Eggnog Trifle Trouble by Addison Moore
My name is Lottie Lemon, and I see dead people. Okay, so I rarely see dead people. Mostly I see furry creatures of the dearly departed variety, aka dead pets, who have come back from the other side to warn me of their previous owner’s impending doom.
It’s time for the Jingle Hop Ball in Honey Hollow, and the Christmas Angels are hosting an auction to go along with it to help benefit needy families. When a painting rumored to be haunted is auctioned off to Carlotta, it brings more trouble than one could imagine. The snow is falling, the accusations are flying, and it’s beginning to look a lot like murder.
Lottie Lemon has a brand new bakery to tend to, a budding romance with perhaps one too many suitors, and she has the supernatural ability to see the dead—which are always harbingers for ominous things to come. Throw in the occasional ghost of the human variety, a string of murders, and her insatiable thirst for justice, and you’ll have more chaos than you know what to do with.
Living in the small town of Honey Hollow can be murder.
My name is Lottie Lemon, and I see dead people. Okay, so rarely do I see dead people. Mostly I see furry creatures of the dearly departed variety who have come back from the other side to warn me of their previous owner’s impending doom. But right now, the only spirit I’m surrounded by is the holiday spirit as I take in the grand ballroom at the Evergreen Manor.
It’s a snowy Saturday night in early December—the night of the Jingle Hop Ball put on by an organization called the Christmas Angels whose prime objective is to raise funds for needy families and making sure underprivileged kids find gifts under the tree Christmas morning. It’s a fifty dollar a plate dinner, their biggest fundraiser of the year, and judging by the fact that all of Honey Hollow—heck, all of Vermont has turned out, I think they should well exceed the giving goals they’ve highlighted on the easel out front.
I spot my mother, my sisters, and even my obstetrician here tonight. Everyone and anyone is under this roof, and I’ll admit, there’s something comforting being in a room full of friends and family.
The ballroom at the Evergreen Manor looks magical this evening. It’s festooned with enough garland and twinkle lights to wrap around the planet twice, and the entire left side of the room is filled with pre-decorated Christmas trees as a part of the silent auction.
The trees were donated by the Jolly Holly Tree Lot, and each one has been adorned top to bottom with a specific theme—snowmen, reindeer, under the sea—and there’s even a tree devoted to baking with miniature cookie sheets, rolling pins, and ornaments in the shape of delicious desserts.
The tree lot donates these fully bejeweled evergreen beauties to a charity event each year, and each year it seems the trees grow that much more elaborate.
“A Holly Jolly Christmas” blares through the speakers, the spiked eggnog is flowing, and the dance floor is flooded with glammed up women and dapper men. But the proverbial star on top of the Christmas tree this evening is the fact Santa is here, along with Mrs. Claus and his elves, to take photos with all the guests. And judging by the line, everyone is desperate for a holiday picture.
I look up to find Judge Essex Everett Baxter striding my way. Everett is my lethally handsome husband with his jet-black hair and commanding blue eyes, and it’s worthy to note those would be bedroom eyes.
“Lemon”—he offers the flicker of one of his hard-won smiles—“you must be a thief because you stole my heart from across the room.”
Detective Noah Corbin Fox steps up next to him and all but averts his eyes.
“Lottie”—Noah’s dimples go off without warning—“if I could rearrange the alphabet, I’d put U and I together.” He relaxes in an all-out grin just as my trusty right-hand gal at the bakery, Lily Swanson, clucks her tongue at the spectacle.
“Wow, who knew cheesy Christmas music brought out the cheesy in grown men?” Lily lifts a brow my way. “If you’re not careful, Lottie, one of them is bound to knock you up. Oh wait, that’s already happened.” She swats me playfully with the dishtowel in her hand before getting back to the business of serving up my eggnog trifle at the dessert table.
Each of the trifles sits in a glass footed bowl that I’ve lined with happy looking gingerbread men in keeping with the holiday theme. And because of those fresh baked gingerbread men, the entire ballroom holds the scent of ginger and cinnamon.
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