“Magic in Dixie” by Beth Albright, (the first book in a new southern series)
“Honey, there are secrets in this town for sure but I couldn’t believe there were so many– all buried in one family. And of all places to start digging them up—a funeral.” ~Vivi McFadden Heart
“I was born into a house full of secrets and bad behavior.”
Rhonda Cartwright Bently is having the most important moment of her life. She has finally been asked to help cater the Governor’s ball at the Emmy Awards in LA— But before the big day she has to get home to Tuscaloosa, Alabama and bury her estranged father. What she discovers in the aftermath of the funeral turns her life upside down in a matter of seconds.
A gift from her father from the grave—a dilapidated southern mansion with an old trunk full of family secrets, will transform Rhonda’s life in an instant and make her question everything she’s ever believed about her family and herself. And then there’s that list–the one she made about her dream man when she was just a teenager. Her perfect love may be right here under her nose, but for Rhonda this is one last complication she could do without. She intended to get home, bury Daddy, sell that dilapidated monstrosity and get back to LA, as fast as she could. But plans never quite work out just as we hope.
Rhonda will have to call on her old BFF’s, Blake and Vivi, to help solve the family mystery. But what those original Sassy Belles finally create out of that pile of dust could change Rhonda’s life for good, make her Hollywood dreams fade to black, and maybe even help her uncover her heart right where she left it—in Dixie. But sometimes things aren’t as they seem. And people aren’t always who we think they are.
Beth Albright is at her southern best with this new series of sexy romance, laugh out loud comedy, and edge-of-your-seat mystery—exactly what we have come to love in the Beth Albright brand! So grab your girlfriends and put on your seatbelts for this one– an exciting, unpredictable joy ride though the Deep South that will keep you guessing until the final shocking pages.
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“ Honey, there are secrets in this town for sure but I can’t believe there were so many– all buried in one family. And of all places to start digging them up—a funeral!” ~Vivi McFadden Heart
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I was born into a house full of secrets and bad behavior. Not the kind of secrets you whisper to your best friend in a musty third grade classroom. No, these were the kind that only grown-ups kept. And the bad behavior wasn’t the fun kind like when I would slither out the back door to make out with my cutie-pie boyfriend on a humid sultry summer night down south. Ooh, thinking of those kisses still gives me shivers down my spine.
No, the sneaky little rituals of my mother would hang in the air clinging to her thick perfume as she would sometimes leave us in the wee hours while daddy was softly snoring. I, however, was always awake and never missed the click of her heels as she tried to tiptoe across the hardwood floors and out the front door, slowly turning the lock with a jingle of her keys from the other side. I could hear everything.
As a child I remember hearing whispers that would suddenly stop mid-sentence when I appeared. My sisters and I just thought it was the way grown-ups talked. But I always wondered what they were talking about and or giggling over as they swigged their pungent mid-day concoction, the murmurs and hushed tones echoing from behind closed doors. Mother and her best girlfriend, Martha Cox, would be sipping martinis at lunch and smoking Pall Malls held in those long black Hollywood cigarette holders like Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
I remember hearing my mother on the phone, late at night, giggling from a closet where she had stretched the curly telephone cord all the way from the kitchen wall to the coat closet halfway down the hall, pulling it taut behind the closed door. I could never make out just what she was saying. But I knew she sure didn’t want anyone else to hear her.
This is always the way I remember growing up in our strange little family. So different, I thought, from the other families at the dead end of Camellia Street in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. That’s why in the late afternoon on that hot August day when my cell phone rang, I somehow knew all those secrets were fixin’ to be buried forever with my father. Finally, maybe we could be a normal family. But then I always was a dreamer.
That day my sister was calling to tell me Daddy had just died. I couldn’t quite arrange my emotions in my body as they swirled into a recipe of sadness, relief, ambivalence and then guilt. I sat down on the side of my bed in Los Angeles and tried to feel something but the tears wouldn’t flow. I squinted hard and clutched my heart but still nothing. My father hadn’t spoken to me in years. So I just sat there in my soup of emotions, confused and empty with no release.
But wouldn’t you know it? Just as we began to cover my daddy with the red dirt of the Deep South, I should have known my family would begin diggin’ things up. Family puzzles that would begin to rearrange our lives in ways we could have never dreamt.
“I can barely hear you Abigail!” The cell was cutting out. “I’m on my way to Tuscaloosa as we speak. Hell, LA isn’t just like I’m in Georgia. I’m all the way in freakin’ California. It’s gonna take me a minute or two to get all the way across the continent!” Abigail is my younger sister and has always been the bossy organized one.
The timing on this funeral actually couldn’t have been worse. Okay, I know Daddy didn’t plan to die right now but the Emmy Awards are next month. And it had taken me a really long time to start over and finally get a break. I’m sure I sound awful, you know, ‘cause I’m not havin’ a big ol’ fit and crying my eyes out but the thing is, Daddy chose not to speak to me for years, ever since I ran off to LA eighteen years ago with Jason—who is now my ex.
I could feel my walls literally start to rise up and shield me from the normal emotions I should have been experiencing. I had a lump in my throat and a twist in the pit of my stomach. But the thing is, I had a new life in LA, that’s Los Angeles, not Lower Alabama, and I needed to live this one– without all the hush- hush and drama of my childhood. And going home to pay my last respects to daddy and I knew surely I would have to deal with my Mother, Toots Harper Cartwright. Her real name is Teresa Margaret Harper. Toots was the nickname her Daddy gave her. She had a reputation in our family based on her initials, T.M.H.—Too Much Hell–which is what she gave everybody on a regular basis.
I dug through my closet in my Beverly Hills apartment, grabbed my bags and threw my suitcase on the bed in a frantic hurry, shoes and underwear flying everywhere. Well, it’s Beverly Hills adjacent, technically. Not actually Beverly Hills. Actually, I live over the Pizza store on Beverly Boulevard, across from CBS Television City—but it’s near the Farmers Market and that was the attraction, since I’m a chef. Okay, it’s on Beverly Boulevard, so I can say I live at least near Beverly Hills. It sounds better. And out here, image is everything.
I’m a caterer to the A-list crowd. Well, usually I assist events. This is the first time I have ever been asked to help cater the Emmys too and seriously, Daddy, The Emmys– this has to be the worst of all your many mistakes, I said to him looking up as if he could hear me from wherever he is in the hereafter.
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Be on the lookout for prizes!
Beth’s tour of “Magic in Dixie” is on from the 17th – 26th!
You can win gift cards, books, and chocolate!
Leave a comment for your chance to win!
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**About author, Beth Albright:
Beth Albright is the author of the award-winning, best-selling series The Sassy Belles. After knowing Beth for just a few short seconds you are sure to learn she is from Alabama. No, its not the lilt of magnolia you can still catch in her voice, or even the way she lovingly describes her undying love for her famous alma mater’s football champions. She will tell you she loves Tuscaloosa, even after living quite literally all over the country. Though Beth has had a remarkable career, from New York City to Hollywood, and all points in between, she has never forgotten where she came from…and what she loves. That’s why when it came time to write, Beth had no choice but to write about Tuscaloosa and The University of Alabama, and all the quirky people she still calls family, though some do not actually share her bloodline!
Beth Albright has always been a storyteller. After spending nearly 15 years in talk radio, as a talk show host, playing the part of a principal character on the soap opera, DAYS OF OUR LIVES, owning her own acting school and children’s theater, and raising a son who was a nationally ranked figure skater, Beth has decided to return to her roots; storytelling. When she was in the sixth grade, her teacher gave her the floor every Friday to tell her stories. See, Beth was a talker, a future talk show host in the making, and she was sharing her stories so much that her teacher couldn’t teach. The teacher told 12 year old Beth if she would begin writing her stories down, she would be allowed time to share those stories with the class.
And she’s been writing, AND talking ever since. Beth has interviewed Bob Hope, Oprah Winfrey, Betty White, Wolfgang Puck and George Burns live from the Chinese Theatre, as well as numerous other celebrities, and authors. Then Beth became a principal character on Days of Our Lives. But through all of the excitement of talk shows and soap operas, Beth loved telling stories to her audience the most. With a degree in Journalism from her beloved University of Alabama, She always remains true to her roots, born and raised in Tuscaloosa, “My grandfather was the play by play announcer for the Crimson Tide in the 50s!” Beth will proudly tell you. She is a down homespun girl, although she currently lives in San Francisco with her TV producer husband and her brilliant son. But her heart is always in Alabama.