A waitress helps a friend charged with assaulting her worthless ex-husband.
Rose Strickland (Diners, Dives & Dead Ends, 2012) is having a hard time getting into the holiday spirit this year. As always, her mother is full of advice about the careers she could pursue if she just had the ambition to do more than sling hash at Ma’s Diner. Meanwhile, Ma’s stepped up the pace by going head-to-head with Rudy’s Roundup. Since Rudy’s been muscling in on Ma’s early morning business, Ma abandons her breakfast-only policy, producing a dizzying array of lunch specials that run Rose and her best friend, Roxy Block, off their feet without generating an extra dime in tips. Then, Janelle Johnson, Rose’s study buddy from Huntingford City College, calls to say that someone beat up her ex-husband right after Janelle came by to hit him up for child support and throw a little furniture around too. Now, Sheik "Asshat" Johnson is in a coma, and Janelle’s in the slammer. Rose looks for other suspects, starting with Crystal Waters, the stripper whose appearance in Janelle’s bed sent her marriage to the showers. She unearths many prospects, including Crystal’s other boyfriend, Sheik’s other lovers and the other lovers’ boyfriends. The clue that sends Rose careening, though, is a pile of pictures stashed at Sheik’s apartment of Thomas Sullivan, the bad boy who makes Rose’s pulse beat faster. Rose is convinced that Sheik’s criminal connections, not his ex’s wrath, put him out for the count. But convincing hard-assed Officer Andre Thomas and cute Officer Mike Goedecker may be even harder than convincing Ma to go back to bacon and eggs.
Austin’s second course has the menu of feisty underemployed gal detective with a side order of romance down pat.