Spells and Scones (Magical Bakery Mystery #6) - Bailey Cates

Chapter 1

“I can’t believe I actually get to see her!” Margie Coopersmith bounced on her chair with excitement.

“Mmm-hmm,” I managed around a bite of sweet potato and brown butter scone. The rich flakiness melted on my tongue, and I made a mental note to add a bit more sage to the next batch.

My friend had stopped by the Honeybee Bakery after taking her kids to Friday-morning story time at the Fox and Hound Bookshop next door. Aunt Lucy had immediately shooed me out of the kitchen for my first break since arriving at five a.m. to start on the day’s baking, and I’d joined Margie at a small table near the front windows. The Coopersmiths lived next to my little carriage house in Savannah’s Midtown, so most of our conversations took place over the fence between our backyards. Lately we’d both been so busy that there hadn’t been many of those chance encounters, and it was nice to have this opportunity to catch up.

Margie’s blond ponytail swished as she shook her head in wonder. “I’ve called in to Dr. Dana’s radio show twice but never thought I’d have the chance to meet her face-to-face. I can hardly wait for her signing tomorrow night.”

Twice? Really? But I just smiled.

The door to the bakery was propped open to the sixty-five-degree morning, and a pleasant breeze wafted inside. The Ohioan in me loved the change of seasons, even if they weren’t nearly as marked in Georgia. I welcomed the caress of the mild, humid air after months of air-conditioning, happily clad in my usual skirt-and-T-shirt work uniform. Margie wore jeans and a light sweater with a denim jacket and sneakers—practical mom garb heavy enough to ward off what she considered chilly weather.

Margie’s five-year-old twins, Jonathan and Julia—the JJs for short—ignored their mother’s enthusiasm. Sitting next to her at the table, they bent flaxen heads together over their newest book purchase, oatmeal cookies clutched in their right hands. Baby Bart snoozed in his stroller on her other side. Though he was nearly two years old, I suspected the youngest Coopersmith would be called Baby Bart until he was old enough to drive. Baby Bart and the JJs. It sounded like a band from the seventies.

As the JJs turned the page, I saw that the book gripping their attention was The Night Before Thanksgiving by Natasha Wing. The holiday was only a week away, and I was looking forward to a big traditional turkey dinner with Aunt Lucy, Uncle Ben, my boyfriend, Declan McCarthy, and as many of the members of the spellbook club and their families as could make it. I hadn’t decided on my culinary contribution to the festivities yet. Lately all my spare attention had been devoted to working with Lucy and our part-time employee, Iris Grant, on providing plenty of delicious snacks for the very author event Margie was waxing on about.

Work or not, it was awfully fun. Not only did the occasional catering job give us an excuse to play around with new recipes, which was one of my favorite things to do as a co-owner of the Honeybee, but we could also explore how to bring the right kind of kitchen magic to the table.

Literally.

Soon after I’d moved to Savannah and started the bakery with Lucy and Ben, my aunt had delivered the bombshell that hedgewitchery ran in our family. The term came from the women who used to cross the hedges that protectively surrounded many villages. They would venture into the wild forests and fields to collect plants, which they then used to help and heal the townspeople. Of