Authors: Edie Ramer
Tags: #magical realism womens fiction contemporary romance contemporary fiction romance metaphysical dogs small town wisconsin magic family family relationships miracle interrupted series
Copyright © 2012 by Edie Ramer
All rights reserved by author
Copyright © 2012 by Edie Ramer
Cover design by Laura Morrigan
The characters and events
portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarities to real
persons, living or dead, are coincidental and not intended by the
This ebook is licensed for your personal
enjoyment. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any
manner whatsoever, including the Internet, without written
permission from the author except in the case of brief quotations
embodied in critical articles and reviews.
Five smart, funny and talented writers
helped make my book about pies, love and miracle better: Dale
Mayer, whose dedication and talent inspires me. Michelle Diener and
Liz Kreger, who ask all the right questions. Misty Evans, with her
magic touch and generous soul. Sally Berneathy, for her
encouragement and editing expertise.
I dedicate this book to my mother, who
instilled in me a love of books and pies.
Need spiraled inside Katie Guthrie as she
reached her cottage, her morning pie deliveries done, her
headlights slicing through the gloomy dawn, her windshield wipers
slapping up and down. She ran inside, not caring that she was
getting damp, and tossed her jacket at a hook in the back hall. It
fell to the floor, and she left it. She needed to do this
and do it
She jerked cupboard doors open and grabbed
ingredients. The urgency more intense than usual.
Now, now, now.
Hurry, hurry, hurry.
She felt like a contestant on a TV cooking
show. As if it were a do or die moment.
It’s just pie, she told herself, but it
didn’t stop her from jerking open the refrigerator door and
grabbing the heavy whipping cream. She headed to her mixer on the
counter. Whoever it was meant for would be here soon.
The pie was never wrong.
Katie gaped at Rosa Fabrini, standing in her
kitchen with raindrops glistening on her luxuriant hair. The
shapely matriarch’s dark brown eyes were like bruises today, her
normal high-voltage charisma ebbed as if she were a toy in need of
Shock froze Katie’s voice. This must be a
mistake. Someone else must be coming soon for the pie in her
refrigerator that was just reaching perfection.
A snore came from the living room where
Happy, Katie’s old, nearly deaf and blind Beagle, slept. No doubt
dreaming that one of Katie’s pies would miraculously fall off the
counter and she’d eat it all.
No reason for Mom to clean. I’m a
good dog. I’ll take care of it.
“I’m leaving Mike,” Rosa said.
A shockwave slammed through Katie. Rosa and
Mike had been married as long as Katie could remember. Their sons
were almost the same age as her. This was not good.
Or was it?
Seconds passed while she wondered what to
It’s about time.
You can do better than that asshole.
I want to do a happy dance.
None of those words came out of her mouth.
Instead she made a low sound of sympathy, stepped forward and
hugged the woman she’d often wished had been her mother. Rosa
collapsed on Katie’s shoulder.
This was her second friend who was in
trouble. The other one lived in California. A long drive from
Wisconsin. Katie gave Rosa an extra squeeze.
This is for you,
too, Trish. I hope you can feel it.
“It’s going to be okay.” Katie patted Rosa’s
damp hair as if she were Happy or her father’s rescue dog, Puck. It
be okay, she thought. Rosa deserved to have a good
And Mike... Well, he deserved a good kick in
his self-important, cheating ass.
Rosa sniffed and pulled away. “I got you
“No, you didn’t,” Katie lied. Now that she’d
lost Rosa’s body warmth, she shivered. September had hit Wisconsin
with a record heat wave just a week ago, but today the rain had
brought cold air.
And a friend in need.
Maybe Katie didn’t know what to say, but she
knew what to do. “Sit down. I have an Everything Will Get Better
Pie in the fridge.”
Rosa’s laugh came out as a half sob. She
grasped Katie’s arm, stopping her. “I can’t eat.”
“You’ll feel better after you eat my pie.”
felt better after they ate her pies. She’d
heard that since she baked her first pie while under the direction
of her grandmother when she was barely six years old. As if a fairy
had given her a gift at birth, her gram used to say. The gift of
When her dad heard about the prophecy of a
miracle at church last spring, he’d said,
“Every pie you make is
“I’m not here for pie.” Rosa grasped Katie’s
arm, and Katie turned back to her. Katie was five nine, and Rosa an
inch or so shorter but with so much presence she often seemed
than everyone around her. Right now her dark eyes
burned into Katie’s. “I’m not here for pity, either. I have an
Katie stared at Rosa. She wasn’t good at
these guessing games. Some people were good at subtext, but Katie
saved her subtext for putting just the right amount of seasoning in
“The pie is creamy chocolate.” Katie could
hear her voice change, turning dreamlike, her forehead muscles
relaxing. That’s how pie affected her. Her own precious prayer to
make the world better, one pie at a time. “It starts with a rich,
dark chocolate bottom, then a mix of mascarpone and heavy cream for
the middle. The top is heavy whipped cream with chocolate
She should have known it was meant for Rosa.
All the ingredients pointed to her. In Katie’s mind, she pictured
Rosa sitting at her table taking a bite, then licking her lips to
make sure she didn’t miss a dollop of the topping, the tension in
her face replaced with bliss. She could hear Rosa saying,
know I was too good for him.”
Katie’s pie making the revelation
as clear as water.
And Katie would reply,
Which was the truth. Thanks mostly to Linda
Wegner at Wegner’s, the village store that carried food, diapers,
flashlights, batteries, books, sundries and the latest gossip,
everyone in the village of Miracle knew about Mike’s wandering eyes
and hands. Not to mention the body part below his belt.
If someone shopped elsewhere, there was
always Angie Schuster at Le Curl (We Do Men Too!), who talked
longer and more in depth to make up for not being first. Katie
supposed it must be hard to be second in one’s favorite
Not that Katie knew about that. No one made
pies as good as hers.
It wasn’t something she was particularly
proud of. She’d never strived for this talent, it just was. There
were child prodigies at most arts. Her art was making perfect
“Eat my pie and tell me about the idea,” she
“If I eat a piece of your pie, I might want
to eat the whole thing.”
“Then eat the whole thing.”
Rosa laughed and shook her head, but her
laughter was like burnt popcorn pieces popping into the air. “You
won’t relax until I eat, will you?”
Katie touched Rosa’s upper arm. “It’s okay.
Forget the pie. Tell me first.” Rosa needed to spit out the bad
taste inside her before she could enjoy anything. Katie knew what
that was like. “What happened?”
“Amber’s pregnant.” Rosa’s rich voice was
A hot flush of anger took away the chill on
Katie’s skin. “Mike’s the father?”
Rosa nodded. “He didn’t tell me. She
“That too. You’re really leaving him?”
“I leave him or I kill him.” Her lips bared,
Rosa looked up and shook her fists at the ceiling, as if at God.
“How dare he do this? How dare he?”
Katie didn’t answer, though she could guess
why Mike cheated. He was a weak man, and weak men needed to
convince themselves they were strong. They thought putting their
penis in places it didn’t belong was the best proof. It was
something they could silently gloat over to make them feel
I did that,
sex with her. That proves I’m strong and virile.
Katie knew about weak people. Her mother had
been like that, dropping Katie off at her dad’s like an unwanted
package when she was five.
“You’re better off without him,” Katie said,
bringing her attention back to Rosa. “Will you still work at the
“Never!” Rosa’s voice rang out. “I want to
have my own cooking show. I’ve wanted it for a long time, but Mike
said there was too much competition.”
Katie nodded because that led back to her
first conclusion. In addition to the wandering penis and dictator
imitations, weak men were afraid of competition. That’s why
Fabrini’s Fine Italian Dining was located in a small village
instead of New York City or Chicago. Mike was a
big-fish-in-a-tiny-pond kind of guy.
He certainly wouldn’t want Rosa to be the
star. He wouldn’t want to take the chance that she’d outshine
“You’ll be a great TV cook,” Katie said.
“You’re beautiful, sexy, funny and a wonderful cook.”
Rosa’s mouth straightened and she seemed to
pull inward and stand taller. “I’m not as young as I once was.”
“No one is as young as they once were.
You’re only, what, forty-something?”
“Forty-something will do.”
“Whatever, you’re still gorgeous. You’ll be
gorgeous when you’re in your sixties. In your eighties, even.”
Rosa’s shoulders relaxed and she laughed,
low and throaty. She patted Katie’s cheek. “You’re good for my
heart.” She glanced past her at the kitchen. “And you’ll be good
for my cooking show.”
“You want me to do prep work?” Katie’s
stomach tightened. She supposed she could find time from her pie
making business, but only if Rosa filmed the show in Miracle.
“We’ll be a team.” Rosa motioned with both
hands. “You’re young and attractive, and you have a good figure.
More important, you make wonderful pies. I’ll demonstrate how to
make Italian food, and you demonstrate how you make pies.”
“You want me to be on your show?” Katie
heard her voice rise into a squeak. “I’m too tall and gangly.” Like
a tall ship floundering in the ocean, a friend’s cousin from Eau
Claire had said when she was fifteen. For weeks afterward, she’d
tried to walk like the other girls. Small steps instead of long,
fast strides that took her to her objective.
She finally realized she didn’t want to
change. Her walk reflected who she was.
At least she wasn’t one person lost in a
crowd of look-alikes.
And she wasn’t on TV, either.
“You need to find someone else.”
Katie took a step back and
crossed her arms, as if they could ward off the look Rosa was
giving her. The one her sons called The Stare.
“I remember when you first came to Miracle,”
Rosa said. “I came to the farm to pick up eggs. Your dad was so
proud of you. If someone had given him a choice of you or a diamond
the size of his fist, he wouldn’t have given the diamond a second
Katie closed her eyes, the memories rushing
back. Giving her a warm ache.
“You were so quiet and shy,” Rosa continued.
“And me with two rambunctious little boys. I was so jealous of Sam.
I hugged you and whispered that you were the prettiest girl. You
looked at me with your eyes wide and round, as if you didn’t
believe it. All these years later, you still have that same lost
Katie snapped her eyelids up. “I have a
“Yes, like a swaddled baby. You’re not
taking risks. You’re not moving beyond your comfort zone.”
“I like my comfort zone. I’m happy in
Rosa looked at her pityingly. “The problem
with comfort zones is that they keep shrinking, and after a while
you shrink with them.”
“My business is doing really well.” Katie
crossed her arms. She wasn’t used to defending her choices and
didn’t like it.
“I’m just doing a pilot,” Rosa said, her
voice compelling. “It might be just a onetime thing. If I don’t
sell it to any TV stations, I won’t make anymore.” Her gaze held
Katie’s. “That’s why I need you to help make it a success. A show
with two women will get more attention. And to be honest, I need