The wedding party seemed to be lining up for pictures, and the guests were starting to corral near the tent. When I got inside, my crew was nowhere to be seen. I could see Paul through the window on the opposite side of the tent. I searched for my staff and nodded approvingly when I walked around the first few tables with beautifully lit candles positioned around the pink Stargazer centerpiece. From here, the wedding cake appeared to be holding up nicely. I moved closer.
My smile faltered, and I squeaked in surprise.
My hand went to my parted lips.
On the floor in front of the wedding cake table lay Lucy, covered in what could only be funnel cake batter . . .
And that’s how my day from hell began.
Hi! I’m Marygene Brown, and I, along with my sister, own and operate The Peach Diner located on Peach Cove. A tiny little island located off the coast from Savannah, Georgia. We inherited the business my nanny started after my mama passed away a couple of years ago. Nanny always said The Peach saved the Brown family from becoming destitute and losing everything we had. I guess you could say food was the salvation for the women of the Brown family. We are foodies through and through.
Several years ago, I fled the Peach Cove after I had a massive blowout with Mama and broke up with my high school sweetheart, Deputy Alex Myers. After I moved to Atlanta to pursue a culinary degree, I made some mistakes. Dropping out of school and marrying Mr. Wrong was a big one—thankfully, he’s now in my rearview mirror.
Arriving home was both joyous and a little stressful. Reconnecting with the friends and family I lost touch with brought joy. My coworker Betsy is my ride-or-die BFF. She’s my personal cheering section, and I love her to pieces. The stressful part was having my mama wake me when I was dead to the world. Allow me to set the scene.
“Wake up!” Mama shouted at my ear.
“I’m tired,” I groaned, rolled over, and pulled the blankets over my head.
“Marygene Francis Brown, I’m not telling you again,” Mama said.
I jolted upright, suddenly aware as my mama flipped on the lamp next to her, that she meant business.
Wait a minute, Mama is dead.
And my mother is indeed dead. But she appears to me none the less.
As ridiculous as it sounds, my mama, Clara Brown, is tied to the island and has been since the day she passed. She wasn’t what you’d call a pure heart in life, and now the powers-that-be forced her to remain in limbo on Peach Cove until she makes amends. I wasn’t sure what qualified as amends, or what it would take to satisfy the requirement. For all I knew, she could be here my entire life span or be gone tomorrow. I did understand that if a soul was forced to remain as an island spirit, it created an energy around the person they were communicating with. An aura, if you will. The deceased are drawn to said person, i.e., me. The possibility that I might be insane lurks in the back of my mind often. Either way, I have to deal with Mama on a regular basis. At first it was rough, but I’m dealing with it better now.
Back to today, I’ve also learned to heed Mama’s warnings. And she’d warned me of something awful surrounding today’s wedding. And boy had it come true. Lucy, the one covered in batter, is not only a client and my high school sweetheart’s wife but a widely loathed bridezilla. It was no secret the conflict she had not only with me but also with Betsy. So, when moments after we found her deceased, her body goes missing. It just went poof into thin air. Or felt like it went poof. No one saw anything or at least they aren’t speaking if they had.
Blame gets thrown around and Alex is losing his mind. He even accuses Betsy and me of having something to do with his new bride’s murder. Can you believe that? Yeah, it’s complicated. Now Betsy and I are on a mission to prove our innocence. Today, it has truly hit the fan, y’all…
About the book ...
At a murder mystery–themed wedding reception on Georgia’s picturesque Peach Cove Island, the bride is doing an awfully good job playing dead . . .
Marygene Brown always figured she’d marry her childhood sweetheart, Alex Myers, not cater his wedding. But the Peach Diner could use the exposure. Most of the island is showing up—although more for the role-playing murder game at the reception than for the widely loathed bridezilla, Lucy Carmichael. Marygene may have to smile through the festivities, but Mama doesn’t have to hold her peace—especially since only Marygene can hear her mother’s ghost. Mama says she sees an aura of darkness around the wedding.
So when Marygene finds Lucy lying beside the wedding cake, buried in batter, with no pulse, it looks like Mama called it. This is no game. And when the bride’s body simply vanishes, it’s up to Marygene and her best friend Betsy (cousin to the groom and no fan of the bride) to solve a real-life mystery—with a little help from Mama’s sassy spirit . . .
Includes Seven Recipes from Marygene’s Kitchen!
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