okay?” she said as she heard a car horn beep.
They both turned. Coming up the lane was an old red Volvo, driven by a balding, distinguished-looking gentleman with a white handlebar moustache.
“Oh, it’s Herr Georg!” Candy called happily, waving. She pronounced his name the German way, the way he liked it pronounced— gay-org .
Georg Wolfsburger was a German immigrant who had lived in Cape Willington for nearly three decades—and, in truth, he helped put the sleepy coastal town on the culinary map with his Black Forest Bakery, a quaint little shop nestled between a bookstore and a coffee shop on Main Street. Though patrons could always find scrumptious breads and cookies at Georg’s bakery, they came mostly for his specialties—cakes and pastries baked from old German recipes.
His blueberry strudel was to die for, and the cherry, blueberry, and especially chocolate cheesecakes were heavenly. Brides-to-be and their mothers came from as far away as Boston and Connecticut to purchase Herr Georg’s towering wedding cakes, and cars with license plates from such distant and exotic places as New York, New Jersey, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, even Colorado and California could be found parked in front of Georg’s shop throughout the summer and well into the fall.
Georg and Candy had struck up a friendship soon after she moved to Blueberry Acres. In season, Georg bought pounds and pounds of fresh blueberries from her, and she often helped out in his shop during busy periods. He had even helped her perfect the recipes for her muffins, scones, and pies, offering up a secret ingredient for each one—olive oil in the muffins, for instance, or a touch of vanilla in the scones. She still would not reveal these secret ingredients to anyone else, including (or perhaps especially ) her father. Doc had many positive traits, but discretion was not one of them.
Herr Georg brought the old Volvo to a stop in a roiling cloud of dust and climbed out of the car, carrying a pink pastry box. “ Guten tag , Candy!” he called with a wave as he joined them. “Hullo, Ray,” he added with a polite nod.
“Afternoon, Mr. George,” Ray responded in a guarded fashion. He followed the lead of many of the locals, who refused to use the German pronunciation of Herr Georg’s name, believing that if he lived in America, he should be referred to as an American would be.
Georg appeared not to notice, though he immediately turned his back to Ray, focusing his attention on Candy. “I’ve brought something special I just took out of the oven, and I couldn’t wait to show it to you,” he said in an accented voice as he held up the pastry box. “Could I perhaps tempt you with a little afternoon delight?”
Herr Georg’s innuendo was not lost on Candy, but she knew his insinuations were harmless and usually didn’t let them bother her. In fact, at times she even thought them charming in an Old European sort of way.
“Ray and I just had some pie,” she said with a teasing smile.
“Oh, but you must try this,” the baker coaxed, tapping the box with a well-manicured finger. “It’s quite decadent.” The way he wiggled his eyebrows, trying to entice her, reminded her of Groucho Marx.
“Herr Georg, if I didn’t know better, I’d say you were trying to fatten me up.”
“I promise you, it will be worth your while.”
Candy grinned. “Promise?”
“Of course!” said the baker heartily.
“Then how could I possibly refuse?” Her gaze shifted. She nodded at the handyman. “Ray’s been helping me out with the booth today, but we’re all finished. Right?”
Ray seemed to finally get the hint. He let out a breath of resignation through his nose as his whole body slouched. “Um, yeah. Yeah, we are.” Forlornly he tossed the toolbox into the back of his truck, climbed into the cab, and drove off with a halfhearted wave.
“Nice fellow,” Herr Georg observed as Ray’s truck disappeared down the lane. “A bit slow but friendly