Two Cooks A-Killing

Two Cooks A-Killing by Joanne Pence Read Free Book Online

Book: Two Cooks A-Killing by Joanne Pence Read Free Book Online
Authors: Joanne Pence
useful for clearing clogged drains? She tried for diplomacy. “Are you sure we don’t want to showcase other great Napa Valley wines?”
    He frowned. “This is the Waterfield winery. Dr. Waterfield allows us to use his home, and as a favor, we use his wine on the show. The man’s rich, but he’s got to get some compensation. Don’t you agree?”
    It wasn’t a question that required anything more than an “Of course,” which she immediately gave him.
    â€œKeep in mind,” Tarleton said, “the menu must be exact.”
    â€œYes, sir,” she replied, as if she knew what he meant. Exact what?
    â€œIf you aren’t able to do something so simple, speak up now.” He turned sharp eyes on her. “Don’t waste my time later saying you can’t do this or that. I’ll refuse to hear it. Refuse! Absolutely. No backing out. Got it?”
    â€œI’ve got it.” He was making her more nervous by the second. She hated being spoken to like a backward child.
    â€œYou’ll have a budget; I expect you to stay within it, give or take a few grand. All I want is to see the results, not to hear about them. Is that clear?”
    â€œIt’s not that difficult,” she protested when he stopped barking orders.
    He scowled derisively. “Have you ever worked in television before?”
    With pursed lips, he smirked. “It figures.”
    â€œI can do it,” she said. “I’m already thinking of a meal—”
    â€œQuiet!” His eyes narrowed as he put his fingers to his lips and began to stroll around the dining room table. “The more I think about it…yes!” He waved his arms. “Forget everything I just said! We’re going to use the same menu as on an earlier Christmas show.”
    She prayed she’d misunderstood. “I can come up with a wonderful holiday menu. Something elegant, true haute cuisine. How much is my budget, by the way?”
    â€œForget it. My idea is much better. Perfection. I even surprise myself sometimes!”
    â€œWhat are you saying?” She felt tears threatening. She wanted to create a fabulous meal and show the world—or the Eagle Crest -watching part of it—what she could do. Launch a television career, make a name for herself…
    With his hands flat on the tabletop, he leaned toward her, dropping his voice. “We’re going to re-create the meal that was served on the night Julia Parker was murdered. I don’t suppose you know what I’m talking about.”
    â€œOf course I do,” Angie said, puzzled. “She was Natalie’s sister’s daughter, the result of the sister going to a sperm bank and getting sperm that, in fact, might have been Cliff and Adrian’s fathers, making her their half-sister. And, if so, part owner of the winery. Then, she was mysteriously killed. After that, there were hints that Julia was haunting the family. In fact, everything inexplicable that happened after she died was blamed on Julia’s ghost. Frankly, I always suspected it was just acop-out when the writers couldn’t come up with a halfway decent rationale…”
    She snapped her mouth shut. As director, Tarleton had to have approved the scripts. “If so,” she said with a broad smile, “it was clever. Extremely clever.”
    Tarleton stared at her. “You really do know your Eagle Crest history.”
    â€œOf course,” Angie said proudly. “But what does that have to do with the dinner?”
    â€œHaven’t you ever wondered who killed her?”
    â€œI know Cliff was accused. Of course, he was innocent.” She remembered her disappointment with the storyline. “Big surprise! As if the public would continue watching if the show’s sexiest star was cooped up in jail instead of out flirting and making mischief. As I understand it, the whole problem came about because the actress

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