Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Playing with Bonbon Fire by Dorothy St James | Blog Tour with Excerpt, Guest Post, & Giveaway

The Blurb

Chocoholic Charity Penn must smoke out the killer to stop her newly inherited beachside chocolate shop from going up in flames in Dorothy St. James’ decadent follow-up to Asking for Truffle.

Chocolate shop owner Charity Penn is finally settling into life in the quirky South Carolina seaside town of Camellia Beach cooking up chocolate treats. She’s even helped organize the town’s lively beach music festival which has brought rollicking crowds eager to dance the Carolina shag. That is, until one of the band’s lead singers is found dead beside a beach bonfire.

While also trying to balance the amorous attention of music star Bixby Lewis, in town for the festival, and her quest to perfect a new hot flavored bonbon, Charity dives into the investigation. Though it’s more spice than sugar when she discovers a threatening note, comes across decades of age-old secrets, and Bixby comes into the line of fire when a gas grill explodes on the deck of a beachfront house.

Now Charity must turn up the heat and catch the killer before her chance melts away in Playing With Bonbon Fire, the delightful second Southern Chocolate Shop mystery served up just right for fans of JoAnna Carl and Joanne Fluke.

Playing with Bonbon Fire by Dorothy St James
Series: Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery, #2
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Culinary Mystery
Publication Date: March 13, 2018
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Hardcover: 352 pages
ISBN-10: 1683314689
ISBN-13: 978-1683314684
e-Book File Size: 1911 KB
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The Excerpt

One of my uncles had already tried to use violence to get me out of the picture in order to hurry the sale of the property. So the thought that one of Mabel’s greedy children had tossed the rock through the window in an attempt to scare me into packing my bags and going home shouldn’t have surprised me.

The joke was on them, though. I didn’t have a home to go back to. My father’s side of the family made sure I’d never feel at home in any of the Penn mansions. My half sister Tina was the only member of my family who treated me with kindness.

If not for her, Bixby Lewis wouldn’t be standing in my shop right now.

“If this rock was aimed at you, we need to report it,” I said to him. “Even if it’s just a threat from an overzealous fan, we have to keep you safe.”

“Penn’s right. I hate to say it, but we need to tell Hank Byrd,” Bertie agreed.

“Not him.” Just the thought of talking with Camellia Beach’s police chief made me groan. According to Byrd, crime hadn’t existed in his quaint beach town until I’d moved in.

While he didn’t suspect me of breaking any laws, he blamed me for bringing criminals into town with me. The arrival of Bixby Lewis and his crazy stalker fan would only add fuel to that ridiculous theory of his.

Even so, Bertie was right. I needed to make that call.

“No!” Bixby grabbed my wrist and pulled the cell phone out of my hand before I had the chance to punch in the numbers. “Don’t tell anyone. The publicity will only cause more crazies to crawl out of their hidey holes to make trouble. Trust me on this one. I deal with this almost every day.”

“Son, someone tosses rocks through your window on a daily basis? That would burn my biscuits,” Bertie drawled in her lovely, deep Southern voice.

I introduced Bixby to Bertie and explained how he was a singing star of mega proportions.

“I know who he is,” Bertie fussed. “I might be old, but there’s nothing wrong with my hearing. I listen to the radio. I love your ‘Honey Got a Hold on Me’ tune. Listen to it while folding my laundry.” She tossed back her head and belted out the refrain, which included a description of the singer going back to his girlfriend’s house and making the walls tremble. It sounded quite naughty coming from someone well over seventy years old.

Bixby’s cheeks turned beet red as he politely thanked her for enjoying his work.

I giggled. I often giggled inappropriately when I got nervous.

He smiled kindly in my direction before saying, “Don’t worry about the window. I’ll replace it. In the meantime, I’d rather focus on celebrating great beach music than wasting time talking with the police.”

“But—” I started to protest.

“I’m fine, Penn.” He put his hand on my shoulder in the same way Bertie had earlier to calm me down. With him, though, the gesture had the opposite effect. My insides fluttered wildly. "Sweetheart, you don't have to worry. I promise nothing bad is going to happen."

The Character Guest Post

5 Benefits of Stepping Outside Your Box

By Charity Penn, owner of the Chocolate Box in Camellia Beach, SC

From the Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery series

I used to avoid risks. They were, you know, too risky. Stepping out of my comfort zone could lead to making mistakes. It could make me vulnerable. Others might take advantage of me. And taking risks always seemed to end up making me look like even more of a screw-up in my family’s eyes. But sometimes protecting loved ones are more important than staying in my safe little box. Sometimes helping others is more important than trying to please a parent who will — let’s be honest here — never be satisfied.

And sometimes the police need a helping hand in tracking down a killer in the quaint beach town of Camellia Beach.

This past year, I learned the benefits of stepping outside my comfortable box and how taking a risk or two has improved my life.

1. Meeting new people. If I’d never traveled to Camellia Beach, I wouldn’t have met Althea or Bertie and succumbed to their insistent attempts to break through the crusty barriers I’d erected around myself. If you’d asked me last year if I’d befriend someone who believed in magic and owned a crystal shop, I’d have laughed in your face. But Althea is among one of the truest friends I’ve ever had.

2. New opportunities spring up. I never thought I’d own a chocolate shop. I never even thought I wanted to own a chocolate shop. Sure, I love buying chocolate. But I’m not a whiz in the kitchen. Who am I to manage a chocolate shop? If I’d let my insecurities stop me, I would have never tried my hand at creating bonbons, which are really hard to master. Let me tell you, I might not be great at what I do, but I have a great business partner with Bertie, and I’m having the time of my life.

3. The more often you put yourself in uncomfortable situations, the easier it becomes. I’m not a brave soul. I hate confrontation. I like to take the easy path. But the more new things I try — like flirting with the ultra cute pop star, Bixby Lewis — the less anxiety I feel the next time I want to try something new. Practice really does make perfect.

4. Adapting to the unexpected less scary. Sometimes life pushes you out of your warm, safe box. It’s not by choice. I didn’t choose for someone to try to kill Bixby Lewis. But the superstar was in town because of the beach music festival I’d spearheaded. Of course I needed to step outside my comfort zone to find out what was happening and why. If I didn’t have so many past experiences where I’d willingly tried something new, I might have crawled under my bed, frozen with uncertainty and fear instead of bravely protecting my friends.

5. You might save a life. (It might be your own life you save.) If I’d never ventured from the safe, the known, I would have never tried to protect my friends. Instead of celebrating with them, I might have been attending their funerals. You see, when faced with a dangerous situation, my first instinct is to run away. (Rightly so!) But sometimes we have to run toward the danger in order to protect what’s good and important in our lives. Sometimes we have to be braver than we believe we can be.

It might be scary. It might keep us from getting a good night’s sleep. But doing something that is important, that pushes our lives in a different direction can be nearly as delicious as savoring a piece of silky dark chocolate.

Have you ever stepped outside your comfort zone? How did it make you feel? Did it change your life?

Don’t miss the second installment in the exciting Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery Series, Playing with Bonbon Fire, available NOW from Crooked Lane Books.

Chocolate shop owner, Charity Penn is at it again-cooking up chocolate treats while trying to keep everyone in the quirky seaside town of Camellia Beach safe. A threatening note, a dead musician, and decades of secrets put the town's first beach music festival and its band members in grave danger.

With help from her meddling half-sister and a new flavor of chocolate sweets to ignite the senses, Penn follows the shifting tide of evidence to uncover the truth behind a nearly forty-year-old mystery.

Dorothy St. James, known for the White House Gardener Mystery series, has gone back to her roots and setting a mystery series in a Southern beach town much like the one she’s called home for the past 20 years. The Southern Chocolate Shop Mysteries combine her love of fine chocolates, quirky Southern charm, with a dash of danger. Asking for Truffle is the first book in this exciting new series. Playing with Bonbon Fire came out in March 2018 and In Cold Chocolate is scheduled to release September 2018.

    The Author

    About Dorothy St James

    Mystery author Dorothy St. James was born in New York but raised in South Carolina. She makes her home on an artsy island community in South Carolina with her husband, a neurotic dog, and fluffy cat. Though writing has always been a passion for her, she pursued an undergraduate degree in Wildlife Biology and a graduate degree in Public Administration and Urban Planning. She put her educational experience to use, having worked in all branches and all levels of government including local, regional, state, and federal. She even spent time during college working for a non-profit environmental watchdog organization.

    Switching from government service and community planning to fiction writing wasn't as big of a change as some might think. Her government work was all about the stories of the people and the places where they live. As an urban planner, Dorothy loved telling the stories of the people she met. And from that, her desire to tell the tales that were so alive in her heart grew until she could not ignore it any longer. In 2001, she took a leap of faith and pursued her dream of writing fiction full-time.

    Known for the White House Gardener Mystery series, Dorothy is going back to her roots and setting a mystery series in a Southern beach town much like the one she’s called home for the past 20 years. The Southern Chocolate Shop Mysteries combine her love of fine chocolates, quirky Southern charm, with a dash of danger.

    * Dorothy St. James is the alter-ego of the award-winning multi-published author, Dorothy McFalls. She enjoys writing in several different genres. Her works have been nominated for many awards including Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award, Reviewers International Organization Award, National Reader's Choice Award, CataRomance Reviewers' Choice Award, and The Romance Reviews Today Perfect 10! Award. Reviewers have called her work: "amazing", "perfect", "filled with emotion", and "lined with danger."

    Visit Dorothy St James on the web at these locations:

    The Giveaway

    Follow the tour, to read other Guest Posts, plus interviews and reviews!


    March 11 – Babs Book Bistro – GUEST POST

    March 11 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

    March 11 – La libreria di Beppe – SPOTLIGHT

    March 12 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

    March 12 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews - REVIEW, INTERVIEW

    March 13 – Laura's Interests – REVIEW

    March 13 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

    March 13 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT

    March 14 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

    March 14 – Writing Pearls – REVIEW

    March 14 – Sapphyria's Books - SPOTLIGHT

    March 15 – Queen of All She Reads - REVIEW

    March 15 – A Cozy Experience – REVIEW

    March 16 – StoreyBook Reviews - CHARACTER GUEST POST

    March 16 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

    March 17 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW

    March 17 – The Self-Rescue Princess – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

    March 18 – A Holland Reads - CHARACTER GUEST POST

    March 18 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

    March 18 – T's Stuff – SPOTLIGHT

    March 19 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

    March 19 – Jane Reads - CHARACTER GUEST POST

    March 20 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST

    March 20 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

    March 20 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

    March 21 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW

    March 22 – Valerie's Musings - REVIEW, INTERVIEW

    March 22 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

    March 23 – Melina's Book Blog – REVIEW

    March 23 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

    March 24 – The Book's the Thing – REVIEW

    March 24 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

    March 24 – Ms. Cat's Honest World – SPOTLIGHT

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