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Some Enchanted Eclair: A Magical Bakery Mystery
     

Some Enchanted Eclair: A Magical Bakery Mystery

4.5 16
by Bailey Cates
 

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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.

Overview

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….

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for Bailey Cates and the Magical Bakery mysteries...

“Cates is a smooth, accomplished writer who combines a compelling plot with a cast of interesting characters that are diverse and engaging without falling into simplistic stereotypes…a charming addition to the food-based cozy mystery repertoire, while the story’s magical elements bring a fun, intriguing dimension to the genre.”—Kirkus Reviews
 
“Cates delivers a tale of magic and mayhem….The mystery plot will have readers guessing ‘whodunit’ all the way to the very end…a great read.”—RT Book Reviews
 
“Katie is a charming amateur sleuth, baking her way through murder and magic set against the enchanting backdrop of Savannah, Georgia. With an intriguing plot and an amusing cast of characters, Brownies and Broomsticks is an attention-grabbing read that I couldn’t put down.”—New York Times bestselling author Jenn McKinlay
 
“Let Cates cast her spell over you with this charming debut series entry that brings in the paranormal but never forgets the warmth that cozy readers often request.”—Library Journal
 
“With a top-notch whodunit, a dark magic investigator working undercover, and a simmering romance in the early stages, fans will relish this tale.”—Gumshoe

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780451467416
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/01/2014
Series:
Magical Bakery Series , #4
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
243,754
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

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. Instantly I felt a zing! of spicy energy—sexy and definitely high-voltage. His eyebrow twitched up, though his face remained impassive. Had I reacted somehow?

“Katie Lightfoot,” I said, letting go of his grip. “Welcome to the Honeybee Bakery, Mr. Knapp. And to Savannah in general. This is my aunt, Lucy Eagel.”

“Call me Simon.” No standing on ceremony and all business. His urge to hurry, hurry, hurry rolled off him in waves. He reached across the corner of the coffee counter to grasp my aunt’s hand. “And you ladies own this fine establishment, I’m told.”

“Along with my husband, Ben, yes,” Lucy said.

Simon snapped his fingers. “Ben Eagel. I hired him to head up the security teams on the set.”

Lucy looked pleased. “That’s right.”

Simon leaned forward, first looking deeply into Lucy’s eyes and then boring into mine. Flecks of olive green brightened his brown irises. “Well, I need help, desperately need help, and Mimsey here says you are exactly the ones to come to.”

Alarm tingled along my neck as I remembered the other times Mimsey had decided I could help someone. “Is . . . is somebody . . . ,” I stuttered.

Mimsey put her hand on my arm and spoke quickly. “It’s a catering job, Katie.”

My knees almost buckled with relief. “Oh!” I laughed. “Oh, that might be doable.” Lucy and I exchanged glances. The first—and last—time we’d taken on a catering job, it hadn’t ended well. “What kind of event?” I asked Simon. “How many people are we talking about? And when would you need us?”

He grinned widely. “Excellent. Lunch. Twenty to thirty people. Now.”

Chapter 2

“Now?” I squeaked. Beside me, Lucy’s sudden intake of breath mirrored my surprise.

“Yep,” Simon said with what I felt was inappropriate cheerfulness. “The caterer I hired to feed the crew during working hours has shown up late three times now, and frankly, the food was not at all what I’d been led to expect. So I fired him this morning.”

“And now everyone will be looking for a nice lunch to get them through the afternoon,” Mimsey said.

“Maybe Mr. Knapp should have thought of that before firing his caterer,” I muttered.

“Katie,” Lucy admonished.

But Simon Knapp laughed. “Believe me, I could simply go to a market and raid the deli. In fact, that was my plan until Mimsey here stepped in and volunteered your services.”

“Mimsey!” Lucy and I said at the same time. “We don’t serve lunch per se at the Honeybee,” I went on. “Only a few breakfast items.”

Simon waved at the menu. “Oh, please. Just look at the éclairs. Herbed goat cheese with sun-dried tomatoes? Passion-fruit custard with raspberry glaze? That’s evidence of serious culinary chops. I bet you two could throw something together for my people in no time.”

I distributed a helpless look between Simon and Lucy.

“Please?” Simon smiled at me, and even though I knew perfectly well I was being manipulated, I began to run through possible lunch options for a crowd of thirty. “As they say, money is no object,” he said.

That’s when I saw Mimsey’s happy expression and realized she wasn’t doing this for Simon Knapp or the strangers in town filming Love in Revolution. She had just drummed up a nice piece of business for the Honeybee.

“Lucy,” I said. “We’ll raid our stores for the rest of the week, but I think we can come up with something for Simon and his friends that will be far better than cold cuts and hours-old potato salad.”

She nodded slowly. “We have several loaves of freshly baked sourdough. That’s a start for some sandwiches. And we can use some of the garden produce you brought this morning, Katie.” She referred to the basket of greens and vegetables from my overflowing home garden, all of which I’d harvested that morning for her and Ben.

But I was okay with it if she was. “Sounds good,” I said.

She hastened into the kitchen, calling over her shoulder, “Let me see what we have in the fridge.”

I looked around the bakery. It was late morning, typically a time when the customers thinned before lunchtime. I’d never been so thankful for a lull in business since the Honeybee opened. “Mimsey, can you handle the register?”

“With great aplomb, sugar.”

*
• *

Half an hour later, Lucy and I had gathered enough food for a small army. We used six of the large sourdough loaves to make thick, pressed, picnic-style sandwiches. Two loaves were made into classic BLTs, one augmented with creamy mashed avocado. We figured on at least a few vegetarians, so we packed two loaves with sprouts, heirloom tomatoes, fragrant basil leaves, shredded red peppers, cucumbers, Greek olives, and a generous crumbling of marinated feta cheese. Another loaf contained smoked salmon and cream cheese with onions, capers, and lemon zest, and the last was a club-style combo of ham, turkey, and slow-roasted tomatoes slathered with herbed mayonnaise and topped with tender butter lettuce.

It did drain our supplies, but a few calls to our local suppliers and a trip to the wholesale market would quickly restock the Honeybee larder.

Lucy had created a superfresh salad from some of items I’d picked from my garden that morning, while I’d tossed a medley of fresh raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries with a sweet balsamic glaze. We gathered it all together and presented lunch à la Honeybee to Simon Knapp.

He’d been talking on his phone a mile a minute the whole time we were working in the kitchen but had also somehow sipped his way through a quadruple latte—as if he needed more caffeine. Still, for all I knew, that was what kept him going at the breakneck pace that appeared to be normal for him. He’d also downed a passion-fruit éclair so fast I wondered if he’d even tasted it.

Eyeing our offerings as we piled them on the table nearby, he ended his call and stood. A slow grin spread over his face as he nodded his approval. “Perfect. And none of the gooey grits or fried stuff that other caterer seemed so fond of. Heart attack waiting to happen.”

Also classic Southern fare any caterer in Savannah would have in his or her repertoire, I thought, wondering whether Simon had suggested to his caterer that lighter dishes might be more appropriate for the fancy folk watching their waistlines. He seemed to make lightning-fast decisions. Had he even given the original caterer a chance?

“Do you mind my asking who you hired—and then fired?” I asked as I loaded up a variety of scones, cookies, éclairs, and rhubarb mini-pies for dessert or afternoon snacking. Lucy carried out two gallon jugs of minted sweet tea and set them next to our big drink dispenser.

“Bonner Catering,” Simon volunteered easily. “Not up to my standards.”

I hadn’t run across the name before and wondered if it was a new catering company. I hoped the emergency Honeybee luncheon met with general satisfaction since it was evident that getting on Simon’s bad side could be bad for business—no matter how much he was about to pay us.

Speaking of which. I told him the total, to which I’d added a significant “rush” fee. Lucy looked at me in surprise, but he handed me a credit card with hardly a glance and began toting the food out to Mimsey’s car. She threw an approving smile at me over her shoulder as she opened the door for him.

“Here,” I said when he returned for the sweet tea. “Take this and keep it on ice.” I handed him a chilled whole watermelon I’d picked up at the market for myself the day before. “It’ll be welcome later in the afternoon when it gets hotter.”

Simon assured us they had plenty of paper plates, flatware, plastic cups, and the like. Lucy added serving spoons, a pile of napkins, a couple garbage bags, and a knife for the watermelon. “Let us know if you need anything else,” she said.

“This is great. I’ll have my assistant bring back the drink dispenser and utensils.” He hefted the watermelon and gently took a heavy jug of tea away from Mimsey. “My dear, please let me get this.”

Apparently, Simon wasn’t entirely devoid of manners.

At the door, he paused. “I don’t suppose you’d consider serving all our lunches, would you? We’ll only be filming in the area for another week.”

I looked at my aunt. It would be difficult to add so much to our workload, but it would also mean a significant chunk of cash.

“We can do it again tomorrow,” I said. Lucy’s chin dipped in agreement. “But we’ll have to talk about doing more than that and get back to you.”

“Sounds good,” he said. “Stop by the set if you’ve a mind. I’ll make sure you can get in.”

I thanked him, and he and Mimsey left to feed the crew.

*
• *

Books crowded floor-to-ceiling bookshelves at the far end of the bakery we’d designated as an eclectic mini library. Honeybee patrons donated or took reading material at will, so the titles were constantly changing. Each weekend a few members of the spellbook club brought in items they had a feeling someone might want during the coming week. Call it magic or intuition—they were often the same thing, I’d found—but the ladies were usually right.

Standing behind the register, I held the phone to one ear and watched Lucy return a few volumes to the shelf, fluff the cushions on the poufy brocade sofa, and move the jewel-toned chairs back to their original positions beside the low coffee table. I concluded my call with our local pork supplier and hung up. Glancing at the clock, I saw it was a bit after one.

Lucy gave the coffee table a swipe with a damp towel, nodded to a couple of our regulars on her way to the espresso counter, and began wiping that down, too.

“We’re set,” I said. “At least for the extra delivery of bacon, ham, and sausage.”

She nodded, thoughtful. “I guess we should talk about whether we can pull off a week-long catering job without your uncle’s help.”

“I think we can. We’ll have to brainstorm menus, of course, but I ordered extra of everything, just in case.”

The bell over the door chimed, and Mimsey entered the bakery for the second time that day.

I came out from behind the counter and gave her a hug. “Thanks for suggesting us to Mr. Knapp.”

“You saved the day, darlin’.” She grinned. “Between the Honeybee, my flower shop, and Bianca’s wineshop, this movie has sure been good for business.”

“Except for Bonner Catering,” Lucy said. “Are you familiar with them?”

Mimsey waved her hand. “Never heard of them until yesterday, when Simon fired Robin Bonner in front of everybody.”

I winced.

“He’d shown up late for the third day in a row. Honey, your food is much better, believe me.”

“Do you have time to stick around here for a little while?” I asked.

Mimsey cocked her head at the petite gold watch on her wrist. “I was on my way to the shop to confirm an order of gerbera daisies for a wedding we’re doing this weekend, but I could simply call instead. Why?”

“That spread for all those film stars wiped out our stores, and one of us needs to make a run to restock. It’s been busy today, and I don’t want to leave Lucy alone to handle all the customers.”

“Of course,” the older witch said. “I can stay for an hour and a half or so.”

Quickly, I untied the strings of my apron. “I’ll hurry. Lucy, let’s talk later about menus, but in the meantime, what do you think about a kabob lunch for tomorrow? Something along the lines of chicken satay skewers with peanut sauce, shrimp cocktail skewers, rare beef and bleu cheese kabobs marinated in vinaigrette, and then a few others that are more saladlike. I’m imagining Caprese with those little balls of mozzarella—ciliegine, right?—and yellow pear tomatoes and basil from my garden. Another simple option would be three kinds of melon balls, and finally a vinegary potato salad with and without chunks of ham. All would be fine at room temperature. We could even string pieces of firm tofu soaked in chili sauce on skewers.”

Lucy clapped her hands. “Lunch on a stick! Easy and fun and delicious. Yes. Perfect. Throw in some salted edamame and we’re golden.”

Mimsey shook her head. “You know you could make the Honeybee into a full-fledged restaurant, don’t you?”

“Nuh-uh, no way. I love baking too much,” I said. “This is just an exception.”

She shrugged. “Suit yourself.”

*
• *

“Man, am I ever tired,” I murmured to Mungo later that afternoon. I was in the office after restocking the kitchen and whirling through the prep work for the next day’s baking and the additional catering on top of that. “I could really use a run.”

“You and Declan are still coming over for supper, aren’t you?” Lucy asked from the doorway.

I stifled a yawn. “Yep, that’s the plan. He’ll come home with Ben after they’re done with their shift.”

She examined my face. “Do you have your running clothes with you?”

I nodded. “In my car.” I’d been taking Mungo for runs at the Savannah Wildlife Refuge or down to Forsythe Park and back after work a few days a week. They weren’t long runs—but long enough for a sedentary Cairn terrier to get some exercise and a welcome addition to the longer runs I often enjoyed in the early mornings.

“Well, go ahead, then.” She looked at her watch. “We close in twenty minutes, and I can shut everything down by myself. No worries.”

I hesitated. Even a short run would energize me for the evening. “Are you sure?”

She waved her hand in the air. “Of course, sweetie. Go.”

“Deal.” I looked down at Mungo. “Ready?”

He turned around once on his chair, lay down, and squeezed his eyes shut.

“Lazy,” I muttered and saw one eye squint open at me as I turned to go out to get my clothes. I retrieved shorts, sports bra, tank, and trail runners from the backseat of my Volkswagen Beetle and changed in the restroom of the Honeybee. I rousted Mungo, slipped on his collar and leash, and was soon stretching in the alley. Five minutes later, I took off toward Habersham Street at a slow jog.

Uncle Ben was a bit of a movie buff, which was part of why he’d been so interested in working on the set of Love in Revolution. He’d told me more than sixty films had been made in Savannah, many of them historical but not all. One reason was the beautiful architecture and the careful preservation of so many antebellum buildings. Then there were the downtown squares designed by Savannah’s founder, James Oglethorpe, and the beauty of the old riverfront with its tabby sidewalks. River Street and the walkways down to it still boasted the worn cobblestones that had served as ballast for nineteenth-century European ships in the market for cotton and rice.

Love in Revolution was also a period piece, but unlike so many other films of the old South, it revolved around the Revolutionary War rather than the Civil War. Uncle Ben had told me it was the story of twin brothers who fall in love with twin sisters and the ensuing hilarity of confused identities during wartime. A loose takeoff of The Comedy of Errors set against the Revolutionary War. Althea Cole, as well known for her partying as for her acting ability, would play both of the sisters, but from what I’d gathered, the actor who was playing the twin brothers was not nearly as famous. The result would have to be either pure genius or utter drivel. Time, and the critics, would tell, I supposed.

At Warren Square, we turned right on Congress and immediately had to dodge around a trio of women hogging the sidewalk. By then I’d found my rhythm, far slower than I typically ran in the cool, four a.m. mornings before heading to the Honeybee around five, but fine for my panting canine companion on an afternoon that had climbed to the mideighties. A rain squall had passed through the night before, leaving behind an inevitable mugginess. I reminded myself that now that I lived in the South, I no longer sweated like a pig when I ran—I glowed like a belle. Whatever you called it, I relished the feel of my muscles moving under my skin, propelling me around the corner onto Houston. Running was one of the things that made me feel the most gloriously human.

I paused on the curb, checked traffic, and continued across Bay to Emmet Park. As I worked my way down toward the water, I reflected that one of the other things that made me feel downright grateful to be alive was practicing magic. Was that strange?

Who cared? Not me. I’d take happy any way it wanted to present itself.

I glanced down at Mungo to check on how he was doing in the heat. He grinned up at me, tongue lolling and little legs churning like the dickens, his previous laziness forgotten. I thought of all the times I’d had to chivy myself into exercising only to be really glad I had.

We veered to the middle of River Street. There were no cars to worry about, but plenty of visitors to fair Savannah who sauntered in front of bric-a-brac shops tempting them with T-shirts, coffee cups, crab crackers, and other assorted souvenirs. The old, rounded bricks could turn an ankle in no time, so I slowed to an even easier jog and kept an eye out where I was stepping.

Two older men stood outside Joe’s Crab Shack, lifting their go-cups of beer in salutation as we went by. I smiled and waved but didn’t pause. The smell of taco filling, jalapeños, and limes made my mouth water as I passed One-Eyed Lizzy’s and headed for the section of the street that threaded under the Hyatt Regency Hotel. When we ran beneath the tall concrete building that arched over the street, the temperature dropped five degrees.

Tantalizing, come-on-in-and-have-a-bite aromas or not, Lucy was making her Low Country pulled pork for supper, and I had no intention of spoiling my appetite. She started with a mustard rub on a massive shoulder roast and then cooked it slow and low for ten hours. That morning, before the Honeybee had opened, I’d baked up a small batch of soft sandwich buns. We’d slather them with more spicy mustard and load them up with the succulent pork shreds and some of Mimsey’s homemade bread-and-butter pickles.

Yum. We still had a cabbage and some carrots from my garden after making the movie crew’s lunch, so I could make up some spicy coleslaw to serve with—or on—the sandwiches once I got to Ben and Lucy’s. It would be a simple but scrumptious feast.

At Whittaker Street I made my way back up to Bay from the riverfront. I increased my speed and we soon came to Broughton. Instead of turning toward my waiting car, however, I continued down and turned left onto Congress. A line of hungry tourists stretched out of the doorway of The Lady & Sons restaurant even this early on a Monday evening.

Reynolds Square came into sight, and I saw what Mrs. Standish had meant about the street—and the square itself. Mungo and I slowed to a walk, taking in the barricades and the asphalt road covered with dirt and straw and groomed to look like a lane might in the 1700s. The statue of John Wesley preaching to the masses in the middle of the square was completely covered by a large blue-green tarp.

Fifty feet away, a boom truck loomed behind an abandoned carriage. The sleek horse harnessed to the carriage turned to survey our approach with a steady brown gaze. Another horse stood in a makeshift paddock in one corner of the square. The sun glinted off two Airstream trailers snugged up to the curb on Bryan Street, and a row of RVs lined up behind them. The chug of an electrical generator sounded from that direction. Air-conditioning for the stars? Or power for the numerous cables that snaked along the ground? Probably both. A half dozen white canvas tents and canopies circled together in the middle of the square, and several of Mrs. Standish’s “looky-loos” milled beyond the roped-off boundary of the set. As I watched, a trio of men in crimson British uniforms sauntered toward the crowd and began talking with them.

Motion in my peripheral vision drew my attention as Declan McCarthy rounded one of the Airstreams. He wore jeans and a T-shirt emblazoned with A. DENDUM PRODUCTIONS: SECURITY. His sharp, assessing gaze swept over the onlookers then mellowed with affection when he saw me.

Declan McCarthy: native Savannahian of Irish extraction, the broad planes of his face softened by a kind, blue-eyed gaze. A gardening, cooking tough guy with a heart of honey and the brawn of a seasoned firefighter. My handsome man.

Any lingering weariness forgotten, I ducked under the rope and headed toward him. Mungo pulled at his leash, anxious to greet one of his favorite people.

“Hey!” shouted one of the onlookers, a cranky-looking woman with a big camera slung around her neck. “You’re supposed to stay out here. Those security guys are real strict.”

I waved. “It’s okay. I’m the caterer.” I stifled a grin and reminded myself not to get cocky.

Reaching the security guy in question, I slid my arm around his waist as he bent for a quick hello kiss. All the tensions of the day evaporated at his touch. We’d gone through a difficult time recently, but our relationship since then felt like it was solidifying into something even better than it had been before.

“Hey, darlin’” he drawled and bent down to scratch behind Mungo’s ears. My familiar wagged his tail so hard I thought his back end might leave the ground altogether.

“Hey, yourself,” I said in amusement.

Declan stood. “Simon said you might be stopping by. Thanks for the grub, by the way. Good stuff.”

We began strolling toward the cluster of tents. “You’re only slightly biased,” I said.

A high shriek tore the air, winging through the leaves of the live oaks and seeming to snag in the Spanish moss before fading away. My breath caught, and my steps faltered. Behind us the crowd erupted into conversation.

“What was that?” gasped the woman who had chastised me for crossing into the square.

Declan said casually over his shoulder, “It’s a movie set, folks. Relax. They’re just filming a scene.” But he walked faster, and I didn’t like the look on his face.

“Deck, that wasn’t acting, was it?”

“I don’t know.” He sounded worried. “But I’d like to make sure.”

Mungo growled.

No . . . no, no, no . . .

My uncle Ben came barreling out from between two of the temporary structures, his cell phone clutched in his hand. “That’s right, Reynolds Square. Where they’re filming.” His brown eyes searched the area. “Please hurry.” He spotted me with Declan, and his forehead wrinkled.

I approached and put my hand on his arm. Listening to the other party, he squeezed my fingers, too distracted to see the question in my eyes. Declan frowned for a split second, then took off at a run. I left my uncle to his phone call and followed close behind him.

So close that he almost knocked me over when he suddenly stopped and spun on his heel. “Katie. You need to go.” He took a step to the side, blocking my view. His voice was calm, soothing. I knew that voice. It was his emergency voice.

“What? Why?” I leaned to one side and saw a plate of leftover pastries on the corner of the table. Only two were left. I would have been pleased at their apparent popularity if my boyfriend hadn’t been radiating quiet anxiety. Deep down I knew something was wrong, horribly wrong, but my mind wasn’t ready to go there yet.

I jumped when a deep male voice behind Declan let loose with a string of extremely creative swearwords. They were followed by the sound of a woman loudly weeping.

Warning Klaxons rang in my head. “Come on, Deck. Seriously.” I gave him a not-so-playful push.

I must have caught him off guard, because, big as he was compared to me, he stepped aside awkwardly to regain his footing. That gave me a chance to take a split-second mental snapshot:

Six open tents around a long table under a shade canopy. Lunch remnants on the table shoved to one side. Bowl of watermelon slices. Five bottles of wine, cheese knife, pile of napkins. A sharp-eyed man with a smoothly shaved head, who looked like Yul Brynner in The King and I, still muttering oaths. The dark-haired man next to him was wide-eyed and pale beneath his five-o’clock shadow. A muscular woman with spiked white-blond hair and a silver eyebrow ring stood next to the very recognizable Althea Cole. The star wore a period costume and wept copiously onto the T-shirted shoulder of a man who held his arms protectively around her.

Instantly, I recognized his smooth, honey-colored ponytail, the curve of the lips as he murmured words of comfort. This was no movie scene. Steve Dawes was a columnist for the Savannah Morning News, a member of one of the oldest druidic clans in the South, and not so long ago had been Declan’s rival for my affection.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Praise for Bailey Cates and the Magical Bakery mysteries...

“Cates is a smooth, accomplished writer who combines a compelling plot with a cast of interesting characters that are diverse and engaging without falling into simplistic stereotypes…a charming addition to the food-based cozy mystery repertoire, while the story’s magical elements bring a fun, intriguing dimension to the genre.”—Kirkus Reviews
 
“Cates delivers a tale of magic and mayhem….The mystery plot will have readers guessing ‘whodunit’ all the way to the very end…a great read.”—RT Book Reviews
 
“Katie is a charming amateur sleuth, baking her way through murder and magic set against the enchanting backdrop of Savannah, Georgia. With an intriguing plot and an amusing cast of characters, Brownies and Broomsticks is an attention-grabbing read that I couldn’t put down.”—New York Times bestselling author Jenn McKinlay
 
“Let Cates cast her spell over you with this charming debut series entry that brings in the paranormal but never forgets the warmth that cozy readers often request.”—Library Journal
 
“With a top-notch whodunit, a dark magic investigator working undercover, and a simmering romance in the early stages, fans will relish this tale.”—Gumshoe

Meet 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.

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Some Enchanted Eclair: A Magical Bakery Mystery 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
chefdt More than 1 year ago
Some Enchanted Éclair is the fourth book in the A Magical Bakery Mystery. Business is good at the Honeybee Bakery, but Katie and Aunt Lucy miss have Uncle Ben around to help out in the shop. A. Dendum Production are in Savannah to film a romantic comedy set during the Revolutionary War and Ben and Declan, Katie's boyfriend, have been hired to provide security at the movies set. One day Mimsey Carmichael, a member of the Spellbound Club at The Honeybee, brings in Simon Knapp, who is the production coordinator on the movie set, Knapp is in a bind as he has fired Bonner Catering and would like to have The Honeybee to provide the lunches while they are in town, Katie reluctantly agrees. The next day as she is delivering the food and looking for Knapp she hears a loud scream. Katie Declan head in the direction the scream came from and soon find Knapp, dead with a knife in his back and the knife is one from The Honeybee. While Katie is waiting to be interviewed by Detective Quinn, Ursula Banford, an assistant and psychic to the leading lady Althea, introduces herself and mentions that Katie will be the one to bring the murderer to justice. Soon Ursula suggests the they hold a seance and try and connect with Knapp. Not too many of the crew are willing to participate, but Katie's Spellbound Club comes through. Failing at that Katie's starts her own little investigation and soon find several possible suspects. Not all of the characters from the previous books are back. But those that are provide a nice light hearted touch to the story. But that cute little terrier Mungo, Katie's familiar, is back with his fireflies, and trying to keep his human safe. I really like this series as the author puts just the right amount of information of witchcraft to leave the story believable for me. Delicious sounding recipes are also included. Looking forward to the next book in the series.
ts14no1fan More than 1 year ago
I have read all the books in this series and really like them. It is a fun, creative mystery series. The witchcraft is not scary or evil, it is fun and light-hearted. It is a great easy read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The 4th in this series, and I highly recommend it. The ending was a complete surprise. You get to know the characters, and care about them.
TessT More than 1 year ago
Some Enchanted Eclair has definitely enchanted me, as do the other books in this series.  The Honeybee Bakery isn't the only thing in town that is buzzing. A movie company has come to town and Uncle Ben and Declan have been hired as security. The death of the production co-coordinator throws not only the movie, but the whole town in a whirl. As Katie is drawn into the investigation things grow stranger and stranger. Movie set, catering job, loss of catering job, death of Simon, seance with people from the movie, what could possibly occur next? Another fast read from Bailey Cates, take it to the beach, or your deck like I did, it really doesn't matter where you read it, just please read it! FTC Full Disclosure - A copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.
Kuzlin More than 1 year ago
A movie crew is filming in town, and when one of the management team, Simon, comes into the Honeybee Bakery, he asks Katie and Aunt Lucy to cater lunch for the crew, explaining that he had to fire the regular caterer that morning. Although catering is something they normally don't do, they accept his offer and quickly put together a tasteful lunch for Simon to take back. Katie goes to the set later to collect their dishes and also to visit Uncle Ben and Declan, who are temporarily working as security. Heading over to the lunch tent, she hears a scream and when she gets to the source, she is shocked to see Simon's dead body lying on the ground with a knife sticking out of his back. It appears that Katie's light witch talents are at work again, and it will be up to her, with the help of her friends, to unravel this mystery and find the murderer. This is a delightful series filled with interesting and quirky characters. I enjoy the continued character development with each succeeding book and am looking forward to the next adventure.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The fourth in the series, this was a very enjoyable read. By the ending, I'm sure there will be another. I hope it's soon!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mystery and bakers go well together. Who knew?
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked the story somewhat but the plots seem to all be so similar that they are gettig stale. I am bothered that Katie is constantly taking off work to "investigate." People who own a business simply can't do that. She comes across as being a bit of a loafer who takes advantage of her frends. It is off-puttting. Stephanie Clanahan
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can not wait to read next book in this series!!! Great reading!
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