Easy Bake Coven: Book One of the Vivienne Finch Magical Mysteries

BOOK: Easy Bake Coven: Book One of the Vivienne Finch Magical Mysteries
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Easy Bake Coven:

 

Book One of the
Vivienne Finch Magical Mysteries

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

J.D. Shaw

 

Copyright
2013 by J.D. Shaw

All rights
reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means
without the prior written consent of the author, excepting brief quotes used in
reviews.

 
 
 

Cover
illustrations by Allison Marie for
Alli’s
Studio.
Copyright © 2013 All Rights Reserved. No part of these designs may be
reproduced without written consent from the artist.

 

[email protected]

DEDICATION:

For Mom,

 

Who always
read to her children each night and imparted her love for books.

 
 

For George,

 

My soul
mate, best friend, and editor extraordinaire without whom this book would not
exist
.

 

Special
thanks to my mentor, Jeanne
Cavelos
, for believing in
my work and her dedication to the craft for making writers the best they can be
everywhere.

Prologue

Mona
had always been a woman who liked to be in control, even though the results
rarely worked in her favor. As a little girl, she refused help from her older
sisters as she worked the little plastic oven that cooked with a single light
bulb. They would say she put in too much water, or that the frosting was too
thin, but she insisted they let her do it by herself. Sure enough, the little
baked treat ended up about as appetizing as frosted cardboard. She had done it
without help and that was all that really mattered she told herself.

As
a teen, she defied the caste system of the local high school by becoming a
cheerleader even though her family lived on the wrong side of town. Although
she executed the routines with flawless determination, she never could unseat
Missy Collins and her perfect blond hair from the lead position. While no one
could argue she was indeed a cheerleader, her invitations to the after-game
parties always seemed to get lost in the mail.

When
she graduated from community college with a degree in business administration,
she envisioned herself leading a small company to global success. But the
reality turned out to be five years in a corner office in New York City with no
window and endless paperwork. While her ideas to take the company in a new
direction sailed on golden wings, her own were clipped as the company refocused
its brand appeal and started fresh, minus her position.

Like
some fairy tale princess suffering from a dire curse, she was ultimately
rescued by a handsome young man named Richard Clarke. Through his job at city
hall, the doors began to open that had for so long been locked to her. She
attended the best parties, met the best people, and eventually had the best
wedding that even Missy Collins would have envied. Tired of the metropolitan
life, Richard convinced Mona to leave for a quiet town upstate where they could
put down roots. Within two months, they had departed the concrete jungle for
the quiet shores of the Finger Lakes.

Settling
in Cayuga Cove, Richard landed a decent job in local government and quickly
rose up the ranks to eventually be elected mayor. Mona, charged with serving as
the first lady, went about setting up committees to address problems in the
town and implemented ideas on how to fix them. Her first few forays into civic
activities proved fruitful and at long last she had a taste of the success that
always seemed to elude her.

Today
was going to be one of the grand moments that she enjoyed so much. She was
leading the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new
Sweet Dreams Bakery
opening on Main Street not only as the mayor’s
wife, but as the chairwoman of the newly resurrected town historic commission.
Through her efforts, the town was going to be transformed into a destination
like no other along the lucrative Cayuga Wine Trail.

 
She had taken the largely ceremonial role
handed to her and crafted it into something others would look upon with awe and
wonder.

Perhaps
one day, they would present her with a plaque or plant a tree in the park to
honor all her hard work? She would accept, naturally, but vowed to remain
humble and gracious.

When
the large scissors used for ribbon cuttings were plunged into her chest that
early morning, she wasn’t all that surprised she was going out in a blaze of
glory. As so often happened in her life, the other shoe had finally dropped.

 
Knocked off balance, she was pushed into the
dumpster filled with white trash bags and left alone as her murderer fled into
the early morning drizzle.

 
Thank God she had written her obituary years
before, she thought before she died. Richard would never have been able to
compose such a moving tribute without her help.

Chapter 1

“Mother,
you can’t measure dry ingredients with a liquid measuring cup.” Vivienne Finch
cringed as the confectioner sugar spilled over the top of the glass and
scattered all over her freshly mopped black and white checker tiled floor of
the soon-to-open
Sweet Dreams Bakery
.
Thank heaven the health inspector had already cleared her to operate the day
before.

Nora
Finch peered over her bifocals, having never followed the optometrist’s advice
how to use them properly. Dressed in a stylish gray fisherman’s sweater and a
simple plaid skirt, she looked hopelessly out of place in the confines of the
kitchen workspace. “That’s nonsense.” She gingerly set the full measuring cup
on the stainless steel counter. “I’ve measured everything this way for years
and never had a problem.

Vivienne
suddenly knew why Nora’s holiday fruitcakes were hearty enough to anchor a
sailboat. “I really could use some help assembling the Linzer cookies. Just
stick the tops on and dust them with the sugar. After all, they’re for your
rummy club tonight.” She grabbed the broom and dustpan from the corner to sweep
up the mess her mother had left on the floor.

Nora
happily moved over to the marble island where the mostly finished cookies
awaited. “Would that be more helpful?” She smiled sweetly. “I wouldn’t want you
to have to rush getting ready for your date with Joshua tonight.” She began to
hum a tune to herself, her usual habit whenever she knew the jig was up on
whatever plan she had set in motion.

‘So
that’s why you’re here.’ Vivienne thought to herself and exercised control to
not roll her eyes. All mothers seemed to have a sixth sense whenever their
children did so and she didn’t have time to get into another heated discussion.
“I haven’t exactly committed to that just yet.” She knelt down to sweep up the
confectioner’s sugar off the floor.

"Vivienne,
you're my daughter and I'll love you no matter what.” Nora said as she plucked
a cookie up from the tray. "Don't you want a man to sweep you off your
feet?"

 
"I'd rather have a man sweep the kitchen
and maybe once in a blue moon lift the toaster oven up to clean the crumbs
underneath.” Vivienne answered as she emptied the dustpan of sugar into the
trash.

Nora
stared at the cookie in her grip, still warm from the oven. It was soft, sweet,
and so terribly easy to crumble. Just like her daughter's will. "Honey, I
don't want to alarm you, but you do work in a bakery surrounded by sweets. If
you don't get a man to sweep you off your feet soon, he's going to need a
bigger broom."

“Gee,
thanks.” Vivienne sighed.

Nora
clucked her tongue in response. “Well, my darling daughter, I have good news. Mother
has accepted the date on your behalf because you’re so terribly busy with the
opening.”

Vivienne’s
face warmed as she considered her response. “Mother, how could you do that when
you know the grand opening is three days away? I’m barely keeping up as is.” She
walked the dustpan over to the trash can and dumped it with a little more vigor
than was actually needed. A small cloud of white lifted into the air.

“I
did it because you’ll continue to find excuses to not go out with him.” Nora
worked slowly on the cookies, refusing to make eye contact with her daughter.
“You do have a knack for always finding activities to get you out of things.”

Vivienne
was about to get into one of their usual heated discussions when the phone rang
just in the nick of time. She took a deep breath, leaned the broom against the
counter, and then answered. “
Sweet Dreams
Bakery
, how can I help you?”

The
voice of her best friend, Kathy Saunders, greeted her in response. “I was
driving by just a few seconds ago and I couldn’t help but notice Nora Dearest
in the kitchen.”

“Yes,
that’s right.” Vivienne kept her voice in her business professional tone.
“Would you like to place an order for that?”

Nora
looked up from the cookies she was working on and pointed to her watch.

“Meet
me for some coffee in fifteen minutes at Clara’s?” Kathy offered.

“Absolutely,
I can do that. I’ll see you soon.” She hung up the phone and turned to face her
mother.

“I
hope you’re not wasting precious time that could be better spent at the salon.”
She adjusted her glasses once more as she looked over her daughter’s
appearance. “You should take the rest of the day off and treat yourself to a
day of beauty.”

“If
he can’t be attracted to me, crow’s feet and all, maybe it just isn’t meant to
be.” Vivienne countered.

Nora
shook her head as she finished assembling the last cookie on the tray. “At
least take time to clean up the flour streaks in your hair.”

“What
flour streaks?” Vivienne puzzled.

Nora
put her hand to her mouth. “Oh dear, I didn’t realize how bad the lighting was
in this place.”

Vivienne
bit down on her lower lip in response to her mother’s barb about her auburn
hair and the occasional white strands that appeared more frequently these days.
“I don’t have time to get it colored if that’s what you’re driving at.”

“Just
try to be gracious and act like everything he says is just fascinating.” Nora
walked over to her daughter and began to inspect just how many white strands
had invaded her hair. “He’s a fine catch.”

“Mother,
please.” Vivienne brushed her hands away from her hair. “I need to run down to
the grocery and pick up some more cake flour.”

Nora
backed away. “I have some errands to run myself.” She squinted in an effort to
read the face of the wall clock.

“It’s
one forty-five.” Vivienne smiled.

“That
means that Eunice Kilpatrick is still on lunch down at the bank. She always
short changes me when I make my withdrawals.” Nora grabbed her purse from the
nearby counter and gave her daughter a hug. “I better hurry before she gets
back.”

BOOK: Easy Bake Coven: Book One of the Vivienne Finch Magical Mysteries
8.58Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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