Authors: Susan Sey
Taste for Trouble
The Blake Brothers Trilogy
Copyright 2013 Susan Seyfarth
Cover Design by
All rights reserved
ISBN 13: 978-1-938580-05-5
First of all, thank you so much for trying out an
indie author! It’s a brave new world out there in publishing, and I’m delighted
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level best to deliver the goods.
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Now if you finish this book and think to yourself,
“Hey, that was delicious! When is Susan delivering the next installment of the
Happily Ever Afters?” you might want to consider subscribing to my
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And, hey, stay tuned for a sneak peek at the Blake
Brothers Book 2--
--at the end of this book!
I have a real thing for redeeming my villains.
Meanwhile, here’s James and Bel for you. Hope you love
them as much as I do.
Other Titles by
For Claudia and
For Bryan, who
reads with me.
For the staff at the
North Oaks Bruegger’s, because they provide me with a bottomless mug of coffee
and a friendly place to write that smells delicious.
And for the guys
at the table next to mine who provide me with stuff to write about. I try not
to eavesdrop but…
TABLE OF CONTENTS
brides were nothing new to Belinda West. A girl didn’t churn out two wedding
cakes a weekend for ten plus years without witnessing every disaster that could
possibly befall a wedding party. Nothing about a groom making a last-minute
break for Cozumel—with or without the bride’s sister—surprised Bel anymore.
it always surprised the bride.
was the part Bel didn’t understand. Because
when your groom wasn’t totally on board with the whole marriage thing, there
were signs. There were always signs. And if Bel, the total stranger manning the
cake table, could see them, surely any bride paying even the tiniest bit of
attention could see them too.
meant either these women weren’t paying attention to the details (something for
which Bel had little sympathy) or they were willfully ignoring them (something
Bel didn’t even comprehend.)
she got jilted. On live TV.
wasn’t like she’d been sleepwalking through the day with a wedding planner at
the helm, either. No, indeed. She’d tackled her wedding personally, and with
the same soft-spoken, detail-oriented implacability she’d used to transform
herself from a semi-solvent wedding cake baker into the
Kate Every Day
baking maven. The series of segments she’d shot on baking your own wedding cake
had been among the highest rated all season. Kate herself had taken Bel out to
lunch when the numbers came in.
had rewarded her by putting Bel’s wedding at the heart of the season premiere. The
trust lit on her like a butterfly—so delicate and tentative as to be sensed
rather than actually felt—and Bel devoted herself to living up to it like the
heir apparent she aspired to be.
wedding, she was determined, would be perfect. She planned. She predicted. She envisioned.
She managed. She checked details, then doubled checked. Triple checked. No decision
was beneath her notice. And on paper, in rehearsal, in theory, everything
reality? Somewhere between hand-picking the cottage-white, rustic-finish,
wooden-not-metal folding chairs and personally glue-gunning three hundred and
forty three red-foil-wrapped, dark-chocolate hearts to the hand-lettered place
cards, something had gone terribly wrong.
meant, as Kate had frostily pointed out later, that somehow, inexplicably, Bel
had missed something. Something important. A harbinger of doom had passed right
through her hands unidentified. The proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Bel thought darkly. That wasn’t entirely true. She’d seen the signs. She just
hadn’t understood them.
had been right. She should have paid attention to the swans.
at Kate Davis’ Hunt House
was sitting in front of some sadist posing as a hairdresser when her assistant
Annie appeared in the mirror behind Bel’s shoulder.
a problem with the swans,” Annie announced. “You need to come with me.”
move,” the hairdresser/sadist said. Bel didn’t move. The woman rewarded her by
stabbing one last hairpin directly into Bel’s scalp. Bel breathed through the
pain and thought of perfect wedding pictures.
the woman said, giving the yard of tulle she’d just attached to Bel’s head a
satisfied little fluff. “That ought to hold it.”
should hope so,” Bel murmured, but smiled at her reflection. Then she spun the
chair to face Annie and her smile spread into something delighted and genuine.
look at you. If that dress isn’t perfection,” Bel said with satisfaction. She
wasn’t ordinarily a gloater but Annie had put up a vicious stink about wearing
lilac satin. And maybe it
been a risk, mixing Annie’s edgy,
tattooed, art-school vibe—not to mention her Lucille Ball red hair—with a
delicate Easter egg of a dress. But nobody could argue with the results.
rolled her eyes, which Bel ignored.
I tell you it would be perfect?” Bel said. “You look like Marilyn Monroe.” She tipped
her head and squinted. “Well, if Marilyn Monroe was a red-head and recovering
from a rockabilly phase. Where have you been hiding those curves, anyway?”
crossed her arms over that surprising chest. “Can we please not talk about this
dress? It’s a testament to our friendship that I’m wearing it at all. But if
anybody should happen to see me in it on TV, friendship be damned. I’d have to
exercise my connections. My Uncle Luigi is a made man, you know.”
cocked a brow. “You’d have me whacked over a dress?”
think about it. Now come on.”
Annie was already out the back door and trudging down the gentle, grassy slope overlooking
the pond. Bel tucked the yard of tulle cascading from her head under one arm
and followed her out the door.
heat hit her like a sweaty embrace, hot and thick with summer’s last kick. Her
oxford button-down clung damply to the instant film of sweat on her back. Thank
God she hadn’t been through makeup yet, she thought. Or been sewn into her
dress. Still, with the flowers to approve yet and the cake to assemble...
glanced at her watch, a beautiful gold and silver Hermes bangle. She didn’t
usually indulge her taste for glitter even now that she could afford the
occasional splurge, but timeliness was the closest thing she had to religion. She
checked her watch hundreds of times a day. Why not look at something pretty?
she saw there now had her mentally nudging a few bullet points around her to-do
list and picking up the pace. “I know you think the swans are a bit much,” she
said to Annie’s back, “but trust me. What seems over the top in person works
just fine on the small screen. Swans are a time-honored symbol of fidelity, and
having a pair on the pond during the ceremony makes a beautiful statement.”
making a statement all right.” Annie stopped in the shade of the white canopy
under which the ceremony would take place in—Bel checked her watch again—one hour
and fourteen minutes. “But from what I’m seeing, that statement is less
at our beautiful love
holy hell, we’re taking sniper fire
for yourself.” She shot a purple fingernail toward the pond.
frowned at Annie, then out at the glassy blue pond upon which glided two
gorgeous swans. Except they weren’t gliding. They were jerking around in irregular
zigzags, heads low, eyes slitted and suspicious. Every now and then one of them
blatted out an affronted honk.
stomach dropped. “What on earth? They were fine! Two hours ago they were
if I know.” Annie’s lips were a grim line. “When I brought the tent people out here
to set up the arbor they were fine, like you said. Then I stopped back a few
minutes ago to see if the techs had the lighting levels down for the ceremony
and there they were. All...disturbed.”
Bel pulled in a deep breath of warm, wet air that did nothing to clear away the
buzz of anxiety trying to fill her head and erase her thoughts. “Just give me a
minute here. I have to think.”
listen.” Annie’s voice softened, and she put a hand on Bel’s arm. “I know you
were heart-set on this but I just don’t think it’s going to work.”
it will,” Bel said. “I can fix this.” And she would. She’d sunk countless hours
of painstaking preparation into this afternoon. Rearranging a single minute of
it on the say-so of a couple of deranged birds went against everything she
believed. Everything she was. Bel had a
. And the swans, by God, would
get on board. Then everything would be fine. Better than fine.
would be perfect. She’d make sure of it. “They’ll have to be tranquilized.”