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Rosie Books

Chocolate Cherry Murder (Bite-sized Bakery Cozy Mysteries Book 18)

Chocolate Cherry Murder (Bite-sized Bakery Cozy Mysteries Book 18)

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Look Inside Chapter 1

“You know, Ruby, I never pictured life turning out quite like this,” Bee said, as she put the finishing touches on our special this week—the Chocolate Cherry Delight. A layered dessert consisting of moist chocolate cake, piquant cherry jam, then chocolate mousse, topped with cream and liquor-soaked cherries. A creation aimed at overwhelming the senses in the best way possible. 

It was fancier than what we usually baked on the truck. But fancy was exactly what the mayor had wanted when he’d hired us for this event. 

“You’re not happy with life?” I asked Bee, my best friend in baking and everything else. Especially murder cases that we weren’t supposed to investigate. 

“I’m happy,” Bee said, “when we’re not in trouble, that is. But I guess I never thought I’d be serving cakes in a tiny town to people who… well, they’re unique, let’s put it that way.”  Bee nodded toward the town square. “What do you think is under that tarp?” 

We were parked across from a veiled statue in the square. A giant tarp had been thrown over the statue and tied down, but a spring breeze occasionally tugged at it, and the organizers on the impromptu stage would fuss with the ties. 

The unveiling would begin in thirty minutes. Thereafter, the attendees of the event would flock to our truck, and a stall set up by the owner of the local café, to grab treats paid for by Yesterday. The town. Not the day. 

I still struggled to keep that straight though we’d been here for over a month. 

“Don’t answer.” Bee slid a completed cake to one side. “I bet I know what’s under the tarp.” 

“You do?” 

“Sure.” Bee brought the next mini cake in the row toward her and garnished it with a shimmering red cherry and a dusting of grated chocolate. “The mayor said the event was in honor of the Williams family, right?” 

“Right.” The Williams family consisted of two radish-farming brothers who’d recently lost their father. Radishes were a big deal in Yesterday. 

“In honor of Mr. Williams who passed,” Bee continued. “So, I bet it’s a big ol’ statue of Mr. Williams, holding up a bushel of radishes.” 

“Is that what it’s called? A bushel of radishes? Isn’t it a bunch?” 

“No idea. But it sounds right. And that’s beside the point. I bet that statue is obscenely weird,” Bee whispered. “I wonder how much they spent on it.” 

“I don’t know.” I helped Bee dust and top off more desserts with cherries. “All I care about is that when they pull that tarp back, there isn’t a dead body under there.” 

“Good heavens.” 

“It’s not a stretch of the imagination to think that might happen,” I said. “With our track record, anything’s possible.” I’d started believing that fate had set me on a path I couldn’t waver from. Any time I thought we’d have a regular week serving food on the truck, we wound up stumbling into another murder investigation. 

Could it be my higher calling? Or did I have terrible luck? 

“I’m sure it will be a normal, run-of-the-mill, Yesterday unveiling,” Bee said, though she eyed the tarp covering the strangely shaped statue. “As run-of-the-mill as things in Yesterday can be.” 

Bee and I fell into the comfortable silence that came naturally to us when we worked. Twenty-five minutes later, we were done, the treats prepared and displayed beautifully under the clear glass in the truck’s display cases. 

A crowd had gathered in front of the stage, and Mayor Tunkin, balding and wearing his favorite crimson suit, stood in front of the microphone, one hand covering it while he talked to a woman beside him. 

“Here we go.” Nerves scurried about in my belly. 

Stop it. There isn’t a dead body under the tarp. 

Mayor Tunkin tapped on the microphone. “Welcome, one and all. Thank you for attending the unveiling of our statue, sponsored by the family of our dear departed, Mr. William Williams and the Ballroom Dancing Club.” 

The crowd clapped and a few people cheered. 

Funnily enough, Mr. Williams hadn’t been that popular in town, star radish farmer or not. But his sons, who had been through a lot since his death, wanted to honor him, and who could fault them for that? Also, why on earth was the Ballroom Dancing Club involved? 

“—celebration of the unveiling of our new statue. So, without further ado… Mrs. Colman, care to join me?” 

A thin woman with short gray hair and a spring in her step strode up the steps and onto the stage. The mayor, Mr. Williams’ two sons, and Mrs. Colman waited patiently while the assistants removed the fastenings from the tarp. 

Mayor Tunkin took up the microphone again. “Mrs. Colman, Mr. Williams, and Mr. Williams, would you do the honors?” 

“Who is this Mrs. Colman lady?” Bee whispered. 

“No idea.” 

The Williams’ brother and Mrs. Colman lifted the tarp together, sending my cortisol levels through the roof. The tarp fell free from… a giant silver radish. 

“Is that—?” Bee rubbed her eyes. “Of course, it’s a radish.” 

I let out a breath I hadn’t realized I’d been holding. No corpses in sight. Thank goodness. 

Applause followed the radish’s reveal. 

“Thank you all for being here today.” Mrs. Colman had taken the mic. Her voice was thin as a razor. “As a member of the town council, the esteemed Ballroom Dancing Club, and a friend of the Williams family, it’s an honor to unveil William’s Radish.”

“Uh, isn’t that a bit euphemistic?” Bee whispered. 

I snorted and covered my mouth.

“Please, enjoy the food selection sponsored by the council, the Yesterday Ballroom Dancing Club, and the Organization for the Promotion of Radish-Based Diets. That will be all,” Mrs. Colman finished. 

And then the crowd dispersed, a rush of folks heading right for our truck. 

“Radish-based diets?” Bee raised a silver eyebrow. “I’m surprised they didn’t ask us to make radish-flavored desserts.” 

“Don’t look a dessert-horse in the mouth.” 

The first of the customers arrived, and we made swift work of handing out desserts to people, along with bio-degradable disposable forks. They ate their desserts with reverence, and Bee puffed up with pride. 

I grinned at her. All going to plan so far. 

“This is delicious.” The voice had come from Mrs. Colman, who stood beside the truck’s window eating the cherry chocolate mousse. “You made this on your truck?” She seemed in disbelief. 

“Of course,” Bee replied. 

“That’s fantastic.” Mrs. Colman cut to the front of the line, and the woman who’d been receiving her treat stared. “Sorry, dear, I need to talk with these women, urgently.” 

I wasn’t a fan of people cutting the line, and I opened my mouth to say so. 

“I’d like to invite you to cater an event,” Mrs. Colman said, without waiting for me to speak. “The Yesterday Ballroom Dancing Club is hosting the county qualifiers, semifinals, and finals for the 2021 Monton County Ballroom Dancing Competition. It starts in two days, and we’d love it if you could cater our desserts. It’s a highly respected event, you know, and while we’ve got everything we need for the catering of the meals, a few desserts like these wouldn’t go amiss. What do you say? It pays well.” 

I chewed on the inside of my cheek and glanced at Bee. She shrugged. 

“Sure,” I said. “That would be great.” I liked dancing. It’d be fun to watch the competition while we worked. 

“Fantastic.” Mrs. Colman scribbled down her details on a slip of paper and handed it over. I gave her our business card. “I’ll be in touch to organize everything with you this evening. Enjoy the festivities.” She snagged another of our desserts before walking away. 

Another catering job was good news. More money for the truck meant a higher likelihood we could stay in Yesterday for longer. 

“This ought to be fun,” I said, once Mrs. Colman had disappeared into the crowd. 

“Sure,” Bee murmured. “Let’s just hope nobody dies this time.” 

Since when had she started reading my mind? 

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Nothing goes better with chocolate than murder-soaked cherries…

Baking duo, Ruby and Bee, have had a blast serving their treats in the tiny, cozy town of Yesterday. Things are looking up—they’re the go-to baking solution for many businesses and events in town, including the Yesterday Ballroom Dancing Contest.

With a kitchen to themselves, a metric ton of cherries to soak in cherry liquor, and music all around, it’s shaping up to be an exciting weekend. Until the star couple of the contest turn up dead on the night of the event. With the local sheriff completely out of his depth, Ruby and Bee are more than happy to help. It’s just a pity that the killer has noticed…

Can our favorite duo solve the murder mystery before they’re added to the list of victims? Find out in the next, page-turning installment of the Bite-sized Bakery Cozy Mystery series

Continue reading if you enjoy: 

  • Cozy small towns
  • Stories with pets and food
  • Laugh out loud humor
  • ZERO profanity and gratuitous scenes 
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