Diners, Drive-Ins, and Death: A Comfort Food Mystery

Diners, Drive-Ins, and Death: A Comfort Food Mystery by Christine Wenger

Book: Diners, Drive-Ins, and Death: A Comfort Food Mystery by Christine Wenger Read Free Book Online
Authors: Christine Wenger
girlfriend, Leslie, left him for Nick. Toxic Waste was a basket case—a total wastebasket!”
    She chuckled, pretty proud of that joke.
    She continued. “Nick didn’t ask Leslie to leave Toxic, but when she did, the two of them struck up a romance, and it got pretty serious—I mean, Nick asked her to marry him. The plans were made, the announcement was in the paper—the whole enchilada.”
    “This is a biggie,” I said. “I can totally understand Toxic being mad, and then some. What happened?”
    “Nick left Leslie at the altar.”
    “Well, I can see her being furious and hurt andembarrassed,” I said, shaking my head. “And that was pretty cowardly of Nick.”
    ACB was quick to defend him. “Nick said he felt trapped. Once he’d asked her to marry him, the relationship stopped being fun, and she became overbearing and obnoxious. He tried to call it off a couple of times, but Leslie would always guilt him into staying. She kept telling him that he was just getting cold feet and he’d get over it.”
    “And then?”
    “This was about the same time as his motorcycle ride through the dining room and kitchen of his restaurant. Between all the drama with his partner, Chad, and his fiancée, he split, moved to Sandy Harbor, and started cooking at the restaurant with Sal. Then when Sal got into trouble, Nick saw me through it all, and we started dating. You know the rest.”
    “Getting left at the altar is a horrible thing. I’d be furious,” I said.
    ACB sighed. “I guess I’d better tell Ty about everything, starting with Chad Dodson. I might be a while.”
    “Oh, I don’t know. Ty can type at least eight words a minute,” I said jokingly, but then turned serious. I wanted to ask my friend a very personal question—a question that was burning a hole in my brain. “Antoinette Chloe, was Nick that great of a catch?”
    “He was a dream, Trixie. A real good bad boy. Know what I mean?”
    “Uh . . . no.”
    “He was tall, dark, and handsome. He kind oflooked like Elvis. He looked hot in black. And those lips and tongue of his . . . well . . . you know.”
    Well, actually I didn’t know. It had been a long time, and Deputy Doug . . . nah, I wasn’t going to go there.
    “
And
the man loved to cook—breakfast in bed, lunch in bed, dinner in bed.” She sighed, remembering, and then tears welled in her eyes. “He was something real special, Trixie.”
    I put my arm around her and led her to the door.
    “It’s eight forty-five. You’d better get to Ty’s office before he comes to fetch you in his sheriff’s car.”
    She sighed. “Do I look okay?”
    “You look fine. Is that a new muumuu?”
    “I ordered it from Hawaii—Muumuus ’R’ Us. I love hibiscus.”
    “It looks great,” I said. “Go. See you later.”
    She turned to wave good-bye, and just as I went to walk into the kitchen, a movement caught my eye. Was someone listening to our conversation? I mostly just caught a shadow. Then Blondie came bounding into the room. It must have been her coming down the stairs.
    Blondie needed some attention, so we snuggled together on the couch as I thought about all the people who had a grudge against Nick Brownelli.
    First, there was Sal Brownelli. With nothing to do in Auburn Correctional Facility except get tattooed, he might have become obsessed enough about ACB and his brother’s relationship that he could have arranged for a hit on Nick. Sal still loved ACBdearly, and he had nothing to lose. It wasn’t as if he was going to ever get out of jail in his lifetime, so what would another life sentence tacked onto the one he was already serving be to him?
    Second, there was Chad Dodson, millionaire from a rich family and former partner of Nick’s in a five-star restaurant that bore Nick’s name. Something had happened to their partnership and friendship, and they disliked each other enough to draw blood at a barbecue.
    Third, we had Toxic Waste, the leader of the Roving Rubbers. Nick

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