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From Cereal Killer
Vicente and I glanced at each other, grim expressions on
But Luz waved her hand. “I’m sorry,” she said, regret in her eyes. “I
shouldn’t have led with that. We’ll discuss it in a few minutes.”
Gloria emerged from the kitchen carrying a tray, and Luz clamped
her mouth shut.
“Water and wine,” declared Gloria, setting the tray on the coffee
table. Luz visibly flinched, but no one else seemed to notice. A
moment later, Gloria disappeared back toward the kitchen.
“So,” Luz said, “I understand you’ve done great work as a PI. Tell
me about an interesting case you’ve solved.”
“Well . . .” I reached for a water glass. “The most recent one was a
murder on Alcatraz Island.”
Her jaw dropped. “At the old prison? What happened?”
“Well, it all started when my brother came to San Francisco on
business . . .”
A sizzling sound came from the kitchen, and a delicious smell
wafted toward us. I sat up straighter, realizing all at once how hungry
We made small talk about my PI work and Luz’s winery for a few
minutes, and despite the stress in her eyes, she was an easy conversa‐
tionalist and a lot of fun to talk to.
How could someone as maddening as Vicente have such charming
And then Gloria swept into the room carrying two plates, each
holding a decadent-looking pastry. “Tortillas!” she cried, handing one
plate to me and one to Vicente.
“Thank you!” I breathed.
I bit into the tortilla, then froze, surprised by the savory taste. I’d
been wrong. This was definitely not a pastry. “Is this . . . potato?” I
Luz and Vicente laughed aloud, and Gloria slapped her forehead
with an open palm.
“Yes, dear,” Gloria said. “I should have explained. Spanish tortilla is
not like a Mexican tortilla. More like . . . how do you say it . . . an
omelet. Egg, potato, very filling. Good for your baby.”
“It’s delicious!” I replied, shoveling another forkful into my
Gloria patted my shoulder, a knowing smile on her face. “I can
make you another! I was always so hungry when I was pregnant with
Luz interjected, “Abuela, I’m going to steal them off to the wine
cave to show them some things, but maybe you can make Kate
another tortilla later.”
“I would be delighted,” I said with a grin as I swallowed the last
bite of tortilla. “You’re a wonderful cook.”
Gloria’s eyes sparkled. “Vicente, don’t stay away too long. I’m so
happy to see you back home.”
“I’ll be back very soon,” he reassured her.
As we slipped out of the room, I took another sip of my water
glass. “She’s so delightful!” I exclaimed.
“She is,” replied Luz warmly. She led us past the paintings of the
Spanish countryside and to a back door. “Our parents are still in
Spain. Vicente’s parents never left, but my mom lived here in Golden
for most of her life. She and my father moved back to Spain about five
“Your mom grew up here?” I gestured at the pine trees. “At the
She led us down a path that curved around the hill. “Yes. Abuela
came to the United States with our abuelo in 1974. They started this
vineyard. I came to live with them years ago to learn the trade, and
I’ve taken care of her since abuelo passed. I don’t want to worry her.”
She paused to open a door at the bottom of the stairs. “Or disappoint
Double wooden doors were set into a rock wall in the hillside.
Above it, on top of the hill, was what appeared to be a patio.
“No need to worry about disappointing her, prima,” Vicente said
softly. “She loves you more than anything else in the world.”
“That only makes it worse,” groaned Luz, unlocking the wooden
doors. “Anyway, this is the wine cave.”
We walked inside.
The wine cave was somehow both cozy and breathtaking—illumi‐
nated by soft track lighting and draped string lights, with tables
propped up by old wine barrels. I leaned against one of the tabletops,
Vicente at my side and Luz across from us.
“I love this place!” I said.
Luz smiled. “Thank you. We host our weekly wine-tasting events
in here. It’s beautiful, isn’t it? I always come in here when I need time
“I totally understand.” I said. After a moment, I drummed my nails
against the tabletop and said, “So, Vicente explained what happened
with the power outages and the lost grapes, and that you’ve gotten
some odd notes. And then there was a cyberattack, or something?”
Luz nodded grimly. “A break-in, too. Before the cyberattack.”
“And something else happened today?” Vicente asked.
She nodded, opening a drawer and pulling out a few pieces of
paper. “Another note,” she said. “These are the first two, from a few
Vicente and I each reached out to take one, studying the details.
The first one I looked at had been typed and printed on basic white
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”I couldn’t stop reading!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Fast-paced and fun. I love these mysteires!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Diana Orgain is my new favorite author!”
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