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Utterly Deadly Southern Pecan Pie by Penny Burwell Ewing

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  • The Haunted Salon Series

    It’s the annual Pecan Festival in Whiskey Creek, Georgia, and Jolene Claiborne is ramping up to beat the competition in the pecan pie bake-off. While conducting tours at Pineridge Plantation, Jolene encounters a restless ghost in the library with a bloody mystery. Trouble arrives when Scarlett Cantrell pops in from Heaven to act as interpreter between the living and the dead. One mystery is enough to solve, but when the bank president keels over dead after tasting Dixieland’s entry in the pie bake-off, and her father is fingered for the deed, Jolene finds herself entangled in two mysteries linked by greed and murder. Undaunted, she delves into the past to uncover a crime so hideous its secrets reach out from the grave to once again bring family tragedy to this lovely Southern town. But, meddling carries a heavy price. Will her sexy cowboy cop stay or take a hike?

    Rating: sweet
    Page Count: 348
    Word Count: 85175
    978-1-5092-1437-2 Paperback
    978-1-5092-1438-9 Digital

    Excerpt

    The Finest Kentucky Bourbon

     

    “If there is a doctor in the building, could you please come to the front? We have an emergency!” Tammy yelled over the microphone.

    I pushed through the crowd of onlookers. Like a slow motion movie, the scenes unfolded in agonizingly clear detail. Theo’s distorted face twisted as he struggled to breathe. His body jerked, and his clutched hand dug at his swollen throat. He made a harsh sound.

    “He’s having an allergic reaction,” Barbara Herrington screamed, her hands plowing through his coat pocket in a frantic search. “Where’s his EpiPen? I can’t find his EpiPen!”

    I recognized the gurgling sound having heard it in my facial room just before Scarlett choked to death on her own vomit.

    With a flash, I remembered that shortly after Scarlett’s grisly incident, the entire staff at Dixieland Salon had been trained in CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Scrambling to Herrington’s side, I fell to my knees, the remembered sound of the instructor’s voice guiding me through the steps.

    Titling his head back, I placed my ear close to his mouth and then it checked for any obstruction. Taking a deep breath, I pinched his nose closed and sealed my lips around his, blowing deeply until his chest rose with the force of my breath.

    I paused, again inhaling deeply.

    “What are you doing?” a voice screamed in my ear. “You…get away from my husband!”

    Whack! Barbara’s shoe connected to my jaw. I gasped, toppling over onto my back, hitting my head on the hard concrete. I must have blacked out for a minute or two because the next thing I remember was intense pain spreading throughout my body. Sagging against the strong hands lifting me from the floor, I inhaled Bradford’s familiar woodsy scent, gulping in air and the coppery taste of blood.

    “Bloody hell, she busted my lip,” I managed to croak.

    “Don’t try to talk,” he said, smiling down on me. “You’re bleeding all over my new white shirt. Here, hold my handkerchief over the cut. You might need stitches to close the wound.”

    Wincing as I held the coarse cotton against my painful lip, I asked, “Theo?”

    Slipping his arms under my knees and around my back, he lifted my one-hundred and sixty pounds with effort. “The paramedics are with him now. Several doctors also responded to our call. He’s in good hands. Let’s get you back over to your family while we wait for the paramedics to check out your injuries. Harland is bellowing like a bull.”

    “Put me down. I can walk. If Mama sees you carrying me, she’ll start fussing like a mother hen. Besides, it’s only a split lip.”

    “And possibly a concussion. You smacked your head on the floor. You were coming to when I reached you. It won’t kill you to be pampered.”

    “You don’t understand, Bradford. Mama hasn’t cut the umbilical cord, yet.”

    Boy, I called that one right. The second Bradford and I broke through the wall of people she flew to my side.

    “Are you all right? Oh, your lip.” She clucked in alarm. “Sam, set her down on this here chair. Billie Jo, see if you can find some ice. Harland, you go pack the car so we can get her to the hospital. Deena, put that camera down and fetch that bottle of bourbon from the kitchen and a glass, too. For the pain.”

    Bradford sat me down on the chair, waiting until Mama stopped to take a breath. “Calm down, Mrs. Tucker. One of the paramedics will be right over as soon as Herrington is stabilized.”

    “I’m fine, Mama.” I batted her hands away. “But I would like a shot of that whiskey.”

    “Sam, what happened?” Daddy asked. “Did he have a heart attack? It sure looked like one from here.”

    “I’m not sure, but with Jolene in good hands, I need to get back over there. Would you excuse me?” He turned to Mama. “Mrs. Tucker?”

    “Of course, you go on. We’ll keep an eye on Jolene.”

    After a hardy handshake with Daddy, Bradford drooped a kiss on my forehead and barreled his way through the crowd gathered around Herrington. I leaned back against the chair and closed my eyes against the harsh, white overhead lights. The events of the past few days seemed to rush through my mind. The war of words between Ellie and Herrington, my parents and Herrington, the botched beauty pageant, the fight, and now this—Herrington collapsing after eating Dixieland Salon’s entry.

    I groaned at the last thought.

    “Here, Jolene, drink this.”

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Utterly Deadly Southern Pecan Pie

Utterly Deadly Southern Pecan Pie

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