The Chocolate Bridal Bash (Chocoholic Mystery Series #6)

The Chocolate Bridal Bash (Chocoholic Mystery Series #6)

by JoAnna Carl

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Caught up in a whirl of champagne and china patterns, bride-to-be Lee McKinney has butted heads with her future mother-in-law over every detail of the wedding bash. The last thing she needs is trouble with her own mother. But this is bigger than the hot versus cold hors d’oeuvres debate: Sally McKinney doesn’t even want to be at the wedding if it takes place in Warner Pier, her hometown.

Irked that her mom might be MIA on the Big Day, Lee heads to her aunt’s chocolate shop, TenHuis Chocolade, for advice. There, the bride is shocked to learn that years earlier, her mother ran away on what would have been her own wedding day—hours before her fiancé was found dead, an apparent suicide. Now, to smooth things over with her mother—and ease her own way down the aisle—Lee must untangle a mystery older than she is....

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101563755
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/01/2006
Series: Chocoholic Mystery Series , #6
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 92,909
File size: 354 KB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

JoAnna Carl is the pseudonym of a multipublished mystery writer. She spent more than twenty-five years in the newspaper business, working as a reporter, feature writer, editor and columnist. She holds a degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma and also studied in the OU Professional Writing Program. She lives in Oklahoma but spends much of her summer at a cottage on Lake Michigan near several communities similar to the fictional town of Warner Pier.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

After I overcame all my misgivings and invited my mother to my wedding, it was a little disappointing to learn that she didn’t want to come.

I admit it was the place, rather than the occasion, that drew her objections.

“Warner Pier?” Her voice was so angry it could have melted every line between her phone in Texas and mine in Michigan. “You’re getting married in Warner Pier? Why?”

“It’s where Joe and I live,” I said. “It’s where we plan to continue loving – I mean, living!”

I’d pulled one of my usual stunts, tangling my tongue. I misspeak so often – they’re called “malapropisms” – that most of my family and friends simply ignore my slips. Hoping my mother would do that, I went on quickly. “Warner Pier is where important parts of our families live. It’s where all our friends live. Why wouldn’t we want to get married here?”

My mom ignored my question. “Why not get married here in Dallas? We could plan a lovely wedding in Dallas.”

“Dallas? But Dallas was never – I mean, I don’t have good associations with Dallas. I know I lived there twelve years, but if people ask me where I’m from, I always say Prairie Creek.”

“Podunk Creek! You and your dad, the hick! I’ll never understand this compulsion you tow have to live at the back of nowhere!”

I sighed. “If that’s the way you feel, you’d better know the worst. Daddy has already said he’s coming. And Annie is coming with him.”

“I knew she wouldn’t miss it!”

I ignored that. “And I’ve already told them I expect nice beheading – I mean, behavior! I expect nice behavior from all three of you.”

“I would never ruin your wedding by quarreling with your father and that woman he married.”

I sighed. “Just don’t run out on me, Mom.”

I’m not sure what I meant by that comment, and maybe my mom didn’t know what it meant either. Her voice was calmer than it had been.

“Lee, I wouldn’t run out on your wedding. Believe me, I wouldn’t. I want your wedding to be perfect for you. It’s just that – you know how I feel about Warner Pier.”

“I know how, Mom. But I’ll never understand why. Why do you dislike this town so much?”

“You’ve bought into the tourist view.” Her voice became sarcastic. “It’s a darling little Victorian resort town. A regular trip down memory lane to the good old days.”

“You’re forgetting the crime rate around here. I’m aware that the people of Warner Pier are like people anywhere. There’s a dark side to everyone’s personality. People are always – you know – doing things they shouldn’t have done and leaving undone things they should have done. Seems to me that happens in Dallas.”

“It sure happened in Warner Pier when I lived there, and in Prairie Creek, too.”

Another silence grew up between us. Then my mother spoke. “Is Nettie there?”

I was calling from my office, so I put the phone down and went back into the workroom of TenHuis Chocolade (“Handmade Chocolates in the Dutch Tradition”). Most of the ladies who actually make the chocolate had left for the day, but Aunt Nettie, chocolatier deluxe and my boss, was sprinkling light brown granules of Turbinado sugar over a tray of strawberry truffles (“white chocolate and strawberry interior coated in dark chocolate”).

“Aunt Nettie, your long-lost sister-in-law wants to talk to you.”

“Oh, my goodness!” Aunt Nettie had reason to be surprised. My mom and I usually communicated by e-mail. If Aunt Nettie got involved, it was with a casual, “Say hi to Sally.”

Aunt Nettie washed her hands, turning off the water with her elbow in the health department-approved style. She headed toward the phone in the break-room.

She and my mom were talking by the time I got back to the office pone, and I listened in. My mom hadn’t messed around with a lot of preliminary politeness; she was asking a direct question. It was one that surprised me.

“Who’s sheriff of Warner County now?” she said.

“Sheriff?” Aunt Nettie sounded puzzled. “Let me think. It’s some man named Smith. I don’t remember his first name.”

“Then Car Van Hoosier is out?”

“Van Hoosier? He left office years ago.”

“I suppose that there’s no hope that he’s dead.”

Aunt Nettie laughed. “I don’t have the slightest idea. If he’s alive, he’d be a hundred years old. I could find out.”

“No! No, it’s okay. I just want to make sure he’s not still throwing his weight around. Lee? Are you on the line?”

“Sure am. Do you want me to hang up?”

“Oh, no. What’s the date for the wedding?”

I told her, adding, “It’s on a Saturday.”

“Three weeks after Easter,” Aunt Nettie said. “I told Lee people in the chocolate business can’t take honeymoons until the last bunny’s been sold.”

I could almost hear my mother forcing her voice to sound cheerful. “I’ll clear my schedule and plan to be there. And I’ll be polite. Maybe I can come to a few days early and help fill the rice bags or something.”

“That would be wonderful, Mom.”

She sighed again, and when she spoke her voice sounded faintly worried. “It’ll be okay. I’m sure it will.”

I promised to keep my mother informed on the wedding plans, and we all hung up. Then I met Aunt Nettie in the break room. I was curious. “What’s the deal with this former sheriff? What did he have to do with Mom?”

“I haven’t the slightest idea, Lee.”

“She didn’t leave town one step ahead of the law?”

Aunt Nettie laughed. “As far as I know the sheriff wasn’t after her, thought the minister might have been.”

“The minister? Why would the minister have been concerned? I never heard of Mom darkening the door of a church.”

“That was the problem, I guess. She didn’t darken the door when she should have.”

“What are you talking about?”

Aunt Nettie’s eyes widened. “Don’t you know about how your mother came to leave Warner Pier?”

“She took the bus, I guess. She always told me she wanted to the see the world and could barely wait to get out of town.”

“She never told you any details?”

“What details?”

“Lee, your mother ran away from Warner Pier on what was supposed to be her wedding day!”

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“I’m proud to stand up and say, ‘My name is Charlaine, and I’m a Chocoholic!’”—Charlaine Harris

"McKinney is a delight."—Tamar Myers

Customer Reviews

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The Chocolate Bridal Bash (Chocoholic Series #6) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
krissa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The chocolate mysteries are always a fun, light, quick read (this one was just over 200 pages). I like that Lee is generally a smart, independent, heroine. Of course there have been times I shake my head at some of the decisions she makes, but in this one I understood her motivation. I like that we got to know her family a bit better in this one (in the form of her mother). And I like that the story progresses. They don¿t necessarily pick up right when the last ends, but there is definitely continuity, and a smooth flow. I was hoping for a bit more of the wedding, like maybe a book to itself, with a mystery around it, but maybe that would have been too obvious. I did like the `surprise ending¿, and am interested to see where they take it in the next book (luckily, I shouldn¿t have to wait TOO long, as I have that one my shelf). I think I had actually figured out the ¿who¿ of the who- done- it pretty early in this one, but it was an enjoyable read anyway. Will I read the next one? Oh yeah. I¿m seeing this series through to the end. =D
shellyamendola on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What a humorous tale of misadventure! Part of the draw is Lee's slip of tongue.
Carstairs38 More than 1 year ago
Lee and Joe are getting married, but getting Lee's mother to come to town is proving to be a challenge. It might have to do with a huge family secret. What does the past mean for the present? This was a fast moving book with plenty of twists and the usual great characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
The happiest times Lee MicKinney has ever known have all taken place in the Michigan summer tourist town of Warner Pier. She is working as the general manager for Ten Hugs Chocolate and lives in her house which might not be a mansion but feels just like home. She is soon getting married to Joe who loves her and means the world to her. Perhaps her problem is her mother who insists and entreats in the same sentence that the wedding occur somewhere else.--------------- Nellie tells Lee that her mother left town the night before her wedding and her fiancé Bill was found dead hors later, an apparent suicide. Wanting to learn more about this unknown chapter in her mother¿s life, she starts investigating with some help from Joe. Her mother wanted to make sure that Sheriff Van Hoosier was out of office and had no power before coming for a visit so they go to the nursing home where he is living. They find him dead, the victim of a blow to the head and strangulation. When Lee¿s mother arrives for a visit she is almost kidnapped. Clearly someone has secrets to keep that involved Lee¿s mother and her dead former fiancé and that person is more than willing to keep killing anyone who gets in his way.------------ This is a very entertaining and stylish mystery filled with romance and chocolate trivia. Reading this on an empty stomach is hazardous to the waistline because the chocolate descriptions are the kiss of death so sensuously enticing that readers will crave the need instantly. Lee is very likeable without being too sweet and her brains and beauty make her a powerhouse to be reckoned with as anyone who gets in her way finds out.------------- Harriet Klausner