Authors: Abby L. Vandiver
Bed & Breakfast Bedlam
Copyright © 2015 Shondra C. Longino
All rights reserved.
This eBook is intended for
personal use only, and may not be reproduced, transmitted, or redistributed in
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Bed & Breakfast Bedlam
is a work of fiction.
Any references or similarities to
actual events, organizations, real people - living, or dead, or to real locales
are intended to give the novel a sense of reality. All other events and
characters portrayed are a product of the author’s imagination or are used
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Design by Shondra C. Longino
It stopped me at
the door and sent chills up my spine.
It was a cacophony
of screaming, weeping and wailing that was almost blood curdling. I stood still
in the foyer of the Maypop Bed & Breakfast, right at the front door I’d
just come through. Brie Pennywell sat behind the oak registration desk - her
loosely fitted crocheted sweater draped around her shoulders reminiscent of a librarian,
her glasses perched on the end of her nose. With one hand, she was drumming her
fingers lightly on the counter, seemingly not registering the shouting match
going on in the next room. With her other hand, she flipped through the pages
of a magazine.
How could she not
There was a wall
between me and the dining room where the voices emanated. I couldn’t decide if
I should venture on to the archway that separated the rooms and see what all
the commotion was about. Or, turn around and head back out of the door, and
like Brie, ignore the whole thing.
Then a slow, nasty
growl sprung from deep inside someone’s throat, “I. Will. Kill. You.” And then
Something crashed. Hit a wall, I assumed. A communal shudder echoed through the
Brie jerked her
head up and swung it toward the dining room then turned to me, our eyes, large
as saucers, locked.
“I will kill him,
too,” the woman hissed. “No one does this to me.” She snarled. She barked. The
distraught voice continued her murderous rant. “Nobody!”
That got us both
moving. Brie came from behind the counter and I took enough steps to get past
the wall and look into the dining area.
Three woman were
circled around Renmar as she tried to play referee. Pushing. Shoving. Arms
flailing, bodies bumping up against each other. I just knew at any moment fists
were going to start flying. All of their faces tinged with a bright crimson
coloring, they had anger in their eyes.
Other diners in
the room acted as if they were ancient Roman spectators at the Coliseum –
encouraging, and shouting and yelling right along with the blonde combatants.
“You won’t be able
to kill him,” the white-blonde haired woman yelled. “Because I’ll kill him
I looked over at
Brie, my mouth opened. “What is going on?”
whispered. “I think he’s told all three of them he’d marry them.”
Oliver Gibbons, resident Casanova of Yasamee, a little coastal city in Central
Georgia. Population five-hundred and eighty three. Why he thought he could date
as many women as he wanted in such a small town had always been a mystery to
We watched as
Renmar Colquett, proprietor of the Maypop, got pushed and shoved. Her short,
bobbed hair bounced up and down every time one of the woman pushed into her.
Renmar, the Southern belle that she was, looked as if she’d burst. Her usual
white, porcelain-like face was blotched with patches of red and dotted with
beads of sweat. Her cheeks puffed, she was using her body as a shield to keep
the woman from tearing their claws into each other. And into her.
Hazel Cobb, the
only black resident in Yasamee besides me, and best friend and cousin by
marriage to Renmar, was circling around the woman trying to pull them apart.
Her dyed reddish brown hair was standing on end, her huffing and puffing matching
Renmar’s whose name she kept saying in between her pleads for peace. “Renmar,” she’d
say, then, “Please. Calm down. Can’t we just calm down?” She’d beg the women. Then
again with “Renmar!”
control them either.
And then I saw
Miss Vivee. She walked out from the back of the house and appeared in the
archway at the other end of the room. Standing in her knee high rubber boots, a
thin cornflower blue coat, her long silver gray braid hanging over her
shoulder. Her wheaten Scottish terrier, Cat, stood next to her, ears on high
alert and tail wagging. Both Miss Vivee and her dog, heads tilted, had a look
of surprise etched in their faces and seemed unsure what to do – stay or turn
“Logan,” Brie said
to me. “Maybe you should get Momma and her dog. She shouldn’t be in the middle of
this.” Then she nodded toward her sister, Renmar. “And, I’ll try to help Renmar
and Hazel. All we need is another murder around here.”
Oh. My. Gosh
Nope. No need for
another one of those. I hadn’t been in Yasamee one day when Gemma Burke keeled
over dead in her bowl of bouillabaisse. Correction: A bowl of Renmar’s world
famous (so I’m told) bouillabaisse. And that had only been a month ago.
Miss Vivee stared
at the melee mesmerized. Cat gave out a yelp or two and Miss Vivee, without
looking down, arm lowered at her side, gave Cat a couple waves of her hand to
quiet her down. Too bad that wouldn’t work on the cat fight going on in the
middle of the dining room.
I took in a
breath. Glancing over at the fight, I flinched. One blonde had poised her hands
ready to scratch, tear into someone it seemed with her acrylic inch long nails.
And another was howling at her saying, “Come on. I will take you down.”
Miss Vivee was
feisty, but Brie was right, the way things were going Miss Vivee might just get
“Okay,” I said to
Brie and headed over to Miss Vivee. “Whatever you do, don’t let anyone get
murdered,” I said over my shoulder. At my words, the entire room stilled. The
yelling stopped and everyone looked at me.
heard someone’s strained voice eke out.
Someone else plopped
down in their chair and held their head in their hand. “Not another murder.”
Vivee said pointing a shaky finger at me – her white skin so thin you could see
the green veins. “Come here,” she instructed. She often called me Missy. Don’t
know why. It isn’t because she didn’t know my name. “You’re not helping
anything,” she said to me then called out to Renmar. “I’ll make tea.”
Remar nodded and all
eyes followed me as I left the dining room.
just heard Miss Jilted White-Blondie say she was going to kill people? How was
what I said bad?
“Come and help me,”
Miss Vivee said as she turned around and headed down the hallway toward the
kitchen with Cat in tow.
I followed behind
her thinking that it was me that was supposed to be rescuing her.
“They are going
crazy in there,” I said and sat down on one of the breakfast stools that
surrounded the large, butcher block topped island.
“I know. You’d
think it was a full moon out,” Miss Vivee said.
As it was, it was
the middle of the day. A hot June day. I’d come to the Maypop to grab a bite to
eat. It was where I was staying while I worked at Stallings Island, an
archaeological site located across a small shoal at the edge of the Savannah
River. I would have been better off if I’d gone to the Jellybean Café. Never
run into anything over there other than gossip. But Renmar was, to me, the best
cook in the Western Hemisphere. Although I’d never let my mother or grandmother
hear me say that. So, I’d come home, as it were, to eat.
“I’m going to make
some Passionflower tea,” Miss Vivee said. She stood at the sink and filled up
the silver teapot with water. “I don’t seem to have any lemon balm tea,” she
said absently. “I thought I did.” She searched through bottles lined up in a
spice rack. “It’s better for anger and rage.”
“You want me to
help you?” I asked.
“No. I got it.”
She opened a cabinet and started fussing around with hand marked bottles of
herbs and extracts she’d brought in from her greenhouse. “I’ll just add a few
extra drops of Passionflower extract,” she said. “Make it more powerful. Then,
I’ll mix in a little chamomile,” she grunted as she stood on her tippy toes to
grab another bottle. “It’s good for temper tantrums.”
“That is exactly
what that one woman was having,” I said. “The one with the white-blonde colored
hair. Threatening to kill people. Why does Oliver try to date more than one
woman in a city this size? Does he not understand the meaning of the word
he’s a lady killer,” Miss Vivee said. “That they’ll all bow down to him and let
him have his way.”
“He’s too old to
even try to keep up with that many women,” I said. “If you know what I mean.”
“They don’t care
so much as they care about his money,” Miss Vivee said. “A
lot of money will replace a lack of libido any day. His money makes them all
want him bad enough to kill each other to get him.”
Then as if on cue,
the rumble of his disgruntled paramours began to build to a crescendo, drowning
out even the whistle of the tea kettle. Miss Vivee readied the tea and had me
carry it in. Initially hurrying, I slowed as I reached the doorway of the
her finger in strawberry-blondie’s face. And frosted-highlighted blondie was
yelling at Renmar.
It seemed Oliver
liked blondes as much as he did those e-cigarettes he was always puffing on.
“He doesn’t want
you, you liver-lipped hussy,” said the white-blonde to the strawberry haired
“If he doesn’t
want me, why was he at
house last night?” Strawberry blonde queried.
“He was not!”
White blonde screamed. She was visibly upset by the comment.
“And the night
before. And the night before that. And the night before that!” Strawberry
“I don’t know what
for,” Frosted-highlights yelled. “Being with you,” she spat her words at
Strawberry. “Is like throwing a hotdog down a hallway, you whore!”
“Who are you
calling a whore?” Strawberry-blonde shouted.
Both White and Frosted
haired hussy grabbed a butter knife from the table and wielded it like she was
holding a machete. “I will cut you six ways from Sunday,” she screeched. “Both
of you. You’ll get Oliver over my dead body.”
“That can be
arranged,” Frosted said. With that she jumped past Renmar and lunged at the
knife brandishing, fruity-colored blonde.
And then came a
scream from the foyer that would silence a banshee. It certainly quietened
everyone in the room.
We all stopped and
looked toward the foyer.
There was no one
We looked at each
I walked into the
foyer and swinging from my waist did a one-eighty and surveyed the rest of the
room. No one. Then I remembered the closet Miss Vivee hid with me in to give
updates when solving Gemma’s murder.
I walked over and
opened the door and there was Koryn Razner. Her hands over her ears. Tears
streaming down her face.
“Koryn. Are you
okay?” I asked.
“I just can’t take
it anymore. All the noise. All the screaming. I just can’t take it anymore.”
I turned around
and looked at the crowd that had made their way to the archway that separated
the two rooms. Everyone staring with their mouths open.
“Bring her in here,”
Miss Vivee instructed.
I reached my arm
in and guided Koryn out of the closet. I walked with her to the dining room,
and pulling out a chair I helped her sit in it.
“Are you okay?”
Strawberry put down her knife and came over and rubbed Koryn’s back.
“See what you’ve
done?” White-blonde hissed at Strawberry while rubbing Koryn’s opposite
Frosted voiced soothingly. “And please don’t scream like that anymore.”
“Give her some
tea.” Renmar picked up a mug from the wait station. “Everyone. Just have some