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Sue Hollowell

Treehouse Hotel Cozy Mysteries Books 4 - 6 (PAPERBACK)

Treehouse Hotel Cozy Mysteries Books 4 - 6 (PAPERBACK)

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A light, cozy mystery in a small town with a puzzle loving, amateur female sleuth, quirky characters (human and canine), and enough flowers and pastries to fill your garden and your belly.

Book 4 - Mistletoe and Misfortune

Epic plans are underway to celebrate the hotel’s glorious expansion. But the untimely death of a pompous chef right in the middle of the preparations might be what closes down the hotel for good. Ben’s award-winning restaurant and food are legendary, but not as much as his arrogance and unscrupulous dealings.

As Chloe and Max work to salvage the event, they discover secrets about the chef that will crack the case wide open. When Ben’s wife takes the helm of the business with suspiciously no remorse for his death, she jumps to the top of the list of suspects.

The shocking clues that come to light will entangle Chloe’s family, her mother’s livelihood, and culminate with a bombshell that will leave everyone dumbfounded. Can Chloe and Max connect the dots in this culinary conundrum before the hotel doors are shuttered forever?

Book 5 - Crocuses and Corpses

Chloe and Max are looking forward to a relaxing cruise before the treehouse hotel busy season begins. But after a trip to the ship’s hair salon with her mom, Chloe quickly finds herself mired in a mysterious murder.

Luke’s sweet-talkin’ of the ladies, and his one-of-a-kind hair styles earned him huge tips and the adoration of his clients. But Chloe and Max quickly discover that Luke’s carefully coiffed hair and charming chatter were a facade for lies that ran deep.

As Chloe and Max navigate the festive, fun-loving cruise, they uncover deceit, jealousy and diabolical schemes that threaten the hotel and her mom’s future. Can they crack the clues to Luke’s demise before the murderer sinks their vacation plans?

Book 6 - Lavender and Larceny

Cedarbrook’s quaint lavender festival is the kick-off to springtime in the small town and the treehouse hotel’s convention season. Chloe’s close friend is debuting her award-winning blend of lavender lotions for youthful rejuvenation.

As the hoopla is happening, Chloe’s sister discovers a suspicious death at her lavender farm. And to top it off, the secret recipe for the lavender lotions is suddenly missing. Chloe and Max traverse the labyrinth of lies and learn just how far the suspects will go to obtain the coveted lavender formula.

As they get deeper into the perplexing clues, they become embroiled in a blackmail scheme that puts them in extreme jeopardy. Can Chloe and Max find out who is in cahoots and willing to kill to secure the fountain of youth?


 Paperback  288 pages
 Dimensions  5 x 0.5 x 8 inches (127 x 12.7 x 203 mm)
 Publication date  July 2, 2023
 Publisher  Free Heart Productions


Max trotted in front of me as we surveyed the location for the outdoor activities. Planning for the grand re-opening of the hotel had been underway for some time. A light dusting of snow had fallen the night before, giving an enchanting feel to the place. My heart warmed at how the expansion project had turned out. The two new units provided us additional capacity, and the lodge was a dream come true. My hopes for a town gathering place and a destination for out-of-towners was about to be realized. Max continued to high-step along the path that would host our sleigh ride on opening night. With the colder weather, I bundled him up in the cutest little red argyle sweater, and he wore it proudly. As we wove our way through the treehouses, I removed any branches that might be an obstacle for the sleigh. The layer of snow brought a peace to the day that I hoped would last.

“Chloe, two of my winter gnomes are missing.” Mom’s voice echoed as she came up the path from the other direction. She wore a coat that I was sure would have kept her warm at the north pole. She even wore appropriate footwear for the conditions, which wasn’t always the case. “Max is always playing with them. What do you think he did this time?” she asked. She stomped toward us in her heavy boots. “I had them sitting around the firepit.” She gestured behind her. “They looked so cute. And now they’re gone.”

Max and I caught up with her. “Are you sure they were there? You’ve got so many, I don’t know how you keep track of them,” I said.

Mom’s gnome collection had somehow expanded beyond her backyard and infiltrated almost every place at the hotel. I initially agreed to allow a couple of them at the Cherry Cottage. Now we had an army of them.

She looked at me through the fur surrounding her large hood. “Believe me. I know where every single one of them are. They are my treasures.” She turned and marched down the path ahead of us.

Max looked up at me and we both shrugged. We hadn’t lost a gnome yet. I was sure they were here somewhere. It might just not be until spring that we’d find them. We trailed Mom as she led us to the location of the missing gnomes. I looked around. “Where’s Trixie?” I called after her.

“She’s sitting on the porch up at the office. I don’t think she likes the cold very much,” she said. Not a shocker that her princess dog wouldn’t like the snow.

We approached the large opening, and I saw the workers had almost completed installing the lights. This would be a station where we served hot chocolate and gingersnaps on the night of the grand re-opening.

“See?” She pointed to a bench facing the firepit. Sure enough, a space on each side of the bench showed bare ground where something had previously been sitting.

Max took a step back. I looked at him. He took another step back. It wouldn’t be the first time he was involved with shenanigans with those little creatures.

“I’ll keep an eye out. For now, we need to keep focused on the setup for our event.” I sat on the bench to catch my breath. Max jumped up beside me.

Mom walked around the entire firepit, looking everywhere for the missing gnomes. “Well, they didn’t just walk off by themselves.” She continued poking her head into the bushes.

I made eye contact with one of the workers installing the lights. He shook his head. “Mom, let’s head back to the office. Harrison should be here any minute, and I want to warm up a bit.”

She emerged from the shrubs with a huge grin. “Chloe, isn’t it looking romantic here?” she asked, the gnomes now an afterthought. She had been not so subtly hinting about Paul and me going on a date. From day one of the hotel expansion, she was on a mission to make that happen.

“Remind me to come out here when it’s a little darker to see how it looks when it’s all lit up,” I said.

Mom trailed behind me. “I’ll ask Paul to do that with you.” She giggled with her relentless pursuit of finding me a match.

We emerged from the trees just as I spotted Harrison’s vehicle driving into the parking lot. My stomach tightened. I stopped. Mom sidled next to me.

“Harrison’s here,” she whispered. She looked up at me with tears in her eyes. “Oh, Chloe.”

I yearned for reconciliation between the two of them. Harrison hadn’t been in town since he was eighteen when he packed up everything he owned into a beater car and drove east. He and I had recent conversations to bring him up to speed with the hotel, Mom, and my sisters. I could tell he had softened toward Mom and the memory of our youth. But time would tell by how much when they actually spent time together in person. Mom took off like a shot, Max in tow.

Harrison, his wife Diane, their daughter, Julia, and her family exited the vehicle.

Trixie lumbered down the steps of the office toward the car and joined the welcoming committee. Mom stopped just short of the car and put her hand over her mouth. She and Harrison made eye contact. He held out his arms, and Mom moved forward into Harrison’s embrace. The rest of the family came forward.

I joined them. Harrison gave me a hug with a long, firm squeeze. We released, and I grabbed his hand and stared into his eyes. “Harrison, I can’t tell you what this means to me and Mom that you came.”

He smiled. “I’m glad to be here. Let me introduce you to my family.” He turned and gestured to his wife. I had never met any of them in person. Only one of the two daughters and family were able to make the trip. They were a lovely family. No matter what happened with the grand re-opening event, Harrison’s visit was the highlight of the year.

I rubbed my arms to warm up. Max had instantly taken to the kids. Harrison’s daughter Julia had a seven-year-old girl and a five-year-old boy. They were loving all over Max as Trixie ambled up to the trio. The pups would be in heaven with new playmates.

The adults gathered in a circle. “This place has really changed,” Harrison said, gazing around. “It looks nothing like it did when I was here.”

“Mom’s done a great job keeping it going,” I said. I looked at her. “And it’s been quite a project with the expansion. I’m glad we’re almost done with that.”

Mom shook her head. She was eerily quiet, overwhelmed with emotion at Harrison’s arrival. She’d never thought it would ever happen.

“We should show you around.” Mom beamed proudly. “Let’s go see our newest addition. I think the kids will really like the elevator to Crocus Castle.” She waved the family on and headed down the path we had just come from.

I stood and watched the scene. My heart warmed my body from the inside out. I was still very surprised that Harrison had agreed to come, but I would take it. My phone in my pocket started to ring. I removed my mitten and reached in to retrieve it. I saw Paul’s name on the caller ID. “Hi, Paul. What’s up?”

Hearing Paul’s name, Mom stopped and turned, her face plastered with a grin like Max’s when he got gingersnap treats. She leaned over and whispered something to Harrison, which I’m certain had to do with Paul and me going on a date.

I looked away from her. And when Paul started talking, I grimaced.

Mom retraced her steps and returned to the parking lot. “Chloe?” she inquired.

I held up a hand to halt her questioning. “I’ll be right there,” I said into the phone. I hung up, my eyebrows furrowed. This couldn’t be happening. I made sure the kids were occupied with the dogs before I said, “Paul needs me to come into the lodge right away.”

“Chloe?” Mom repeated.

I took off toward the lodge and said over my shoulder, “I think you should stay here and visit. I’ll let you know what’s happening.”

“Not on your life,” I heard Mom say. “Harrison, why don’t you guys get settled and I’ll go with Chloe.” She practically sprinted to catch up with me. The fireworks had already begun and our event was still days away.

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