Title: Tea or Consequences
Author: KC Burn
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 22, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance, Murder / Mystery
Page Count: 210
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 2.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Riley Parker: temp, twink, geek… sleuth?
Maybe Riley isn’t living up to his full potential, but being a temp executive assistant suits him. He’s never bored at work, he’s got friends who let him geek out, and he’s got a carefully crafted twink exterior… which might be getting constrictive now that he’s on the other side of thirty. Life isn’t perfect, but it’s comfortable.
It all unravels when he takes a job working for a tea-obsessed cosmetics queen, the owner of Gautier Cosmetics. During the launch party for a new product, Riley finds his boss dead under suspicious circumstances, and the homicide detective is none other than Tadeo Martin, Riley’s high school obsession who never knew he was alive.
Tad drafts Riley to get the scoop on the inner workings of Gautier, and for Riley, it’s like a drug. His natural inquisitiveness is rewarded with more and more Tad. Unfortunately, his snooping puts him in the running for two other roles: suspect and victim. The killer doesn’t care which.
Set in Toronto, Tea or Consequences gives readers a murder / mystery with plenty of suspects and enough twists and turns to keep you wondering until the final reveal. At a new product launch party, company founder Gabrielle Gautier (“a sophisticated, glamorous woman in her midfifties who’d built a thriving company while raising two children as a divorced single mother”) is found dead. Is it food poisoning? An allergic reaction? Or is it murder? Are Gabrielle’s obnoxious entitled children Francois and/or Floriana involved? What about the new VP Cody? Or do the police suspect Gabrielle’s temporary executive assistance Riley?
The premise of the murder/mystery is good, but there are some inconsistencies that bothered me, although if you don’t spent an inordinate amount of time watching crime procedural shows like me, they probably won’t bother you. However, I tired of Riley’s amateur sleuthing at times, i.e. he is confused about the availability of penicillin and wonders: “Who would even have penicillin? I mean, it’s not the sort of thing that’s popular with drug dealers, is it?” Aarrgghh. Again, your results may vary …
In addition, Tea or Consequences didn’t work for me in the romance aspect. IMHO, Tad and Riley don’t have a lot of sexual sizzle and because we don’t get a lot of character development for either man, it’s difficult to become invested in their romance. Also, Riley over-analyzes everything:
He liked the Bier Markt, but it wasn’t nearly as close to Riley’s condo as Alberto’s. Did that mean something? If so, what? He hadn’t heard from Tad since they’d kissed on Monday. Did it mean something that he’d waited until Thursday to contact him? If Tad wanted to date while having no-strings sex, wouldn’t Friday be a more appropriate date night?
Finally, I felt there were so many tangents and subplots that didn’t really go anywhere, i.e. Riley’s friend Shaun, family troubles with brother and his wife Meredith, Aaron Brown (Gabrielle’s former assistant), Riley’s gamer group, etc. that the romance got buried. Tea or Consequences was a miss for me. 3 stars.