Thursday, February 11, 2016
Killer Wedding Cake (Daphne Martin Cake Mystery) by Gayle Trent
Barnes and Noble
Daphne Martin’s wedding to Ben Jacobs is only a couple of weeks away. An award-winning cake decorator, Daphne is busy designing their wedding cake. Her twin nephew and niece, Lucas and Leslie, are excited about being in the wedding party. And Daphne’s brother-in-law Jason is planning a bachelor party for Ben. Everything is going beautifully until Daphne’s ex-husband Todd shows up. Just released from prison after serving a sentence based on his shooting a gun at Daphne, Todd comes to Brea Ridge to profess his undying love for her.
Despite Daphne’s attempts to make Todd leave town, he insists on hanging around to reconnect with people he used to know. When he’s found murdered, Daphne finds herself at the center of the investigation. Now she must track down Todd’s killer before she becomes the next victim. Can she still make it to the church on time?
I spread the brownie batter into the pan, opened the oven door, and slid the pan inside. The oven was cold. It wasn’t that it hadn’t heated up all the way yet—it was completely cold. And here I was with a pan of brownie batter that I needed to get baked. I called Myra.
“Don’t tell me you’ve changed your mind about the cake already,” she said, by way of answering.
“No. My oven won’t heat. I have a pan of brownie batter and no oven.”
“Well, bring the pan over here,” she said. “I’ll go ahead and preheat my oven. What do you need it set on—three-fifty?”
“Yes, please. Thank you!” I ended the call, put a lid on my brownie pan, and hurried out the door to Myra’s house.
Bruno met me at the door. He was a tan Chihuahua who could’ve slept in one of my shoes. Myra had met the teensy terror a few months ago when he’d barked and growled at her from her front porch. She’d called me frantic because “this vicious dog” wouldn’t let her into her house. I took over a piece of ham, and it calmed the savage beastie right down. She began feeding him, and he stayed. He still acted as if he owned the place, but he had a more legitimate claim to do so now.
“Hello, Bruno,” I said.
He danced around on his back legs, thinking I had a treat for him because I usually did. This time, however, I’d only thought to bring my pan of brownies.
“Sorry, buddy. I’ll get you something when I go back.”
“Put the pan there on the counter and come take a load off while we wait for the oven to finish pre-heating,” Myra said.
I did as she said, but I touched the front of the oven as I passed by to make sure it was getting hot. Sorry, but I was feeling paranoid. The oven was warm, so I felt reassured.
Then I went in and collapsed onto the sofa beside Myra.
“Honey, you look plumb tuckered out,” she said.
“It’s not that I’m tired. I’m just aggravated. I don’t know what’s wrong with my oven.”
“It’s probably the heating element. It’ll be all right.”
“Are you sure you don’t mind me using your oven? I’ll pay you in a box of brownies.” You wouldn’t know it from her trim frame, but Myra loved sweets.
“I didn’t mind to begin with, but I doubly don’t mind now.”
Bruno raced into the living room and hopped onto the sofa between us.
“I need to make two pans—one to go in as soon as the others come out,” I said. “And I’ll call the appliance guy when I get home.” I considered this for a second. “I don’t know an appliance guy. Do you?”
Myra nodded. “Yep. McElroy Haynes. Best appliance guy around here. I’ll get you his number before you go.”
We heard a click coming from the direction of the kitchen.
“That’s the oven,” she said. “Want me to put the brownies in?”
“No, thanks. I’ll do it. Would you mind seeing if you can find Mr. Haynes’ number?”
“I’m on it.”
I slid the pan of brownies into Myra’s oven, and she returned with the phone number.
“He’s kinda crotchety, but tell him I told you to call. And tell him I said he was the best in the business.”
I smiled. “I could just offer him brownies…along with his payment, of course.”
“I doubt it’d do you a bit of good, but you can try. Besides, you can’t give away all your brownies. You have to sell some at the Save-A-Buck.”
Setting the timer on my phone to alert me in twenty minutes, I told Myra I’d be back with the other pan soon.
I hurried back across the yards to my house to get the next batch of brownies underway but stopped short when I noticed a blue pickup truck parked in my driveway. I slowed my pace and approached cautiously.
The truck had Tennessee tags. There was no one inside it, and I’d left my door unlocked.
I didn’t want to overreact. I still had a lot of friends in Tennessee. Maybe it was one of them. Besides, there was no indication that the person was actually inside my house. He—or she—could be a salesperson going door to door and had chosen my driveway as a good parking spot.
Thinking it best to err on the side of caution, I opened the door slightly. “Hello?”
That voice chilled my blood. It belonged to Todd Martin, my ex-husband.