Katt's in the Cradle: A Secrets from Lulu's Cafe Novel

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9781416543893: Katt's in the Cradle: A Secrets from Lulu's Cafe Novel

When you're in the trenches, sometimes you're up to your neck in mud. That's the not-so-glamorous life of a pastor's wife.

Felicia's family is...complicated. That's putting it nicely. Now they're flying in from LA -- all at once -- to stay with her...just when her brother-in-law, Javier, and Mama aren't even speaking to each other. And the whole church will be there to witness the feud.

Mimi has a lot on her mind with her four energetic kids -- especially Milo the screamer, with his Pavarotti voice. Then her live-in alcoholic dad starts to mow their lawn at midnight.

Lisa has her hands full with loudmouth Tom Graves and the other troublemakers at Red River Assembly. Then vicious rumors start to fly about the Barton family...and the attacks and threats get increasingly personal.

Jennifer is pushing her adopted daughter, Carys, in a stroller, when she notices a black town car -- the same car she's seen several times over the past week. Could someone be following her?

The PWs plunge into an unnerving mystery...and discover what "family" really means.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Lulu's Café

Tuesday, March 18

12:05 p.m.

"I can't believe it!" Felicia Lopez-Morrison waved as she ricocheted through the tables, heading toward her three friends seated in their usual booth in the back right-hand corner of Lulu's.

"Did you hear the news?" she asked breathlessly, sliding into the seat next to Jennifer, who pushed her leather purse against the wall and scooched over to give Felicia room.

Mimi laughed. "You mean about the scandal?"

"Who hasn't heard?" Jennifer leaned over and gave Felicia a sideways hug.

"When Dave told me, I thought he was kidding," Felicia said. "Kitty hasn't even been in the ground a year."

Lisa nodded. "Well, Norm was probably just lonely. He needed the companionship."

"Then buy a dog," Jennifer suggested. "Of course," she said, getting tickled, "then people would talk about dogs and a Katt living together!"

The other women groaned.

"It would have to be for companionship." Felicia playfully nudged Jennifer in the shoulder. "He just met the woman. He couldn't love her, could he?"

"From what I heard," Mimi said matter-of-factly, "she's more like a girl."

"Ladies!" Lisa smiled but looked a little uncomfortable.

Jennifer knew Lisa was construing this turn as gossipy. Sweet Lisa, Jennifer thought, looking at her friend, seated across the table from her. Always taking the high road. You'd think after three years of us all being friends, we would have picked up some of her good traits.

"Well, well." A loud, brassy voice interrupted Jennifer's thoughts. Their plump, gruff-sounding waitress, Gracie, was standing over their table, pulling out the order pad from the white apron around her ample thighs. "Glad to see little Miss Señora made it today."

Felicia pulled back in mock offense. "Hey, I'm only five minutes late!"

"Yeah, yeah." A slight smile crossed Gracie's face. She jutted her chin out toward Felicia. "I'm likin' you without all the high-and-mighty outfits and shoes and whatnot."

Everyone at the table laughed. Felicia spread her arms in show and bowed her head, as if accepting a standing ovation. Gracie threw back her head and guffawed.

Felicia certainly had changed in the last year since she'd been working from home, Jennifer realized. Her silky black hair, once curled and neatly laying across the top of her shoulders, was now pulled back in a ponytail. And her high-powered business suits and designer shoes had been replaced by a pair of black jeans and a mauve hoodie sweater. Jennifer glanced under the table -- Well, her boots are still designer, she thought good-naturedly.

"I like you girls." Gracie pulled a pencil from behind her ear. "You're always the highlight of my every-other-Tuesday."

"Well, thank you, Gracie," Mimi said. "And you're ours."

"All right, enough with the chitchat," Gracie said. "Are we all having the regulars?"

"Yes, ma'am," Jennifer and the others chimed in.

Gracie harrumphed. "I don't know why I keep taking out my order pad and pen for you all. Okay, PWs, I'll be back with your drinks."

Jennifer watched Gracie plod off to her next table of customers, several booths toward the front of the café. Jennifer really liked their waitress -- and knew her three friends did, too. Underneath all Gracie's gruffness lay a heart as big as an ocean. And it was Gracie who had given the women their official group nickname -- the PWs.

When Jennifer, Mimi, Lisa, and Felicia had started secretly meeting at Lulu's nearly three years before, Gracie had been their waitress. She'd overheard them talking about God and their churches, figured out that they were all pastors' wives, and nicknamed them. She'd gotten a big kick out of the fact that the women -- all hailing from the southwest Ohio town of Red River -- would drive forty miles out of their way every other Tuesday to nosh and chat in this little nothing-special dive. Although the PWs never had explained to Gracie that they met that far from home to avoid nosy townsfolk and their church members overhearing their business, their now-seventy-year-old waitress hadn't taken too long to figure out what was going on.

Now Gracie ambled slowly behind the front counter to the rectangular opening between the restaurant and the kitchen. She pounded a bell sitting on the ledge and yelled, "Order in!"

Felicia unfolded her paper napkin and laid it on her lap. "I just can't believe it," she mused, shaking her head. "Norm Katt remarried. To a woman half his age."

"Whom he just met," Mimi reminded everyone.

Jennifer pulled her eyes from watching the cook grab their order ticket and start to read it. Gracie had interrupted a very important news-sharing moment, and Jennifer didn't want to miss any of it.

"And did you hear her name?" Mimi asked.

"Allison." Lisa shook her head, looking as if she were trying to suppress a laugh. "Ally."

As if in a chorus, the women said, "Ally Katt."

"Does the man never learn?" Felicia laughed. "First, he marries Kitty. And now Ally."

"Oh, if they have children!" Jennifer said. "They could name one Fraidy."

Felicia nodded. "Twins, of course, would be named Siamese and Tiger."

"Of course." Jennifer smiled.

"You all are so terrible!" Lisa pushed back her thick, reddish-brown-highlighted hair and fluffed it.

Mimi sighed and patted Lisa on the arm. "Oh, we all know it's just in fun. We really don't mean anything by it, do we, ladies? But you do have to admit, it is funny."

Lisa rolled her eyes and shook her head as if to say, "You silly kids." "Has anybody seen her?"

"Not that I know of -- I mean, except for their church," Jennifer said. "I guess Norm and his new bride came back to town only a couple weeks ago."

"Well," Mimi said, "that kid's got a tough act to follow. As much as Kitty drove us all crazy, her church adored her. Wonder how they'll take to a new pastor's wife?"

"I don't know," Lisa said. "But they'll definitely talk. I hope she knows what she's gotten herself into."

"Did any of us know that when we married pastors?" Mimi asked.

Lisa smiled. "I guess not."

"I sure didn't!" Jennifer said, thinking back to when she and Sam had married, twelve years ago. She had been attending the church as a relatively new Christian when Sam arrived on the scene as pastor. "Being a church member and being a pastor's wife are two entirely different things."

"I didn't marry a pastor," Felicia said. "If you recall, I married a businessman who decided several years into his career that he was called to be a pastor. I didn't get that vote."

Gracie walked toward them, carrying a tray of drinks. She set it down on the edge of their table. "I'm getting too old for this. Can you believe they still make me carry my own trays? And my shoulder all messed up from that fall back in December?"

Gracie had taken a tumble on some ice outside Lulu's one evening after work a few months back and hurt her shoulder and hip.

"Is that still bothering you, Gracie?" Felicia asked.

"I still go to therapy for it, but you know those doctors. You can't trust 'em." She handed Mimi a glass of milk and passed Lisa an iced tea. Felicia grabbed the remaining two glasses, each filled with Diet Coke, and handed one to Jennifer.

"Hey!" Gracie said. "You trying to deprive me of my hard-earned tip?"

"Sorry!" Felicia joked. "But you know I'm working from home now. I need all the money I can get."

"Well, you'd better find a better table. These girls are tighter than a duck's behind with their money." She pulled four straws out of her right apron pocket and plopped them in the center of the table.

"I'll be back." She winked, then pulled up the tray against her chest and trudged away.

"Can you believe it's been a year since Kitty died?" Lisa tore the paper off her straw and crumpled it.

"I know," Jennifer said. "I kind of miss her. All the snarky comments about how insignificant our churches were compared to hers. The patronizing tone. The condescending looks."

"I'm serious!" Lisa said. "It was tragic."

"I know." Jennifer sipped her soda. "Believe me, I wish she hadn't died. It wasn't a piece of cake for me -- going through that miscarriage and being considered a murder suspect in her death all in the same weekend." There I go again, making everything about me, she told herself and inwardly winced.

Felicia rubbed Jennifer's back. That's sweet, Jennifer thought, realizing her friends remembered how difficult that time in her life had been. She'd wanted that baby so badly. And to suffer a miscarriage, have an all-out argument with Kitty, threaten her, then have her up and fall down a ravine and break her neck...It had been devastating.

"Let's be honest." Mimi dabbed a trace of milk at the corner of her mouth. "We didn't like her. But she didn't deserve what happened to her. Life has been calmer and more sane and relaxing since she's been -- "

"It was a year ago yesterday," Felicia said. "St. Patrick's Day weekend. At the pastors' wives' retreat."

"That reminds me!" Mimi brightened and reached under the table. She pulled up her large purse/diaper bag and dug into its depths. In her hands appeared two shamrock-and-cross-covered eggs that were the brightest kelly green Jennifer had ever seen. She laid them on the table and reached back in, producing one more. "From Megan. She wanted me to make sure to give these to you. We combined two holidays in one -- St. Patrick's Day and Easter, since that's this weekend."

"Carys will like this." Jennifer picked one up and set it on top of her purse.

"I wonder what she looks like?" Felicia took another of the eggs and placed it by her drink.

"Who?" Lisa asked.

"Norm's new wife."

"I wonder if she'll come to the next pastors' wives' meeting at New Life next month?"

"I already called and invited her. She's coming." Lisa tore open a packet of sugar and dumped it into her tea.

The table fell silent as Jennifer, Mimi, and Felicia all stared openmouthed at their friend.

"What?" Lisa asked.

She really doesn't know why we're shocked, Jennifer realized.

"You've been holding out on us,...

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Book Description Howard Books, United States, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Original. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. When you re in the trenches, sometimes you re up to your neck in mud. That s the not-so-glamorous life of a pastor s wife. Felicia s family is.complicated. That s putting it nicely. Now they re flying in from LA -- all at once -- to stay with her.just when her brother-in-law, Javier, and Mama aren t even speaking to each other. And the whole church will be there to witness the feud. Mimi has a lot on her mind with her four energetic kids -- especially Milo the screamer, with his Pavarotti voice. Then her live-in alcoholic dad starts to mow their lawn at midnight. Lisa has her hands full with loudmouth Tom Graves and the other troublemakers at Red River Assembly. Then vicious rumors start to fly about the Barton family.and the attacks and threats get increasingly personal. Jennifer is pushing her adopted daughter, Carys, in a stroller, when she notices a black town car -- the same car she s seen several times over the past week. Could someone be following her? The PWs plunge into an unnerving mystery.and discover what family really means. Bookseller Inventory # AAV9781416543893

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Book Description Howard Books, United States, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Original. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.When you re in the trenches, sometimes you re up to your neck in mud. That s the not-so-glamorous life of a pastor s wife. Felicia s family is.complicated. That s putting it nicely. Now they re flying in from LA -- all at once -- to stay with her.just when her brother-in-law, Javier, and Mama aren t even speaking to each other. And the whole church will be there to witness the feud. Mimi has a lot on her mind with her four energetic kids -- especially Milo the screamer, with his Pavarotti voice. Then her live-in alcoholic dad starts to mow their lawn at midnight. Lisa has her hands full with loudmouth Tom Graves and the other troublemakers at Red River Assembly. Then vicious rumors start to fly about the Barton family.and the attacks and threats get increasingly personal. Jennifer is pushing her adopted daughter, Carys, in a stroller, when she notices a black town car -- the same car she s seen several times over the past week. Could someone be following her? The PWs plunge into an unnerving mystery.and discover what family really means. Bookseller Inventory # AAV9781416543893

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