In order to celebrate the upcoming release of A Member of the Council – Lyrical Press – I decided to post a free read. Emma thought her life full, raising Lexi and managing her new business, but Lexi had other plans.
The Musical Matchmaker –By Lynn Cahoon
“Don’t forget your piano lesson.” Emma Grey popped an apple and a homemade cheesecake brownie into Lexi’s lunch sack. Since Emma switched jobs, she’d gained a few pounds mostly from her stress cooking. She’d gone from managing a busy retail store to being a virtual assistant to a local authors group. Now her days were spent in front of the computer or in the kitchen. Thank God her skinny daughter liked to eat.
“Jenny and I are studying for Chemistry tonight. What are you making for dinner?” Lexi finished the last bite of her waffle, rinsing the plate at the sink.
Ignoring the rumble the warm maple syrup smell caused in her stomach, Emma mixed her raisin bran with skim milk while she thought about Lexi’s question. Making dinner for her and her sixteen-year-old was the highlight of her day. Friends accused her of watching soaps and talk shows but she had a different vice.
The food network.
“I’m been thinking about potato gnocchi. Maybe some sweet sausage marinara and a green salad?”
“Add some garlic bread and it will be heaven.” Lexi grabbed her backpack and slipped in her lunch sack. “Will there be enough for a guest?”
“Tell Jenny she’s welcome to stay.” Emma sipped her coffee, enjoying a few minutes of quiet.
“See you tonight.” Lexi called from the hallway.
“Don’t forget your piano lesson.” Then added, “Love you.”
“Love you, too.” And with that, Lexi was gone. Emma loved the boundless energy of her daughter. After Neil had died, joy just disappeared, for both mother and daughter. Lexi bounced back but Emma was stuck in pause.
What was she going to do with herself when Lexi went to college?
Emma glanced at her reflection, her brown curls bounced, her green eyes glinting with mischief.
Maybe we’ll travel. Or sail? Meet a Greek tycoon?
“Maybe pigs will fly,” she muttered. Emma walked into her office. Working at home had one advantage, she could work in her pajamas all day.
Emma hung up the phone and turned off her computer. Off the clock. She quickly dressed in jeans and a tee shirt. Lexi would be mortified if she came home with Jenny and her mother was in her pj’s. Again.
Emma pulled out her notebook. There, was the handwritten recipe she’d copied from her favorite show.
An hour later, the first two batches were in the trash. Emma blew her bangs out of her eyes in frustration. “You forgot to tell me something,” she accused the television.
This was her last try. Then dried spaghetti.
The doorbell rang. She opened the door to find Lexi’s piano teacher. His lopsided grin told her that her apron wasn’t the only thing covered in flour.
She glanced around the man who looked more like a body builder than a piano teacher. Fear gripped her. “Did something happen?”
“Lexi said your piano needed tuning?”
Relief flooded through Emma and she held the door open. “Come in.”
“Cooking?” He sniffed the air. “Smells like Grammy Rossetti’s.”
“Trying, but so far, it’s gnocchi two, me zip.” She grinned. “Your grandmother was Italian?”
“Straight off the boat.” He nodded to the music room. “All right if I start?”
“Sure.” Dark hair, dark eyes, she saw the part Italian in his face.
Emma went into the kitchen and dialed her daughter’s cell. No answer, she left a message. “Call me.”
She started beating the eggs. Going over the ingredient list one more time, she jumped when her cell rang.
“Lexi, where are you?” Music flowed through the house calming her.
Emma stared at the doorway. “The piano doesn’t need tuned.”
Giggles came across the cell.
She’d been set up.
“Now listen here young lady, don’t think…”
“Have fun!” Lexi cut her off and the line went dead. The music had stopped as well.
“Everything okay?” Derek slipped on a stool at the other side of the granite island.
“My matchmaker daughter.”
“I should have known.”
Mortified, she stirred the potato mixture.
“Is that the gnocchi? It looks like paste.”
Emma sighed and plopped on a stool. “I give up.”
Derek glanced at the recipe. “It’s been a while, but I think you’re missing a few ingredients. Can I try?” He reached for the bowl.
“Are you sure? I don’t want to hold you up.”
“Grandma Rossetti would roll over in her grave if I left you stranded.” He pulled the bowl out of her hands.
“Thanks.” Emma poured a fresh pot of water for the stove.
“You’ll be amazed my skills in the kitchen. Next week, I’ll cook.”
“When I ask you out on a real date.” He smiled, whisking the eggs.
Maybe this was one music lesson Lexi could miss.