Title: Orange Cream Dreams and Murderous Schemes
Author: D. M. Grant
Genre: ContemporaryRomance, Romantic Suspense
Callie Clark's ice cream shack on Chocolate Lake is finally up and ready for business, but a murder and an ominous warning throws her into a decades-old treasure hunt with the brooding groundskeeper who can't seem to keep his hands to himself.
Dean Lowry can't stand Callie's spoiled superiority complex, but that doesn't stop him from admiring her outrageous bikinis from afar. When the promise of a killer's return threatens the woman he loves to hate, the tug of war between heart and mind begins.
Can they put their differences aside, or will status and small-town secrets tear them apart?
The lake closed, and Callie peeked her head outside, searching for any sign of Dean. She let her shoulders relax, seeing nothing but an empty beach and water. The sun was lowering into position, and she wanted to feed Loader before it got totally dark. Callie turned to Zach. “Did you get all the ice cream bins put back where they go?”
“Yes, ma’am. I washed all the scoops and wiped down the counters. Is there anything else you want me to do?” Zach ran a hand through his hair.
Callie stopped and cocked her head to the side. His mannerisms were familiar, and his hair matched the midnight-black shade of Dean’s, which she only noticed thanks to the ridiculous amount of time she spent with him on her mind. “Nope. I think that about covers our checklist.”
“Okay.” Zack slipped his shoulder through the strap of his backpack. “Are you sure? You look like you’re forgetting something.”
She wished. If she could forget Dean Lowry ever existed, her world would be far less complicated. These were the times when having female friends was necessary. Unfortunately, she had none. They were all starting families and breaking away from small-town life. The ones left holding down roots in Blackstone were busy with their own lives, and spilling her guts toa kid fresh out of high school with little to no life experience would be a new low for her. He wouldn’t understand, and her rich girl drama wasn’t his problem.
The new lifeguard, Sherry, seemed nice at first, although Callie could smell her desire for Dean a mile away, and Callie had too much on her plate to incite a battle over territory. Not like it mattered. Dean feigned interest in Sherry, but it wasn’t genuine. Any idiot could see that—even Sherry if she bothered to face the
Callie wiped her brow. At least she had her mom, but sometimes an objective third party had an upside.
She smiled at Zach. “Nope. All good. I’m just waiting for my dad. I called him thirty minutes ago, but he still isn’t here.” Maybe he was waiting at her cabin. She couldn’t remember where she’d told him to meet her. Callie hit the center button on her phone. Out of juice. “Wait. Do you have an extra minute? I need you to lock up for me. I’m gonna head home and see if he’s there.”
“Sure. Not a problem.”
All she had to do was get to her golf cart. From there, she could race back to her cabin, avoiding Dean along the way. She followed the sidewalk and rounded the corner. Everything would be fine as long as she didn’t run into… “Dean!” she yelled, in more of a brassy statement than a question. “What are you doing in my golf cart?”
Dean straightened his shoulders and patted the empty spot beside him, shooting her his famous, pantydropping grin. “I’m taking you to feed Loader.”
“You most certainly are not! My dad is coming to give me a ride. So. So get out!”
He laughed in a way that made her chest palpitate. This couldn’t possibly be healthy. The tug of war between hate and need duking it out inside her was bound to implode at least one vital organ. She never paid much attention in health class, but she was pretty sure all organs were required for survival.
“Zander called me a few minutes ago and asked if I’d take you over. He said he had a case that was driving him nuts, and he didn’t have time to take you.”
“So you just volunteered?”
Dean patted the empty seat again. “No. He is my boss, and he asked me to do a job. So that’s what I’m doing.”
She slid onto the cool vinyl seat. Quite a shift from the sticky skin-trap it was that morning. “I see how it is. I’m a job now. Is that it?”
“Well, you’re definitely a lot of work.” Dean winked and snuck a kiss on her neck.
“You’re not so easy to deal with yourself, Mr. Moody Broody Pants.” Callie wiped the kiss from her skin. “Can we just go? Loader is probably scared and confused. It’s been a whole day since he’s seen anyone.”
“Callie, that cat weighs like thirty pounds—hence the name. He probably doesn’t even know Alan hasn’t come home because he can’t walk from room to room
on his own.”
Dean had a point. Loader was a fat boy. She couldn’t think of a nicer way to put it. Part of her was glad Dean decided to tag along because moving Loader to his bowl would take more than one set of hands.
“Fine. Whatever. Just keep your hands to yourself.”
Dean lifted his hands in the air. “Yes, ma’am.”
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What makes your featured book a must-read?
Orange Cream Dreams and Murderous Schemes is a two-hour beach read that contains everybody’s favorites: ice cream, enemies-to-lovers, and a lakeside seat to the action. Callie is a character you can get behind and Dean is a sexy groundskeeper you can’t get enough of. This book has a seamless mixture of murder, mystery, and romance that’s sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.
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D. M. spent most of her youth burying her face into the pages of every book she could get her hands on. She wrote her first book during quarantine while juggling motherhood and studying to obtain her bachelor's degree in psychology for child and adolescent development. When she's not taking advantage of her overactive imagination, she enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter, and two big, fluffy dogs in her small backwoods town.
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