by Emmeline Duncan
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Pub Date 26 Mar 2024 | Archive Date 02 Apr 2024
Kensington Books, Kensington Cozies
As the owner of Portland, Oregon’s popular Ground Rules coffee cart, hard-working young master barista Sage Caplin is excited to expand her business with a brick-and mortar store. But not everyone gives her a warm welcome . . .
Ground Rules isn’t the only newcomer set to open in Portland’s grand new Button Building. Fortunately, most of the fellow micro-restaurant owners and patrons are great—with two exceptions. There’s Rose, a true-crime podcaster and active TikToker who’s pestering Sage for an interview about her estranged con-artist mother; and Bianca, the familiar and perpetually unpleasant owner of Breakfast Bandits. Bianca is abrasive to everyone, so Sage doesn’t feel singled out. . . . Until Bianca falls dead at the building’s grand opening—a to-go cup of Ground Rules coffee in her hand. Laced with Ketamine, also known as Special K.
It doesn’t help that just before she collapsed, Bianca was publicly rude to Sage. Or that Bianca’s boyfriend points the police toward Sage. Or that Rose, still hung up on investigating Sage’s mom, has declared she’ll solve the murder. Now it will be up to Sage to sift through a complex blend of motives, blackmail, and old and new rivalries to get to the truth of a very bitter brew . . .
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