Read Bun for Your Life Online

Authors: Karoline Barrett

Bun for Your Life

BOOK: Bun for Your Life
10.1Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Bun For Your Life

Karoline Barrett

InterMix Books, New York




An InterMix Book / published by arrangement with the author

Copyright © 2015 by Karoline Barrett.

Penguin supports copyright. Copyright fuels creativity, encourages diverse voices, promotes free speech, and creates a vibrant culture. Thank you for buying an authorized edition of this book and for complying with copyright laws by not reproducing, scanning, or distributing any part of it in any form without permission. You are supporting writers and allowing Penguin to continue to publish books for every reader.

INTERMIX and the “IM” design are trademarks of Penguin Random House LLC.

For more information about The Berkley Publishing Group, visit

eBook ISBN: 978-0-698-40796-1


InterMix eBook edition / November 2015

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Penguin Random House is committed to publishing works of quality and integrity. In that spirit, we are proud to offer this book to our readers; however, the story, the experiences, and the words are the author's alone.


This book is dedicated to Rose Marie Heusler Barrett and Dorothy Amelia Heusler Chambers.

Chapter One

“Did you hear what I said?”

I turned my attention to my ex-husband. “No.” I leaned across the table we were sharing at Daphne's Trattoria, careful not to get eggplant parmigiana all over my new hot pink cashmere sweater. I dropped my voice to a whisper. “I'm trying to figure out what Calista and Trey are talking about. Can you believe they're dating?”

“Molly, right now I don't care if Justin Bieber is dating Madonna.”

Neither did I. I was more interested in the aforementioned couple four tables away. I cut my eyes back in their direction. Calista Danforth-Brody and Trey Hamilton were well known to the residents of Destiny, New York, because their families have feuded over orchard land for a couple of centuries. Them dating would be bizarre, to put it lightly. They don't get along. At all. Ever. They're like the Hatfields and McCoys, or rival mafia families—minus the killings, of course. They're genetically predisposed to dislike each other.

But there they sat, Trey actually in a suit and tie and Calista in a stunning navy blue dress, which I was pretty sure didn't come off the rack at Plum's Dress Shop in downtown Destiny. They were staring into each other's eyes like two teenagers in love. In reality, they're both six years into AARP membership. I wasn't the only one in the restaurant gawking at, and whispering about, them. Destiny is a small town, so everyone is interested in what everyone else is doing. Especially when it's Calista and Trey. The happy couple seemed oblivious to the interest they were generating.

I twirled my spaghetti around my fork while I pondered whether Trey's interest in Calista might have something to do with the new apple variety coming out of Danforth Orchards. I doubted if he could convince Calista to merge her orchard with his, if that was his goal. Unless he planned on marrying her. Wouldn't they be a pair from God, as my great-grandmother used to say.

“Can you at least try to focus?”

Brian's voice, louder this time, forced me to shelve my curiosity about Calista and Trey for the time being. “I'm sorry. What were you saying?”

“I said I asked you to dinner for a reason.”

It wasn't unusual for Brian and me to get together maybe three or four times a year. We were one of those friendly divorced couples who still talked to each other. I'd known him since grade school, after all, but tonight's invitation came out of the blue. Plus, he seemed distracted. Very un-Brian-like. “I'll pay attention, I promise. Go ahead.”

“Our living arrangement. I hate asking, but would you mind moving out?”

Now he had my attention. Besides being my dark-haired, blue-eyed, handsome ex-husband, Brian Addair, owner of the Addair Funeral Home, is also my landlord. I used to rent a beautiful cottage on the Destiny Lake shore. A year ago, the owner died. His kids decided to sell, but I couldn't afford to buy it. Being on the lake, it sold before the FOR SALE sign's
spindly wire legs were planted firmly in the ground.

I was scrambling to find a place to move when Brian offered me the apartment over the garage at the funeral home. It was cozy, the perfect size, and, most important, the right price.

“Move out?” I repeated. I hadn't seen this coming. “Why? Since when isn't it working?”

“Lola doesn't like that your apartment is only feet from my bedroom. She thinks you have an ulterior motive; that you're living there because you want me back.”

My stomach did a free fall as my yearning for spumoni vanished, and believe me, the spumoni at Daphne's is pure bliss on a little round plate. Lola Lipinski is Brian's significant other. She'd moved to town about a year earlier and opened up a combination flower shop, tanning salon, and yoga studio named appropriately, although unimaginatively, Lola's. She and Brian had begun seeing each other almost as soon as she came to town.

The flowers are the only things in her shop that interest me, but the combination works for her. I reluctantly abandoned my spaghetti. “Ulterior motive? I don't have any motives, ulterior or otherwise. Nothing's going on between us.”

“You don't have to tell me that. She's a little insecure, that's all.”

“So why doesn't she move in with you?”

He took a rather large drink of his wine. “I'm good with things the way they are for now. She has her place. I have mine. That may change soon, but not right now.”

“If you're letting her kick me out, then your relationship must be serious.”

He played with his fork and gave the tablecloth serious contemplation. Cream damask, in case you're interested. He looked back up at me. “Maybe. I know you think she's stupid, but she's not. She reads tons of books, she's a caring person, and her business is very successful. She's been through a lot in her life. She's sweet, and crazy about me. I want to make her happy.”

One could read a lot of books, be caring and successful, yet still be stupid, but I refrained from pointing that out. It would be nitpicky of me to do so. I'd have to take his word about Lola's sweetness. She wasn't crazy about me, obviously.

“I'll owe you one if you try to understand. She feels . . . she feels . . .”

“Threatened because you and I are still close?” I finished for him. “For the record, I do not think she's stupid, Bri.” Flaky, maybe. She's into crystals, wind chimes, weird kinds of yoga, and meditation. She probably carries tarot cards in her purse. I suppose she's pretty if you liked harsh platinum blondes with tattoos. Okay, her hair's natural, and it's one little discreet tattoo on her ankle of a flower. She wore enough perfume to choke a horse—that I am not exaggerating. Someone should really tell her less is more, but she probably wouldn't hug me and declare us BFFs forever if I clued her in.

“Not that it's my business, but she doesn't look like your type,” I continued. “She doesn't look . . . I don't know . . . funereal.”

His lips curved into an amused half smile, deepening the dimples that bracketed his mouth. “‘Funereal'? You do know that means melancholy and depressing?”

This whole conversation was making me funereal. “I mean, she doesn't look . . . I don't know . . . proper, or whatever. Forget it. If you're happy, then that's all that matters.”

He reached over and covered my hand with his. “I'm very happy. Don't worry. I'll find you a place. We'll look tomorrow.”

I withdrew my hand. The last thing I wanted was him feeling sorry for me. “I'll find my own place, thank you very much. Give me a couple of weeks. So who's going to move in after I'm gone?”

“Take your time.” He sat back, noticeably more relaxed now that he'd gotten that off his chest. I was glad one of us felt better. “I haven't thought about who's going to move in. I'll put an ad in the paper.”

When Brian and I were married we lived in the big main house behind the funeral home. Now he lives there by himself. Our living quarters are hardly feet from each other, as Lola accused. I could move back in with my parents, but that seemed a step backward. Not to mention funereal. We got along fine, but I definitely didn't want to go back to sleeping in my childhood bedroom.

“I really am sorry. I want—”

“Don't worry about it,” I said, cutting him off. “No big deal.”

He nodded, then picked up the bill the waitress had dropped off. “I'll get it.”

He got no argument from me. I watched Calista and Trey walk past our table, shoulders touching; she was almost as tall as he was. Little did I, or, more importantly, Calista, know their budding romance was about to be cut off at its rootstock.

*  *  *

I drove my blue Prius into the public parking lot behind Bread and Batter Bakery. Olivia Williams, my best friend practically since we were born a day apart twenty-eight years ago, and I opened Bread and Batter three years previously. We'd planned this since we were seniors in high school.

For me, baking is more than throwing ingredients together and hoping for the best. It's an art form. I've baked for my family and friends since my mother introduced me to a spatula and measuring cups. What's better on a rainy day than filling the house with homemade baking smells? Now, Olivia and I make a living doing what we love, even though it meant starting at the ridiculous hour of four a.m., so we'd be ready at seven for the breakfast crowd looking for their bagels and doughnuts. We usually take turns coming in early to do that. The cupcakes and bread we do throughout the day.

We have a blast experimenting with new recipes and using fresh ingredients from the farms that surround Destiny. There's nothing more satisfying for us than creating our cakes, breads, bagels, cupcakes, and doughnuts from scratch. There's nothing more rewarding than the smiles on the faces of our customers.

Olivia and I had recently had a red and white striped awning installed over the large window in front of our bakery. Last week, I put out two planters full of gorgeous asters and decorative red kale. The next thing we want to do is put a couple of tables with some chairs outside during the warmer months.

Our bakery is on Lacey Street, just off Main Street. Like in many small towns, Main Street is Destiny's busiest street. Destiny is a bucolic town on Destiny Lake, with a population of about three thousand people. It's surrounded by farms, apple orchards, vineyards, and a small Amish community. Between the lake, wine trails, people curious about the Amish, and our picturesque streets and shops, Destiny draws a lot of tourists.

Olivia and I were lucky to have snagged such a prime place for our bakery. It fits well with the other shops on the tree-lined street with brick sidewalks. Besides Bread and Batter, Lacey Street is home to a jewelry store owned by a local jewelry designer, a nail place, an art store, a retro hardware store favoring the fifties, sixties, and seventies, an antique store, a kitschy craft store, a quaint grocery store run by Mennonites, and a bookstore run by mine and Olivia's other best friend, Emily Garrett. Despite rumors that books—the kind with pages and spines—are dead, Barking Mad Books was booming, which was also good for Bread and Batter. People loved to come get a doughnut, bagel, or cupcake with a coffee or tea, then wander through the bookstore. It doesn't hurt that we have a retired best-selling author who had just moved to town and does programs at the bookstore. When she can be pried out of the big gated house she's renting on the lake, that is.

I parked, leaving my windows open a little since there was no rain predicted. Despite the autumn chill in the air, it was a little early for snow yet, thank goodness. I hadn't done anything about looking for a place to move into since Brian and I had had dinner a week and a half before. I promised him that morning when I was getting in my car and he was retrieving the morning paper it would be soon. I wondered if he and Lola would get married. No, there was nothing going on with Brian and me, but I admit to occasionally falling in love with him all over again. I had thought the feeling might be mutual. Hmmm . . . apparently not.

I pulled open the door to Bread and Batter and breathed in the sweet aroma of chocolate fudge cupcakes. Olivia pounced on me before I'd taken two steps. “Molly! Where have you been? I've been trying to call you.”

“Sorry. I must have left my phone off.”

She rolled her eyes. “As if you ever leave it on. I don't know why you even have one. I bet you don't even know where it is.”

I overlooked her remark. Besides, she was right. I had no idea where it was. “I'm here now. What's the big emergency?”

“Did you see the paper this morning?”

I shook my head. “Why?”

“Wait right there,” she ordered, holding up an index finger. She marched over to the counter, auburn curls bouncing, and snatched up the paper.

Our small town newspaper,
The Destiny Trumpet
, God bless it, is more like a gossip rag than actual newspaper. If you want “real” news, you'll have to go buy a paper that comes out of one of the bigger cities nearby. That's because the articles in the
are written by locals who aren't journalists, and who also have full-time jobs.

If you want to know who's visiting from out of town, who's checking out racy paperbacks, or books about serial killers from the library, or whose husband was seen buying multiple pairs of hot pink and lime green panties from Victoria's Secret
at the outlet mall, plus some local news thrown in if there's room, this is your paper.

She came back and thrust it at me. “First page. Read.”

I did as I was told.

Orchard Owner Taken into Police Custody

Orchard owner Trey Hamilton was taken into custody yesterday by one of Destiny's finest. Mr. Hamilton was accused of first bribing, then threatening, Jacob and Sharona Jandella, owners of Jandella Nursery over in Clydesmore. Mr. Hamilton showed up at their nursery yesterday causing mayhem and pandemonium by shouting at the Jandellas that the Calista Sugar Pink, the new apple breed they were propagating and preparing for distribution for Danforth Orchards, belongs to him.

He insisted it had been found on the land the Danforths had stolen from the Hamiltons back when this area was first settled, and he could prove it. After frightened customers headed for their cars, Mr. Hamilton threatened to sue the Jandellas when they refused his bribe of several thousand dollars to stop the propagating and distribution of the Calista Sugar Pink.

Mr. and Mrs. Jandella got the police involved when Mr. Hamilton showed up later that evening on the doorstep of their home with a gun, threatening to kill them and destroy their nursery if they didn't investigate his claim that he was the true owner of the new apple.

The Jandellas pressed charges despite, according to them, Mr. Hamilton seeming sufficiently sorry for his deeds once the officer arrived, and the gun being fake. A court date has not been set.

BOOK: Bun for Your Life
10.1Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

The Lady and the Panda by Vicki Croke
The Taming by Teresa Toten, Eric Walters
Faustus by David Mamet
Nevermore by Keith R.A. DeCandido
Human Blend by Pescatore, Lori
Beware That Girl by Teresa Toten