Home > A Fatal Family Feast

A Fatal Family Feast
Author: Lynn Cahoon

 

 


Chapter 1


   Spring in southwestern Idaho is fickle. One day, the weather could be soft and perfect. The grass in your lawn turns a bright green, and the daffodils in your flower bed start to bloom. Then, a week later, you wake up to a late storm that freezes the ground and covers all that spring green with an inch or two of white snow.

   Angie Turner wasn’t sure Felicia Williams, her best friend, had made the correct decision to hold her spring wedding on the Turner farm. The driveway was dirt, so the chance it could turn to mud and ruin not only Felicia’s dress but everyone’s shoes was a real possibility. Holding it in the barn was an option, but then she had to think about what to do with Mabel and Precious. She didn’t want to tell Felicia and Estebe Blackstone, who was the groom and also Angie’s sous chef at the County Seat, no, but it might be the smartest thing to do.

   They could hold it at the restaurant. The floors wouldn’t be muddy, and with the beams and white fairy lights they’d installed last summer, the eatery would be a beautiful place for a wedding. Now all she had to do was convince the bride. She picked up her phone and dialed Felicia’s number. The call went straight to voice mail.

   “Hey, call me when you get this. I was looking at next week’s forecast, and I think we’re going to have to go with plan B on the wedding site. We’ve closed the restaurant for that week anyway, so we’ll be able to decorate starting on Sunday. I’m sorry about the farm, I just don’t think it’s a good idea.” The voice mail beeped, and Angie hoped she’d been fast enough to deliver the bad news without actually talking to Felicia directly.

   Dom woofed from his bed, and Angie reached down and rubbed the Saint Bernard’s head. “I don’t need any comments from the peanut gallery. Besides, what would I do with you around two hundred people?”

   The door opened, and Ian McNeal stepped inside. She’d been dating Ian for a while now, and he was a frequent visitor to the farm. “Talking to Dom again? You must be discussing the pros and cons of holding the wedding here.”

   “Actually, I’ve decided against it and called Felicia already.” Angie stood and turned on the gas under the teapot. “Do you have time for some tea and coffee cake? I made a cinnamon apple version this morning.”

   “I’m going to gain so much weight being with you that I’ll need to go up a few sizes. You always bake when you’re stressed.” He leaned in and kissed her. “I’d love to stay for tea. What did Felicia say when you told her? Was she upset?”

   Angie got down cups and plates. She cut the coffee cake and served slices on the plates, which she set on the table. “I don’t know.”

   “What do you mean, you don’t know? What did her voice sound like? You called her, right?” He flipped through the tea bags in a basket on the table and pulled out an Earl Grey packet. “I need to order you some proper English tea. Maybe I’ll pick some up this summer when I go back to see Mom.”

   “Oh, you’re visiting your mom this summer? That’s nice.” Angie changed the subject while she took the screaming kettle off the stove and turned off the heat. She poured hot water in the cups and then sat down and fiddled with the tea bags.

   “You didn’t answer my question. What did you do, email her? Or worse, text?” He was staring at her.

   She felt the heat on her face. “I called her. She just didn’t answer, so I left a voice mail. I’m sure she’ll call back soon.”

   “You are going to be in so much trouble. If this was such a big deal, why did you say yes when they asked you to hold the wedding here?” Ian took a bite of the coffee cake and groaned. “I love it when you’re conflicted. This is fun to watch.”

   “Thanks, I think. Anyway, I didn’t think it would be a problem, but then I got thinking about the driveway and how it turns to mud after a rain. And Mabel, you know she doesn’t like strangers. And she’s so old. What if someone didn’t see her and ran her over? I’d be heartbroken. And there’s no way Precious wouldn’t try to get out and see what was going on. Then she’d eat something, like Felicia’s bouquet, and Felicia would cry.” Angie stuck a tea bag in the water and started dunking it. “And that’s not even taking into consideration Dom. He’s so big, he’d probably sit on one of Estebe’s nieces and squish her.”

   “You have been putting this to a lot of thought.” Ian looked out the door window. “Well, at least we’ll get this over with. There’s Estebe’s Hummer now.”

   Angie sank against the back of her chair. Either Felicia had heard the voice mail and was mad at her...or she hadn’t heard the voice mail and she was going to have to break Felicia’s heart now. “Great. Now I’m going to get yelled at in person.”

   “She’s not going to yell,” Ian assured her.

   But when the door banged open, Felicia stormed into the house and flopped into a chair. “My wedding is ruined.”

   Angie and Ian shared a look.

   “It’s not ruined, my love.” Estebe closed the door and put a hand on Felicia’s shoulder. “Let’s just talk this out. I know you’re hurt. But let’s have some tea and do some damage control.”

   “I’m sorry, I just didn’t want your dress to get all muddy. And Precious would want to eat the bouquet,” Angie blurted out as Estebe moved around the kitchen to get two more cups. The four of them had cooked in Angie’s kitchen way too many times for her to play hostess. “Then there was Dom to think about.”

   Felicia lifted her head from where she’d laid it on the table, her blond hair pooling around her tear-stained face. “Angie, what the heck are you talking about?”

   “Why you can’t have the wedding here. That’s what ruined your wedding, right?” Now Angie was confused. She looked at Ian, who shrugged, but Estebe wouldn’t meet her gaze. “Why are you upset, then?”

   “Don’t worry about the farmhouse. I knew we couldn’t do the wedding here when I heard the forecast for next week. I don’t want to be pelted by rain during my ceremony.” Felicia wiped the tears off her face. “The problem is my family.”

   “Aren’t they coming to the wedding?” In all the years Angie had known Felicia, she’d never met anyone from her family. And when she’d confessed that they were East Coast wealthy, Angie felt better about it. She might cook upscale food, but she’d hate to have to do the whole socialite thing. Even for her best friend.

   “Mom says she’s coming. She says Dad is as well, but he refuses to give me away.” Felicia snuck a look at Estebe. “He’s...”

   “He’s afraid she’s marrying beneath herself,” Estebe clarified. He puffed up his chest. “I am proud of my Basque heritage, and if it’s about money, I’m very well suited to take care of Felicia and myself. I probably have more money than a lot of those boys they wanted her to marry when she was just a child.”

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