Shortly After the Kentucky Derby

(Read the prequel to this scene in my May 1 newsletter archived under “Membership Application”)


Sipping on a Paloma expertly mixed by Harry, Emelina Flores’s Spanish accent floated across the table to Garland Langford, sounding very smug and only slightly appalled. “Imagine my own daughter-in-law, Genevra, and my granddaughter-in-law, Piper, thinking they could take me down—the undefeated queen of the Kentucky Derby hat contest?”

“I’m sure Genevra and Piper were just trying to do you proud,” Garland soothed.

“Rubbish, darling, they were trying to dethrone me.” She waved a hand as if dismissing any other explanation. “Davis confessed the whole thing when I caught him covered in all manner of garish adornments creeping out of the recreation room.”


“The boy was helping them,” Em exclaimed. “Can you imagine? They roped that dear boy into doing their dirty work.”

“And he blabbed it all to you?”

“He had to.” Em’s hand formed into a claw and shook for emphasis. “I had him by the balls.”

Garland laughed. “Oh, for goodness sakes. You did not have him by the balls.”

Em’s claw shifted to one finger. “Figuratively.”

“Well, don’t keep me in suspense.”

Em leaned back in her chair, picked up her pretty cocktail and sipped slowly, eyeing Garland. Finally a satisfied smirk appeared. “I caught him stealing Piper’s piecrust recipe. He sent it off to his own mother.”

“No.” Garland was aghast.

“I kid you not.”

“Her dear-departed mother’s piecrust?”

“The very same.”

“The award-winning piecrust?”

“Blue ribbon after blue ribbon.”

“The top-secret, this-is-so-good-it-will-help-save-our-town piecrust?”

“Exactly. Once she and Molly make their appearance on QVC pitching their Big Pie Plate, she’s hoping the incentive of a crust-making demonstration will entice all manner of cooking enthusiasts into town. Only by visiting her Big Pie Plate shop on Henderson’s Main Street will they be able to learn the secrets of her momma’s piecrust.”

“Then what in the world is Davis doing sending the recipe off willy-nilly to his northern-born momma? Although, I will tell you that woman is about as likely to make her own piecrust as she is to have a skull and crossbones painted on her French manicure. I adore her, but she’s no cook.”

“And you are?” Emelina’s eyebrow rose.

“Well, he didn’t give me the recipe, now did he?”

“No. But his mother was hounding him for it and Piper refused to relinquish it. The threat of having his momma come back to town for a ‘personal demonstration’ was too much for the boy. I mean, you can hardly blame him. We’d just gotten rid of his and Missy’s parents after their extended stay.” She gave a little shrug. “Of course they’re all like family now and I’m afraid we’ll be seeing them for the holidays because, Lord knows, we can’t get along without Davis for more than a few days at a time. But the boy had had enough, and so had I. So he secretly copied it, sent it, and swore me to secrecy.”

“What’s going to happen when Piper finds out?”

“She’s not going to find out.”

“She will if I tell her.”

“Garland Langford,” she scolded. “Why would you ever consider doing a thing like that to our Davis?”

“I wouldn’t. But now that you’ve shared this with me, I’ve got him by the balls, too.” Garland grinned. “My daughter Scarlett tells me absolutely nothing, so this is bound to come in handy.”

“Exactly.” Em winked. “You owe me.”

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