Queen of Tarts 3
Published by: eXtasy Books
Author : Lark Westerly
Word Count :42661
Publication Date :2021-12-24
Series : A Fairy in the Bed#0
Heat Level :
- Product Code: 978-1-4874-3446-5
Queenie Hart was delighted when her landlord offered her an extended lease on her new home at The Belfry. The rent was twelve special tarts to be delivered on Christmas Day! In between courting Mitch and dealing with other people’s agendas, Queenie got baking.
With Halloween safely behind her, and her alternating lovers James and Mitch agreeing to share her time, Queenie Hart has more attention to spare for her fledgeling baking business, Queen of Tarts.
That’s lucky, for she has a brand-new challenge. Her irascible landlord, Oliver, has laid it upon her to invent and create twelve brand new and original tarts in his honour and to deliver them to him on Christmas Day.
Queenie is eager to begin, and Mitch is eager to assist, but life is busy and fallout from Halloween needs to be addressed. What with finding time to be with Mitch, trying to keep in touch with James, taming Ayesha the Terrible, sorting out Shane and Branok, finding out what Angel Petty did with a parcel, and dealing with seven bells with a mind of their own, Queenie barely has time to think. Christmas is coming and twelve new tarts take time to create. The last recipe is elusive. Queenie just hopes she can make the deadline.
Queenie Hart, November 1st, 2021
Queenie Hart woke on Monday to a slew of mixed feelings.
The first of November might not be a festival or a momentous day to most folk, but to Queenie it always stood out as a yin-yang day of the good and the not-so-good.
On the side of the good, she could return from the place she called Caledonia-on-my-Mind, a mental space where a cranky and contentious Scotswoman took her over for the whole of October and clear through Halloween.
On the side of the not-so-good, she had to repair the damage her streams of fantastical cod-Scottish dialect might have done to her relationships with…just about anybody, really. She usually also had to look for a new temporary job and restore her finances after Caledonia-inspired spending sprees.
This year, things had been a trifle different. More than a trifle, really. The good and the not-so-good were also changed. The good was better. The not-so-good…that remained to be seen.
A move from Sydney to a renovated church just outside Fiddle Bay a couple of months earlier had allowed her to establish and expand her fledgeling baking business, Queen of Tarts. She had made new friends and found eager clients for her luxury tarts. Then October struck…but now she was safely out the other side.
She turned to regard the best thing of all about the good of the day. Her lover, Mitchell Kingsolver, lay beside her. He was still asleep, and she took her time to examine his face. He was a pixie man, a fairy, but apart from his perfect and unblemished olive skin, he could easily have passed for human. He was tall and lanky, slim-hipped and long-limbed, with dark hair worn a little long and thickly lashed hazel eyes. His mouth was charming. Almost everything about him was charming, even his klutziness when dealing with technology.
Two things needed work to make him her perfect lover. One was his cat, Ayesha. Queenie had never met the creature, but she knew Ayesha was a grey ice queen, a fay feline who was also a phaser. She wasn’t too sure what all that meant, except that Ayesha ruled Mitch with an iron paw, sometimes barely tolerating him, but still insisting that he let her set and keep her routine.
Ayesha was currently staying with Mitch’s mother, Danna, who looked after her every October while Mitch was unavoidably unavailable.
Ayesha fiercely resented being sent to stay with Danna, but the other option was untenable. Mitch lived most of the time at a place he called the pied-a-terre at nearby Borrowdale Junction. He ferried passengers in his mini-bus, Ethel, between the station and Oakengrove, the big house at Fiddle Bay. He also did deliveries for Fiddle-de-Dee, the Fiddle Bay supermarket. His third job was the one where he traded as The Fixer, helping people in the greater Sydney area out of problems that needed fixing now. That was how he and Queenie had met. She’d had to leave her unit in Sydney within twenty-four hours and move into The Belfry, the converted church where she lived now. No moving company would agree to help her at such short notice. The Fixer said he would, and he did. He had helped her repeatedly thereafter.
The Fixer loved eating tarts and seemed fascinated by the variety and the possibilities. Queenie made her living by inventing and baking them. It was a match made in heaven—almost.
Ayesha was a problem that had to be solved.
The other difficulty was James.
James Stuart was the most beautiful man Queenie had ever met. He was also the reason Mitch was unavailable during October. James had auburn hair, grey eyes and a pale Celt’s complexion. His penchant for wearing argyle sweaters and tartan pyjamas was regrettable, but she could work with that. She loved James dearly—as much as she loved Mitch.
They were devoted to her, but they had resented one another for years.
The two of them were working on a rapprochement, and Queenie knew they’d made a good start already.
Not that they could ever function as a ménage à trois.
That, Queenie thought, necessitated both men being present in the same place at the same time. Mitch and James never were.
How could they be when they were, in some sense, the same man?
Just like Queenie’s, their Octobers took a left-hand turn into chaos.
James had explained it to Queenie in simple terms. Mitchell Kingsolver had been born as a normal pixie lad. He had a fix-it manifestation, not uncommon in his order, which meant he had the imperative to solve problems for other people.
When he was about twelve, he developed a manifestation personality…James. The pattern worked itself out over the next two years and since then the two men had co-existed, with Mitch presenting for eleven months of the year and James emerging on the first day of October and departing in the last few seconds of Halloween. They looked different. They had different accents, and they had different tastes and different desires…except that they both wanted Queenie.
James had told Queenie that. He was used to having to defer to Mitch for eleven months each year, but in the matter of Queenie he was not prepared to give in. He had, after all, met her first in the previous October. They had spent just a few minutes together, but to James, that was enough to establish a prior claim.
Queenie hadn’t met Mitch until ten months later, but she had got to know him rather well—intimately, in fact—before he had to defer to James on the first of October.
James knew his other self was Queenie’s lover. He’d been furious about that, but at least he was prepared to talk about it.
Mitch, on the other hand, had tied himself in knots trying to prepare Queenie for his absence in October without ever mentioning James’ existence.