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Buzzkill: Pecan Bayou, #4

Buzzkill: Pecan Bayou, #4

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Buzzkill: Pecan Bayou, #4

4/5 (1 rating)
222 pages
2 hours
Oct 26, 2017


Betsy Livingston is planning a wedding so what could go wrong? After publishing a recipe for homemade calamine lotion in the newspaper, the ladies in the community church make a large batch. Everyone loves the stuff until someone in Pecan Bayou is found dead after using it. The town points to Betsy and she starts rethinking her whole career as a helpful hints columnist. Now she must clear her own name in between dress-fitting, cake-tasting, and all those things that turn a bride into a bridezilla. Is Betsy at fault or could there be something else that leads her down the aisle to murder?

Oct 26, 2017

About the author

Teresa Trent writes the Pecan Bayou and Piney Woods Mystery Series, both of which take place in Texas. Pecan Bayou is in the Hill Country of Texas and Piney Woods is in East Texas. Same state, two completely different places. Teresa lives in Houston Texas with her family and has been writing mysteries for over a decade. You can visit her website at TeresaTrent.com.

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Buzzkill - Teresa Trent

To Steve, my very own sunny weather guy.

Thank you for always helping me to believe in my dreams.

Table of Contents




































Helpful Hints From The Happy Hinter

A bride at her second marriage does not wear a veil.  She wants to see what she is getting.

Helen Rowland


The sun filtered through the ancient Texas oak trees and glimmered on the waters of Pecan Bayou. The birds, singing in their winter home, accompanied the stunning bride as she floated down the aisle toward the man of her dreams. Leo looked up, his blue eyes catching the vision of loveliness, and a gentle smile touched his lips. Judd Kelsey held his daughter’s arm in a tight grip.

This is it, darlin’, he whispered. He’s a fine man, and I’m so happy for you. This is the man you will live happily ever after with, right here in Pecan Bayou.

The bride’s heart sped up as she neared the front of the aisle. The outdoor setting was beautifully decorated, each chair draped in white with springs of vibrant blue flowers placed artfully about the seating area. Betsy felt the grip of her father loosen as Judd stopped and kissed his daughter on the forehead.

Go forth, my blessed child, he said. Betsy reached out to Leo’s extended hand.


Mom! My son Zach was calling from his bedroom, rousing me out of my dream. Mom, can I eat breakfast now? The drone of morning cartoons filled my ears.

I rubbed my sleep-laden eyes. Could it be morning already? Butch, our Weimaraner, whined by the bed. It felt like I had just surrendered to sleep fifteen minutes ago. Leo and I had been up late on the phone the night before, sketching out the beginning details of our upcoming wedding. The ceremony, we decided, would reflect us, which means it would stay simple. Both Leo and I didn’t want anything too showy, and I was hoping our wedding would be an extension of who we were. I planned to have a ceremony at the Pecan Bayou Community Church celebrating our union with friends and family.  We would wrap it up at around three in the afternoon, and then Leo and I would be off on our honeymoon in Mt. Washington, New Hampshire, the place where the major weather patterns of North America intersect. Doesn’t sound all that romantic if you don’t take into account the gorgeous bed-and-breakfasts we found online, but we would spend the weekend in Pecan Bayou and fly out on Monday for a whole week of beautiful snow. Being in Texas, we never get to experience the beauty of cold weather like people in the northern states. Northerners might hate snow, but many Texans see it as the stuff that decorates Christmas cards or the beautiful lilting white showers than cascade around Bing Crosby in old movies. It’s fairy dust to people who never get much of it.

The best part of all of this would have to be the day we have chosen – Valentine’s Day. The most romantic of all holidays falls on a Saturday this year, so now each year as we celebrate our anniversary, we will be celebrating Valentine’s Day. It just doesn’t get any better than that, I thought. I sighed as I caught myself smiling.

After putting Butch out in the back yard, I poured cereal into a bowl, and my cell phone rang where I had left it on the charger. My Aunt Maggie’s picture showed up on the screen.

How’s the little bride-to-be doing this morning? she said brightly.

All right, I guess, I said. It’s kind of early even for you to call.

Well, I had something on my mind. I need to talk to you about the wedding.

Really? I poured the milk on my cereal. You don’t think I’m making a mistake, do you?

Not at all, baby girl, my aunt assured me. This time you’re marrying the right guy. Your last husband, Barry, had been handsome, motivated and charming, but taking off when you were seven months pregnant was not charming. I don’t see Leo ever doing anything like that.

That’s what you say now.

No, said Maggie. You found the hottest commodity in Texas. A weatherman. You’re getting him before hurricane season, to boot. I couldn’t ask for a better nephew-in-law.

She was right. After Barry left me, I did what many single mothers do – I found a way to go on with my life and raise my son alone. Zach had grown into the most wonderful little boy, and from all of that I had learned to take a while and get to know the person I would be committing the rest of my life to. Leo and I had been dating for almost three years now, through good times and bad. When I first met him, we were stopping our boys from killing each other at a Scout meeting. With a start like that, I knew this guy was the one.

Breakfast is ready, Zach, I announced down the hall as I replaced the milk in the refrigerator. When Leo and Tyler moved in with us, would we all be able to fit in my little house? We had just been so happy on our stolen weekends and vacations together that where we lived seemed unimportant. As I pulled on my house slippers, it was becoming more and more important. Would we live in Pecan Bayou? Or would we have to go house hunting in Dallas?

I know you’re working on the wedding planning and all, continued Aunt Maggie, and I would like to help in any way I can. You busy this morning?

I’m always busy, but that never stopped you before, I said.

Okay then, I’ll be over in a couple of hours.

Sounds good. I heard a beep in my ear. I have a call coming in. I switched callers.

Good morning, beautiful, said Leo.

Good morning, I answered, thankful we weren’t on Skype.

Just wanted to see if you got any sleep after our marathon planning session.

A little. Listen, there’s something we need to talk about that we didn’t get to last night, I said.

What? Seems to me we covered everything but the color of the bustiers the bridesmaids will be wearing.

He was full of life this morning. Too bad I didn’t feel the same. I still needed about a liter of coffee before I was ready for any type of humor.

So what did we forget?

We forgot about after the wedding, I said. Where will we live?

Leo had a two-bedroom apartment in Dallas. When he had leased it, he was a bachelor. After his sister died, he became an instant father to Tyler. His former home gym became Tyler’s room, and the StairMaster became another piece of living room furniture. It was funny how we had discussed the living arrangements so randomly. This was a subject we needed to nail down before the wedding.

Uh, I thought that was obvious, he said. Dallas, of course.

My empty, under-caffeinated stomach took a lurch. Dallas?

He paused, amazed I couldn’t understand a word pretty common in Texas vernacular. Dallas. My job is here. You can write your columns from anywhere.


I had grown up in Pecan Bayou. Zach had grown up in Pecan Bayou. The thought of uprooting him was scary. Aunt Maggie had always been like Zach’s grandmother, and my dad was grandfather, extra dad and super police guy to Zach. Zach was ten, and the thought of him entering his tweens in a large Dallas public school terrified me.

Did you think we would settle in Pecan Bayou?


I’m sorry. I just assumed we would all live in Dallas. I mean, Tyler’s school is here. My job is here.

Zach’s school is here, and family.

There was a pause on the other end. Betsy, I had no idea you felt this way. He sighed. Listen, I have to head out to work early today, and Tyler’s not even out of bed yet. Can we talk about this tonight?

Sure, I said.

Thanks. We’ll figure it out, okay?


Love you.

Okay. With that, the line clicked off.

I love you too, but you need to come and live here, is what I really heard. Or had I been the one saying that? What would this do to my dad? To Aunt Maggie? To my cousin Danny? To Zach? To me? I plodded down the hall and stuck my head into Zach’s room. He was crawling on the floor, looking under the bed.

Zach? What are you doing?

I’m looking for the sock to match this one, he said, holding up a wrinkled, day-old, dirt-stained sock.

Why would you want to match a dirty sock?

Because I can’t find any clean ones.

Hold on. I retrieved a basket of clean clothes that had yet to be folded. Sifting around in the socks, I wondered if I would like living in Dallas. I had never really lived in any town bigger than about 30,000 people. I would probably get lost just trying to find the grocery store. Would there be a market for my column in a Dallas paper? I doubted it. Pulling two clean matching socks out of the basket, I headed to the kitchen to start the coffee. Zach gave me a look reflecting how he can never find good help these days. Wonder what he would think of the housekeeping staff in Dallas?


Now Betsy, tell me everything you’ve done so far. The wedding is just two months away,  my Aunt Maggie said as I sprinkled red sugar on the third batch of Christmas cookies we had produced for Zach’s class party.

My bones ached, and I could use a four-hour nap. Maybe it was all of the Christmas preparations on top of the wedding, but I was already exhausted. Every girl imagines marrying the man of her dreams in a posh ceremony, but what no one tells her is that it’s an extravagant party she throws for herself.

Okay, I have flowers arranged with Mr. Stokes, I said. I already have our deposit in with him.

That old geezer? I’m surprised he didn’t ask for unmarked bills, she scoffed.

Hey, he grows some of the prettiest flowers around, and I really want things that are native to Pecan Bayou.

I’m surprised he would have anything in February, she replied.

Well, okay, they’re greenhouse flowers, but they will still be native to Texas, I admitted. Then, I have an idea for a bakery to bake the cake.

I jumped, remembering something.

Oh shoot! I have a dress fitting this afternoon. I was supposed to meet Elena. I totally forgot.

Don’t you have some sort of helpful hints talk today? Maggie said.

I put my hand to my head, getting flour on my nose. Yes. Darn. I completely forgot. The last time I talked to this group about making homemade calamine lotion, they made two hundred jars of the stuff and were planning on selling it at their Christmas bazaar. They put little flower stickers on all of them and tied red and green ribbons around the lids. It was really very lovely. Today I’m talking about mixing up an shampoo using tea tree oil.

Oh dear, Aunt Maggie said.

I’ll have to call Lavonne and see if I can reschedule the dress fitting.

Why don’t you try to do it tomorrow?

Can’t do that, I have to visit Mr. Stokes to pay him. He wants cash up front in order to reserve his flowers two months from now.

What a shocker, Maggie said dryly.

I sliced another cookie off the store-bought roll of refrigerator dough. Nothing like a homemade Christmas.

How about the day after that?

Can’t do it. I’m supposed to meet with Myrtle Richey, I said. She’s supposed to sing for the wedding. She wants me to hear the solo she’s picked out for us.

Myrtle? Are you serious?

Aunt Maggie, please. I’m doing the best I can with all of this wedding craziness. Besides, we have plenty of time.

How about the photography?

Yes, I have a card here somewhere for a guy who says he can shoot our wedding right after he does some soccer team shots down at the Y.

Betsy! That’s your wedding photographer? My aunt was incredulous.

When I started writing about wedding planning in my column, he called up the Gazette and wanted to be my photographer, I said. It seemed like a win-win to me. He’s already done some portraits of Zach.

The guy takes team pictures. What’s he going to do, pose you two hiking the bouquet?

My head began to ache. Aunt Maggie was usually never this critical, but today it felt like I hadn’t done anything right. Here I was The Happy Hinter, and I needed so much advice I could give Dear Abby a hand cramp.

Baby girl, I hate to say this, my aunt said, but I think you need a weddin’ intervention.

Excuse me?

You’re out of control, Betsy. I know you are usually the one who’s organized around this town, but this wedding thing has snowed you under.

I can handle it. It’s just a wedding, I said, chewing down what was left of my fingernail.

Hold that thought. Maggie pulled out her phone and hit the speed dial. Hey, Ruby? Who’s that weddin’ planner fella who keeps sending brides to the beauty shop?

Maggie nodded her head as she grabbed a pencil from my kitchen counter and wrote a name down on the back of an envelope. And you think he’s real good?

She nodded again. I wondered if she even noticed Ruby couldn’t see her.

Well, I thank you very much, my dear. I’ll be in tomorrow for my weekly style.

Maggie pushed the off button on her phone.

A wedding planner? I asked.

Not just any wedding planner, she said. Mr. Andre. He is the finest the tri-county area has to offer.

Aunt Maggie, I don’t need a wedding planner, I protested.

Ignoring me, she started punching a number into her cell phone. When the party on the other end answered, she began telling my tragic story.

Leo and I were trying to stay on a budget for the wedding. Bringing in one more person to pay was something I probably should discuss with him.

Oh, well, I didn’t know you were so popular, Maggie rattled on. Maybe he was too busy to plan my wedding. What a relief! Still, the more I thought about it, the more I wondered how it would feel to not have to worry about all the little details that could drive a person mad.

How much? Ah yes, the two words that jump-start the heart of any bride. I see. Well, we could stop by this morning.

Aunt Maggie, I whispered. Aunt Maggie, what are you doing? Maggie shushed me away with her hand.

See you there in about an hour then. She ended

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What people think about Buzzkill

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  • (4/5)
    4 STARS This is the 4th book in the Pecan Bayou series by Teresa Trent. It is the first one I have read. I enjoyed it. I did guess the killer but I had decided I was wrong. Had no idea of why but it made sense. The characters were well developed. I feel I missed a little of it because I had not read the other books. I was afraid of not knowing if Betsy and Leo were a great match when they were not answering questions of where they would live after the wedding. I liked Betsy and could understand not knowing how to say anything to her mom how she really felt. I wish the novel was a little longer to answer some of my questions I still have. Not about who or why so so was murdered. One question is when did Leo talk to Betsy's mom? Everyone says it is Betsy who finds bodies but Leo was the one to find it. Though Betsy was close by. I like Leo that he was willing to raise his sister's son. That he was being supportive to Betsy and trying to give her the wedding she wanted. The murder did not happen right off in the story. The first part of the story was about trying to get the plans all set up for the wedding. Her surprise visitor showing up and wanting to help plan the wedding. You wanted things to workout for Betsy and Leo wedding day. There was plenty of drama, wedding and murder drama, some funny scenes. It was a clean read and a quick read. I look forward to reading another Teresa Trent book in the future. I was given this ebook to read and asked to give honest review of it and be part of its blog tour.