Some Enchanted Éclair: A Magical Bakery Mystery

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9780451467416: Some Enchanted Éclair: A Magical Bakery Mystery

FLOUR POWER

When Hollywood invades Savannah’s historic district to film a Revolutionary War movie, magical baker Katie Lightfoot, and her witches’ coven, the Spellbook Club, take a break from casting spells for casting calls. One of the witches snags a part as an extra, while Katie’s firefighter boyfriend, Declan, acts as on-set security. Katie and her aunt Lucy decide to stay out of the action, but after the movie’s “fixer” fires the caterer, the Honeybee Bakery comes to the rescue, working their magic to keep the hungry crew happy.
 
But when someone fixes the fixer—permanently—and a spooky psychic predicts Katie will find the killer, the charming baker and her fellow conjurers step in to sift through the suspects...before someone else winds up on the cutting room floor....

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About the Author:

Bailey Cates believes magic is all around us if we only look for it. She is the author of the Magical Bakery mysteries, including Charms and Chocolate Chips.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

ALSO AVAILABLE BY BAILEY CATES

OBSIDIAN

Acknowledgments

Chapter 1

The friendly chime of the bell over the entrance to the Honeybee Bakery sent a shot of adrenaline through my veins. I looked up from where I was quickly counting out change for a customer and saw two giggling teenaged girls enter. Their similar features suggested they were sisters, and behind them followed a tired-looking couple I pegged as their parents. The family paused to take in the high ceilings, warm amber walls, and fully occupied blue and chrome bistro sets before shuffling to the back of the line, which was already five deep at the register.

Uncle Ben, Aunt Lucy, and I had started the bakery more than a year ago, and we’d worked hard to develop regular clientele as well as to attract Savannah’s tourist trade. The sound of that bell meant customers, and customers meant business, and business was a good thing almost without exception.

Never mind that Lucy and I were on our own these days, juggling the busy morning rush without Ben’s help. Usually he ran the register, chatting with people as if they were his best friends as he took orders and rang up purchases. His natural style combined with genuine interest to make each person feel special. I tried to emulate him, but my mind kept darting back to the kitchen.

Aunt Lucy cast a harried glance my way before quieting her features and returning her attention to the espresso machine. Two patrons who had already ordered stood near the counter, patiently waiting for their coffee drinks. They nibbled on confections purchased from the brightly lit glass case that was usually packed with all manner of Honeybee pastries, cookies, scones, muffins, and the like. With dismay, I realized the shelves were half-empty.

Pasting a cheerful smile on my face, I asked the gentleman who was now at the front of the line, “And what can we get for you today, sir?”

The man’s gaze remained trained on the chalkboard menu on the wall above and behind where I stood. His thinning hair wisped above light eyes in a pale face. He shuffled his feet and jammed his hands deep into the pockets of his Dockers.

“What do you have that’s gluten-free?” His voice was so soft I could hardly hear him.

“How does a peanut butter cookie sound? Or an apricot-almond tart?” I pointed to the clearly listed gluten-free options we’d recently added to the menu. “They’re sweetened with clover honey. Or how about a chunk of peanut butter fudge?” I suggested the daily special as an alternative to the items listed behind me.

He glanced at me with wide eyes before his gaze fell to the floor, and he sighed heavily. “Fudge is candy. I don’t want candy. What about a corn bread biscuit?”

My cheeks were beginning to hurt from the effort it took to keep smiling. One of the young girls rolled her eyes and said to the other one in a loud voice, “This is going to take forever.”

“Kelsey,” her mother said without much feeling.

“Well, it is.” The girl spun around and opened the door. She stuck her head out and looked down the street. Sticky May heat rolled into the air-conditioned seating area, and I bit my tongue as I thought of the electric meter working overtime.

“I’m afraid only those baked items listed under the heading ‘gluten-free’ are, you know, free of gluten,” I said to my customer.

The tall woman behind him snorted. It was Mrs. Standish, one of our regulars. Today she wore a crimson turban and a swirling white caftan covered with giant Oriental poppies the same color as the headdress. I was perpetually amazed at the bold fashion statements she managed to pull off.

Lucy moved to my side, the seafoam green of her batik skirt swirling around her slim hips. She’d tamed her long gray-blond mop into a thick braid that fell down her back and wore a simple blue chef’s apron from my considerable collection.

“I bet you’d like the apple-fennel muffins,” Lucy said to the wispy man standing in front of the register, and then to Mrs. Standish, “Your usual drink, dear?”

“Please, Mrs. Eagel,” she said.

The other people waiting in line appeared relieved at Lucy’s efficiency. As my aunt turned, she caught my eye and gave the slightest of winks. Darn it—I’d been so busy trying to catch up that I’d missed the clues from our gluten-intolerant customer. His lack of eye contact, the weighty sigh, all that looking down at the floor, the pained shyness.

This guy was lonely. Extremely so.

Lucy had suggested the muffin to him because she knew it contained more than savory-sweet goodness. She was still teaching me about the Craft of hedgewitchery, but by now we regularly worked together to add a bit of green magic to our baked goods—a bit of herb there, a sprinkle of spice here, a murmured incantation. Everything that came out of our ovens had a special ingredient no other bakery in town could copy: spells intended to be helpful whenever and wherever they might be needed. My aunt was quite talented at steering people toward exactly the right treat for them on any given day. Our customers might not know why they loved the Honeybee as much as they did, but my pastry school training and our family practice of herbal witchery were a happy combination.

As we’d tinkered with the gluten-free muffin recipe a few weeks before, Lucy had commented, “We need apples in this one. After all, who couldn’t use more love, peace, and happiness?”

“Mmm,” I’d said. “Nice tart Granny Smiths. And how about fennel, too? The flavors enhance each other, and it will add a boost of courage.”

But now my customer frowned. “That muffin sounds good, but you seem to be out of them.”

“Oh!” I held up my finger. “We haven’t had a chance to restock the case. Give me a sec, and I’ll grab some more.”

The teenager’s sigh must have been audible clear over on Tybee Island.

I hurried into the open kitchen at the rear of the bakery. Rounding the big stainless-steel refrigerator, I saw little Mungo peeking around the half-open door of the office. Concern shone from his cocoa brown eyes.

“Sorry, buddy.” I waved the Cairn terrier back toward the club chair where he lazed most days at the Honeybee. “I know you’d help if you could, but you know the rule—no dogs in the kitchen.”

He panted and grinned up at me.

“Or in the reading area, either. At least not while it’s still so busy.”

My familiar huffed his disgruntlement and backed into the other room. I shut the door, piled a plate high with muffins, and quickstepped to the register.

Mollified, the man paid and left. Mrs. Standish stepped up next. “Today I’ll take two of those scrumptious red velvet whoopie pies, Katie my dear. Red velvet cake was my dear Harry’s favorite.” Suddenly, she sighed, and I saw another kind of loneliness in her eyes, the kind that comes from the lingering loss of a loved one. Her husband had died a bit over two years before, but she rarely referred to him. “While you’re at it, throw in some of those pistachio cream éclairs. Is that toffee on top?” Her deep voice rose and fell over the syllables as only a native Savannahian’s could.

Lucy handed her a tall steaming drink with a smile and turned to the next customer in line to get a jump on his order.

“It is indeed.” I grabbed a paper bag and slid open the back of the case.

“How is it you two are working alone today?” Mrs. Standish asked as I selected one of the ruby-toned whoopie pies filled with homemade coconut marshmallow cream. “Where on earth is your uncle?”

“He and Declan are working security on the movie set over by Reynolds Square.” I shook open the bag with the Honeybee logo printed on the side. It was a depiction of Lucy’s familiar, an elegant orange tabby cat named, you guessed it, Honeybee.

When A. Dendum Productions had come to Savannah, Georgia, to film a romantic comedy set during the Revolutionary War, the chief of police had recommended Uncle Ben to head the small security detail intended to keep fans and paparazzi at bay. Ever the loving wife, Lucy had assured Ben that she and I could handle the bakery on our own for a couple of weeks. Since Ben was Savannah’s recently retired fire chief, he was immediately hired. His security crew consisted of off-duty firefighters whom he’d worked with over the years, including his protégé—and my boyfriend—Declan McCarthy.

I filled the bag with the requested pastries and handed it to Mrs. Standish. She moved to the side so I could ring up the next order.

“What about your usual helpers?” Mrs. Standish was referring to the members of the spellbook club who stepped in to assist in the bakery when needed. She knew the six of us were in a book club, but she didn’t know we were an informal coven of witches.

“Over at the set,” I said. “Except Cookie, who’s still in Europe, and Jaida, who I’m pretty sure is in court today.” An attorney, Jaida French had a special interest in tarot magic.

Mrs. Standish snorted again. “Bunch of looky-loos. I’d expect more decorum from native Southerners.” The teenagers’ father glared at her implied insult to tourists, but Mrs. Standish didn’t notice. “It’s not as if filming in Savannah is anything unusual,” she continued. “They’ve been doing it since 1915, for heaven’s sake.”

Lucy spoke up from behind the espresso machine. “They’re helping out, not standing around gawking. Bianca is even going to be in a couple of scenes.” Tall, elegant Bianca Devereaux was a traditionally trained Wiccan and the single mom of seven-year-old Colette.

“Bah.” Mrs. Standish waved her mannish hand in the air. “She certainly possesses the beauty and bearing to dominate any movie screen, but those Hollywood types are nothing but trouble. Do you know they’ve completely closed a section of Abercorn Street?”

I nodded. “I’ve been using a different route to come to work.”

“Julian Street, too,” she went on. “There are dirt and straw all over the place, not to mention the disgusting road apples from the horses. My Lord, I’ll be happy when they finish up their nonsense and go home, let things settle down to some semblance of normal around here.”

But, as usual, her ire didn’t last long. Spinning around, she beamed at the family of four who had been not-so-patiently waiting. “Y’all are in for such a treat. Katie here is the best baker in town.”

The bell over the door rang again, and my heart sank. Just as we were getting caught up. Then I saw who it was, and relief whooshed through me.

Mrs. Standish exclaimed, “Mimsey Carmichael, as I live and breathe.” Winking at me, she said in a loud whisper, “Reinforcements at last.” Three long strides later she was at the door, stooping to kiss our friend on the cheek before sailing into the late-spring morning with her whoopie pies.

At seventy-nine, Mimsey was the eldest member of the spellbook club, though she looked more than a decade younger. When Lucy first told me our unofficial leader didn’t use magic to maintain her youthful appearance, I didn’t know whether to believe her. However, over time I’d come to agree with my aunt’s assertion that it was her heartfelt affection for people and a vivid enthusiasm for life that gave Mimsey such vigor. I also admired her continued involvement in the day-to-day business of Vase Value, the flower shop she’d owned for decades. She was a cream puff of a woman, shorter even than Aunt Lucy, though considerably more padded. Her smooth white pageboy sported a bow that mirrored the sherbet orange of her pantsuit, and her blue eyes crinkled at the corners when she saw me.

A man had followed her into the Honeybee, and she reached over to give his arm a quick pat. He directed a distracted smile down at her. Not much taller than my five-nine, he nonetheless towered over Mimsey. His short sandy hair was lightly threaded with gray, though from my vantage point his face appeared unlined.

I hurried to help the family who had finally reached the register. Even the girls seemed happy enough once they had an assortment of cookies in hand and settled at a table by the window.

Mimsey’s intelligent gaze raked the room, taking in the situation. “Have a seat, Simon,” she cheerfully instructed her companion and bustled into the kitchen. Before I knew it, she was restocking the glass display case with blazing efficiency.

Simon, as she’d called him, slid onto a recently vacated seat near the door. I could sense his skepticism from across the room.

I didn’t actually see auras, but after more than a year of practicing magic, I could sometimes sense the energy around other people as what I could describe only as flavors. It helped to have physical contact, and even then it didn’t happen all that often. But once in a while I could tell if a person was inherently sweet or salty or, in some unfortunate cases, bitter. Something about the newcomer, backlit by the window behind him, made me want to know more about him. As soon as I’d counted out change to the last customer in line and found myself with a little space to breathe, I centered myself and threw him a big welcoming smile.

He didn’t appear to notice, though. His head was bent over his phone, his thumbs tapping wildly on the screen. When it rang in his hand, he answered as if he’d been expecting a call, gazing out the window at Broughton Street and talking rapidly. A couple at a nearby table shot him irritated looks. Perhaps his intensity felt out of place in their otherwise leisurely morning.

I felt Mimsey behind me and looked around to find her gesturing Lucy over to join us. “That’s Simon Knapp,” she said sotto voce.

“And who, pray tell, is Simon Knapp?” I matched her secretive tone.

“He’s . . . I think his title is production coordinator? He’s the one who takes care of the actors—and the director and crew on the movie set.”

Simon’s ears must have been burning because he stood and strode toward us, slipping his cell phone into the pocket of his tan chinos. His muscular arms were tan against the light blue of his silky T-shirt.

Nice.

Mimsey went on. “If they need a certain prop or one of the actresses insists on having a bouquet of a particular flower delivered to her trailer, Simon is the one who tracks it down.” She smiled broadly as he stopped in front of the register. “In fact, that’s how we became acquainted. He was looking for passionflowers for Althea Cole, and I just happened to have a fresh shipment at the shop.” Mischief twinkled in her eyes.

Gentle amusement flashed across Lucy’s face, and I refrained from comment. Mimsey was the best of us at divination, and “just happening” to have a fresh shipment of a relatively unusual flower was likely a result of her skill. Her pink, quartz-crystal shew stone often produced somewhat murky results—except when it came to her attraction to color and flower magic.

Mimsey added, “And Bianca agreed to provide the libations for Ms. Cole’s nightly wine and cheese parties from Moon Grapes.”

“And thank God she did.” Simon’s words came out fast and clipped. “Because if Althea’s unhappy, everybody’s unhappy.” He held out his hand. “I’m Simon Knapp.”

Quickly, I brushed my hands on my yellow polka-dotted apron and shook it. Ins...

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Descripción Berkley, 2014. Soft cover. Estado de conservación: New. 1st Edition. PAPERBACK SHOP SHELF 17 SOME EMCHANTED ECLAIR NW NEVER READ BAILY CATES FAST SHIPPING AND MAIL TRACKING. Nº de ref. de la librería abe book paperback shop17

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Descripción Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2014. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. FLOUR POWER When Hollywood invades Savannah s historic district to film a Revolutionary War movie, magical baker Katie Lightfoot, and her witches coven, the Spellbook Club, take a break from casting spells for casting calls. One of the witches snags a part as an extra, while Katie s firefighter boyfriend, Declan, acts as on-set security. Katie and her aunt Lucy decide to stay out of the action, but after the movie s -fixer- fires the caterer, the Honeybee Bakery comes to the rescue, working their magic to keep the hungry crew happy. But when someone fixes the fixer--permanently--and a spooky psychic predicts Katie will find the killer, the charming baker and her fellow conjurers step in to sift through the suspects.before someone else winds up on the cutting room floor. Nº de ref. de la librería AAS9780451467416

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Descripción Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2014. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. FLOUR POWER When Hollywood invades Savannah s historic district to film a Revolutionary War movie, magical baker Katie Lightfoot, and her witches coven, the Spellbook Club, take a break from casting spells for casting calls. One of the witches snags a part as an extra, while Katie s firefighter boyfriend, Declan, acts as on-set security. Katie and her aunt Lucy decide to stay out of the action, but after the movie s -fixer- fires the caterer, the Honeybee Bakery comes to the rescue, working their magic to keep the hungry crew happy. But when someone fixes the fixer--permanently--and a spooky psychic predicts Katie will find the killer, the charming baker and her fellow conjurers step in to sift through the suspects.before someone else winds up on the cutting room floor. Nº de ref. de la librería AAS9780451467416

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Descripción Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2014. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. FLOUR POWER When Hollywood invades Savannah s historic district to film a Revolutionary War movie, magical baker Katie Lightfoot, and her witches coven, the Spellbook Club, take a break from casting spells for casting calls. One of the witches snags a part as an extra, while Katie s firefighter boyfriend, Declan, acts as on-set security. Katie and her aunt Lucy decide to stay out of the action, but after the movie s -fixer- fires the caterer, the Honeybee Bakery comes to the rescue, working their magic to keep the hungry crew happy. But when someone fixes the fixer--permanently--and a spooky psychic predicts Katie will find the killer, the charming baker and her fellow conjurers step in to sift through the suspects.before someone else winds up on the cutting room floor. Nº de ref. de la librería BTE9780451467416

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Descripción Obsidian Mysteries, New York,New York, 2014. Mass Market Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. No Jacket. First Obsidian Paperback Mystery. 'When Hollywood invades Savannah's historic district to film a Revolutionary War movie, magical baker Katie Lightfoot, and her witches' coven, the Spellbook Club, take a break from casting spells for casting calls. One of the witches snags a part as an extra, while Katie's firefighter boyfriend, Declan, acts as on-set security. Katie and her aunt Lucy decide to stay out of the action, but after the movie's ?fixer" fires the caterer, the Honeybee Bakery comes to the rescue, working their magic to keep the hungry crew happy. But when someone fixes the fixer-permanently-and a spooky psychic predicts Katie will find the killer, the charming baker and her fellow conjurers step in to sift through the suspects.before someone else winds up on the cutting room floor". Size: 4.3 x 1 x 6.8 inches. Nº de ref. de la librería 002002

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