plan! To steal her identity and sell the house on your own. Then the three of you would split the profit! It makes perfect sense now why you keep introducing yourself to everyone as Gardenia,” I took a long pause. “Everyone except for the cops, that is. You slipped up, didn’t you? You were so nervous about your evil plot working out that you got sloppy and told the cops your real name. You confused yourself! You couldn’t even keep track of your own plan!” I felt triumphant, as though I had just assembled the 999 th piece in a thousand part jigsaw puzzle. “How did you kill her? Poison?” Charles conjectured. “Ah, but I guess the autopsy will tell the story, won’t it?” “Gardenia was so damn greedy!” Bertha exploded in a sudden fury. “She was going to sell the house and move to Santa Barbara without us. That silly vacation was meant as some sort of consolation prize for abandoning us and putting us out on the street like dogs!” I smirked knowingly, recalling the luxury Ventura County real estate brochure. Bertha had all but confessed to her crime. But she had certainly implicated herself. “It was Gardenia’s money and her house too. She was free to do with it whatever she wanted,” I pointed out softly as Lieutenant Forrest and a trio of police officers surrounded us. Sensing that my work was done, I slipped the recording device out of my blouse and handed it to the lieutenant. Charles followed suit, shaking the officer’s hand and then exhaling heavily as we made our way out of the stuffy airport. *** As we dined at yet another roadside greasy spoon, my heartburn raged out of control like a wildfire. Groaning, I said, “I think I need a vacation from this vacation.” Dipping a fry in a tub of ketchup, Charles laughed and replied, “Tell me about it. It’s been nonstop stress since we got married!” “Hey!” I yelped, poking him in the arm. “I have to follow my hunches, you know that sweetie.” “Yes, I do,” he sighed. “And I promise I won’t try to fight them anymore.” “Good,” I smiled sweetly. “Because I have a hunch that a second honeymoon is in our near future.” “You do?” Charles seductively lifted an eyebrow. “A second honeymoon in California?” Feeling a layer of sweat soak my clothes, I pushed a moist lock of hair out of my face. Closing my eyes, I imagined the most cool, refreshing place, somewhere that was the complete opposite of the unbearable desert sauna we were stuck in. Images of glaciers, mountains, and snow glided through my imagination as I replied breathily, “How does an Alaskan cruise sound?” Charles placed his hand on top of mine and smiled. “It sounds amazing.” “I had a hunch you would say that.” We laughed, tossed the remaining junk food in the garbage, and walked hand in hand towards our future. ***
California Kale & Strawberry Salad 1 package fresh kale leaves 1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced ½ cup raw slivered almonds ½ cup plum tomatoes Your favorite salad dressing
Toss all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. This salad tastes delicious with balsamic vinaigrette or a creamy buttermilk dressing. Makes a light and sweet meal!
Belgian Waffles with Berry Medley (Breakfast in Bed Idea!) Box of buttermilk waffles 1 carton fresh strawberries 1 carton fresh blueberries Butter to spread Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream Strawberry sauce or maple syrup (optional)
Toast the waffles until they’re golden brown. Then spread on some butter and pile the waffles high with fresh berries. Spray on some whipped cream or spoon a scoop of vanilla ice cream onto each waffle. If you still want an extra dollop of sweetness, then drench with strawberry sauce of maple syrup. These waffles can be served a special dessert or breakfast for dinner. Either way, they’re sure to put a berry bright smile on your