Wendy Meadows Cozy Mystery A's in the Hole (EBOOK)
Chocolate Cozy Mystery Book 4

A's in the Hole (EBOOK)

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In the quaint town of Chester Falls, the airwaves are dominated by the abrasive yet captivating radio host, Lilac Charleston. When Lilac unexpectedly sweeps into Olivia Cloud's Bloc-A-Choc Shoppe, demanding a large order of treats for an industry event, no one could have predicted the shocking turn of events that would follow.

On the day of the big event, Lilac is found dead, leaving a trail of suspects in her wake. From Lilac's on-air rival, Van 'The Man' Washington, to her troubled younger sister, Violet, and even her former accountant-turned-husband, Hank Abbott, the list of potential killers continues to grow.

Determined to uncover the truth, Olivia teams up with the intrepid investigator, Jake Morgan. However, their investigation is repeatedly hindered by the pushy and somewhat incompetent Detective Keane. Undeterred, Olivia and Jake delve deeper into the case, uncovering a web of secrets, unrequited feelings, and a motive that no one saw coming.

As the investigation unfolds, the residents of Chester Falls are forced to confront their own demons and the true nature of the relationships that bind them together. In the end, the truth will set everyone free, but not before the final, shocking revelation is unveiled.

Chapter One

The interior of the Block-A-Choc Shoppe buzzed with activity. Folks sat at their tables snacking on chocolates and sipping from tall latte mugs and tiny espresso cups. The three A's chatted while they worked, sweeping between tables. Alvira offered coffee refills, Alphonsine delivered chocolates and took orders, and Alberta, or ‘Albie’ oscillated between the kitchen and the floor. She questioned whether there were enough Sticky Cherry Truffles and the Creamed Strawberry Delights, or if she should make another batch of their latest creation. 

Olivia manned the front counter and smiled. This was exactly what she'd envisioned when she'd first decided the time was right to set up a store. 

"Ma'am?" A middle-aged guy in a peak cap and overalls halted in front of the counter. 

"Good morning," Olivia said. "What can I get for you today?" 

"Nothin', ma'am. I'm here about the air-conditioning unit. You called Todd for repairs." 

"Oh, great," Olivia said, and brushed off her hands. She gestured for Alphonsine to take her place at the front counter. She swept out from behind it and led the new guy to the unit in the corner. "I'm glad you came on such short notice." 

"It's no problem," he said. He put down his toolbox. Sweat streaked his temples, either side of his graying brown hair. Dark rings circled his eyes. 

"What's your name?" Olivia asked. 

He patted the patch sewn onto his breast pocket. "Georgie, ma'am." 

Some investigator she was, sheesh. Olivia pointed to the unit. "I figured we should get this fixed before summer hits." Chester Falls isn't the warmest place around this time of year, but the hot months were on their way and she didn't want to think about her chocolates in that kind of environment. 

She'd be selling hot chocolate puddles if she let this go for much longer. 

"When did it break, ma'am?" Georgie asked, and crouched over his toolbox. 

"Just last week. I really should've called before now, but I've been a little busy." Understatement of the century. She'd positively reeled after her son had been accused of murder. But it was all clear now, and Sebby had returned to college without his best friends. 

"No problem," Georgie muttered. He clanked his box open and rummaged around inside it. 

"Can I get you a coffee or anything? On the house." 

"No thanks, ma'am." 

"You can call me -"

"Olivia!" Albie waved from the front counter. She'd skipped out on kitchen duty and sent Alphonsine to make drops instead of her, apparently. Ever the social butterfly, their resident elderly A. 


Albie crooked a finger. "You've got an A-list visitor." She stepped back and revealed the woman waiting at the front of the line. 

Platinum blonde hair to rival one of those Playmate women, wrinkled skin on the décolletage and enough makeup to make a Maybelline model weep - Lilac Charleston twiddled her rouge claws and blew a kiss. "Hello, darling." 

Olivia hurried over to their resident celebrity; radio host extraordinaire. She bumped into Albie, winced, then rubbed her arm. "Sorry," she said. 

Albie ignored her, jaw dropped, all her attention on Lilac. 

"How are you, sweetie?" Lilac asked as she held out the tips of her fingers. 

Was she supposed to kiss them? This felt like a 'kiss the Pope's ring' moment. Olivia opted for a strange fingertip handshake instead. A tip shake? Lilac pursed her lips and withdrew the blessed limb. 

"I'm fine, thanks. Just a lot going -"

"I'm wonderful too, darling," Lilac said. "Just wonderful. Did you listen to my show on the radio this morning?" 

"No, I was -"

"Pity, pity, you missed out on my grand announcement then," Lilac said, and swished her chin up. The platinum mountain atop her crown didn't budge. "And an important one, too." 

Olivia wasn't sure if she should respond. Would it make a difference to Lilac? 

"I'm so glad you asked," Lilac continued. "You see, I'm having an event for all my fellow hosts at station HQ." 

Albie hadn't said a word the entire time. She stared, nodding along like a mime portraying a bobble head figure. 

"Chester Radio TODAY!" Lilac weaved her arms around. "That's the station, as I'm sure you know. Now, this little event I'm hosting is going to be the highlight of the winter, if not the year. It's going to be the bees knees, darling. Everything anyone could ask for." 

"And you -"

"That's why I need you and your little crew here, you see? I need the best treats for my guests. I hear your chocolates are scrumptious. Positively delightful," she said. 

"You could try one if you'd like." Olivia rushed the sentence out. 

"Oh no, dear. I don't eat sugars. Or milk byproducts." Lilac swayed on the spot - possibly from lack of nutrition. What else didn't she consume? Veggies? Water? Air, perhaps? "Terrible for the digestive system. Clean eating, darling; that's the new fad." 

"So you need us at this event," Olivia said. "When is it?" 

"Two nights from now. I need treats for at least one hundred people. Can you pull it off, sweetie? Can you make this work for Lilac?" 

Cringe, cringe, cringe. "Sure, I can do that. Do you have any specific chocolate in mind? Any requests?" It would take a lot of work to produce that many chocolates by Wednesday evening, but it was doable. Anything was possible with her three A's on board. 

"Wonderful, simply wonderful. You see, I love the scent of the -"

"Ma'am?" Georgie halted beside the counter.

Lilac glared at him, displaying a full set of teeth white enough to glow in the dark. Apparently, she couldn't handle interruptions as well as she could dole them out. 

"Yes, Georgie?" Olivia asked. 

"I've forgotten something in the truck. I need to fetch it. I'll be back in a minute. I left my toolbox over there," he said, and thumbed in the air conditioner's direction. 

"All right, that's no problem. I'll keep an eye on it while you're gone." 

Georgie bobbed his head. His gaze flicked from Olivia to the fabulous and hearing impervious Ms. Lilac Charleston. His expression altered only slightly, a grim twist of distaste, and then he shuffled past them and made for the door. 

"What a rude, creature," Lilac said, and tossed her fantastic head again. "As I was saying, I do so love the scent of chocolate."

"Any requests for the -?"

"It's the richness, the mouthwatering goodness. It's a pity my figure can't handle even one of the delicious little heaven drops," Lilac said, and ticked her nails against the glass. 

"Right," Olivia said. "Well, I'll be ready to cater your event, Ms. Charleston. I'd better get to the kitchen and start preparing." Anything to escape the woman. She couldn't blame Georgie for giving her the look. 

"Yes, sweetie, you do that. Do it for Lilac." 

Olivia cringed her way into the kitchen. She had to chug water and eat ten chocolates just to cope.


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