Trixie is ecstatic that she is about to reach her lifelong dream of owning a shop which is a combination bookstore, coffee shop, wine bar. It’s the best of all worlds. To make it even better she’s doing it with her best friends Sally and Cora.
Everything is going smoothly until strange things start to occur. Someone trashes their store mere days before they are to open. Then Sally gets stranded when someone puts sugar in her gas tank.
Who has it in for them? Is it Sylvia, Sallys ex-husbands new girlfriend or is someone trying to sabotage Read Wine?
Here’s a little poem about Read Wine that will get you ready for the small town cozy adventure you’re about to go on!
Coffee, wine, cookies, and more,
Read Wine is beyond just a Book Store.
It’s got friends, family, fiction, and fun,
Complete with a criminal on the run.
The mystery begins to unfold,
Before the first book or glass of wine is sold.
Can the ladies keep their dream alive,
Or will their business barely survive?
“I told you Facebook is the devil. Life was much simpler when we didn’t live it in front of everyone. Like when we were twelve and we passed notes that couldn’t go viral. Now we’re being made to feel like we aren’t good enough when we see everyone’s highlight reel.”
“Yeah, but then we didn’t know what everybody was doing every minute of every day.” My best friend, Sally, laughed. “I don’t know how we used to survive without knowing who was having what for dinner. Much less all the other things people post that they really should keep to themselves. Like when Peter Dyer commented on Teresa Green’s picture of her in a bathing suit, saying she looked hot. And his wife saw it? He’s lucky he’s still alive.”
“Facebook has really brought out the stupid in people. Like his wife wasn’t going to find out. And when she did, what did he think would happen?” I shook my head at his stupidity.
We were sitting in my kitchen doing some Facebook stalking, though, since people put it all out there for everyone to see, it wasn’t exactly stalking. Just looking. Why? We were bored, and after a few glasses of wine, it seemed like a good idea. Maybe we’d find someone we could live vicariously through. It was harmless and quite entertaining, until Sally decided to see what her ex was up to and found herself confronted with a bunch of pictures of Tom and his girlfriend. The woman he’d cheated on her with, and who’d ruined Sally’s marriage. ‘Sylvia the tramp,’ Sally called her. Sally tried to put on a brave face and pretend seeing the pictures didn’t bother her, but I could tell they did. They’d been together for a long time, and had kids together, so it couldn’t be easy for her to get over.
My name is Trixie Pristine. I got saddled with the unfortunate perky-blonde-bimbo sounding name because my mother, an avid reader, loved Trixie Belden books as a kid. I always held it against my dad that he wasn’t able to talk her out of it. It made junior high school horrible. Pristine was the leftover surname from my ex, but my maiden name, Gradowski, was nothing I cared to go back to. At least people could spell Pristine. My brown hair and dark brown eyes didn’t fit with the name Trixie, or Trix as my friends called me. And yes, I’d heard my fair share of “Trix are for kids” cracks growing up. With a name like mine, I should be blonde with a perfectly groomed appearance and a big chest, but that more aptly described my friend Sally.
Even after three kids, she looked fantastic. If she wasn’t one of my best friends, I’d hate her. Considering my plain brown hair, my inability to put together an outfit that made me look my best, and average – well you know, I considered myself ordinary. Though I’d had my share of compliments, so I guess I shouldn’t complain.
I’m a thirty-eight-year-old librarian, divorced, with an eight-year-old son. Being the local librarian isn’t the most exciting job on the planet, but it pays the bills. I have a nice boyfriend and great friends. Those friends are always my saving grace. Even if we do pass the time Facebook stalking.
“I don’t know what I saw in that jerk anyway,” Sally said, drawing me back into our conversation from my daydreaming.
“So why are we even looking at his Facebook page?”
“You’re right. Why torture myself like this?” She closed the lid to my laptop and took another drink of her wine. “By the way, this red Moscato is really good.”
“I know. What makes it even better is it was on sale for five bucks a bottle with an additional ten percent off. I bought ten bottles.”
“Of course. I had to take advantage of a good deal.” I pointed to my wine rack, which was full of red Moscato, with the overflow sitting next to it on the counter. The overflow that might be gone by the end of this evening the way we were going.
She laughed. “You wino.”
“Well, some days the thought of a glass of wine is all that gets me through.” I paused a moment. “Gosh, I do sound like a wino. I’m always thinking about what I want to be when I grow up. I’m so bored. I love the people I work with and the people who come in for books, but the day-to-day is so tedious.”
“You’ve been saying that for years now, Trix. Why don’t you do something about it? Go after something different. Go after your dream.”
“Which one? Find a rich, old dude with one foot in the grave and no dependents to take me away from all this?” I swept my arms around me. “Or the one where I open a bookstore with a coffee shop and wine bar?”
Sally pretended to think. “Well, being that this town seems to have a shortage of rich, old dudes with one foot in the grave—and I think Jack might take exception to that anyway—but we do have a surplus of people who like to drink and who can probably read so I think the bookstore idea might be the better choice.”
“Ahh, it’s always nice to dream.”
“Darn it, it’s time we stopped dreaming and started doing. Living the life we want and deserve,” she said loudly, startling me by drumming her fist on the table, her blonde hair flying.
“Whoa! Calm down, sister.” I stood to refill my glass and topped off Sally’s. “You’re talking crazy.”
“No, I’m not. Things finally fell into place and became crystal clear.”
“Really? Just this minute?” I scoffed. “Are you sure it’s not the wine talking?”
“Stop. Now, listen to me. You have always dreamed of owning a used bookstore. The only thing that’s stopped you is money.”
“That and the fear I would be a big, fat failure, but there’s no reason to dwell on that because I don’t have the money in the first place.”
“That may be true, but I have a big windfall headed to my bank account by the end of the month,” Sally said, and I started to shake my head. “Hear me out, Trix. I have spent half my life keeping Tom organized at work, taking care of all the details and finances. I’m good at that stuff. You know books. I need a job, and you need to finally realize your dream. This is perfect for us. We can be partners.”
I opened my mouth to object, then closed it feeling my knees start to buckle at the enormity of this idea. I found myself instantly excited at the prospect of my days being spent in my own bookstore, where people could enjoy books while drinking coffee or wine. But I knew it wasn’t realistic. I wasn’t in a position to follow that dream. Or was I? I looked Sally straight in the eyes.
“Sally, don’t think I don’t love the idea. I do. But not only do I not have money to invest in a business, you need to do something a lot safer with your settlement than potentially throw it away on a venture that may not work. This is your life’s savings you’re talking about. Who’s to say our small town can even support a used bookstore?”
“Who’s to say it won’t until we do our research? Surely, if we can support three bakeries, we can support a bookstore.”
“I don’t know—”
“Oh, please. Don’t be such a wuss. We won’t fail. We’re too awesome, and this is a great idea. Do you want to look back in twenty years and regret that you didn’t follow your dreams?”
Between the two of us, I was the more practical and less of a risk taker.
Sally was always up for something. She’d been the first to pierce her ears with an ice cube and needle, and without her mom knowing. The first to go all the way with a boy, and the first to get married and have a baby. Sally jumped into things with both feet first and thought about consequences later. That was one of the many things I loved about her. Me? I worried about the consequences before anything else. We’d always balanced each other out well.
I mean, I wouldn’t call myself a glass-half-empty gal, maybe a glass-half-full-so-we-better-drink-slowly-because-there’s-no-backup-in-the-pantry gal. I was cautious, whereas Sally was full of vibrant passion. Even catching her husband getting frisky with the receptionist at his Buick dealership didn’t dampen that optimism.
“This town would thrive on it,” Sally said. “You have to drive to the next big town for a bookstore, and the bars here aren’t the most relaxing place to drink a glass of wine. Unless you want to go to half-price wine night at Applebee’s, you’re out of luck. The only coffee shop is the old diner—and the Tanners have got to be ready to retire soon—and that will only leave McDonald’s. C’mon, Trixie, take a chance for once. You owe it to the town of Romero to spruce the downtown area up a bit.”
“Even if I decided I was up for the risk, it doesn’t change the fact that I don’t have a pile of cash lying around.”
“You may not have a million buried in the backyard, but you have options if you really want to follow your dreams. The money part can be figured out. It’s only money. Your house is almost paid off, you have a healthy 401k, and a college fund for Cody. Borrow from one of those.”
“So, when I lose all of Cody’s college money or our house on a business whim, what should I tell him? ‘Sorry, dude, but Mom was having a mid-life crisis and decided to spend your future?’”
Sally rolled her eyes. “Fine, don’t use the college fund. My point is, you have options. You need to think outside the box. Opening a business is like having a baby. There’s never a right time. You just need to do it.”
Her enthusiasm started to get to me, as it usually did. She didn’t typically have a difficult time swaying me to her way of thinking. It had gotten me into trouble a few times as a kid, but I’d always had a good time, making the consequences worth it. I hadn’t felt too excited about what I was doing in my life for years and had come to the belief that maybe this was what it meant to be an adult. You did what you needed to do, rather than what you wanted to do. That was the responsible thing, right? But thinking about the possibility of doing something I actually wanted to do? Wow, it sure was fun.
“At least think about it,” Sally implored.
What did I have to lose if I explored a little? “Okay, fine. I’ll think about it.”
Sally squealed with excitement. “I just know you’re going to see this the way I do, Trixie.”