A Dark Turnover

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The dog days of summer have shifted life in Moss Hollow, Georgia, into low gear, but Jillian Green and her best friend, Savannah Cantrell, are heading back to school—or at least to visit their favorite teacher, Miss Rita Carter, a ninety-one-year-old local legend. Facing a terminal illness, Miss Rita feels driven to get her affairs in order, and part of her preparations include presenting Savannah with an unexpected and rather extravagant gift: a cherry-red 1972 Buick Riviera.

In rough condition after being parked in a shed for more than 40 years, the Buick holds more secrets than passengers. The car once belonged to Miss Rita’s son, Ryan, a troubled young man who hit the road shortly after returning from serving in Vietnam. Miss Rita seems to finally be convinced Ryan will never again cruise into Moss Hollow, but the mystery of his disappearance continues to weigh on her. Where did Ryan go all those years ago, and why didn’t he come back?

The questions surrounding Ryan’s departure take an even darker turn when Savannah finds a lockbox filled with jewels and cash while inspecting her new car. Who does the treasure belong to, and why would someone conceal it inside a car seat? Revved up by the discovery, Jillian refuses to remain idle—she’s convinced that someone close to Miss Rita knows what happened, and she goes into overdrive to find out the truth.

Will Miss Rita end her life’s journey with the answers she so desperately seeks? Will anyone claim the treasure hidden in the back seat of the cherry-red coupe? And what really happened to Ryan Carter? 

Jillian is heading full throttle toward the answers, but if she’s not careful, she just may hit a dead end.

The Characters

At 39, Jillian is living the life she always dreamed. Using her creative talents, she's built a successful career as one of the top executives at a prestigious advertising agency in California, and she's engaged to an amazing man who showers her with love and the finer things in life. Life couldn't be more perfect.

But as quickly as a chocolate souffle can flop, Jillian's "perfect" fiance is arrested for embezzlement, putting a quick end to the engagement, and the advertising agency coincidentally "downsizes" Jillian after the scandal, leaving her without a job. But Jillian is a strong Southern woman who has learned how to endure from her feisty and iron-willed grandmother. She decides to leave California and make a fresh start where her life began, in the quaint town of Moss Hollow, Ga.

Under Grandma Bertie's roof at Belle Haven mansion and under her wing, Jillian prepares to take over the family business: The Chocolate Shoppe Bakery. But she doesn't expect to find murder on the menu! Will returning home to reconnect with her Southern roots ultimately prove to be a blessing or a fatal mistake?

Longtime member of the Sweetie Pies baking club and grandmother extraordinaire, Lenora has managed the bakery for decades and is considered a part of the family. Since fixing a salad is Jillian's greatest culinary accomplishment on most days, she encounters a few hurdles while learning how to create the decadent treats the bakery is known for. She's grateful for Lenora's wise counsel and encouragement!

The curious and cuddly house cat keeps a close eye on the happenings at Belle Haven mansion and lends a hand -- or paw -- in helping Jillian solve the intriguing mysteries of the small town.

Savannah is one of Jillian's oldest and best friends. She's delighted Jillian moved back to town and looks forward to reconnecting with her childhood companion. But she's also keeping a secret that may be the key to unlocking the mystery of Nadine's untimely demise.

Jillian's down-to-earth and lovable grandmother is ready to retire from the hectic demands of running The Chocolate Shoppe Bakery, but she refuses to sell to a complete stranger. Jillian is her last hope for keeping the business in the family, even if Jillian can barely boil water. Bertie is determined to help Jillian succeed in the business and to see her marry a good Southern man before the bloom falls completely off the rose.

Cornelia may be Bertie's twin, but she is different from her sister in every way, from her flair for the dramatic to her eccentric nature. She moved back to Belle Haven mansion to live with Bertie five years ago after the death of her husband. She claims to possess a joie de vivre that simply cannot be tamed. Bertie prefers to call it "flighty." Despite her theatrics, Cornelia has a generous heart and wants nothing but the best for her grandniece. She will do anything to see Jillian happy and settled in Moss Hollow ... even if it means bending a few rules.