After Pecan Pies and Homicides comes another tangy slice of life—and death—in a charmed, and charming, small town...
Ella Mae LeFaye’s Charmed Pie Shoppe has become a phenomenon beyond her wildest dreams, providing the enchanted town of Havenwood, Georgia, with spellbinding desserts and magical pies. Her personal life is also heating up as she takes on the responsibilities of leadership within her magical community. In fact, the only thing weighing her down is the fact that handsome Hugh Dylan won’t return her calls…
Still, when Havenwood is rocked by a series of mysterious deaths, Ella Mae must put romantic longings aside—especially when she realizes that the mystical symbols left at each crime scene are dangerously personal. Now she will have to whip up all her supernatural skills to uncover a killer out to settle an ancient score—before the murderer devastates everything Ella Mae is determined to protect…
About the Author
New York Times bestselling author Ellery Adams writes the Secret, Book, and Scone Society Mysteries, the Book Retreat Mysteries, the Books by the Bay Mysteries, and the Charmed Pie Shoppe Mysteries, as well as several eBook-only mysteries. She writes from her home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
C. S. E. Cooney launched her voice-acting career narrating short fiction for Podcastle, the world's first audio fantasy magazine. She is a performance poet, singer-songwriter, and fantasy author whose collection Bone Swans has garnered starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Locus Magazine.
Read an Excerpt
Ella Mae pressed chocolate cookie crumbs into the bottom of a springform pan with deft, quick motions. She then moved to her commercial stovetop and gave the marshmallow creme simmering in the saucepan a gentle stir. Satisfied, she turned the burner off and set the saucepan in a stainless steel bowl filled with ice. When the marshmallow creme was sufficiently cooled, Ella Mae reached for the liqueur bottles on the worktable and poured small amounts of crème de menthe and white crème de cacao into the fluffy mixture. Next, she squeezed in four drops of green food coloring and watched the white and green spiral around the tip of her wooden spoon before the green finally overpowered the white. She continued to stir until all traces of white were gone.
“Green as an Irish meadow,” she declared to the empty room.
Ella Mae’s mind began to wander. She thought of all the things she needed to accomplish that day and of the endless list of tasks still awaiting her. She glanced down at the saucepan again and frowned. She couldn’t remember if she’d added the crème de menthe.
Shrugging, she grabbed the glass liqueur bottle and added a generous splash to the mixture. After giving it a good stir, she leaned over the pan and inhaled deeply.
“Minty fresh,” she murmured to herself and wiped at a drip running down the liqueur bottle with the hem of her apron.
Feeling pleased with her morning’s work so far, Ella Mae hummed as she entered the walk-in freezer to fetch her beater attachment and a large mixing bowl. The cold air permeated the warm cocoon of marshmallow and mint that enveloped the entire kitchen and Ella Mae shivered. She didn’t want to feel. She didn’t want to think. She just wanted to bake, cook, and plate and repeat those steps over and over until it was time to close The Charmed Pie Shoppe for the day. After that, she could collect Chewy, her Jack Russell terrier, from doggie daycare and go home. HGTV and The Food Network awaited her there. As did her cooking magazines and page after page of glossy photographs and new recipes.
The oven timer beeped and Ella Mae backed out of the freezer, dropped the cold beaters and bowl on the counter, and pulled on a pair of oven mitts. She transferred six shepherd’s pies, a trio of potato and green onion pies, and a dozen corned beef hand pies to the cooking racks. The scent of hot, buttery crust and fresh spices settled on her shoulders like a shawl, but she didn’t pause to savor the aromas.
Instead, she poured heavy cream into the chilled bowl, attached the beater to her commercial mixer, and switched on the appliance. She stared at the white liquid as it frothed and churned in the bowl while her right hand involuntarily slid into her apron pocket and touched the letter nestled inside.
“No! I can’t,” she said, withdrawing her hand with the swiftness of someone whose fingers have come too close to a fire. “I have a business to run. I’m on the Council of Elders. Everyone’s looking to me for answers. I need to stay focused.”
Ella Mae’s stomach growled and she removed one of the steaming shepherd’s pies from the cooling rack and cut herself a thick wedge. While the mixer whirred, she savored every bite of pie. She had so little time to sit and enjoy a meal these days that she decided to take a few, precious minutes to enjoy this one. When her pie was done, she raised her coffee cup to her mouth and drained the tepid liquid. She then reached out to set the cup on the table, but her eyes had strayed to the window above the kitchen sink and she missed. The cup fell, and when it struck the kitchen floor and smashed into pieces, Ella Mae shouted, “Opa!” She’d survived so much over the past two years and wasn’t about to let a broken cup bother her.
Turning her attention back to the whipped cream, she cursed. She switched off the mixer, dipped the beater in the cream, and raised it again. In lieu of stiff peaks, the mixture was grainy. For the first time in her life, Ella Mae had overbeaten the cream.
“I’ll just add a little sugar,” she said, heading for the dry-goods shelf. Grabbing the sugar container, she pried off the lid and scooped out a heaping tablespoonful. “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down,” she sang and dumped the sugar into the cream. She turned on the mixer again and finally achieved the desired result. At last, she folded the rescued whipped cream into the green marshmallow mixture and then poured the whole thing over the chocolate-cookie-crumb crust.
She carried the pie to the freezer and placed it at the end of a row of a dozen green pies. “That should be plenty for takeout orders and afternoon tea. I hope I made enough four-leaf clover cookies.”
Back at the worktable, she saw that Reba or Jenny had left her an order ticket and had also dumped a pile of dirty dishes in the sink. The lunch rush was over, but there were still customers in the dining room. The Charmed Pie Shoppe had become so popular with locals and tourists alike that people often had to wait until two o’clock for a table. And since afternoon tea service started at three, Ella Mae baked and plated for hours in a row. She rarely left the kitchen, taking brief coffee or meal breaks perched on a stool next to the dishwasher. From this vantage point, she could stare out across the small rear parking area and over the Dumpster to the block beyond. On a clear day, she could see the roof of the fire station, its shingled gray gable rising a few feet above the brick building housing Havenwood Insurance. At certain times, the sun would hit the fire station’s Dalmatian weathervane just right and it would wink like a star. Ella Mae would gaze at the glowing copper and think of Hugh.
“Hugh’s gone,” she told herself, and read the order ticket once more.
She plated a generous wedge of shepherd’s pie with a side of field greens and was just spooning charred corn salad into a bowl to go along with a serving of corned beef hand pie when she heard the blare of a car alarm.
Ella Mae didn’t pay much attention to the wailing until a second alarm sounded. And then a third. The noise was fairly loud and Ella Mae guessed that the cars were parked nearby. She barely had time to register this thought before voices raised in angry shouts added to the cacophony. Ella Mae couldn’t tell what had made the people so upset, but she knew either Reba or Jenny would inform her sooner or later.
She didn’t have to wait long.
Reba burst through the swing doors and cried, “Do you hear that devil’s racket outside?” She put her hands on her hips and surveyed Ella Mae. “Mr. Jenkins just drove on the wrong side of the street. He scraped four parked cars from bumper to bumper, takin’ off their side mirrors as he passed, and then plowed through the Longwoods’ picket fence, flattenin’ their collection of garden gnomes as he went. Mrs. Longwood is fit to be tied.”
Ella Mae glanced toward the window. “Oh.”
“That’s all you have to say?” Reba pulled a red licorice stick from her apron pocket and shook it at Ella Mae. “What did you put in that Leprechaun Pie? Mr. Jenkins had two pieces.”
Ella Mae feigned great interest in the parsley on the cutting board. “Are you asking if I enchanted our Saint Patrick’s Day dessert?”
“You know damn well I am!” Reba snapped. “Seein’ as you transfer your emotions into the food you make, I’d like to know what you put in those pies.”
Shaking her head, Ella Mae said, “Nothing. I’ve been deliberately trying not to use magic when I’m . . .”
“Down in the dumps?” Reba narrowed her eyes and bit into her licorice stick. “Or just plain drunk?” In a flash, she closed the space between herself and Ella Mae just in time to catch Ella Mae’s next exhalation. “You smell like a Peppermint Pattie dipped in paint thinner. How much of that mint liqueur have you had?”
Ella Mae felt her cheeks grow warm. She walked to the sink, turned the faucet on, and held a dirty dish under the water. “I haven’t had a drop. I wiped the bottle with my apron, which is why I smell like I do.”
Reba grabbed the plate and loaded it into the dishwasher. “I hope so. You’ve always been a glass of vino after work kind of girl.”
“I still am. Though sometimes I have two, but that started when Hugh left,” Ella Mae said.
“I know you miss him, but it’s not like you two broke up. He told you he needed to travel—to search for a way to reclaim his lost powers—and you said you understood. It’s only been a month and he’s sent you letters. I see you readin’ and rereadin’ them.” Reba frowned. “Is that why you put too much booze into your pies? I’m assumin’ that’s what happened because you’ve been real distracted lately.”
“It was a mistake, and I only made it with a few pies. Not all of them. I didn’t think I’d added that much more. I guess my magic somehow amplified the effects,” Ella Mae said and continued to wash dishes. The steam from the water rose in diaphanous plumes around her face, masking her anguished expression.
“I’m going to deliver those orders and then I’m coming back here to pinch you,” Reba warned.
“You already pinched me for luck today. And guess what? It didn’t work.”
Reba left with the food. When she returned, she turned off the faucet and took Ella Mae’s red, water-wrinkled hands in her own. “What’s got you so sad?”
With a resigned sigh, Ella Mae withdrew Hugh’s letter and placed it in Reba’s palm. Reba had just unfolded it when Jenny Upton, The Charmed Pie Shoppe’s newest waitress, entered the kitchen.
“Where are those chocolate coins?” She frantically scanned the room, her gaze passing right over Ella Mae and Reba. “The ones wrapped in gold foil. I need them and I need them now.”
Ella Mae heard the note of desperation in Jenny’s voice. “I thought we made plenty of Saint Patty’s Day gift bags for the customers.” She pursed her lips. “But let me think. I ordered those gold-wrapped chocolate coins in bulk and they came packaged inside a cardboard treasure chest. That’s where I put the extras.”
“Then lead me to that treasure chest. And they’re not for a customer. They’re for me,” Jenny added. “I had to give every customer a zap of energy before they left. They all had the Leprechaun Pie and were as tipsy as sailors on furlough. I was afraid to let them drive or cross the street on foot.” She jerked her thumb toward the front of the store. “Look what happened when Mr. Jenkins got behind the wheel. Unfortunately for him and a hundred lawn gnomes, he paid his bill and slipped outside before I could touch him. And if I don’t eat some chocolate, I won’t be able to zap you, Ella Mae.”
Ella Mae scowled. She was Jenny’s boss, not some naughty child who could be pinched by one employee and given magical doses of energy by another. She whipped her head around to chastise Jenny, but was overcome by wooziness and stumbled to the closest stool. Putting both hands on the seat to steady herself, she suddenly remembered having placed the extra chocolate coins between containers of cocoa powder and confectioner’s sugar. Plunking down onto the stool, she waved at the dry-goods shelves. “The treasure chest is on the second shelf from the floor.”
By this time, Reba had finished reading the letter and had placed it on the worktable where Ella Mae did most of her prep work. Two sharp knives were resting on the wooden surface and Reba’s hand closed over the paring knife. Her lips were compressed into a thin line and Ella Mae knew she was angry.
Jenny drew alongside Reba and dumped the treasure chest on the table. “Here,” she said, handing Reba a chocolate. “You look like you could use some candy.”
“I never leave home without it,” Reba said, taking a fresh licorice twist out of her apron pocket. She tore off an end and chewed furiously while Jenny unwrapped a dozen coins as if her life depended on it.
While the two women devoured their confections, Ella Mae stared at Hugh’s letter. She then slid off the stool and fetched a ball of dough from the walk-in. Shoving the knives and letter to the side, she dusted the surface of the worktable with flour and reached for her rolling pin. She freed the dough from its plastic wrap and began rolling it out, forcing it to grow wider and thinner, wider and thinner.
“Okay. Between the chocolate and the three cans of Mountain Dew I chugged on the front porch, I’m starting to feel like myself again,” Jenny said. “Are you ready, Ella Mae?”
“Just clear the fog in the poor girl’s head,” Reba said. “She’s had some discouragin’ news and I want to talk it over with her.”
Before Ella Mae could protest, Jenny put a hand on her shoulder and squeezed. A jolt shot through Ella Mae’s body. For a brief, delicious moment, her blood turned to liquid sunshine—white hot and radiant—and hummed in her veins. Her fatigue evaporated like chimney smoke swept away by the wind and her mind was sharp and focused. “Thanks, Jenny,” she said, smiling gratefully. “I’m still in awe of your gift.”
“Yours isn’t too shabby either.” Jenny pointed at the round circle of dough. “By influencing people’s emotions, you can alter their behavior. Talk about powerful.” She smiled. “So what’s going into this pie?”
Ella Mae transferred the dough into a buttered pie dish. “My heart.”
Reba and Jenny exchanged worried glances as Ella Mae placed the dish in the oven.
“What happened?” Jenny asked.
“Hugh wrote that he hadn’t found what he was looking for in England or Scotland so he’s heading to Ireland. If that doesn’t pan out, he’s going to Greece. He’s put his assistant manager in charge of Canine to Five, informed the fire department that he’s no longer available to volunteer, and said that I shouldn’t wait for him—that he’s not coming back until he’s the man he was before I . . .” She trailed off.
“Before the source of his power was taken and used for the common good,” Reba finished for her.
Ella Mae threw out her hands in exasperation. “But he doesn’t know that! He doesn’t know what I am. I couldn’t sit him down and say, ‘Hugh, you’re in love with a magical being. Not only can I make charmed pies, but I can also command butterflies. And according to some ancient prophecy, I’m the Clover Queen, a position that means I’m responsible for the safety and well-being of lots of enchanted people.’”
“Of course you couldn’t tell him.” Reba tenderly brushed a strand of hair off Ella Mae’s cheek. “He isn’t like us. Sweetheart, he never will be one of us.”
Ella Mae nodded. “I know that, but I love him. I’ve loved him for most of my life. Since I knew how to love. And no matter what he said in this letter, I’ll wait. If it takes twenty years, then so be it. I have to hold on to the hope that, one day, I can be completely honest with him and he’ll be able to forgive me for what I did to him.”
“What kind of existence will you have pining for him for twenty years?” Reba asked very softly.
Ella Mae faced her friends. “I don’t plan on pining. You see, I’m going to bury everything I feel for Hugh into this pie. And then, I’m going to freeze it. I hope it’ll be like pausing a movie—that it’ll give me the freedom to focus on work and the rest of the people I care about.”
Jenny looked doubtful. “Is that possible? Can you really transfer enough of your feelings that you actually stop, well, feeling?”
“When it comes to these particular emotions, I have to try,” Ella Mae said, sounding like her strong, determined self again. “Hugh’s wasn’t the only letter I received in today’s mail. The township committee has accepted my proposal to have The Charmed Pie Shoppe sponsor Havenwood’s Founder’s Day celebration.”
Reba arched a brow. “Why would we want to do that?”
“Because it gives us an unprecedented chance to gather our kind from all over the country. If I can convince Elders from other communities to meet, we can discuss how to unite, grow stronger, and break a very old curse.”
Jenny pumped her fist in the air. “Yes!”
“Founder’s Day is the first of May. Beltane. Our biggest party. A celebration I dream about all year,” Reba said, her eyes gleaming. “And with all these visitors, we’ll have hundreds of magical people in our grove. Good-lookin’, half-naked men from all over the country dancin’ around a bonfire. Tall Texans with cowboy hats, bronze-bodied surfers from California, men from the Dakotas who know how to keep a girl warm at night.” She grinned at Ella Mae. “This is your best idea ever.”
“Make sure to leave a few half-naked men for me,” Jenny said, and then issued a wistful sigh. “Too bad May is weeks and weeks away.”
Ella Mae waved her hand around the pie shop. “Don’t worry. With all we have to do to prepare for this event, the time will pass with lightning quickness.”
“Speaking of which, I’d better zip back to the dining room and check on our customers,” Jenny said and rushed off.
Ella Mae removed the pie dish from the oven and set it on a cooling rack. She then retrieved raspberries, heavy whipping cream, and a bar of white chocolate from the walk-in. She dropped the items on the counter and went to the dry-goods shelves for a bottle of orange liqueur, a package of unflavored gelatin, and a jar of currant jam.
Reba eyed the liqueur bottle warily. “What are you doin’ with that?”
“Mixing it with the gelatin, cream, and chocolate. And I’m not serving it to our patrons.” Ella Mae crossed the first and second fingers of her right hand and held them over her heart. “Promise.”
Satisfied, Reba crossed the room and opened one of the swing doors a crack. “Only two tables are occupied,” she said. “I think the rest of the customers raced outside to watch Mrs. Longwood soak Mr. Jenkins with her garden hose.”
“That poor man,” Ella Mae said, pausing in the act of breaking the bar of white chocolate into small pieces over a heated saucepan. Stirring in the rest of the filling ingredients, she said, “I’m responsible for the damage to the parked cars and to Mrs. Longwood’s gnomes, not him. What if he’s given a Breathalyzer test? He could be in big trouble. He might lose his license. Or worse.”
Reba shook her head. “I called Officer Wallace and told her exactly what happened. She’s going to help us out. Her report will make it sound like Mr. Jenkins’s car malfunctioned. Leak in the brake line or that sort of thing. His insurance company will cover the damage and my buddy at the body shop will mess with those brake lines long before the insurance rep shows up.”
“Thank goodness for Officer Wallace. I never realized what an advantage it could be to have one of our kind on the police force.”
“She’s not the first person to relocate to Havenwood because of you,” Reba said. “Thousands of folks would give half a lung to live in a place where they can renew their powers anytime they want. You’ve changed the rules, honey. And I have a feelin’ you’re just gettin’ started.” She picked up the bottle of orange liqueur. “You can’t afford to be distracted. Your life isn’t your own anymore.”
Ella Mae knew Reba spoke the truth. “You’re right,” she said. “On both counts. Let me finish with this pie and then I’ll be fine. Really, I will. But I have to do this alone, okay?”
Reba searched her face. “Okay, then. But remember, Jenny and I are just on the other side of those doors if you need us.”
When she was gone, Ella Mae placed Hugh’s letter in the pie dish. She unfolded it so she could see his familiar handwriting on the thin airmail paper. She traced the letters of his name, one at a time, silently pledging to love him as long as she lived. “But the part of my heart that you claimed needs to hibernate. I don’t know when I’ll see you again, and like Reba said, my life isn’t my own. It belongs to the people of Havenwood, and they don’t need a lovesick girl leading them. They need a woman. Fierce and fearless.”
Ella Mae beat more cream, creating picture-perfect stiff peaks before folding the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture. As she gently worked her rubber spatula through the pie filling, she closed her eyes and thought of Hugh. Memories flashed through her mind like a high-speed slide show. There were images from the recent past: Hugh asleep in her bed, his Great Dane stretched out across his feet; Hugh frying bacon; Hugh frowning over a crossword puzzle; Hugh leaning in to kiss her. And then she went back further in time, to the first moment she’d seen him. He was still a boy then, and she, a shy and awkward girl. Despite her youth, Ella Mae’s heart had tripped over itself when Hugh had turned his bright blue-eyed gaze in her direction. She’d felt a rush of heat, of terror, and a longing she hadn’t fully understood.
“I understand it now,” she whispered and then poured the creamy white filling over the letter.
While waiting for the filling to set, Ella Mae tidied the kitchen and washed the raspberries. She then melted a small bowlful of red currant jam and dropped the berries into the ruby liquid. Using her fingertips, she tenderly coated each berry and then removed the pie dish from the refrigerator. Gingerly pinching a raspberry between her fingers, she inhaled the sweet scents of white chocolate and jam, and as she gently pressed the berry into the filling, she willed her memories of Hugh’s touch to enter the fruit. She repeated this act over and over, transferring into each berry the feel of his hands, the sound of his voice, his musical laughter, the hunger in his kisses, the glint of humor in his brilliant blue eyes, and the way his body moved when he danced. She pictured how he swam like a dolphin, the way he rolled on the ground when he played with his dog, and how he stood, taut and rigid as a steel beam, directing water from a fire hose at a wall of angry flames. She put all the things she felt about this remarkable man—the man she’d loved for most of her life—into the pie.
Feeling oddly vacant, Ella Mae dropped a handful of dark chocolate morsels and two tablespoons of butter in a glass bowl and cooked them in a microwave. Pouring the melted chocolate into a pastry bag, she piped dark hearts over the surface of the berries. The hearts overlapped until they were unrecognizable, but if Ella Mae looked very closely, she could follow the path of the lines and see the shapes she’d created.
She continued to pipe until the chocolate was gone. With a weary sigh, she sealed the pie in an airtight container and put it on a high shelf in the freezer.
By the time Reba returned with the first of the teatime orders, Ella Mae was ready to work again.
“Are you all right?” Reba asked.
“I will be,” Ella Mae said and smiled.
Reba nodded. “I believe it. While you plate this order, why don’t you tell me what you have in mind for this Founder’s Day event? We should focus on the future now.”
“Yes,” Ella Mae agreed. Taking a deep breath, she prepared to leave the past behind. “My idea is for us to host a one-of-a-kind celebration of pie. It’ll be called History in the Baking. We’ll invite cooks from across the nation to participate and encourage them to bring friends and family along. There will be pie bake-offs, presentations, lectures, cooking classes, and large cash prizes.”
Reba’s brows shot up her forehead. “Where’s the cash comin’ from? Not from my salary, I hope.”
“No.” Ella Mae laughed. “We’ll charge every contestant a registration fee, and I’ve already asked the manager of Lake Havenwood Resort about using their kitchen for classes and their auditorium for the presentations. He was willing to waive the fee for these facilities, seeing as our event is likely to ensure new bookings and plenty of advertising for his hotel.”
“I don’t get the history part,” Reba said and started to slice a Leprechaun Pie into even wedges.
“Pies have a long and rich history,” Ella Mae began. “Ancient Egyptian bakers made a form of pie dough, but the Greeks were the first civilization to produce a real pie. Of course, the pies were of the savory variety for centuries. The dough was just a container to hold a protein-packed filling. It wasn’t until the fifteen hundreds that the bakers began experimenting with fruit pies.”
Reba still looked puzzled. “So the contestants bake an old recipe—a really old recipe—and then talk about that country’s culture?”
“Exactly. You could make a Roman mussel pie, for example. Of course, only the wealthy Romans could afford mussels, so you’d have to explain what the different classes of that period would use as their filling. For extra impact, you could dress like a Roman.”
Shaking her head, Reba said, “Not a chance. You can’t hide enough weapons under a toga. Give me a kimono. Or one of those medieval gowns. Do you know how many throwing stars I could tuck inside those bell sleeves?”
Ella Mae laughed again and was surprised by the levity of the sound. She felt much lighter, as if a burden had been lifted. With a shock, she realized the transfer had worked. She’d used her gifts to store her longing for Hugh in a white chocolate mousse raspberry pie. She could think of him now without feeling that needle-sharp ache in the center of her chest. Her love was intact, but it was a love without pain. It was more like the memory of love. Pure, sweet, and distant.
“Anyway,” she continued animatedly. “The contestants don’t have to restrict their recipes to foods made in ancient times. America has a storied pie-making history. Pie has always been very important to this nation.”
Reba loaded her serving tray with the completed orders. “Shoot, everybody knows that. I bet there wouldn’t have been an America if the pilgrims hadn’t made pumpkin pie for the natives durin’ the very first Thanksgiving.”
“There wasn’t any pumpkin pie,” said Jenny, who’d entered the room in time to catch Reba’s last remark. “That’s a total myth. They ate fowl and venison at the inaugural Thanksgiving. There might have been a savory pie, but definitely no pumpkin.”
“All right, Einstein. You stay here and trade history lessons with Ella Mae. I need to serve my customers.” With a scowl, Reba left the kitchen.
When she was gone, both Ella Mae and Jenny stifled laughter behind their hands.
“She really hates being corrected,” Jenny said. “And I don’t dare press a point with her. The woman has a whole arsenal of weapons concealed under her clothes. She might be smaller and older than me, but she could kick my butt from now until Tuesday.”
Ella Mae retrieved a plastic bag filled with sugar-cookie dough from the walk-in and began to roll it out on the worktable. “Reba’s been my bodyguard since I was born. I’ve never seen anyone fight like her. She’s almost fifty, but her reflexes are quicker than those of a pissed-off rattlesnake.”
“I’m glad she saves her venom for our enemies,” Jenny said. “Though it would be nice if we didn’t have enemies for a spell. I’d like to enjoy a peaceful spring.”
At that moment, one of Ella Mae’s aunts burst through the swing doors, leaving them to flap wildly in her wake.
“You need to come with me!” Aunt Verena bellowed.
Ella Mae was unfazed by her aunt’s tone and volume. The oldest of the famed LeFaye sisters didn’t possess an indoor voice. She was also accustomed to people leaping to obey her. When Ella Mae didn’t, Aunt Verena pointed at the cookie dough and said, “Put down that rolling pin. We need to go!”
“It’s the middle of tea service,” Ella Mae protested. “I can’t just—”
“Yes, you can!”
Reba entered with another order ticket. “What’s goin’ on?”
“Can you take over for Ella Mae for a few minutes?” Though Verena towered over Reba and was nearly double her girth, she spoke to her with deference and affection. Reba might not have been a LeFaye, but she was still family. “There’s something she needs to see.”
Reba nodded and turned to Ella Mae. “You’d best listen to your aunt.”
Knowing that Aunt Verena wouldn’t insist unless it was extremely important, Ella Mae untied her peach apron, hung it on a wall hook, and quickly washed her hands. “I hope you aren’t the bearer of bad news,” she said, reaching for the dish towel. “It’s a holiday, after all. We’re supposed to wear green, pick four-leaf clovers, and look for pots of gold at the end of rainbows. We’re supposed to be merry.”
Verena looked pained. “Honey, there’s nothing to be merry about. And there’s nothing to celebrate. This news is beyond bad. And things are about to get worse.”
And with that, she turned and pushed on the swing doors with such force that Ella Mae thought they’d fly right off their hinges.
Ten minutes later, Verena opened her front door, and called, “She’s here!” Stepping aside, she shooed Ella Mae into the foyer, and said, “They’re all in the sitting room.”
Ella Mae hurried through Verena’s large kitchen into the sitting room. Usually a bright, cheerful space filled with soft chairs, colorful art, and music, the room was now shadowy and quiet. The plantation shutters had been closed. Uncle Buddy’s vintage record player had been silenced. The television, normally hidden from sight inside a large cabinet, was on. Scenes flickered rapidly across its flat screen, casting an eerie blue-and-white glow on the faces of the women gathered before it.
Ella Mae’s mother and her other aunts, Dee and Sissy, turned to look at her. Their grim expressions were unnerving. Ella Mae saw something in their eyes she wasn’t used to seeing. Her aunts were afraid.
“What’s going on?” she asked.
Her mother grimaced. “There’s a terrible storm off the coast of Scotland. It’s gaining wind strength and speed by the hour and is expected to make landfall by tonight.”
Ella Mae was drawn to the image on the television screen. As she watched, a massive spiral of dense clouds rotated in slow motion over the North Sea. A man was speaking, but his voice was too muted for Ella Mae to understand him clearly. “Could you turn up the volume, please?”
Aunt Sissy, headmistress of the Havenwood School of the Arts, nodded and pressed a button on the remote control.
“. . . bearing northwest,” the meteorologist was saying. “This storm breaks all the rules, and is behaving like the winter storm of 1953. We’re expecting high wind speeds—one hundred and twenty miles per hour or more—and significant flooding. Evacuations are underway, especially in the north. Those in and around the Orkney Islands have been ordered to evacuate. There will be no place to hide when this storm makes landfall.” The man pivoted, and a map of the United Kingdom filled the screen. He lifted his hand, tracing the Scottish coastland north until he came to what Ella Mae had always thought of as the tip of the rabbit’s ears—the northernmost point of the landmass—and then circled a collection of islands off the coast with his index finger.
“Is this a live broadcast?” Ella Mae whispered.
Aunt Sissy shook her head. “We recorded it thirty minutes ago. That’s when our weather channel airs the European forecast. But this story is so big that it’s bound to be on every news station by this evening.”
“Since you’ve all listened to the report already, could someone please tell me why I had to leave work for this? I don’t mean to sound insensitive,” Ella Mae added quickly. “I feel for the people in the path of that monster—”
“That’s just it,” Aunt Dee said in her soft, gentle voice. “This thing is a monster.”
“It’s bound to destroy at least three ancient magical groves,” Aunt Sissy said. She tended to use dramatic pauses, emphasis, and gestures when she spoke. “Long ago, groves weren’t necessarily built on high ground. Our kind didn’t have to hide as completely as we do now.” Her eyes were filled with sorrow. “No ash tree, not even a magical one, can withstand the force of this wind.”
Ella Mae’s mother took the remote from her sister’s hand. “Losing groves is tragic enough, but there’s more to this story. The Scots have named this storm after a figure in their folklore. An evil figure.”
“Nuckelavee!” Verena cried. “A terrifying and gruesome creature that lived in the sea, only coming ashore to devour humans. According to legend, it had a huge head and a protruding mouth that hung open in a terrifying grin. The monster was skinless, so its yellow veins and slime-covered muscle were visible to the naked eye. And if that isn’t horrible enough, Nuckelavee’s poisonous breath could wither crops and kill livestock. It’s his destructive power and supernatural strength that influenced a Scottish paper to name this super storm after him.”
“In the old tales, all one had to do to escape this mythological creature was cross over a body of fresh water,” Aunt Dee said. “That won’t help the Scots tonight. This storm is a swirling mass of water and wind. It will sweep across rivers, causing them to overflow as it moves inland. As you heard, the experts are calling for massive flooding. The entire coastline of northern Scotland may be forever altered.”
Verena took an atlas off the coffee table and pointed at a map of Scotland. “The storm will sweep from east to west. The groves in its projected path are here, here, and here.” She tapped the map in three places. “Nuckelavee will rip the ash trees right out of the ground, leaving thousands of our kind without a safe haven.”
Now Ella Mae understood why her family was so upset about the news. Her mother took her hand and gave it an encouraging squeeze. “There’s more.” Her mother pressed the play button on the remote. “They’re going to show a satellite photo of the storm. It’ll repeat over and over again, and then the meteorologist will point out the unusual shape of the storm’s eye. That’s why we’re all gathered here. And it’s also why we called you to join us. Because of the shape of that eye.”
Perplexed, Ella Mae focused on the screen as the map was replaced by a satellite image. Ella Mae didn’t understand all the meteorological jargon, but it was clear that Nuckelavee was massive. The camera view changed, zooming closer and closer to the center of the rotating clouds.
“And if this storm weren’t unusual enough, take a look at this eye,” the weatherman said, his voice filled with wonder. “In this image, the eye appears to take a familiar shape—one closely associated with today’s holiday.”
Ella Mae’s mother paused the program again. “Do you see it?”
Cocking her head slightly, Ella Mae approached the television. She kept her gaze fixed on the center of the screen, frowning in concentration.
And then, she saw it.
“It can’t be,” she whispered. She stretched out her hand, silently asking for the remote, and then hit the rewind and play buttons several times, causing the storm to rotate from right to left with agonizing slowness. “It’s a clover,” she said in astonishment. “The eye is shaped like a four-leaf clover. And not just any clover either.” She raised her palm and turned it toward her family, inviting them to compare the puckered skin near her wrist to the frozen image on the television screen. The storm’s eye was a perfect match to Ella Mae’s burn scar.
“The eye shifts by the end of this segment,” Aunt Dee said. “When it reforms, it’s circular again. Maybe it doesn’t mean anything. Maybe it’s just a freak occurrence.”
There were no noises or murmurs of assent following this remark. None of them believed in coincidence.
Ella Mae crossed her arms over her chest, tucking her trembling hands out of sight. Icy dread chilled her blood, and every cell in her body trilled with the same wordless message: Danger.
“What does this mean?” Ella Mae gestured wildly at the screen. “Our kind can’t be responsible for this. Why would someone or a group of people deliberately destroy our groves—the source of our power?” She looked from her mother to her aunts. “No one is capable of creating a storm of this magnitude. Maybe a group could increase the intensity of a storm, but to manipulate it until the eye looks like a clover? That can’t be the result of magic.” She hesitated, thinking of all the earth-shattering discoveries she’d made over the past year or so. “Or can it? Is it possible?”
Her mother frowned. “We don’t know, Ella Mae. We have as many questions as you.”
“That’s why we called you!” Verena declared. “Nothing will stop this storm from its current course of destruction, but if a group of our kind is truly capable of manipulating the weather, these people pose a threat of catastrophic proportions.”
“We must discover exactly who they are and what they’re after. And quickly,” Aunt Sissy added. “You remember what happened when we all joined hands. Consider the havoc we created, and there were only five of us.”
Ella Mae thought back to the summer night when she, her mother, and her aunts had grasped hands. A fireball of light had formed in the center of their circle. It had been a swirling, gaseous sphere—like they’d taken a scoop out of the surface of the sun. It had dangled in the air for half a heartbeat before shooting through the window in a burst of dazzling light and broken glass. “A meteor? A bomb? I’m not sure what we made, but judging from the state of the sunroom window and the way the lake steamed where it struck the surface of the water, it definitely had destructive powers.”
“You and Suzy need to see if this has happened before. Search through as much of our recorded history as you can,” Verena said.
Ella Mae’s mother nodded. “Not only do you have the use of all the materials at Partridge Hill, but Opal Gaynor is also offering access to the library at Rolling View. She’s never shared resources before, and I’m glad to see that she’s sticking to her vow to serve her community. I doubted your decision to make her an Elder, but you were right, Ella Mae. We need her.”
“I’ll call Suzy as soon as I finish watching this and set up a time to meet,” Ella Mae said, and sank into one of Verena’s club chairs to listen to the rest of the special report. Nuckelavee churned over the North Sea, beating the waves into a frenzy. The wind bent the treetops along the coastline until they looked like dancers bowing before an audience.
The next group of images showed scenes of people in line at hardware stores, putting sandbags around their homes, and loading possessions into their cars. The segment ended with footage of an old woman shooing her chickens inside a henhouse. The wind ruffled the birds’ feathers, and a galvanized bucket rolled across the muddy yard. The woman’s hair, which had been fastened in a bun, suddenly came loose and floated above her head like a dollop of whipped cream. Seeing this, Ella Mae was reminded of another woman. A local woman who’d once given her a recipe for banoffee pie.
“Fiona Drever is from the Orkneys,” she said, turning off the television. “Her daughter still lives there. I should pay Fiona a visit. It must be terrible for her to watch this monstrous storm bear down on her childhood home. I think I’ll make her a pie before closing shop and head up the mountain to deliver it. Suzy won’t be able to help until she gets off work anyway.”
“That would be a nice thing to do.” Aunt Dee smiled in approval. “What will you put in Mrs. Drever’s pie?”
Ella Mae paused to consider the question. “Chocolate, pecans, and comfort. I’ll serve it warm with a cup of strong tea.” She glanced at her watch. “Speaking of tea, I need to get back to the pie shop. Reba and Jenny can serve the dessert pies, but they can’t bake cookies and take care of customers at the same time. I’ll let you know if Suzy and I discover anything useful.”
“Until then, all we can do is pray for our brothers and sisters in Scotland,” Aunt Sissy said, clasping her hands together. “May they all get out of Nuckelavee’s way in time.”
• • •
Verena drove Ella Mae to the pie shop in silence. It was only when she pulled up to the back door that she turned to her niece and said, “You seem different today. More clearheaded. I haven’t seen you like this since before Hugh left.”
“I found a way to put my feelings for him on hold,” Ella Mae said, opening the passenger door. “Thank goodness I did too. If that clover in the middle of the storm was meant as a threat, then no one in Havenwood is safe. Isn’t that why you’re all so frightened? Because of that clover-shaped eye? Because it matches the burn on my hand?”
Verena nodded, her mouth pinched with worry.
“I have no idea what the presence of that clover means, but I do know that I have to be sharp as a knife’s edge until I solve the mystery behind the storm.”
“Cha ghéill sinn gu bràch!” Verena cried.
“Cha ghéill sinn gu bràch,” Ella Mae echoed with slightly less gusto. Her mind had already turned to future tasks.
When she entered the kitchen, Jenny was loading a tray with servings of Leprechaun Pie. “What did you just say?”
“It’s a Gaelic war cry,” Ella Mae explained. “It means ‘We’ll never fall back.’ Reba and I have shouted it a few times before, always in moments of trial.”
Jenny rolled her eyes. “Let me guess. We’re not going to have that peaceful springtime I was hoping for.”
Ella Mae gave Jenny an encouraging smile. She didn’t want to discuss the storm with anyone other than Suzy yet. “Maybe we just need a bit more luck. Speaking of which, I don’t see any green on you today. Has anyone pinched you yet?”
Jenny glowered. “Yes, and once was enough, thank you very much! Mr. Ledbetter had half of my butt cheek between his fingers. I swear he’s been waiting to do that since I started working here.”
Despite the fact that Mr. Ledbetter had been way out of line, Ella Mae laughed. The man had pinched many a female bottom in Havenwood. Seeing as he was on the far side of eighty-five and legally blind, it was difficult to admonish him. “With all the squats you do, he probably couldn’t grab an ounce of fat.”
Looking pleased, Jenny said, “I won’t have buns of steel if I keep eating pie twice a day. Anyway, I don’t think old Mr. Ledbetter will pinch anyone ever again.”
Ella Mae, who’d been gathering ingredients for the chocolate pecan pie, froze. “He didn’t go after Reba, did he?”
Grinning, Jenny nodded. “She wrapped his fingers in duct tape and told him if he couldn’t learn to keep his hands to himself, she’d be delighted to apply that tape to other parts of his body.”
Both women were doubled over with laughter when Aiden Upton entered the kitchen through the rear door.
“Oh, I see how it is,” he muttered crossly. “I’m sent off on deliveries while you ladies live it up without me.”
Jenny walked behind her brother, jerked her thumb at his backside, and smiled at Ella Mae. “What do you think? Would Mr. Ledbetter like a piece of that? We could put Aiden in an apron and parade him next to Mr. Ledbetter’s table.”
Aiden waved his hands in protest. “No aprons! It’s bad enough that I have to drive a pink mail truck. I draw the line when it comes to peach-colored aprons. My reputation as a ladies’ man suffers enough doing this job, thank you very much.”
Ella Mae tried to speak, but the image of Aiden bopping around town in her pink truck, which was emblazoned with images of pies and silver stars, had her laughing all over again. What made it so funny was that Aiden Upton could be the poster child for masculinity. Measuring well over six feet, he towered over the rest of The Charmed Pie Shoppe staff and was as brawny as a bull. His arms and legs were tree-trunk thick and his chest was as solid as a boulder. He wore tight T-shirts featuring soda or junk food logos that emphasized his incredible physique. Today’s was a faded green Mountain Dew shirt.
“Come on, Aiden,” Ella Mae said once she had herself under control again. “You look like the Incredible Hulk’s younger brother. You could dress in a tutu and people would still find you manly.” She gestured at his T-shirt. “At least you wore green. Your shirt probably saved you from being pinched by half a dozen bank tellers during your last delivery.”
Aiden shook his head. “Nah. They know I’m off the market. Even so, the manager gave me such a nice tip that I’ll be able to take Suzy to the Wicket tonight for green beer and pub food.”
“See? Working here has its perks,” Jenny said. She gave her brother’s shirt a tug. “You’re changing before your date with Suzy, aren’t you?”
While Jenny teased Aiden about his limited wardrobe, Ella Mae was on the verge of telling Aiden that Suzy might not be free this evening when she stopped herself. Why should she ruin her best friend’s date? She could start researching on her own and include Suzy tomorrow. One glance at Aiden’s dreamy expression told her how much he was looking forward to celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day with his girlfriend. Suzy and Aiden hadn’t been dating long, but all of Havenwood knew that Aiden Upton was completely smitten with the lovely and clever bookshop owner.
“You two are going to have a great time,” she said, feeling a mild stab of envy. She’d love to spend the evening at Havenwood’s only pub listening to Irish ballads and exchanging bawdy limericks with the locals, but she had work to do. Grabbing a ball of dough and her rolling pin, she started rolling out the crust for the chocolate pecan pie.
“I have one more delivery on the schedule,” Aiden said. “It’s not far from Partridge Hill, so should I just head home afterward?”
When Jenny and Aiden had been forced to leave Oak Knoll, a small town in Tennessee, Ella Mae had offered them temporary lodging in her mother’s large house. At the time, her mother had been trapped in the grove. After her release, she invited the siblings to stay with her at Partridge Hill as long as they wished. She told them multiple times that she enjoyed their company and would be sad to see them go, especially since Ella Mae lived on her own in the renovated guest cottage at the back of the property.
“Yes, go on home.” Ella Mae said and then glanced at Jenny. “What are your plans for tonight?”
What People are Saying About This
Praise for the Charmed Pie Shoppe Mysteries
“An original, intriguing storyline that celebrates women, family, friendship, and loyalty within an enchanted world, with a hint of romance, an engaging cast of characters and the promise of a continued saga of magical good confronting evil.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Adams permeates this unusual novel—and Ella’s pies—with a generous helping of appeal.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch
"Delicious, delightful and deadly! Full of enchanting characters in a small town setting, this Charmed Pie Shoppe mystery will leave readers longing for seconds."—Jenn McKinlay, New York Times bestselling author
“Enchanting! The Charmed Pie Shoppe has cast its spell on me! Ellery Adams brings the South to life with the LeFaye women of Havenwood.”—Krista Davis, New York Times bestselling author
“[A] savory blend of suspense, pies, and engaging characters. Foodie mystery fans will enjoy this.”—Booklist
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Dollycas’s Thoughts I finished this book and just said WOW! These books are not just cozy mysteries about a pie baking sleuth, they are magical, fantasy, cozy mysteries featuring an amazing pie baking sleuth! Ella Mae faces her biggest task yet and so many people are counting on her to come through for them. At the same time she is terribly distracted dealing with her boyfriend’s absence. When people start dying and other crimes are all seem to link to Ella Mae she knows it is up to her to set things right and protect all the people she cares about. Ellery Adams takes on a journey that will leave you breathless. Drama ensues all the way from Georgia to Scotland and many places in between. Fantasy soars in this story and escaping into is happens so easily. There are many details to catch so slow down so you catch every slice. I have said this before, this series needs to be read in order to follow the progression of the characters to be fully enjoyed. Unlike some series stories you can pick up any of them and get caught up. That is not the case with this series. You need to read these books in order. Start with Pies and Prejudice, then Peach Pies and Alibis, then Pecan Pies and Homicides and the Lemon Pies and Little White Lies. Oh yes, don’t forget the pies, the recipes are in the back of the book and the descriptions in the story will have your tummy rumbling for pie, in fact pie has become the favorite dessert in our house and we all say “there is always room for pie”. I am so anxiously awaiting for the next story in this series. I can only imagine where the author will take us next!
I read 4 books in less than a week. You will get caught up in murder, love, mystery and a bit of fantasy. Enjoyed it greatly
Reviewed for Read Your Writes Book Reviews by Kim I had several reasons for wanting to read Lemon Pies and Little White Lies. One reason was because I loved the cover. The second reason was because the word “pie” is in the title. I mean a cozy mystery about a pie baker, come on. Unfortunately, the story and I did not mix well together. But that is definitely NOT the story’s fault or Ellery Adams’ fault. The blame is squarely on me. Lemon Pies and Little White Lies is the fourth book in the Charmed Pie Shoppe Series. However, this is the first book I’ve read in the series. The books aren’t standalones, at least not this one. Events from past books are mentioned and play a role in this story. For that, I was confused most of the time, trying to figure out what I missed previously. Setting aside my confusion, I can say that I enjoyed this story. It definitely wasn’t what I expected the story to be. I expected your typical cozy mystery, where a lady owns a bake shoppe and stumbles upon a murder and insists that she can solve the crime better than the police. Lemon Pies and Little White Lies is different because it mixes the cozy mystery I was expecting with fantasy that I wasn’t expecting. The protagonist, Ella Mae LeFaye and her family and friends are magical. They each have unique powers, which I assume were discussed in previous books. This installment of the series focuses on the magical part of Havenwood, Georgia; thus adding to my confusion. Havenwood gets rocked with unexpected deaths. And the killer is leaving a calling card. Added to that mystery are several storms of unprecedented size and strength, wreaking havoc on the homeland of Ella Mae’s ancestors. Before all is said and done, alliances will be formed and Havenwood and Ella Mae will never be the same. I truly believe readers of this series will love this latest installment. The characters are funny and interesting. Ellery Adams has written an intriguingly, wonderful story that shows what family, friendship, and leadership is all about. Even while suffering a broken heart, Ella Mae puts her feelings aside in order to do what she needs to do for those who put their loyalty and trust in her. I definitely recommend reading the previous three books (Pies and Prejudice, Peach Pies and Alibis, and Pecan Pies and Homicides) before reading Lemon Pies and Little White Lies. I have no doubt that I would have enjoyed the story more if I did that myself. **Received a copy from Penguin Berkley Prime Crime for an honest and unbiased opinion.** Rating: 3.5
Fantastic installment in a series that I absolutely love. I love cozies, especially culinary cozies, this had the added benefit of magic. This is the recipe for a good book. I have a busy life, but I sadly let my children fend for themselves while I devoured the book. I read a lot of mysteries, and I'm pretty good at figuring out who the culprit is, but this book had me guessing until the end. I also have to say, this book made me very hungry. Ellery Adams describes food better than any food could ever taste. While I was reading, I constantly found myself wishing I could taste and try the delightful food. The recipes in the back look delicious and aren't too difficult for the casual cook.If you like a good series, enjoy good food, and need a little magic in your life, please pick up this book. The whole series is divine.
This is the second book of the Charmed Pie series that I have read. I enjoyed visiting my friends again in Havenwood as they prepare for the History of Baking event. It isn't bad enough that Ella Mae is busy baking pies and planning a large community event, now she has to solve a series of mysterious deaths to boot. I enjoy the book from beginning to end. Ellery did a wonderful job with her characters. They are realistic (as magical people can be), loveable and quite entertaining. If you love food, magic and a good mystery, this cozy novel should be on the top of your TRB list.
Ella Mae LeFaye, owner of the Charmed Pie Shoppe, bakes magical pies that have her customers coming back for more. She gets distracted by the fact that Hugh Dylan, the man that she loves, has gone away to find himself. After she gets herself back on track, two innocent people die and another is seriously injured. Ella Mae realizes that these horrible acts are personal and with the help of her family, friends and even strangers, she's able to right wrongs and restore people's faith in one another.
If I had to describe this book in one word, it would be "Magical". I absolutely loved it! This is book four in the Charmed Pie Shoppe mysteries, and Ella Mae sure has a lot to worry about this time-Between her boyfriend Hugh, making sure her baking competition goes smoothly, and trying to keep her family safe from an impending storm. I went through a lot of emotions reading this, happy, sad, worried, then happy again. But that just means it is a great book! And the pie descriptions! Wow, my mouth was watering from page 1. I love that the recipes are in the back. Full of great characters, a great mystery, lots of magic, and an all around great story, do not miss this book! I cannot wait until the next one, I am very anxious to see what happens
I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Ella Mae and her family and friends do not disappoint in the 4th installment of the "Charmed Pie Shoppe Mysteries." The struggle for love and doing what is right proves to be challenging for Ella Mae. Strange deaths occur and Ella Mae has to figure out who is behind these mysterious deaths and why they are doing them. Ella Mae has another male that may be vying for her love in the future (Finn Mercer, who comes to Havenwood after his mother's mysterious death and decides to make Havenwood his home) , this will be something to watch for in future installments of "A Charmed Pie Shoppe Mysteries." Ella Mae is getting use to her leadership role in their community and coordinates the first ever "History in the Baking" contest that will bring those of her kind all in one place and possibly help her defeat a very evil nemesis "Nimue." Nimue is the one behind all the destruction caused by massive storms that have wiped out groves all over the world, while Nimue is in search of a way to get all of Ella Mae's power. People Ella Mae has trusted are actually indebted to Nimue and are the ones causing the mysterious happenings in Havenwood and the murders. Ella Mae risks it all to save the ones she loves. If you are a fan of Ellery Adams then you will not be disappointed and if you never have read her works, I recommend that you do. Where else can you get a quaint little town, love, romance and mysterious happenings all in one place.
I I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I have to say that I truly enjoyed this book. Ellery Adams is a very skilled story teller and always develops her characters so the the reader can connect on many levels with them. Ella Mae LaFaye is the main character and even though she has a magical touch, Ellery has written her in a way that makes it easy to see her as just a regular person that you would love to have as a friend or neighbor. In this book Ella is facing perhaps her biggest challenge to date. She is still trying to deal with her feelings over Hugh leaving her to go search for a way to regain his powers. When she inadvertently adds too much liqueur to her St. Patrick's Day pies causing her customers to become intoxicated, she decides it is time to do something with her broken heart and all the emotions that seem to keep clouding her brain. So she locks the emotions up inside a pie and puts it in the freezer. With that done Ella Mae is starting to regain her rhythm and baking like she never had a broken heart, but all too soon tragedy strikes and she is on the hunt for a murderer. Plus freak storms with hidden symbols in them lead her and her aunts to believe a rogue witch or witches are behind these storms. Ella must find a way to stop these storms and figure out why an innocent human has been killed. A new man is also in town and he is as hot as Hugh. Just wait until you meet him in the book. The story is wonderful, the plot keeps you guessing and the ending will touch your heart and leave you wanting the next book now!
I was given a free copy of this book for an honest review. Like many of the greatest musicians out there, Ellery Adams knew just the right chords to hit to make me weep, to worry, and fall in love with each character. I fell in love with the town of Havenwood Georgia from the very first book in this series "Pies and Prejudice" and with each installment I have fell even more in love with the town and it's people. By far this is the best in this series that will have you captivated from the start! She has made a small town that anyone would love to live in or at least visit and linger. The way the town comes together to protect their own and help others not to mention solve the problems gives you hope for the world around you.
Loved this book! This is the first book I've read by Ellery Adams. Now I'm hooked! Even though this is book 4 in The Charmed Pie Shop series I thoroughly enjoyed this book and didn't feel lost at at. I was surprised by this book. Not only was it magical (literally), but also has characters that you'll be invested in. I'm going to start at bool 1 and read the whole series. I already can't wait for the next book!
Author Ellery Adams casts a magical spell with this fourth installment of her Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery series! It’s always charming to spend time with Ella Mae and her family. You never know what’s going to happen next. That sure held true for what I believe to be the best book so far in this sensational series! Things really heated up in this sweet mystery and I’m not just talking pies! With more than just one unexplained death, LEMON PIES AND LITTLE WHITE LIES had my head spinning and my heart racing as I devoured this delectable story. Trust me when I tell you, this book will not leave a sour taste, but will delight all of your senses! And don’t forget to check out the amazing pie recipes that are included!
Enchanted pies – yum! A must read! I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Lemon Pies and Little White Lies is the fourth book in the Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery series – after Pies and Prejudice, Peach Pies and Alibis, and Pecan Pies and Homicide - and the best one yet. It is the most suspenseful and exciting, and by far the darkest. Ella Mae is close to her family, is happy to be back in her home town, loves her pie shop, and has pretty much come to terms with her magical talents and enjoys using them for good. Her love life isn’t quite settled, but she has hope. The characters have been well developed through the previous books and I felt as at home with them by now as Ella Mae does. There is a lot, however, that she still doesn’t know about the magical world or what her place in it really means, and that causes her some trouble because she is such a good person and always wants to do what’s right and doesn’t yet fully understand the consequences. Not fully understanding the scope and depth of the magic community and her powers, or the history at play, leads her and those she loves into great danger. The best thing about an Ellery Adams book – any Ellery Adams book – is the basic story she tells. I get so engrossed in the lives of the characters and the everyday happenings that I am surprised when there is a murder. I always stop and say, “Right, this is a murder mystery.” It fits and makes the story even better, but Ms. Adams has been telling such a fascinating tale up to that point that I always completely forget I’m reading a mystery and not just a really good story about people (and animals!) I want to know more about. Lemon Pies and Little White Lies is no different. Ella Mae’s pies and what she does with them are wonderful. I wanted to be at the town festival; I felt happy and sad and then worried and scared for Ella Mae and the others. Read slowly when Ella Mae starts to put her plan for the community into action. There is a lot of detail – and danger - and you won’t want to miss it or any of the action. The ending of Lemon Pies and Little White Lies is completely satisfying on its own, but also leaves room for more to be told and I am looking forward to the next book in the series (I hope there is one!). You could read this book as a standalone, but I would recommend reading the first three in the series so you will fully understand Ella Mae’s path to date. And don’t forget the pies. The descriptions make your mouth water so be sure to check out the recipes at the end of the book. This is a terrific series and I highly recommend it.
Lemon Pies and Little White Lies is the fourth book in The Charmed Pie Shoppe series. I love all of Ellery Adams' books and this is another example of her excellent story telling. A very exciting story with a few surprises and a wonderful gathering of characters. Ella Mae's attention is not totally on the pie shoppe, but with her being the chairwoman of the Havenwood's Founder Day that's just around the corner, she needs to try put the fact that Hugh Dylan is off trying to regain his powers. A part of Havenwood Founders Day celebration, will the gathering of magical people to work together to break an age old curse. With being acknowledged as the Clover Queen, it will be Ella Mae's responsibility to make this happen. As the final touches are being done on the celebration, a powerful storm has developed over the Atlantic and is headed for Scotland, and Ella Mae and her mom and aunts notice that the radar of the storm show a cloud formation in the shape of cloverleaf, they fear that Nimue, another magic person that claims to be the Clover Queen and who is a water element, is responsible for this potentially devastating storm. Ella Mae decides to visit with Mrs. Drever, who daughter lives in Scotland, to see if she has heard from her daughter. But, arriving at Mrs. Drever home she and her best friend, Reba, find that she is not there and discover the body of Joyce Mercer in the bathtub, dead. In time they also find the drawing of cloverleaf and are sure that Nimue had a hand in her death. Soon Ella Mae's Aunt Dee is trapped in her barn that has been set afire by someone unknown. Fortunately Ella Mae was able to get to her aunt before the fire consumed both the barn and Aunt Dee. With the help of her mother and aunts, along with Reba, Suzy, Jenny and Aiden Upton they set out to find the killer of Joyce Mercer and gather support of the magic people who are in town, in hopes of bringing Nimue under control. Another wonderfully told story with a great group of characters and Chewy, too. Definitely looking forward to the next book in this exciting series.
The power of love is a magic of its own. I’m a huge fan of Cozy Mysteries, and Lemon Pies & Little White Lies combines two of my favorite things: it’s a Cozy and it has magic. Oh, well, and PIE. This is actually the first book in Ellery Adams’ Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery series I’ve read, but only because I’m behind on my TBR list. But I had the opportunity to receive the book in exchange for an honest review so I jumped at the chance to read it. And I loved it. I’ve already ordered the others in the series so I can catch up. Ella Mae LeFaye runs the Charmed Pie Shoppe in a small town in Georgia, and she is also the leader of the magical community that exists among the regular folk. Mysterious deaths begin happening, so besides running her shop, coordinating the big food festival, and wondering where her boyfriend has disappeared to, she now has to discover who the murderer is, and why the clues left at each scene are suspiciously personal. This book really took me by surprise. The author has woven in a very important message: the power of love. I read Cozies because I enjoy the escape, so to have such a message woven in was delightful, and I found that my emotions were involved as I read. The characters in the book have formed a strong community not just in the town, but in their relationships. When one is in trouble, they all come forward to help each other. So love for each other, love for the town, love for what they stand for, and the message that love can overcome even the worst circumstances. I can’t say more without giving away the ending, so you’ll have to read it for yourselves. Bravo, Ms. Adams, for creating a truly wonderful book!
This is the newest installment of The Charmed Pie Shoppe series, and it serves up generous helpings of murder, mystery, and magic! The detail is captivating in it's mouth-watering descriptions of both pies and attractive men. By the end of the book, you'll find yourself hungry for a fiercely passionate man or for some pie, maybe a little of both, or maybe some pie ON your man! Okay, so that last wish isn't actually part of the book, but it really does make you want to eat some pie! The author has been helpful enough to include several of the delectable recipes at the end of the book, so don't forget to check those out. As for the story- it's one bred from both modern and medieval times, that seizes the imagination and causes the reader to eagerly anticipate what will come next. It has been a long time since I have read a book that caused me to shed a few tears, but the author has a way of evoking feelings from the reader, and you're helplessly drawn in to the perils and heartaches of the characters. There is a twist at the end that feels like it could be a wonderful conclusion to the series, but with a new book coming out next year, you'll be left eagerly anticipating how the main character's fate could possibly change more than it already has. Please start at the beginning of this series to truly appreciate how in-depth the story and characters go, and know that once you start on this newest installment, you won't be able to put it down.
Watches from a tree
"Sure why not beats standing around"