Murder at the Book Group

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Authors: Maggie King
Then, on my birthday in 2000, Carlene, Georgia, and I were having lunch at Chez Foushee—you know that place downtown?” When we nodded, she said, “Evan came in with another guy. I made the introductions. A few days later Evan told me he wanted to ask Carlene out, and would I mind. I did mind but didn’t want to admit it. Then Carlene called and said Evan had asked her out and would I mind. I still minded and still didn’t want to admit it. They got married six weeks later. Small wedding, just family and a few close friends. They had the wedding brunch downtown at the Kent-Valentine House.
    â€œYou asked if Carlene and I were close. We weren’t, then we were, then her marriage strained our relationship for quite a while, but over the past couple of years we slowly got closer again. The strain was more on her part, guilt I guess. I got over being dumped pretty damn fast. It’s not that Evan and I had a future anyway . . . Like I said, the sex was fabulous, some of the best I’ve had, and I’ve been around the block a time or two, believe me.” We did. “But I guess you would know how good he is, Hazel.”
    â€œI never kiss and tell.” I tried for an airy tone. While I had fond enough bedroom memories of Evan, I didn’t care to compare notes with others on lovers in common. One of my fictional characters engaged in such cheesy behavior, but I believed in discretion.
    I couldn’t help but wonder how “damn fast” Kat recovered from being dumped. Great sex plus Evan’s lottery winnings made him quite a catch. Although I never knew how much he’d won. With my transparent face, I’d best limit my wondering until after Kat left. “More muffins?” I held the basket out to Kat, hoping to distract any attention from my suspicious thoughts.
    â€œUm . . . yes, I think I will. Surprisingly, this whole business hasn’t affected my appetite. It occurs to me that you two may be wondering if I was really over Evan.” I sighed and vowed to go shopping for a poker face. Kat went on, again getting crumbs everywhere. “Like maybe I longed for him all these years and finally just had to have him. Ridiculous. Why wait this long? I’m not a patient woman. Besides, our Evan turned out to be very possessive and domineering.”
    â€œYou’re kidding!” Lucy looked at me. “I never heard you mention that, Hazel.”
    â€œHe wasn’t like that with me.”
    â€œNor with me,” Kat said, her tone wry. She dabbed at her mouth with her napkin. “Carlene brought out something in him that should have—I don’t know—stayed in.”
    I remembered my earlier, unasked question. “Do you think that’s why they separated?”
    â€œI’m not sure. I can’t help but think the reason was sex-related, like maybe Carlene couldn’t appreciate Evan’s talents in that department. She was a god-awful prude in high school.”
    â€œReally?” Lucy asked.
    â€œTo an extreme. I tried my best to educate her about the pleasures of the flesh, get her interested, but she just wanted to study.” Kat raised her eyes to the ceiling to convey her attitude toward studying.
    â€œAnd she never married before Evan?”
    â€œNo. She was forty-five when they tied the knot.”
    â€œKat, how did you and Evan meet?” Lucy asked.
    â€œAt the gym. I was his personal trainer. It’s the best job for meeting guys. All that sweat and state of undress.” Kat gave one of her bawdy laughs. Then she looked concerned. “Are you sure you’re okay with all of this, Hazel?”
    â€œAbsolutely,” I assured her with great aplomb. “Granted, you threw me for a loop. It was all news to me. But, like I said, Evan and I were married, and divorced, an eternity ago.”
    â€œHow long’s an eternity?”
    â€œWe married in 1972. What’s

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