to go home."" Meet The Characters: Melanie Ross: A former Governess, Melanie has a way with children that comes natural. She is a faith-filled woman that is very loyal to those she cares for. Her character comes across as being a little weak in the beginning but she finds her strength a hundred fold by the end. She is strong, kind, gentle and protective. Caleb Nelson: A strong man of faith, Caleb is the father of Levi, a rambunctious but loving little boy. Caleb is outspoken and fights for what he believes in. A gentle and kind man that knows what he wants. Mrs. Fetterman: I couldn't leave out Mrs. Fetterman. She was one of the highlights of the book. She was very comical and had me laughing more than once. I was almost sorry when she got her new glasses. My Thoughts: Melanie Ross was a Governess until unforseen circumstances found her unemployed. She was alone in the world, so she headed west to Arizona hoping to secure employment with her late uncle's best friend. But it wasn't Alvin she found when she got there. It was Alvin's nephew Caleb. From the very beginning they clashed. Melanie was determined to be a part of her late uncle George's mercantile. It was her only means of supporting herself and she wasn't about to give up easily. Caleb was just as determined to keep her out. His uncle Alvin's mercantile was how he provided for his son, Levi, and he wasn't about to let some know-it-all woman get involved. The battle of wills between the two eventually turned into feelings neither expected. Add to that a murder or two and you have a well-rounded story that keeps you guessing until the end. This was a great story. Very well written as the story flows smoothly from beginning to end with a few surprises along the way. Full of romance, faith and even a little suspense. An Historical Who-dun-it. This was my first book by Carol Cox but she is now a new favorite to add to my list. I look forward to her next book and hope to share my thoughts with you. If you haven't read it, I suggest you check it out.