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A KILLER LATTE CHAPTER ONE





ONE



“Quiet on the set!” yelled the man in the director’s chair, Oscar-winning producer Stephen Lemon.
Actress Daisy Lemon in all her Hollywood glamour was standing right in front of the Bean Hive
Coffeehouse, located on the renovated Lake Honey Springs boardwalk in Honey Springs, Kentucky.

My coffeehouse.
The pride swelled in my heart as I watched Daisy deliver the last lines of the big-screen movie they’d been filming over the past three weeks.
Everyone had come out to watch the final scene being taped before the big production company left town. They stood behind the police line, gasping with excitement as soon as Stephen Lemon yelled, “That’s a wrap!”
“Who knew?” my aunt Maxine Bloom asked in her long Southern drawl. “This has turned out to be such a great experience for not only Honey Springs but the entire state.”
Aunt Maxi’s short, now bleached-blond hair was sticking straight up. I was sure she used a full can of Aqua Net hairspray. She had a hot-pink feather boa draped around her neck, and it waved in the air from the big fans used on the set and blowing our way. I tucked a stray strand of my curly black hair back in the low-ponytail hairstyle I’d chosen today for my unruly locks.
Aunt Maxi was the editor in chief of Sticky Situation, the gossip column in the Honey Springs newspaper. There was no better place to get some good hot gossip than right here on the boardwalk, where they were filming the last scene on Lake Honey Springs. Aunt Maxi was ripe for some good gossip.
“People magazine?” I asked when I read a piece of paper, taped to her chest, which read, “People magazine.”
 “People magazine tweeted me back after I hashtagged them when I posted a photo of the movie set.” Aunt Maxi was pretty tech savvy, better than any mid-sixty-year-old I’d ever come across. “Writing an article for them.”
She picked up the camera, dangling from the strap hanging around her neck. She held it up to her eyes. Using her free hand, she twisted the lens until she pushed the capture button. The bangles from her elbow to her wrist jingled and jangled. “That’s gonna be a good shot.”
She dropped the camera from her eyes and looked over at Daisy Lemon, the lead actress playing the heroine in the latest Sicholas Narks romance novel. The backdrop of Lake Honey Springs, and the small town of Honey Springs, was a perfect character all on its own that would play well on the big screen. “I’ve got thousands of photos already. Gonna be hard to pick a handful.”
 “That’s great.” I couldn’t have been more pleased for her and Honey Springs. It gave us a break from reading all the gossip she stuck in her piece, mostly filled with half-truths.
“Great working with all of you and my beloved Daisy.” Stephen turned around and addressed the crew.
His words caused a flurry of activity, from the key grip putting the equipment down and the extras taking a break, to Daisy’s makeup artist patting her face, to our very own Crissy Lane making sure Daisy’s hair was perfect. Everyone rushed over to fan Daisy from the heat.
We were in full-blown spring in Kentucky. It wasn’t the normal season most of the country experienced. One day we could have summer temperatures and the next have snow. Today was a hot day.
“Daisy! Daisy!” Penney Bloom, my mother, screamed from behind the police line across from me. She was waving something in the air. “Daisy!”
Crissy shuffled a little to Daisy’s left, glancing over her shoulder at Mom, giving her a little scowl. The red freckles on Crissy’s face reddened. Crissy’s sun-washed blond hair was pulled up in a topknot. Hints of her natural red hair were apparent at the roots.
I sucked in a deep breath and headed toward my mom. I could see a storm brewing on her face. Don’t get me wrong. Penney would never have a hissy fit in public, but she would with me on the phone.
“Did you see what that Crissy Lane just did to me?” Mom snarled. “She just gave me the cold shoulder. Well, when all of this”—Mom circled her finger around, suggesting the movie set—“when all of this is all gone and Crissy still has to work at Touched By An Angel, she’ll be thinking twice about shunning me today, because I am one of her best customers. Not to mention, I did a lot of fancy paperwork to get her that loan for her house.”
 “Mom.” I greeted her with a hug. “What are you waving around?” I didn’t even acknowledge what Crissy had done. But Mom was right. When all the fancy movie folks left town and took Daisy, poor Crissy would be left with all the fried, dried, and oily hair left in Honey Springs to dig her fingers into.
“Me and the Southern Women’s Club have put together a musical CD, and if anyone knows how to get it in the stores, it’s for sure got to be Daisy Lemon.” Mom was serious. “Maxine!” Mom screamed over my head and waved the CD in the air. “If you get an interview, you give her our CD.”
“You and Aunt Maxi?” That about took my breath away. My mom and Aunt Maxi weren’t the best of friends.
“Don’t talk out of turn.” Mom didn’t even look at me when she was telling me to mind my own business in her own colorful language. “Besides, Maxine and I have come to somewhat of terms since I’ve been here.”
“Mom, I had to get married by the justice of the peace so I wouldn’t hurt your feelings or Aunt Maxi’s feelings when the preacher asked who gives away the bride.” I recalled my Halloween wedding and how I couldn’t take another fight from the two of them.
“We aren’t talking about that.” Mom threw her hand up in the air and waved the CD.
Across from us, at the other police line, a lot of people were yelling, “Daisy! Daisy!”
Other women I’d recognized, who belonged to the Southern Women’s Club, were in a collective quest to get Daisy’s attention, all of them waving the CD in their hands.
“Y’all’ve been busy,” I said with a sigh. No wonder Mom and the usual gossipy women of Honey Springs hadn’t been driving me nuts at the coffeehouse all winter. “I thought it was too cold for you to visit me at the Bean Hive during the winter months, when all along you’ve been breaking into showbiz,” I teased and scanned the police line that was blocking off this part of the boardwalk area.
“The real estate market was slow, so I used my extra time coming up with music, because I knew if I could get it in Daisy’s hands…” She abruptly stopped and pointed the CD at the far side of the police line. “Look, there’s Patrick.” She pointed to my husband.
 The big wrap party the movie crew bragged about not missing was tonight. No one wanted to miss it, including me, though I was working it. Camey Montgomery, owner of the Cocoon Hotel, where the wrap party was going to be taking place, had me serving some sweet treats and specialty coffees I’d created at the Bean Hive.
Patrick and I waved at each other across the boardwalk. He was talking to a pregnant woman and a man I didn’t recognize. Daisy walked into the very small trailer the Honey Springs Beautification Committee had placed on the boardwalk for Daisy to hang out in between takes, causing the spectators to quiet down.
“Mom,” I tsked, turning back to her. “You have the Southern Women’s Club all over this boardwalk.”
“You can give it to her.” She smacked the CD on the Bean Hive logo embroidered on the front of my apron. Daisy and Stephen Lemon had paid me handsomely to keep the production crew in coffee and sweets.
“You give it to her at the wrap party.” I pushed the CD back to her.
“You mean…” Penney gasped, gripping the CD to her chest. “You’re inviting me?”
“I do have an extra pass. Patrick has his own pass. So you might as well go with me.” I smiled.
“I know you, Roxy Bloom.” Penney shook her finger at me. “What gives?”
“Nothing.” I gave a little shrug. “Can’t I just do something nice?”
Mom squealed, bounced, and beamed.
The crowd erupted when Daisy’s trailer door opened, and she came out with a flowing maxi dress with big sunflowers all over it. The wig she’d worn to look like the heroine from the novel the movie was based on was long gone, and her long blond mane fell in curls around her face and down her back. Pale skin and red lips looked really good on her. I even caught Patrick gawking at her when she walked by him. She stopped and had her photo taken with the pregnant woman and the man Patrick had been talking to.
“What’s she handing out?” James Farley, owner of the Buzz In-N-Out Diner, had his heated-food pushcart filled with all sorts of greasy food.
 “I have no idea, but we need one.” It amazed me how Daisy had these people in a trance.
James had landed a contract with the production company to feed them breakfast, dinner, and supper.
We watched in awe at how Daisy made everyone around her melt into her hands like putty. The closer Daisy got to our side of the boardwalk, I could see she was handing out manila envelopes.
“You grab us one of those envelopes,” I told James. “I’ve got to go set up for the production’s final town meeting at All About the Details now that they aren’t filming in front of the coffeehouse. Then get stuff down to the Cocoon Hotel for the wrap party.”
“What’s the meeting about?” James asked. He didn’t take his eyes off Daisy. “She sure is pretty.”
“From what I gathered, Daisy is going to talk to the beautification committee and mayor about the production company presenting the town with a bust or something.” I ignored his comment about Daisy’s beauty.
“Is that what they are doing in Central Park?” He asked about the park located in downtown Honey Springs.
“Yeah. I think it’s going to be near the gazebo.” I watched as everyone gushed over Daisy.
As the coffeehouse owner, I’d come up with a specialty latte that I’d concocted just for the time they were in Honey Springs to film the movie. I called it the Star-Studded Latte.
The day of wrapping up had finally come, and soon my very busy life would return to my morning routine of getting up at four a.m., getting to the coffeehouse, and getting freshly baked goods made and coffee brewed before the six a.m. morning rush.
Plus, my sweet Pepper and Sassy, my and Patrick’s fur babies, who were used to coming to work with us, had been holed up in our cabin during the three weeks. With the production company filming the scenes on the boardwalk in front of the coffeehouse, it was hard to try to keep the dogs from barking, not to mention the times I needed to take them on a quick walk or to go potty. It was best for everyone that they stayed home. But I missed them terribly and really was looking forward to the production company leaving town, though it had been fun to watch how they made movies.
“Excuse me.” The faint voice was followed up by a gentle tap on my shoulder.
I turned around and was face-to-face with Daisy Lemon. James was right. Her beauty was even more stunning up close.
“Are you the one who is making those fabulous lattes?” she asked in a romantic voice that I couldn’t wait to try when she wasn’t around. “The entire crew is raving about them.”
“Yes, Mrs. Lemon.” I felt like she was a princess and I needed to curtsy or something. “Is there a problem?”
She lifted her fingers to the diamond necklace around her neck and gently fondled it with her fingertips. She leaned in and whispered, “I will come see you in a few minutes when my husband goes to the meeting.”
“Sure.” My eyes popped open. What on earth could Daisy Lemon want with me?
“Shhh.” She moved her finger from her diamonds to my lips. “It’s a secret, darling.”


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