Trifling With Trouble

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It's the dog days of summer in Moss Hollow, Georgia, but the pace is anything but slow for Jillian Green and her friends in the Southern Sweetie Pies Baking Club. Last-minute preparations are underway for a party honoring the golden wedding anniversary of longtime club member Maudie Honeycutt and her husband, Hugh. Everybody in town is excited to fete the happy couple's impressive longevity; especially Maudie, who has arranged a secret guest for her beloved Hugh. Word of the special invitee spreads quickly, and by the time the soiree starts, it appears that Hugh might be the only person left in Moss Hollow who doesn't know he's in for the surprise of a lifetime.

Unfortunately, the celebratory mood fades fast when Hugh's party-crashing gift doesn't get the warm reception Maudie anticipates. Instead, the guest's arrival brings to light shocking revelations about Hugh's younger years, and his dubious past takes on even more gravity when, only days after the anniversary party, Hugh disappears without a trace.

When her husband vanishes, Maudie jumps to the worst conclusion: that Hugh has abandoned her to relive the dreams of his youth. However, Jillian refuses to host suspicions that the kind, gentle man she's known her entire life would walk out on his wife. But the more Jillian digs into Hugh's affairs, the more she hears about his past, and the unsettling new details have her doubting everything she thought she knew.

All of a sudden, friendships are challenged, love is questioned, and loyalties are tested. If Jillian and her friends don't get together to untangle the intricate web of secrecy soon, the party's going to be over for one of Moss Hollow's most beloved citizens.

The Characters

At 39, Jillian is living the life she always dreamed. Using her creative talents, she's built a successful career as one of the top executives at a prestigious advertising agency in California, and she's engaged to an amazing man who showers her with love and the finer things in life. Life couldn't be more perfect.

But as quickly as a chocolate souffle can flop, Jillian's "perfect" fiance is arrested for embezzlement, putting a quick end to the engagement, and the advertising agency coincidentally "downsizes" Jillian after the scandal, leaving her without a job. But Jillian is a strong Southern woman who has learned how to endure from her feisty and iron-willed grandmother. She decides to leave California and make a fresh start where her life began, in the quaint town of Moss Hollow, Ga.

Under Grandma Bertie's roof at Belle Haven mansion and under her wing, Jillian prepares to take over the family business: The Chocolate Shoppe Bakery. But she doesn't expect to find murder on the menu! Will returning home to reconnect with her Southern roots ultimately prove to be a blessing or a fatal mistake?

Longtime member of the Sweetie Pies baking club and grandmother extraordinaire, Lenora has managed the bakery for decades and is considered a part of the family. Since fixing a salad is Jillian's greatest culinary accomplishment on most days, she encounters a few hurdles while learning how to create the decadent treats the bakery is known for. She's grateful for Lenora's wise counsel and encouragement!

The curious and cuddly house cat keeps a close eye on the happenings at Belle Haven mansion and lends a hand -- or paw -- in helping Jillian solve the intriguing mysteries of the small town.

Savannah is one of Jillian's oldest and best friends. She's delighted Jillian moved back to town and looks forward to reconnecting with her childhood companion. But she's also keeping a secret that may be the key to unlocking the mystery of Nadine's untimely demise.

Jillian's down-to-earth and lovable grandmother is ready to retire from the hectic demands of running The Chocolate Shoppe Bakery, but she refuses to sell to a complete stranger. Jillian is her last hope for keeping the business in the family, even if Jillian can barely boil water. Bertie is determined to help Jillian succeed in the business and to see her marry a good Southern man before the bloom falls completely off the rose.

Cornelia may be Bertie's twin, but she is different from her sister in every way, from her flair for the dramatic to her eccentric nature. She moved back to Belle Haven mansion to live with Bertie five years ago after the death of her husband. She claims to possess a joie de vivre that simply cannot be tamed. Bertie prefers to call it "flighty." Despite her theatrics, Cornelia has a generous heart and wants nothing but the best for her grandniece. She will do anything to see Jillian happy and settled in Moss Hollow ... even if it means bending a few rules.