Did you miss Chapter 1?
Without saying a word to Lacey, Mona ran to her car
and jumped in the driver’s seat. Jamming the gear shift
into drive, she tore out of the parking space, driving like a racecar
driver speeding towards Jammin’ Honey. Praying as she drove, she ran
a red light and a stop sign. Frantically hoping that it was not her shop
on fire, although she had a sinking feeling with each passing block
that she’d arrive to find the place, her dream fully engulfed.
How could this happen?
Fear gripped her heart as she saw a police barricade surrounding
the street where Jammin’ Honey sat. The barricade prevented her from
driving any closer to the scene of the fire, but she didn’t need to be
any closer to realize the awful truth.
My shop is on fire!
Her heart raced, and a wave of nausea broke over her as she
parked the car. Flashing red lights, smoke and the crackling of fire
consuming her building created a surreal scene that would be etched
into her memory for the rest of her life.
Running down the street toward the fire, she was stopped by a
police officer she didn’t recognize. He held her back from getting any
closer to the structure fire that was her lifelong dream being
destroyed right in front of her eyes.
“It’s my shop,” she wailed.
The officer nodded. “Is anyone in there?”
Mona shook her head. “No. Just my…just…my…inventory.” Her
knees felt weak. “And my recipe book, too.”
Yellow and orange flames climbed into the sky, and the smoke
carried the sweet scent of sugar, making Mona think of all the boxes
of jam in the kitchen and strewn all over the floor of the shop.
Tears spilled from her eyes and fell down her cheeks, as she sunk
to her knees on the sidewalk. The police officer helped her to a bench
across the street.
“Ma’am, are you going to be alright?” the police officer asked.
Mona was too stunned to answer, she sat still on the bench feeling
the weight of his eyes on her.
“Ma’am, if it’s any consolation, the fire department is doing every‐
thing they can to save it. Is there anyone I can call for you?”
“No, I mean yes, I mean – “Just as Mona was about to say Vicki’s
name, her voice rang out.
“Mona!” Vicki rushed across the street arms outstretched as she
raced to pull Mona into an embrace. “Oh my Lord! I was so scared
you were in there! Thank goodness you got out!”
The police officer nodded, glad to see Mona taken care of. “Ma’am,
I’ll be right over there if you need anything.” He walked across the
street just as curious onlookers were approaching the scene.
Mona’s chest ached with the weight of a broken heart as another
fire truck approached.
She gasped as sharp pain assaulted her with a shortness of breath.
Vicki rubbed her back. “You’re freezing. Let me get a blanket from
More flames plumed over the top of the building as Vicki ran to
I can’t watch this. Mona thought
She turned the other way and saw a group of people gathered
looking at the blaze. It made her nauseous to see everyone staring at
the blaze that had just moments ago held so much promise for her.
Using all her strength, she managed to stand, her hand on the
bench to steady herself. Her head was swimming, her breath shallow,
she knew she should sit back on the bench before she crumpled into a
heap on the ground. She dug deep and found a reserve of strength
I won’t pass out! She promised herself.
Summoning all her strength, she willed her legs to move forward.
She couldn’t sit still. She had to help the firefighters.
Vicki ran back to Mona. “What are you doing? Get back!” She
pulled Mona back to the bench and wrapped the crocheted afghan
she’d retrieved from her car around Mona’s shoulders. “Come on, girl.
Don’t get all crazy on me. There’s no way I’m going to let you run
back inside that building. Is that what you were trying to do?”
Mona shook her head. “I wanted to help.”
Vicki grabbed Mona’s hand. “The best help we can offer is to stay
out of the way.” Vicki rubbed Mona’s fingers. “Honey, you’re frozen.”
Mona was stunned that she could be cold with an enormous fire in
front of her. And yet, she did feel chilled.
“When I heard about the fire, I called your cell. But when you
didn’t answer your phone, I thought you might have been in the shop
when it, the fire, happened. I was so worried”
Mona nodded numbly, “I was at Lacey’s when it happened. If only
I had been in the shop, I could have stopped it. It’s all my fault for
Vicki kneeled down on the pavement by Mona’s side and declared,
“Mona, you can’t say that, if you were there you may have been killed.
I’m glad you weren’t.”
“Vicki, everything is gone. It’s horrible,” Mona said, tears running
down her face.
“Not everything is gone. Not you! Not you or me. That’s the
important thing. We can start over, honey.”
“My Aunt Cee’s investment … it’s …” A wail bubbled up in Mona’s
throat, and she let her best friend pull her to her chest to cry.
How will I ever repay Aunt Cee now?
After a moment of release Mona managed to say, “How did you
hear about the fire?”
Vicki motioned over to the crowd of bystanders. “Alexander
Alexander Kaas was the owner of Magnolia Falls Wine and Cheese
shop, As You Slice It. Mona and Vicki had worked at the shop for many
years before Mona left in the spring to open her own store. Mona
turned to the crowd and saw Alexander. There was a grim expression
on his face, and he gave her a meek wave.
Mona remembered the day she told him she was leaving to begin
her business; he was so mad that he turned bright red. He was furious
and told her she had no business experience and her store would fail.
“He was right,” Mona said.
“What?” Vicki asked.
“I had no business trying to run a store. Alexander told me the
shop would fail and now look—”
Vicki rubbed Mona’s back. “Don’t say that! This isn’t your fault—”
Vicki’s hand froze mid-way down Mona’s back. “Oh … gosh, honey.
When you left to go to Lacey’s shop … were you making jam—?”
“I turned off the burner! Vicki, I swear,” Mona said, a lump
forming again in her chest.
I did turn off the burner, didn’t I?
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”I couldn’t stop reading!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Fast-paced and fun. I love these mysteires!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Diana Orgain is my new favorite author!”
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