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Sue Hollowell

Bonbons and Bodies (PAPERBACK)

Bonbons and Bodies (PAPERBACK)

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Gummed up game time, hat tricks, and grounds for murder...

Tilly and her assistant are in high gear with the grand opening of the new cafe and bakery. Add a new love interest into the mix and she feels like she is now unstoppable on the road to her dreams.

With her pro baseball brother’s team in town, Tilly escapes for a few hours with her new boyfriend to cheer him on. Just as they settle into their seats, the team goes down by six runs. The coach trots out to the pitcher’s mound to make a change and keels over dead.

Tilly’s brother finds himself in the middle of professional sports jealousy, back-stabbing teammates, and twists and turns reminiscent of the best pulled salt water taffy. Can she solve the mysterious death of the baseball coach or will her brother be forced to hang up his glove for good?


 Paperback 106 pages
 Dimensions 5 x 0.5 x 8 inches (127 x 12.7 x 203 mm)
 ISBN 979-8756662092
 Publication date October 7, 2021
 Publisher Free Heart Productions


The sparse clouds in the night sky reflected the beautiful combination of orange setting sun and bright lights from the baseball stadium. The temperature hovered in the seventies, a perfect setting to watch a ballgame. The seats were packed with raving fans. Food vendors ambled up and down the stairs hawking their wares. Our vantage point was just to the left of home plate, giving us an angle to see the visiting team dugout.

Justin and I had settled into the hard plastic seats for an unofficial date. Unsure of our relationship status, I was open to possibilities. From our recent train trip, and Justin’s role in rescuing me from harm, we had grown closer. I looked over at him and smiled. He munched on a big bag of peanuts, decked out in the visiting team’s gear, his curly blond hair tucked under a red cap. His muscles flexed with each nut he shelled. He was so easy to be with.

He extended the bag in my direction. “Would you like some?”

Shaking my head, I responded by holding up my box of bonbons. “No thank you,” I said. “You?”

Justin tucked his hand inside, removing a chocolate-covered salted-caramel ice cream a little smaller than the size of a golf ball. He turned it over in his hand and popped it into his mouth.

“Mmm,” he replied. “Never had one before. Pretty good. And they go well with peanuts.”

I was glad that we had this low-key experience together to further explore our relationship. Tentatively allowing my mind to advance in time, I wondered what the future might hold for Justin and me. Was this going somewhere serious? And, more importantly, was that what I wanted? In my new life in Belle Harbor, I was getting better at making decisions from a more deliberate space—taking time to think through and really feel if this was what was right for me. Given that we were taking it slow, I was in a happy place.

Ever since my brother had gotten called up to the big leagues, I vowed I would get to one of his games. For several years he toiled in the minors while working his tail off so when he finally got the call he would be ready. Pacing at first base, pounding his glove, he stared the batter down. Only the top of the second inning and his team was behind by three runs. The pitcher stopped and looked back at the runner on second base, tipping his head down and glaring. Pausing only slightly, he pivoted and delivered the pitch to the batter.

The connection with the ball sent it over the head of the outfielder, prompting his sprint in the opposite direction. The crowd collectively held our breath as the fielder stretched up against the outfield wall and snagged the ball in the webbing of his glove. The runner sped from second to third, diving headfirst into the bag and popping right up to his feet.

My heart pounded. There was a lot of game left, but it would still be a challenge to come out of a hole. At this rate, I might need a few more boxes of bonbons.
The announcer asked everyone to get to their feet as the next batter came to the plate. We stood and cheered as the first two pitches were strikes. One more and we would be out of this mess.

The night sky was now a midnight blue backdrop for the next pitch that was hit high over everyone into the right field stands. Dejected, the visiting crowd dropped into their seats amid a few boos. I knew from attending many games when my brother was in high school that anything could happen. My baseball knowledge was sparse, but until the game was over, they still had a chance.

Leaning to my right, I nudged Justin and pointed to the bullpen. Another two pitchers were up and throwing. Maybe it was for the best. The guy on the mound had allowed several runs and it was early. Some days it seemed you just didn’t have what it took and your teammates had to come in to save you.

If it wasn’t for my assistant and teammate Linda, I wouldn’t be here. Even before I opened Luna’s Bakery and Cafe, my little kitchen in the corner of Uncle Jack’s antique store kept me so busy there wasn’t much opportunity for time away. The pace and success of the bakery required I hire another part-time person to help in the store and with deliveries. I wasn’t sure how Dexter was going to work out. He was an eager teenager in need of money who worked his tail off. When I interviewed him I offered free bakery items as a bonus. Without much recent experience with the eating habits of teenage boys, I quickly realized I might have to give him a quota before he ate us out of business.

I pulled my phone from my pocket and checked to see if Linda had texted me. Certain she could handle things and confident she would contact me only as a last resort, I was relieved to see I had no messages. She had insisted I go to the game and no wasn’t an option. I worried if she could keep Dexter in check, but she assured me it was all under control. And if needed, Uncle Jack could provide reinforcements.

Standing and raising my arms, I stretched my back and neck. This might be a long night, and I didn’t want to wake tomorrow in knots from sitting for hours. David glanced my direction from first base with a brief smile. With his game face on I wanted no part of disrupting his concentration. Playing first base meant you were guaranteed to be part of the action of most every play. He touched the bill of his cap, the signal he began in his early years of playing to acknowledge his family without overtly gesturing to us.

As I plopped into my seat, Justin tapped my knee, touching my empty bonbon box. “Would you like me to get you some more?”

He gestured toward the coach walking to the mound, who pointed one arm toward the bullpen and stretched out the other to take the ball from the pitcher. The bullpen door opened and one of the pitchers who had been warming up trotted from left field toward the coach. Now would be a good time to head to the concession stand, but I decided to wait a bit longer. Shaking my head in response to Justin, I placed my empty box under my seat with a reminder to take it to the trash can later.

The announcer came over the loudspeaker introducing the pitcher who would take over the mound. Just as he arrived to take the ball from the coach, the other pitcher stomped away. After whispering a few words to the new pitcher and pointing toward the batter, the coach put the ball into the pitcher’s glove and fell face down into the dirt. Looking around like he had just gotten Punk’d, the pitcher knelt down and shook the coach. The infield players and umpiring staff converged on the mound. From inside the team dugout, the doctor sprinted with his medical bag and entered the fray.

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