Book Spotlight (and a Giveaway!): The Taste of Rain & The Spice Code by Barbara Howard

Posted January 26, 2024 by meezcarrie in Barbara Howard, clean, contemporary, cozy mystery, giveaway, mystery/suspense / 0 Comments

The Taste of Rain & The Spice Code excerpt

The Taste of Rain & The Spice Code by Barbara HowardTHE TASTE OF RAIN & THE SPICE CODE by Barbara Howard
The Clove City Files Mysteries #1 & 2
GENRE: Cozy Mystery (Clean)
PUBLISHER: Independently Published
RELEASE DATE: December 5, 2023
PAGES: 245

The Taste of Rain
Novella, multi-generational, diverse, young adult, clean, cozy, college town.

In “The Taste of Rain”, we follow the story of Amira, a college student who works part-time as a health aide at a local nursing home. One day, she meets an elderly resident, Claire Stewart, who confides in her that her husband was killed years ago, but nobody believed her.

Amira is hesitant to believe Claire at first, but as she gets to know her better, she realizes that there might be some truth to her story. Amira decides to investigate the case and help Claire find the killer.

She must navigate through the complexities of the past and present to find the truth and bring justice for Claire.

Along the way, Amira faces challenges both personally and professionally. She must balance her college studies with her part-time job and her investigation. She also learns to confront her own biases and assumptions about aging and the elderly.

“The Taste of Rain” is a mystery that explores the themes of trust, aging, and justice. It is a heartwarming tale of the unlikely friendship between a young college student and an elderly resident, as they work together to uncover the truth, and solve a decades-old murder.

The Spice Code
Culinary Cozy novella, multi-generational, diverse, young adult, clean, college town.

In the heart of a quiet college town, restaurant owner and chef, Raphael Parera, finds himself entangled in a web of deception that threatens not only his culinary career but his very life. Charmed by the enigmatic beauty of his new girlfriend, Isabella, Raphael is unaware of the darkness lurking beneath her captivating smile.

As their relationship deepens, Raphael suddenly disappears without a trace, leaving his cousin, Amira Cooper, frantic with worry. Unbeknownst to Isabella, he manages to send a cryptic message through a seemingly innocent bag of groceries – a silent clue hidden within a recipe’s ingredients.

Desperate to save her beloved cousin, Amira embarks on a perilous journey to decipher the clues concealed within the grocery bag. Will Amira decipher the ingredients’ hidden meanings in time to rescue Raphael, or will Isabella’s twisted game end in a tragedy that will forever alter their lives? Get ready to indulge in a mystery where every twist and turn will leave you craving more.


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Other Books In This Series

Amira pressed her way to the front of the line, as one-by-one, each potential customer shoved her aside and rushed off.

“Excuse me, what happened?” Amira said, hopeful that she could still find gifts for her friends. “I’m so sorry.” The shop owner pleaded with tears streaming down her face. “I can offer a coupon for thirty percent off your next purchase. Seriously, that’s the best that I can do under the circumstances.”

“So, the Regal Ruche bag is-”

“They’re all gone. Can you believe it?”

“Oh, no. Really? I’m sorry I missed the sale.”

“Yes, the demand was incredible. We sold out almost immediately. It was like a tornado hitting the place. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

“Well, it is a beautiful bag. Personally, I’d love to have one. I planned to get them for my friends.”

“I’m so-”

“I understand. No need to keep apologizing.” Amira placed her hand on the woman’s arm. “Congratulations, by the way. It sounds like the sale was a big success.”

“Oh, it was.” The woman’s face brightened. “Now we have to clean up the aisles a bit. And restock, of course.” She patted Amira’s hand. “Thank you for understanding.”

“You’re welcome.” Amira started to walk away, then turned back. “Oh yeah, I’ll take one of those coupons, if you don’t mind.”

“Of course, follow me.” The woman unlocked the door and stepped inside.

Just as Amira started to follow, she heard Raphael calling to her. This time it sounded urgent. She spotted him waving to her from in front of the Boat House. About a half dozen Clover City
uniformed officers had arrived, and a line of police cars had blocked off the western entrance to the boardwalk. People were being redirected to the opposite sidewalk. Amira approached her cousin while staying flush against the buildings out of the way crush of crowd. She noticed the Medical Examiner’s van parked on top of a grassy knoll blocking the view of the parking lot.

“Somebody’s dead.” Raphael said and shielded her from the view of law enforcement and media forming across the street.

“Wait, what?” She tried to move around him to get a better look at all of the action. “I don’t
believe you. This is probably just a training event. They do that sometimes, you know.”

Raphael gave her the same stern look from when they were kids and he would babysit for her
parents. “I want you to go home now. Stay there until I get the details.”

“Oh, this must be what Harper was talking about.” Amira pulled out her phone and checked the Crimson Call-Out website. “Nothing posted yet. Are you sure that’s what happened? I’m going to call her back.”

“Go home, Mimi. With all the teams they’ve got involved here, it’s gotta be something big going on. This isn’t the time to run around stirring up trouble with that friend of yours.”

“Oh, well, my friend is a professional journo-”

“Yeah, so you said. Do what I tell you, okay? I need you to be safe and far away from here until
we know what’s happening.”

“Alright, alright. I’m leaving but I can’t go home just yet. I’ve got to meet Darius and Miss Claire. They’re coming back from the STEM Young Scholars camp today. The bus is arriving soon, and everyone is getting dropped off on campus. I can’t wait to see them.”

“Him.” Raphael gave her a side-eye.

“Sure, him and all the students.”

“But mostly, him.” He teased.

“Shut up.” She blushed and tried not to appear excited. “Harper will fill me in on whatever is going on here. Since you’re sticking around, try to find a nice birthday gift for her. Won’t you?

“Amira.” He gave her a dirty look.

“It’s the least you can do. I won’t tell her it’s from you.”

“Yeah, okay. Get going before you miss the bus and your boyfriend.”

“Why do I love you?” She laughed and headed down the boardwalk toward the eastern nature trail and noticed that every shop had closed for the day, coaxing customers to the exits and onto the boardwalk. Patrons gave short quick glances over their shoulders as they shoved and hurried away from the line of private security staff blocking the entrance to the Boat House restaurant.

Barbara Howard

Barbara Howard is the author of two cozy mystery series; Finding Home and The Clover City Files. Her stories feature a female amateur sleuth, diverse characters, and a dash of romance.  She is a first-generation tech geek turned master gardener. She returned to her Midwestern hometown after an extensive career as a Department of Defense Project Manager at the Pentagon and spends most of her time treasure hunting, spoiling her fur-babies, growing veggies, and plotting whodunits.

Memberships/Affiliations: Mystery Writers of America (MWA), Sisters in Crime (SinC), Great Lakes Fiction Writers (GLFW), Crime Writers of Color (CWoC), Gamma Xi Phi (GXP)

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