How many people have their very own twenty-first century version of a fairy godmother?
How many people have their very own twenty-first century version of a fairy godmother? Single mom Angelina Redding has Molly, and it’s a good thing too, because Angelina’s life is about to get very complicated.
Start with Craig Harding, the sexy academic with a mysterious past she’s managing an event for. Craig is not only a dream to work with, but he’s also exactly the kind of man she is attracted to. Too bad the college she and Craig work for frowns on personal relationships between their employees.
Add the cooking competition Angelina is staging for Craig. With one issue after another troubling the event, Angelina has begun to wonder if the glitches are deliberate. International culinary competitions are high-stakes events and winning one can bring big rewards. The contestants are single-minded, perfectionist chefs and they all intend to come in first. Is one of them behind the sabotage?
Season with a murder that threatens the future of the competition and Angelina knows she’s got a problem. Still, she has Molly, her helpful fairy godmother who doesn’t mind fixing what goes wrong. But Molly’s aid has unintended consequences when she makes the body disappear.
Now there’s no body and a murderer at large. Angelina and Craig will have to work together to keep the moody chefs in line, the competition on schedule, and the murderer at bay.
What better way for a girl to figure out if the sexy guy she works with is really the one she wants?
In the author's words . . .
The idea for A Recipe for Trouble came to me when I was working as a conference planner at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC. When the conference was on part of my job was checking the meeting rooms at the end of each day to make sure no one had personal items behind. It was a pretty routine task and so a terrific opportunity to let my imagination run riot. And it did. I’d wonder what I’d do if I walked into a room I thought was empty and instead found a participant slumped in a chair, unconscious – or dead. I spun whole stories around why one academic might decide to murder another, and how the murder might have been committed. Of course, from an event manager’s point of view, having a participant die at the event would be terrible, but a murder would be even worse. It would be better if the body disappeared. But that would be terrible too. And how could that happen anyway? Shifting bodies is hard work, unless you have the help of a magical person, like a fairy godmother.
The ideas lay dormant until I got involved in the Vancouver foodie scene and the world of high-end culinary competitions. And again I wondered… What if one of the chefs was killed before the competition, in one of the kitchens? That would be a disaster. The competition would have to be cancelled—unless the body disappeared. But that would create its own set of problems.
Eventually my daydreams resulted in a story about nervy chefs and competitive academics, all twisted together in the lethal dish I call A Recipe for Trouble.
Enjoy a sneak peek from A Recipe for Trouble
by Louise Clark
The doors to the kitchens were all recessed, so they would not open directly into the hallway. Vaughn Canby reached kitchen ten, put his hand on the door. “Good afternoon everyone. Fenner, it’s good to see you.”
Fenner Powell laughed. “Sure, Vaughn. If you say so.”
A muscle in Vaughn’s jaw jumped, but he didn’t reply, though he did pull the hydraulic door open with more force than was necessary. Craig strode forward and they disappeared into the kitchen.
The rest of the tour straggled along behind, but before they could enter the room, Craig appeared in the doorway. “Angelina, I think we need to reschedule the visit. Can you and Shasta work out an alternate time—say on Monday afternoon?”
Craig’s expression was carefully neutral. He’d half-closed the door, so his body hid whatever was behind it. His posture triggered Angelina’s problem radar, sending it soaring off the scales. Something was wrong in the kitchen, and it was bad, really bad. She put on her brightest, most cheerful damage-control smile and followed his lead. “Of course, Craig. Shasta, Fenner, why don’t we go back to Craig’s office? His secretary can check his calendar—”
Shasta wasn’t about to play along. She must have read Craig’s body language too and realized that there was some sort of crisis. She evidently planned to milk it for all it was worth. “Monday doesn’t work for me. Today is better. Now is perfect. Come on, Craig. What are you hiding in there?”
Fenner moved past Shasta and joined in. “Ho! I think there’s more to this than bad timing.”
Craig stepped forward. As the door started to swing closed, Vaughn appeared behind him and shoved the door wider with his shoulder.
“Vaughn, old friend,” Fenner said, his tone a sneer. “You’ve shifted into panic mode, I see. I’m not surprised. When the competition starts on Tuesday we’re going to meet, and despite your antiquated equipment I’m going to show everyone why I’m the one who’s been chosen to teach in state of the art facilities. You just wait! I’ll—”
Vaughn stepped aside, holding the door open wide. There was an elated grin on his face and triumph in his eyes. “State of the art?” he said. “You think you’ve got state of the art?”
“Vaughn,” Craig said, his tone a warning, his expression still carefully blank.
Canby ignored him. His grin became fierce. “Come look,” he said, “and see state of the art.”
Shasta glanced at Angelina. Her eyes glinted. “I sense a mystery. Do you have any idea what is going on?”
Angelina shook her head.
Fenner made a snorting sound that could possibly be laughter. Or maybe it was sneering disbelief. “Look, Vaughn, we both know your kitchens are old. I guess if you can stand working in them, you feel pretty attached to them, but be honest, man! Admit what you can’t change!”
If possible, Canby’s smile became sharper, more wicked. He stabbed a finger in the air, pointed toward Fenner’s chest. “You’re going to eat those words, Fenner Powell, and I’m not going to let you forget them. Next week, when we’re all competing, when the eyes of our industry are on this facility and on this program, you are going to be so out of it. You won’t have a chance.”
Craig said again, in that same warning tone, “Vaughn...”
Still locked in their verbal duel, Vaughn ignored him.
“Step inside, Fenner,” Vaughn said. “Come see state of the art. Real state of the art.”
Fenner charged forward.
Shasta murmured, “How intriguing,” and followed. There was nothing Angelina could do but trail along behind.
When Fenner reached the doorway, he stopped dead. Angelina couldn’t see his expression, but Vaughn laughed.
Shasta rose up on her tiptoes to look over his shoulder. “Oh...My...God!” she said, spacing her words for emphasis. She stepped back, then turned to Angelina.
The expression on her face was one of stunned disbelief.
End of Excerpt
Copyright © by Louise Clark
Learn more by visiting the author's website. A RECIPE FOR TROUBLE released January 2018.
Meet the Author
A longtime resident of Vancouver, British Columbia, Louise Clark writes the 9 Lives Cozy Mystery series, as well as historical and time-travel romances. For many years she worked at one of Vancouver’s universities as an event planner. The inspiration for the cooking competition in A Recipe for Trouble came from Vancouver’s vibrant foodie culture, which was also an important part of Louise’s Vancouver experience.
A Recipe for Trouble by Louise Clark
Genre: Mystery Romance/Cozy Mystery
Heat Level: 1
Language Level: 2
Violence Level: 4
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