Soft jazz played in the background as Mona Reilly bustled
around the empty shop. In just a few days, in time for the
Memorial Day weekend, would be the grand opening of her shop
Jammin’ Honey, but only if she finished the prep work in time.
Memorial Day weekend was the official opening of the summer
tourist season in the scenic mountain town of Magnolia Falls. Mona
knew it would be the perfect time to open the doors to the shop that
had been only a dream a few months ago. Tucking a strand of glossy
black hair behind her ear, she sat down at the café table by the
window to catch her breath.
Picking up the Magnolia Falls Gazette, she read the report on the
front page about the grand opening. Pride filled her chest with
warmth as she read the article once more. She couldn’t believe this
It’s real, Mona thought, her nerves kicking up a notch.
A pair of tourists stopped out front and peeked through the
window. Mona jumped to attention; her shop was supposed to open
in a few days. She had to get a move on.
Where’s Vicki? Mona wondered.
It was a quarter past ten and she hadn’t heard from her best friend
and business partner, Vicki Lawson. Vicki was an organic beekeeper and
was the honey part of Jammin’ Honey. Mona reached for her cell phone
to call Vicki, but the phone buzzed in her hand before she could dial.
She saw from the caller I.D. that it was her Great Aunt Beatrice.
She’d been able to finally finance the opening of her shop through a
generous loan from her Great Aunt Cecilia, Beatrice’s identical twin.
The two Aunts were identical in everything except the way they
handled money, and now Mona cringed at that the thought that Aunt
Bee was calling to impose some sort of financial frugality.
“Hello Aunt Bee,” Mona said into the phone.
“Mona! Is everything ready?” Bee asked, her voice cracking with
“Just about. Putting on the finishing touches, you know.”
“Cecilia will be very proud.”
“I’m sorry she won’t be at the opening,” Mona said.
Her Great Aunt Cecilia had shocked everyone declaring that, as a
celebration for her 80th birthday, she’d be traveling around the world
on an exclusive cruise with her new beau, Herman. Herman was a
spry and debonair seventy-year old, and Beatrice swore the man was
only after Cecilia’s money.
As if in a show of defiance, Cecilia had loaned Mona the seed
money to open her shop, further annoying Beatrice who firmly
believed that everything in life should be a struggle; that which
doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, was her motto.
Of course, Beatrice had opted to stay in Magnolia Falls and cele‐
brate in her own way, saying that a cruise was way too extravagant,
not to mention expensive.
“Are you going to make us a coupon for opening night?” Beatrice
Mona laughed. Bee ran a coupon clipping club. Her frugal reputa‐
tion preceded her. She was notorious for working over every business
owner in the community and hustling discounts for all her members.
“What do you suggest?” Mona asked.
“BOGO,” Bee said eagerly.
Mona chuckled. “If I offer buy-one-get-one on opening night, I’ll
be out of business before the party’s even over.”
“Okay,” Bee said reluctantly. “How about a BOGO on your special
blackberry ginger jam?”
Mona glanced at her shelf stocked with jams. There weren’t
enough blackberry ginger jars to run a special, but if she made a few
more batches, she could accommodate Aunt Bee.
“For you, I’ll do it,” Mona said.
“Ah! You are a dear. I’ve got the coupons already printed.”
“What? You printed the coupons before I even agreed?”
Aunt Bee cleared her throat. “No. Of course not. I only meant you
could consider it as good as done.”
Mona laughed. “You’re a terrible liar.”
Bee giggled. “Well, I can guarantee the whole club will be there
opening night. And that’s another thing I wanted to speak to you
about. Don’t go all crazy on that party. No need for caterers, or a band
or whatever you’ve got planned. Just put up a few balloons.”
Mona winced. There was no way she was going to hold back on
her party. She’d been dreaming about opening the shop for too long.
She looked around at the hardwood floors, the cherry trim, the glass
cases and brass lined counters. It all screamed that no expense had
been spared. The shop had a vintage yet modern look. It was a
cheerful environment that she knew would be a success.
“Well, you know what Cee says, it takes money to make money,”
Mona said through a smile.
Bee let out a high-pitched scream, “Don’t listen to that old bag! She
Mona giggled. “I knew that’d get your goat. I have to go now, Bee. I
have to make some more jam for your coupon clippers.”
She hung up and hightailed it to the back of the shop where she
plugged in a small burner. As she measured out the water to boil, her
cell phone buzzed again.
It was Vicki. Mona poured the water into the pan and answered
“Hey, what’s up? Where are you? I was getting worried,” Mona
“Sorry! I should have called you earlier, but I got a little carried
away here at home and made an extra batch of honey lip balm and
honey candles, just in case.”
“Just in case, in case of what?”
“What if we sell out? I don’t want the shelves to be empty on our
grand opening weekend, do you?”
“My Aunt Bee called you, didn’t she?” Mona asked.
Vicki chuckled. “Yeah, I agreed to a—”
“Two for one special?”
Vicki moaned. “You too?”
“I’m just starting another batch of my blackberry ginger jam,”
“Oh,” Vicki said. “I thought you were already at the store?”
“I am. I brought my portable hot plate,” Mona said.
“Well don’t burn the shop down!” Vicki said.
“Come on,” Mona laughed. “I’m not that stupid!”
“Okay, I’ll be there soon. I’ll bring breakfast,” Vicki said. “Biscuits
and coffee sound good?”
“You know me too well. In the meantime, I’ll be here all alone,
working my hands to the bone.”
Vicki laughed. “I know you’re such a workaholic! Anyway, I’m
going to make it up to you.”
“Yeah, well coffee and biscuits will only get you so far. I need you
to scrub the bathroom and stock shelves.”
“I know,” Vicki said and by the tone of her voice Mona could tell
she was smiling, “But I have another little surprise for you.”
Mona gripped the phone tightly. She hated surprises. “What’s
“Leo is coming for the grand opening,” Vicki said, giggling as she
“Wait! Wait!” Mona said into the dead phone. She stared at the
phone in her hand, trying not to hyperventilate.
Leo’s coming to the grand opening?
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”I couldn’t stop reading!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Fast-paced and fun. I love these mysteires!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Diana Orgain is my new favorite author!”
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