Table of Contents
She had just paused to look through one of the cabin’s windows at the period furnishings inside when she heard a man say, loudly and distinctly, “If you try anything like that, I’ll kill you.”
Phyllis stiffened in surprise at hearing such a threat expressed like that. The man’s voice came from in front of the cabin. Phyllis was torn between the urge to see what was going on and the natural caution that told her to stay right where she was, out of the would-be murderer’s sight.
As she stepped around the corner of the cabin, she saw a man standing there. He laughed and said, “No, really, I’ll kill you.” He seemed to be talking to himself, because there was no one else anywhere around except Phyllis. Then she noticed the earphone tucked into his ear and realized he was talking on one of those Bluetooth cell phones, or whatever they were called. As Phyllis watched, the man put some sort of pill in his mouth, then took a drink from the water bottle in his hand. He laughed again, then froze as he noticed her standing there. . . .
PRAISE FOR THE FRESH-BAKED MYSTERIES
“The whodunit is fun and the recipes [are] mouthwatering.”
—The Best Reviews
“Washburn has a refreshing way with words and knows how to tell an exciting story.”
Midwest Book Review
“Delightful, [with a] realistic small-town vibe [and a] vibrant narrative. . . .
A Peach of a Murder
runs the full range of emotions, so be prepared to laugh and cry with this one!”
—The Romance Readers Connection
“I really enjoyed
Murder by the Slice
. . . . It’s got a nice plot with lots of twists.”
Other Fresh-Baked Mysteries
Killer Crab Cakes
The Christmas Cookie Killer
Murder by the Slice
A Peach of a Murder
Published by New American Library,
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First published by Obsidian, an imprint of New American Library,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
First Printing, November 2010
Copyright ⓒ Livia J. Reasoner, 2010
All rights reserved
OBSIDIAN and logo are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA:
Washburn, L. J.
The pumpkin muffin murder: a fresh-baked mystery/Livia J. Washburn. p. cm.
“An Obsidian mystery.”
eISBN : 978-1-101-46613-1
1. Newsom, Phyllis (Fictitious character)—Fiction. 2. Retired teachers—Fiction. 3. Harvest festivals—Fiction. 4. Baking—Competitions—Fiction. 5. Weatherford (Tex.)—Fiction. I. Title.
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This book is dedicated to
my husband, James Reasoner,
my two daughters, Shayna and Joanna,
who are very tolerant of my craziness
when deadlines loom.
ne thing you never forgot about being a parent, Phyllis Newsom thought, was the feeling of helplessness that comes over you when your child is sick. Of course, Bobby was her grandson, not her son, but that didn’t matter. He felt miserable, and she had done everything she could to make him feel better, but he still sobbed in pain as she held him and carried him back and forth across the dimly lit living room of her house, trying to calm him down.
“It’ll be all right, Bobby,” she told the four-year-old. “Don’t worry; everything will be just fine. You’ll be all well soon.”
Not soon enough to suit her, though. The pediatrician had said that it might be a week or more before Bobby’s ear infection cleared up. And it would have to heal on its own, because this wasn’t like the old days when doctors prescribed antibiotics for such ailments. Phyllis remembered giving her son, Mike, the wonderful pink liquid when he was little and came down with something like this. That stuff seemed to cure anything.
Now the doctors claimed that it really didn’t, and Phyllis supposed that they ought to know what they were talking about. They were doctors, after all. But she missed being able to feel like she was accomplishing something, like she was helping her child get well sooner.
Ah, well. She sighed and held Bobby closer, letting him rest his head on her shoulder. She was wearing a nice thick robe over her pajamas, so she supposed it almost felt like a pillow to him.
The sound of footsteps made her glance toward the stairs. Sam Fletcher’s long legs came into view, followed by the rest of his lanky form. He was dressed in pajamas, a robe, and slippers, too, although his were a nice manly brown rather than the purple of Phyllis’s nightclothes.
“Thought I heard the little one carryin’ on,” Sam said as he came from the foyer into the living room.
“I’m sorry, Sam. He just can’t rest comfortably with his ear hurting that way. I gave him some pain reliever like the doctor said, but ...”
Sam nodded. “Yeah, I reckon it must hurt, all right.” He held out his arms. “Here, let me hold him for a while.”
Phyllis hesitated. Not because she didn’t trust Sam, of course. In the nearly two and a half years that he had rented a room in her house here in Weatherford, Texas, she had grown to know him very well. He was both strong and gentle, just the sort of man who wouldn’t think twice about offering to comfort a sick child. But Bobby was her responsibility, not his.