She can’t remember their faces, but they remember hers.

Saved a dolphin. Lost her memory. Now they’re after her.

When rescuing a dolphin calf leaves marine park owner, Keiko, aka KK, with amnesia, she can’t escape the mysteries swirling beneath the surface any more than she can outrun the escalating violence targeting her, the orphaned mammal, and her family’s ocean sanctuary.

With her hazy memory, KK can’t ID the poachers, yet they seem to know her—and their continued threats fall on deaf ears as if the police don’t believe the dolphin killers actually exist due to her foggy recollections.

To make matters worse, animal control officers ruthlessly push for euthanizing the rescued dolphin calf; as they seem to have forgotten that poaching is the real crime here. 

Now only her memory holds the key to why saving a dolphin made her the next target.

Explore More Cozy Mystery books

Peyton Stone is a wonderfully respected writer of cozy mystery and murder and her cozy characters that she brings to life off the page.
This is so well written that you yourself will want to discover the truth behind these secrets and obvious lies.

Avid Reader
Kat T.

- Avid Reader -

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Antiques to die for

Lola returns to her island hometown where her twin brother, Jax awaits her return, to inherit an antique business - and the two begin the next chapter of their lives - living on a dream island. However, Lola finds herself at the center of a disturbing, yet poetic string of murders while crocheting a sweater in between body counts.

Hi, I'm Peyton Stone. It's great to see you!

I was writing short stories in 3rd grade...then life happened - I grew up. 

Once I realized I was grown up and could do whatever I wanted... I started writing again. Get cozy, the next mystery is on it's way to intrigue and entertain! 

Chapter 01

Sneak - Peek

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Chapter 01

"Sometimes I think I hear voices in my head. I've always believed it was God, but now I have doubts. I am not satisfied with my life as is, but rather the satisfaction of doing what is right is what drives me. The night is dark for those who remain silent in the face of injustice. This is the beginning of my work." The Killer.

***

"The withered flower,
deceiving of one’s own self,
justice blooms for them."

"This is a haiku, right, Jax?" Lola asked her twin brother as she took her eyes off the bold headline and the photo of the note in the local newspaper. It apparently had been left at the crime scene like a cryptic warning, or message. The story of the haiku leaving murderer took up several pages of the local newspaper.
"Yes, sister, it is. The killer doesn’t seem to be a dim-witted person, huh?" Jax replied, seemingly impressed with the killer’s skill.
They sat on the bed in their aunt’s old house above the antique shop in Jaramillo, the village where they had grown up. She decided to return after getting the call about her aunt’s death and her suitcases were sitting in the room, unpacked.
While Jax had inherited their parent’s beautiful home on the outskirts of the village, Lola was now the owner of the antique shop with a quaint and roomy loft on top. Her struggling career as a writer in the big city left her more than ready for a new start. It helped to inherit a more secure, (and profitable) business like that of her late aunt. She was almost a little too thankful for the news of her passing. The twins virtually had no relationship with their aunt, but they were her only living relatives and Lola was the only one left to inherit the last of their family’s estate on the island.
Jaramillo was the perfect place to unwind, start over, and enjoy life. It was a charming island village with very few inhabitants, yet, the tourists were like swarming bees once winter hit on the mainland. The always-perfect weather invites a person to let their sorrows melt away under the sun's rays - and, coincidentally, the perfect place to commit a murder.
Jax continued, "At the salon, the ladies talk nonstop about nothing else, you know?” Rolling his eyes, he grabbed some of Lola’s clothes out of the case, sniffing them. “The old ladies propose theories about who the murderer might be based on the haiku. They also keep chatting about some detective that will arrive in a few days. Apparently, the local cops are stumped," Jax mumbled after making a face and tossing the shirt back into the suitcase. “Since I started working at the salon three years ago,” Jax huffed, messing with other garments in the suitcase, “after another bust with my book, it’s like I’m the island’s therapist or something,” Jax groaned, collapsing on the bed next to the now half-empty suitcase.
"And who do the ladies at the hair salon suspect?" asked Lola, grinning ear to ear as she grabbed her most coveted crochet bag and placed it on the dresser. What should I start on next? She pondered…gazing at the bright orange yarn ball, its strands hanging over the side of the worn-out beige tote.
I want you to take me there, Lola. Nobody scratches under my ears like those ladies. I hope they don't bring any poodle dogs… added her cat Jade, manifesting as a voice in Lola’s head as she sauntered into the bedroom with the twins. Jax paid the pure white, silky, long-haired Siamese cat no mind. Lola, on the other hand, gave her a puzzled look as she made brief eye-contact with her. That cat says the darndest things…
Jax, unaware of Jade’s interruption, continued, "The dead guy is Daniel Smith. The cabby who brought you home the day before yesterday. Do you remember?"
Lola remembered and nodded somberly, slightly pausing with the shirt that Jax had sniffed before putting it into the drawer. Two days ago, Daniel had driven her to Jax’s house and they had had a brief, yet enlightened, conversation about unique crochet stitches. She vaguely remembered seeing a taxi driver's identification card on the back of the driver’s seat that had said, Daniel. It was eerie that he was now dead.
“Yeah, the ladies at the salon, especially Janet- she used to be mom’s piano teacher- she would not stop going on and on about Daniel getting with his best friend’s wife after they divorced last month,“ Jax continued, flopping his hands on the bed like a petulant child.
Lola stopped unpacking, faced her brother with curious, wide green eyes. "Sooo, who are they saying might be the killer, Jax?" Lola whispered.
"They think it might be poor heartbroken Richard," Jax replied, sitting up on his elbows to meet her gaze with his own set of matching green eyes. "If you didn’t notice, the haiku also speaks of betrayal. Of course,” he slumps back, “the police will suspect him first, I’m sure of it. Although, there's something that doesn't quite add up for me," he concluded cryptically.
"What doesn’t?" asked Lola, intrigued by her brother's words, returning to unpacking her swimsuits.
"Richard was interested in writing. I know because we met at the writing club on Tuesdays. I know, I know,” Jax sighed after Lola jerked her head around to glare at him, a piece of unruly auburn-streaked hair catching in her eyelash at her sudden motion.
“He was terrible, Lola. I can't imagine him writing a complex haiku. Richard was more into writing action stories or fantasies with dragons and stuff like that," Jax replied, shaking his head in disbelief folding his arms over his forehead.
Dragons? The fire-breathing long dogs you've shown me in your books? Interrupted Jade.
Lola smiled and shook her head at the feline's amusing inquiry. Jax quirked an eyebrow, peeking at her from under his arm, then over at the white cat now eyeballing the orange strands of yarn from the top of the mahogany dresser. Though Jax didn't hear what was so funny, he imagined that Jade had made one of her strange comments to Lola.
“Well, I guess you would know, Jax, you’ve been here longer than me,” Lola replied as she tucked the flyaway strand behind her ear and finished unpacking the last of her things, tossing her flip flops at the foot of the bed. “Oh, did I tell you that I’m making you a sweater? I'm crocheting it, which isn't easy so I expect praises when I’m done," Lola grinned haughtily and flashed her emerald eyes, through a wink.
"Yes yes, I will sing of your praises, dear sister. I guess I could really use a sweater this fall anyway,” Jax grunted as he sat fully erect, stretching his arms overhead. “It actually gets chilly at night here on the island," Jax confirmed, smiling kindly as he stood to hug his sister.
Jade finally gave in and swatted at the teasing orange strand, easily snagging the fibers in a single swift motion. Her black-tipped tail darted back and forth in triumph. I like poems.


***


The next morning, though the murder still plagued her mind, Lola decided to focus on her new life and got ready to tackle her new business venture.
Why a haiku? She thought before shaking her head.
Getting dressed in a lovely but casual green-blue, wispy island skirt and a simple yet sophisticated gray-blue tank, Lola takes a second glance in the Cheval mirror. Crap… I think I look like a tourist, she thought. Oh well, here goes nothing. Unlocking the door leading down to the antique shop, she descended the 1860’s original spiral staircase, thinking. Today is the day…the shop is officially open under new ownership. Taking a deep breath, she pulled open the door at the bottom of the staircase, ready to meet the employees Aunt Elena had briefly mentioned in the will. One condition of her inheritance was that they were not to be fired.
The morning sun shone through the back door’s stained glass Calla Lily, as Lola closed the door to her loft behind her. At that moment, Lola felt a rush of optimism, remembering the sun on her face as a young girl, walking down the narrow hallway to the main shop. She had always liked antiques. They had a charm and mystery that sparked her imagination; objects with an untold past but bound to one's future. They were fascinating, telling their own stories when she needed inspiration for her writing, which Lola still dabbled in when her hands weren’t occupied by crochet hooks.
Okay, Girl, let’s do this. She took a deep breath, opened the door with a smile and walked into the store. The antique shop was larger than she remembered. Five small rooms filled with furniture, paintings, books, jewelry, clocks, lamps, and other curiosities. The main foyer held a fine crystal glass case that was etched and lined with hammered gold and silver. The large 1820 register looked ornate and still worked.
Lola felt like she had entered a hidden treasure cove. She remembered tracing the curves of the precious metal framing the edges of the glass, going around and around as her parents did business in the back. The treasure was the memories flooding her senses and the riches contained therein were hers to protect.
"Hello?" she shouted.
"Who is it?" an impatient-sounding voice responded from one of the side offices, tucked back behind the main room.
Lola followed the voice and found a young man sitting at a desk, working on a computer. He had dark sandy, cropped hair and square glasses that were definitely too big for his face, but his nose held it up like a champ. He was wearing a faded black t-shirt with the logo of some music group. He turned toward Lola and exhaled heavily, seemingly annoyed at Lola’s presence. He made a point of looking at the time on the Lenzkirch Meerjungfrau German Wall Clock, not seeming to notice that someone was in the shop with the front door still locked.
"Hello," Lola said cheerfully. "I'm Lola. I'm…I’m Elena’s niece and the new owner of the shop,” Lola stammered, fidgeting slightly with her hands. As she continued to meet his unwavering gaze, she repeated, ”I'm the niece of Elena."
The young man frowned, "Yes, I heard you, but…that can't be."
Shifting her weight onto one leg, dropping her hands at her side, "Well, hi to you too, but, yes, it can," Lola retorted, taken aback by the young man’s direct and unpleasant tone. "I inherited this shop from my aunt Elena, I finalized the paperwork week’s ago with the lawyers. That makes this my shop,” Lola confirmed, shifting her weight back to the other leg, standing firm.
"Your aunt?" He questioned, placing an elbow on the desk and leaning forward towards her.
"Yes, that’s what I’ve been saying. My aunt, Elena. Is there an echo in here?” She replied, slightly exasperated that he seemed to have zero clue about her and what had happened since Elena passed.
The young man shook his head. "That can't be true." He repeated.
"And why not, pray tell?" Lola put her hands on her hips, now curious, but also slightly annoyed. This man was clearly out of the loop, but did he have to be so rude this early in the morning?
"Because I work here and no one told me that my boss would be…” motioning with his hand up and down, “someone like you…much less the niece of Ms. Elena," the man grumbled as he stood with a deep sigh.
Lola blinked her darkening, yet questioning emerald eyes, "Really?”
"Yes," he said impatiently with a dismissive wave of his hand. "Whatever the case, I'm Brandon Smith. I've been working here for two years as Ms. Elena’s online seller."
Lola remembered that her aunt had mentioned something about hiring someone to help her with online sales.
"Ah," she said. "Well... nice to meet you." Lola tried to add some enthusiasm and softness back to her voice - extending her hand as she stepped forward toward Brandon.
Brandon didn't seem to share her enthusiasm as he spoke again, ignoring her friendly tone and hand. "And... what are you going to do now?" he asked suspiciously, adjusting his glasses and crossing his arms. Though his voice was solid, his frame was lanky and thin - he really didn’t look all that formidable.
Lola shrugged. "I don't know... run this place?"
Brandon snorted. "Yeah, right," he said, dropping his arms and adjusting his large glasses again. Apparently, his nose had given up on keeping them in place.
Lola could clearly see that Brandon was not happy with her arrival. She stepped back and wondered if he had some kind of agreement with her aunt that she was unaware of. She decided to try to be polite anyway…after all, he couldn’t be fired...unfortunately.
"What do you mean by that?" She asked, crossing her arms and shifting her feet once again, standing her own ground at nearly 6 inches shorter than his 6’1.
Brandon rolled his eyes, "I mean you don't seem like someone who knows anything about antiques," he said matter-of-factly. He sat back down as if he already had the upper hand and didn’t have to prove himself to her.
Lola bristled and snapped, "That's not true," she bit her tongue and reigned in her annoyance. "I've always liked antiques. I think they have a lot of history and beauty," Lola gestured toward the lovely German clock.
Brandon scoffed, "History and beauty? That's not what sells, lady. What sells is rarity and quality. And you have to know how to find them, appraise them, and market them to those who are avid collectors. Do you have experience in that?" Brandon questioned, taking off his glasses completely, looking up at her with piercing brown eyes from under sandy brown eyebrows.
Lola hesitated, taking another step back, feeling slightly embarrassed. "Well... no. But I'm willing to learn," she finally replied.
"Who is here Brandon? A customer?" A chipper voice called out behind her.
A slightly older man, with a tired yet friendly face and a name tag that read ‘Charles’ approached them.
He stood in the door frame and exclaimed, "Ahh! You must be Lola! Jax said you would be coming by!” Charles announced happily.
"She is..." Brandon started.
"Happy to be here!” Lola quickly interjected, “My aunt left me this business when she passed," Lola completed with a broad smile as she quickly turned around to greet Charles. Her skirt spun around like a school-girl’s skirt.
"We are happy you are here, aren’t we, Brandon?” asked Charles, who seemed genuinely happy to see her, glancing over at Brandon - hoping he would catch on and share in the enthusiasm.
He didn’t oblige. His glare, the swinging glasses in his hand, and his tone towards Lola wasn’t moved one bit by Charle’s intervention.
As the uncomfortable silence continued, Charles stammered, "I..I see you've met Brandon, Ms. Lola. He's as friendly as a porcupine and as respectful as a burp, but I assure you he's a good guy, “ Charles chuckled nervously, trying to lighten the mood.
Lola giggled at the comment. Brandon frowned in disapproval and slid his glasses back on. "Don't trust Charles. He's a slacker who only knows how to joke. He has no idea about antiques either," he grumbled, turning his attention back to the computer.
Charles shrugged. "It's true, I have no idea. But I like being here, surrounded by dusty old things. They remind me of my grandmother." His broad smile lightened Lola’s mood almost instantly.
She smiled back. "And what’s your position here?"
"Well...anything, really. I helped your aunt move boxes, clean the back rooms, and attend to customers, especially when we’re packed with tourists," Charles explained, walking back out of the doorway and into the hallway to allow Lola to pass.
"Customers? What customers? This business is dead!" Brandon growled after them.
Lola sighed, what a pessimist Brandon is. Why can’t I fire him again? she mused. Ignoring him, she whispered to Charles, who stood just a head taller than her, "I'm sure we can revive it. We just need a little creativity and enthusiasm."
She made her way to the front counter with Charles to get more familiar with the business and far away from Brandon. Turning back to her new employee she asked, "So, where do we start?"
"An old typewriter came in yesterday and we have no idea how much to appraise it for.... The guy who sold it to me wanted to get rid of it, pronto." Charles replied with a reluctant sigh and shake of his head, pointing to the beautiful piece on the back counter.
She took a deep breath in and slowly released the air between her teeth. Between learning about the business, Brandon’s grumpiness, and this beautiful typewriter, Lola wasn’t sure where to begin…she hadn’t even had coffee yet.
Turning towards Charles, "That's where I need your help,” Lola stated, “I need your guidance, your experience, your advice…and maybe Brandon’s too because we clearly both don’t know what we’re doing.”
Charles smiled cheekily, "As sure as I can write poems and serenade a young maiden… I am at your service," Charles took a deep bow as chills ran up Lola’s spine.

 
***


A few days later, business seemed to be picking up. Despite the uneasy, chilling feeling Lola felt before, she’s kept her cool around Charles. There’s no way he meant anything by that or that he could possibly be the murderer…after all, that was just absurd, wasn’t it?
The three of them had cleaned up, sorted out what was to be displayed in the ornate glass case, the separate rooms, and how to keep up with online marketing and sales. Once they came to an understanding of the shop’s operations, which Brandon begrudgingly agreed to, they were ready for the tourist season to begin.
Lola was polishing and cleaning the old typewriter in another back office when she heard the front door of the shop slam violently as an agitated voice cut through the air.
"Brandon,” growled a man, “come here! We need to talk." It was an older man's voice, deep and chilling; it came into the store like a gust of wind, wounding the spring day.
Lola got up from her desk and cautiously made her way to the front. As she opened the partially closed door to the main room, she saw Brandon coming out of the back room with a scowl on his face. He clearly knew who this man was by the way he didn’t hesitate to confront him. She vaguely recognized him too, once she got past the deepened wrinkles, sagging jowls, and thinning peppered hair…he was Randall, the owner of the downtown bar where she used to have a drink with her friends before moving to the mainland 10 years ago.
"What do you want?" asked Brandon bluntly, meeting him just at the threshold of the shop.
"I need some money. I'm going through a tough time and I need a thousand dollars," said Randall with an imperious tone, slightly shaking.
"Money? Seriously?” Scoffed Brandon. “You come here and demand money…you’ve got some nerve,” sneered Brandon, starting to turn away from him.
"Be a good son. You owe me," growled Randall, reaching toward Brandon.
"Don't you dare call me son!” Brandon snapped back. “You're not my father,” he spat, eyeing him up and down, “You… pfft, you’re not. You're just a sperm donor," quipped Brandon, stepping away from a now red-faced Randall.
What the rat’s nest?? Jade peeked her head between Lola and the door after hearing all of the commotions, her curious eyes gleaming a vivid green and narrowing vertically.
Lola stepped back uneasily, unsure of what to do. She debated calling for Jax; this could get out of control real fast by the look on Randall’s face. Jax said he was coming by, but he didn’t say when, and Charles had the day off.
“You little bastard!” Randall spittled angrily, stepping closer to Brandon.
Lola, move!!
Lola grabbed her head in pain and fell through the door. Almost instantly, Jax caught her from behind as Jade let out a piercing yowl and dashed between Lola’s legs. Once Jax broke her fall and sat her on the floor, he immediately rushed over to the two men and grabbed a hold of Brandon.
Damn he’s fast, how did I not see him coming? Jade huddled against the wall of the room, hair standing on end and her breathing rapid.
"STOP! Get out of here!” Jax shouted at Randall. It was clear he had underestimated how strong Brandon was despite being so tall and lanky; Jax could barely hold him back.
Lola was paralyzed at the sight in front of her. Her head felt as if it was going to split. She looked over at Jade who didn’t return her gaze but was clearly agitated. Lola groaned, shocked by the immediate pain and the commotion in front of her.
Brandon stood at the ready, breathing heavily and clenching his fists, allowing Jax to hold him as he watched his father’s eyes dart back and forth between him, Lola, and Jax.
“You don’t make enough money anyway working in this dump,” Randall spat, turned around and charged through the front door, nearly knocking it off its hinges.
Lola, get up. It’s death. It’s him.
Lola pushed a strand of hair behind her ear, looked at Jade who was casually licking her paw and washing her face, and then looked back at her brother and Brandon. Her pain was gone. She pushed herself off the floor, walked to the two men, and cautiously put a hand on her brother’s shoulder.
"Jax, Brandon...are you okay?" she asked softly.
Death. Like a dead mouse.
Brandon turned to Lola and his eyes filled with a mixture of anger and pain. "No, I'm not okay. How could I be? That man has ruined my life," he said bitterly, shaking off Jax’s grip.
"I'm so sorry, Brandon, about your father," Lola said sympathetically.
"He's not my father. He's a monster," Brandon sneered, with disdain.
"Do you want to talk about it? Maybe it will help you to vent," Lola offered.
Death. Jade had moved next to the front counter and glass display. Calm. Cool. Her pure white tail with a black tip, swishing back and forth, holding Lola’s gaze. I could use a squirrel right now.
Lola’s stomach growled. Loudly.
"There's nothing to talk about,” Brandon scoffed, looking at her stomach, “I just want to forget him and move on with my life," he snapped. Shaking his head, he headed back to his office, muttering, “Get something to eat already, geez, I couldn’t talk to you anyway with all of that noise.”
Lola’s cheeks flushed. Goodness Jade!
Jade, who innocently jumped up on the counter, looked at them curiously and meowed.
"Hey, Jade," Jax greeted her, scratching her ears.
Jade jumped off the counter and trotted off after Brandon, catching up to his ankles for a good rub before disappearing with him down the hall.
I’ll follow death like a mouse after cheese. I want to tell you that man is a bad guy. Stay away from him, Jade warned.
Why do you say that? Do you know something about him? Lola asked, startled.
Bad intentions. Hunger. Death. I smell it on his breath, Jade hissed with disgust.
"Poor Brandon,” Jax muttered once he was out of earshot. “His father was trying to reconnect from what I heard. Apparently, it’s not going well.”
All Lola could think about was Jade’s last hissing words: Hunger. Death. I smell it on his breath.

Continue reading Antiques to die for. click below to get your free book.

An unexpected departure from your usual cozy mystery! It was hard to put this book down as the story draws you in to see how they figure out the murders. It is refreshing to have an unpredictable ending (usually I have the villain figured out).
I found myself at the end going through the story and realizing there were subtle clues in the book that led you to the murderer. Very enjoyable and well written.

Lori H.

It's a fun quick read that fits a lot into its pages. Jade is definitely a great highlight. In fact, I would have been happy with just Jade the cat, but naturally, the mystery is well written with some interesting characters. It has a great twist at the end which I had no idea was coming. 5 stars!

Trinity W.

This was a quick read but fun and very intriguing. I loved Jade, the cat, and did not see that twist at the end coming. I can't wait to see where the series with Lola will go!

Chloe  L.

Peyton Stone Antiques to Die For. This is the first book by Peyton Stone that I have read. It is very well written with a surprise ending that I did not see coming.

The book follows Lola and her talking cat, only Lola can hear. Lola inherits her aunts antique shop so moves back home to take over shop and be near her twin bother. Once there murders start happening.

Highly recommend.

renee s.

This was a quick read but fun and very intriguing. Antiques to Die For has some sweet romance, distrust, an animal companion, and of course, a murder or three. I can't wait to see where the series with Lola will go!

Ann Marie

I just finished reading " Antiques To Die For " and I was shocked that it was XXXXX. It was so well written. The poems, the victims. It's seldom I don't have the mystery figured out half way through reading it but you hid her insanity so well the talking cat Jade I thought it ment it was a paranormal mystery not a psychological.
I'm definitely picking up the next in the series!

kat t.

Chapter 01

“Hey, Avery?”
Avery turned from the canvas. A splotch of red paint dropped from the brush and onto the already paint-splattered floor.
A pretty girl with sleek black hair and a sweet face was poking her head through the door.
“What’s up?”
“Could you come check this guy in?” Meihui asked.
Avery raised an eyebrow. “Isn’t that your job?”
“I know, but…” Meihui looked back over her shoulder, then turned to Avery again, lowering her voice. “There’s something weird about him. He creeps me out.”


Chapter 01

“Hey, Avery?”
Avery turned from the canvas. A splotch of red paint dropped from the brush and onto the already paint-splattered floor.
A pretty girl with sleek black hair and a sweet face was poking her head through the door.
“What’s up?”
“Could you come check this guy in?” Meihui asked.
Avery raised an eyebrow. “Isn’t that your job?”
“I know, but…” Meihui looked back over her shoulder, then turned to Avery again, lowering her voice. “There’s something weird about him. He creeps me out.”

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