Gemma Rose has been back home in Meadowford-on-Smythe, a small village near Oxford, for almost two years. Some originally thought it reckless to resign from a high-paying career to fulfill the dream of opening her own business, but she’s turned the Little Stables Tearoom into a successful destination for locals and tourists who wish to partake in a true English tearoom experience.
Caitlyn Le Fey is improving with her apprenticeship and working meticulously to create the delicious caramel sauce befitting her grandmother’s reputation and worthy to be the centerpiece at Lord James Fitzroy’s Mabon Ball. But, her efforts are impeded when Pomona shows up critical of Caitlyn’s lack of effort on her costume for the ball. Worse, she’s shocked to learn and witness that Pomona can actually do magic; not the magic one should be proud of or one that helps people, Pomie takes pleasure in casting pain on a bunch of ants setting upon some spilled caramel. Caitlyn knew Pomona associated with Thane Blackmort, the enigmatic billionaire, and was showing signs of darkness, but doing magic…for evil?
Sunset Palms Beach Resort is a popular venue for many events, like a mystery writers’ conference or a Key Lime Pie baking contest, so seeing bikini-clad beauties strutting around the resort was just another day in paradise. Bronzed Babe Sunscreen is holding a contest to choose the next face—or body—for the company’s ad campaign, the “Ultimate Bikini Babe,” and first up is a photo shoot on a luxury catamaran hosted by the company owner Don Palmer. Invites were extended to Aunt Olive, of whose books he is a fan, and Ellie, as her plus one, to enjoy the sun, sea, and high fashion spectacle.
Shady Pines Resort is hosting their own version of the Great British Baking Show competition to highlight Florida’s iconic dessert...Key Lime Pie. Five competitors of varying age, background, temperament, and experience vie for an all-inclusive vacation as first prize. It is described as quite a culinary coup to get former TV chef, now food critic, Chad Coleman to agree to judge, and since Ellie has made a name for herself with her last success uncovering a murderous resort guest, she’s been asked by the resort owner to act as a judge in a runner-up contest...delicious, she thinks!
Poppy’s “slimy” cousin Hubert Leach, a property agent, has been a bittersweet part in her life, but she thought the “quid pro quo” agreement she’d made would turn out to be simple and easy to fulfill. He had given Nell a lucrative cleaning contract, and Poppy promised a return “favor,” and being his date at an invitation-only cocktail party seemed a small price to pay. Until the “quo” was more than her “quid” could handle.
The prodigal son returns! Gemma’s first introduction to the handsome stranger was awkward, but fortunately his escalating advances were curtailed by an important phone call he couldn’t decline. Later, Gemma’s mother pressured her to agree to last minute catering for her friend Annabel Floyd, daughter of Sir Hugh Morecombe, whose Sinterklaas Foundation is having a Christmas tea party for underprivileged children at her family’s estate, Thurlby Hall.
& H.Y. Hanna
What would make one quit their job? Demanding boss. Personal rebukes. Docking pay. Poppy Lancaster acquiesces desperately needing her paycheck, but when the last straw comes, quitting is the only solution. A prophetic chance meeting and gift of a papier-mâché, sprig-of-heather pin (Heather symbolizes transformative change—from the mundane to the extraordinary) heralds changes.
In 2018, I reviewed 160 entertaining books along with connecting with loads of talented and delightfully friendly authors. It was a daunting task to choose my top favorites for the year because every single book, and a few television shows, have provided me with hours of entertainment and some inspiration…
Lord Fitzroy is passionate about proving to the Tillyhenge citizens that he has their best interest at heart. They were reticent when he became Lord of Huntingdon Manor that he might introduce too many modern ideas effecting their heritage and traditions. But everyone seems thrilled with the new Tillyhenge Open-Air Cinema presented on the manicured lawn of the estate.
Caitlyn Le Fey was led to Tillyhenge in the Cotswold countryside in search of information about her past. There she discovered a grandmother, an Aunt Bertha, a cousin Evie, and the shocking revelation that they are all witches, including herself. It’s been slow, but her magical apprenticeship is exciting. While helping her grandmother, Widow Mags, in the Bewitched by Chocolate shop, she is able to test out various techniques and learn how to manipulate chocolate with the most delicious and magical results.