Round Robin Blog Fest Featuring "The Bakery Lady"


Merry Christmas, everyone!

This month's Round Robin Blog Fest features an excerpt from one of our stories. Since we're knee-deep in holiday spirit, I chose a section from "The Bakery Lady" to share. Enjoy!

The Bakery Lady
(Wild Blue Mysteries, Book 3)
From the moment Leo Blue meets the local tattoo artist's sister Christina, he's drawn into a web of bread dough and lies. Christina Davidson has returned to Packham with a duffle bag full of secrets. Leo soon discovers her biggest secret is Christina's alter ego and her husband, who stands accused of murdering an up-and-coming artist. He promises to help set things straight and plans to bring husband and wife together for Christmas—even if it costs him his sanity and the love of his life.

"I could visualize that bookstore, smell the coffee and pastries, and see the colorful characters. This book has lots of twists and turns, and I never knew who to trust, all the way to the end. I'll look for future books by this author." ~ Paul Carr




Mimsy’s soirees were the highlight of the Christmas party season. The Lexington mansion would be decorated from eaves to basement with white lights. Trees glowed and tinkle with metal icicles made by a local artist. Christina and her family were invited every year, but they’d only ever been to one. Her mom brought her and Clancy one year since Mel couldn’t stand all the frivolity. They’d missed out on a lot of events. The bakery was the one place he’d left them all alone. He hated the mess and the people coming in to visit. Was that why her mother had worked so much?
Christina closed her eyes and sighed. Reality stunk. She should go back to Newville while she had the chance before she got stuck in her mom’s shoes for good. Then she reconsidered. There wasn’t much left there anymore either.
When she returned to the store front, Clancy and Mimsy were deep in conversation. Mimsy had removed her furry hat to reveal a glittering tiara on the top of her head. What kind of person walked around town wearing a sparkling tiara and used a walker decorated with blinking, battery-powered Christmas lights? While Mimsy Lexington was old and batty back when Christina knew her, she appeared to have become crazier in the past few years.
“Is there anything else for you today, Mrs. Lexington?” Christina rang in the purchase.
“Darling, please call me Mimsy.” She allowed Clancy to help her to her feet. “Everyone else in town does.”
“Mimsy.” Her mouth twitched into a small smile. “Sorry.”
“The people at my writing meeting this evening will love these.” Mimsy’s smile faded. “Oh, darling, you made me two boxes? I only wanted one dozen.”
“Sugar cookies.” Christina bowed her head. “For old time’s sake.”
“Oh, you are a gem!” Mimsy clapped her hands together. “I’ll be sure to tell everyone where they came from and you’ll be busy from now until Christmas.”
Once Mimsy was gone, Clancy leaned on the display case and gawked. “Well, that was uncharacteristically nice of you. What gives?”
She shrugged. “Like you said, it’s Christmas. Good will towards man and all that crap.”
“I should tattoo that on your forehead, including the crap part.”
Christina placed her fists on her hips. “Don’t you have any customers?”
“Yes, I do. One of your favorite guys.” He grinned. “Leo Blue.”
Christina’s heart leaped and her step faltered. She hoped Clancy hadn’t noticed. “Since when is Leo my favorite guy?”
“Since he got your name tattooed on his bicep.” He winked.
She narrowed her eyes. “He did not. He hardly even knows me. Besides, Leo doesn’t seem like the kind of guy to tattoo anyone’s name on his bicep. A snake or a hula girl maybe, but not anyone’s name.”
“You can ask him yourself. We’ll come by later so he can show it off.”
He had to be joking. Leo didn’t come across as the kind of guy who’d hand his heart to anyone except maybe science. And even that would be a fight.
Her cell phone rang as she locked the front door. She didn’t remember turning it on and hesitated, not wanting to answer. Maybe it was really Gage who’d decided to take her back and would explain why some woman had called using his phone. Curiosity consumed her and she pulled her phone from her pocket. “Gage?”
“Wait, don’t hang up,” the same woman who’d called earlier said. “I’m Detective Beverly Wallis with the Newville Police. I found your name in his phone listed as Rosie and I need to ask you some questions. Were you a friend of D.J. Gage?”
“I modeled for him.” Her entire body lurched. Something was definitely wrong. “What do you mean ‘were’? What’s happened to him? Was he in an accident or something?”
Detective Wallis’s voice softened. “Perhaps you can come to the station and we can talk.”
“I can’t.” Her shoulder’s sagged. Come in to talk to a police detective about Gage? What was going on? “I’m not in Newville. I’m in Packham.”
“May I ask what you’re doing there?” Detective Wallis asked.
Christina didn’t want to answer, but what could it hurt? She blinked back tears. “I’m looking after my family’s bakery. My mom had cancer. She died in September.”
Detective Wallis extended her condolences. “How long have you been out of town?”
“Since a couple days before the funeral.” Her stomach clenched. The stress would send her running for the toilet soon. “Why are you calling me? What’s happened to Gage?”
“Have you talked to Mr. Gage since you left Newville?” Detective Wallis ignored Christina’s questions.
“No. Like I said, I’ve been busy with family matters.” She leaned against the cooler door. “What’s this all about? Is Gage okay?”
“Were you close to him?”
“At one time.” Her voice crackled.
“Do you happen to know a woman named Rose Ryan?”
Christina wiped the flour off her shaking hands. Her heart hammered and knocked the air from her lungs. She’d hoped not to hear the name Rose Ryan ever again. “Why are you asking me about Gage and Rose? What’s going on?”
Detective Wallis let out a sigh. “D.J. Gage was shot and killed two days ago. Apparently, a jealous husband caught up to him. The shooter’s wife is still missing. I’d hoped that since you were obviously close, personal friends with Mr. Gage, maybe you’d know Mrs. Ryan as well.”
The room seemed to spin and she sagged to the floor as her worst nightmare came to life. All the horrible things she’d done and was confident her family would never find out would now be exposed. All the things she’d tried to block from her memory would become real. The truth would tear apart what little family she had left.
“Are you still there?” Detective Wallis spoke softly, like Christina was a young child she’d startle if she raised her voice. “Gage is dead and you’re the one of the few people I haven’t been able to speak to.”
“How did he die?”
“He was shot. We have a suspect in custody, but have to wait for autopsy and lab results.” Detective Wallis didn’t give her much information, which didn’t help make Gage’s death any more real. She paused. “I know who you really are. I think you and I need to talk.”
Christina took a deep breath and leaned against the cooler door. Her stomach sank and tears welled in her eyes. “Yeah, we do. I’m Rose Ryan.”

Merry Christmas to all!
Please stop by and spread some cheer to my fellow authors!

Victoria Chatham 
Marci Baun 
Dr. Bob Rich 
Anne Stenhouse 
A.J. Maguire 
Fiona McGier 
Beverley Bateman 
Rhobin L Courtright 



Comments

  1. The Bakery Lady was the first of your books that I read. This excerpt makes me want to read it again.

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  2. A super mystery. Definitely got me hooked. I'll have to go look for the whole book now.

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  3. Different identities and a murder, plus all that baking. Interesting and attention grabbing post.

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  4. I agree with, Rhobin, this is an interesting premise. My sister-in-law is an avid mystery reader. I will have to share your name. :)

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  5. The last line was a surprise. Opens it all up...

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  6. Hmn! Nothing is as it seems - isn't that a good start to a mystery. Loved it, Diane. anne

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