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Mystery of the Holiday Hustle (A Mallory Beck Short Mystery E-book) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4.4 (58 ratings)

Mystery of the Holiday Hustle (A Mallory Beck Short Mystery E-book) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4.4 (58 ratings)

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A short mystery novella, perfect to round out your Mallory Beck Cozy Culinary Collection... or an ideal way to get into the new series that one reader called “a page-turner with loveable characters and unexpected twists and turns.”


Main Tropes

  • A prequel mystery without the violence and gore
  • A new cat with intuition
  • A holiday recipe to try at home


A secret social media account, a novelist with a hunch, and the sleuth who unravels the mystery… When newlywed Mallory Beck helps her bestselling-mystery-novelist husband get his sea legs on social media, she’s surprised to find @CooperBeckAuthor already pumping up his writing and offering a secret new Christmas story to paying subscribers. Is Cooper lying to her about his inexperience and aversion to social media? And if not, where is this imitator getting photos and videos of Cooper that even Mallory has never seen? When she investigates further, and the clues she uncovers hit—quite literally—too close to home, she is determined to get to the truth.

Buy it now and help Mallory get to the bottom of this mystery!

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Intro Into Chapter One

12 Days Before Christmas

The day I got married, I thought I would never find a reason to doubt my blissfully-perfect new husband, Cooper. We’d fallen in love almost instantly. He was tall, dark, and hunky, as well as a multi-published bestselling novelist before we’d even left university. He even adored the most unlovable of pets!

This would be our first Christmas as a married couple, our first Christmas sharing a house we could decorate together, and I had a new skip in my step as I hurried up our front walkway, smiling at the twinkle lights surrounding our door and the glimpses of the decorated tree poking through our living room curtains.

I checked the mailbox and sighed when it was empty. I’d spent many an hour retweeting and reposting a social media contest Cooper’s favorite author, Arthur Rolly, had been holding. Unknown to Cooper, I’d won an advanced signed copy of Arthur’s upcoming novel Breathless. After I’d blathered on to Mr. Rolly about how much Cooper loved his writing and how much I wanted to get the prized book in time for Christmas, he’d gone and sent it without a tracking number. Now all I could do was cross my fingers and hope it wouldn’t get delayed with the holiday influx of mail. And check our mailbox daily before Cooper got home.

I sighed again and slid my key into the lock. I didn’t have much time. Between my culinary class at the university and my shift at Baby Bistro, I had just long enough to shower, change, and catch the bus back to campus.

As I waited for the shower to come up to temperature, I clicked on my phone and checked Cooper’s Twitter account.

Cooper wasn’t much for social media, never had been. He thought all that sort of thing was fleeting and useless, and he had never listened when I suggested that, as a public person of interest, he should at least secure his usernames on all the various platforms. At the urging of his publisher, he finally listened. Of course, by the time he heeded our advice, @cooperbeck, @cooperbeckauthor, @cooperbeckmysteryauthor, as well as @cooperbeck1-through-189 were all taken.

We had settled on @cooperbeckwhodunit. It wasn’t ideal, but his publisher suggested if he worked hard, he’d find a following in no time.

That was the thing about my talented husband, though. After a lifetime of most things coming easily to him, he didn’t seem to know how to work hard.

Even though I was completing my last year of culinary school, plus cooking five nights a week at Baby Bistro, I did as any doting wife-who-knew-the-social-media-ropes-better-than-her-husband would. I’d gotten his Twitter account warmed up with some tantalizing tweets about his new novel, along with a dozen hashtags.

Besides, I figured if he learned too much about social media too quickly, he might find out about his Christmas gift.

He had five new notifications since I’d gotten in the door.

It was fun—and a little exciting—pretending to be Cooper and conversing with fans online. His Twitter following had quickly ballooned into five digits. On my social media accounts combined, I had a little over three hundred friends and followers, all of whom I knew personally. It took next to no thought to post a pic of a particularly tempting entrée at Baby Bistro or an update about the time and mood of my awakening that day. With my own accounts, there was never any pressure to post something amazing or even interesting. Cooper’s interactions often made my face warm as though I were the famous person whose very presence online brought a certain buzz and excitement. Each of his posts took more thought, but the need to puzzle out the most buzz-worthy types of posts left me energized.

Tidbits of crime scene research were popular, and because I had been helping as Cooper’s research assistant, that fell at least somewhat under my umbrella of knowledge. Photos of our cat, Hunch, were also popular, but those came a lot easier to Cooper—the favored owner of our bristly cat.

I made sure to like or respond to every reply that indicated excitement for an upcoming book release or enjoyment of one of Cooper’s already-released novels or short stories. These mindless interactions took up little of my time. Once in a while, there had been a question that required a little more thought.

I ignored the ones that asked, “Are you single?” But today, when I checked in on Cooper’s increasingly-busy Twitter account, I saw this message from @TimothyReads22: <Is this you too? I already follow you at @cooperbeckauthor>

It made me wonder if there really was another author named Cooper Beck.

When I finished my shower, I was still thinking about the commonality of Cooper’s name as I rushed through the living room, said goodbye to Hunch, who was sleeping on the couch and barely spared me one open eye, and headed out the front door. The question kept my attention as I rode the bus toward Baby Bistro. I skimmed all the book retailers and Goodreads and even LibraryThing, but all I could find was my Cooper Beck.

I looked out the bus window. It had snowed again this afternoon, so everything was pretty and white, but it was already getting dark at not even four o’clock. I loved Christmas, but I wasn’t a fan of the short daylight hours of winter.

I responded to the tweet to tell @TimothyReads22: <This is my official Twitter account. I’m glad you found me!>

I was already at my stop when my curiosity got the best of me, and I searched “@cooperbeckauthor” with one hand, grabbing my bag with the other, and raced off the bus. I hated being late, and I was already cutting it close, but I stopped in place on the sidewalk busy with holiday shoppers when the Twitter account in question loaded onto my phone.

The latest tweet said: <There’s a new chapter in my Christmas novel posted! Sign up now to read my new holiday mystery, exclusive to subscribers!> This was followed by the hashtags #readitnow, #cooperbeckfans, and a link that read “”.

A second later, a new response popped up from @TimothyReads 22: <Great! Interesting new serialized novel, BTW. It’s really different!>

I furrowed my brow toward my phone as a woman knocked into me with her shopping bag and then apologized. Caught up in Cooper’s Twitter response, I barely responded. Cooper was working on a novel—he always was—but while I had no idea if it was holiday-themed, his draft was months away from being ready for public eyes. He wouldn’t even let me read it at this stage. Besides that, there was no way he was out there in the Webiverse tweeting these sorts of things behind my back.

Was there?

But if not my Cooper Beck, who?

Buy Mystery of the Holiday Hustle now to read on.

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