Murder in Christmas River: A Christmas Cozy Mystery

Murder in Christmas River: A Christmas Cozy Mystery by Meg Muldoon Read Free Book Online

Book: Murder in Christmas River: A Christmas Cozy Mystery by Meg Muldoon Read Free Book Online
Authors: Meg Muldoon
Huckleberry would be happy tonight.
    That would make one of us.
     

Chapter 11
     
    When noon rolled around, I did something I rarely ever did. I put a sign out in front saying I’d be right back, and I closed up the shop for half an hour.
    I readjusted my purple knit hat as I walked down Main Street and took a left on Holly Street. It had stopped snowing for the time being, and dark, dramatic clouds sailed briskly across the sky, revealing pockets of blue as they spread and pulled apart. Sometimes the sun would come out for a few moments before hiding behind the clouds again.
    Half way to the bridge, I realized that I’d forgotten to wear my jacket and was only in my gray turtleneck. But I didn’t feel cold. The air felt good and fresh and somehow cleansing in my lungs. It took away that burnt pie smell that the shop was now filled with.  
    I made it to the bridge and walked halfway across, stopping right in the middle.
    I watched the river slowly meander beneath my feet. Sometimes in the summer, the Christmas River rushed by with a frenzied speed, like the water had places to go and wanted to get there as soon as it could. But as we got deeper into winter, it began to slow down, almost like a bear in hibernation. Soon, it would just be a trickle, the river falling asleep in winter’s death grasp.
    I watched the water, hypnotized by it for a while, trying to regain control of my thoughts. Trying to calm down and clear my head.
    But it was hard.
    It had come completely out of left field. I hadn’t seen it coming.  
    I figured that she’d taken everything from me already. What more could she possibly do?
    But I guess I had been wrong and Kara had been right.
    She wasn’t going to stop with stealing my husband.
    Bailey, the woman who up until two years ago had been my bakery assistant and good friend, wanted to take the Gingerbread Junction Competition title away from me too.
    I shuddered as a sharp and clean breeze cut through my sweater, touching my skin before moving on.
    Bailey.
    Sometimes I’d wake up in the middle of the night, questioning whether or not it all really happened.
    Then I’d look at the other side of the bed, the side that had been cold and empty for two years, and I didn’t have to question anymore.
    The nightmare was real.
    Evan, my high school sweetheart, my boyfriend all through college and my husband since the year after I graduated, the man I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with, the man I thought I was going to grow old with, the man I thought I was going to retire in Hawaii with one day, had left me for another woman.
    More than that, he’d left me for my bakery assistant and our friend, Bailey.
    I hadn’t seen that coming either. Not in a million years would I have guessed that.
    I always liked to think I was a tough, no-nonsense, practical girl who had good instinct when it came to people. I used to think that women who didn’t know that their husbands were cheating on them were either not paying attention, or were willingly blind to their betrayal.
    But I was stupid. And oh-so-wrong.
    There were signs, sure. But I trusted him. I’d always trusted him, since I was 16, I had. I didn’t believe that was something he’d ever do. So when he’d stay out a little later with his buddies, or when he’d go on business trips for his job with the High Springs Lodge that lasted longer than he’d told me they would, or when he’d offer to give Bailey rides to work after her car broke down… I didn’t see those signs. Any of them.
    Because when you love and trust someone, you don’t see signs as signs. You interpret them differently. He’s just being a guy hanging out with his friends, or he’s just a hard worker, or he’s just looking out for a friend of ours.
    I found out the first week of December two years ago that he’d been having an affair with Bailey.
    It wasn’t anything dramatic. I didn’t walk in on them or anything.
    It was almost as low key as a

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