Wendy Meadows Cozy Mystery Fitness Witness (EBOOK)
Chocolate Cozy Mystery Book 6

Fitness Witness (EBOOK)

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 Step into the high-stakes world of personal training with Fitness Witness, a gripping murder mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

When hard-nosed fitness trainer Tina Hobb is murdered just hours after a grueling session with her client Joe Kristin, intrepid investigator Olivia Cloud is called in to unravel the case. But this investigation is no easy feat, as Olivia must navigate a slew of odd suspects, a new lead detective, and some peculiar personal dynamics, all while juggling the demands of her own life.

As Olivia delves deeper into the mystery, she soon realizes that this case could prove to be quite a doozy. With many factors clouding the investigation, Olivia and her beau Jake Morgan must tread carefully to get to the bottom of this strange murder before it's too late.

Will Olivia be able to crack the case and find justice for Tina? Or will the twists and turns of this investigation lead to nothing but pain and no gain? Discover the answers in this captivating tale of mystery, intrigue, and the relentless pursuit of the truth.

Chapter One

Of all the places to which Olivia had delivered chocolates in Chester, this had to be the strangest. The interior of the Chester Fitness Center glimmered with polished workout machines, most of which Olivia couldn’t put a name to if she tried. Apart from the treadmill and the cycles, the machines were a mystery to her, and one she didn’t plan on solving any time soon. 

Fluorescent lights glared down at the folks in their exercise gear; men and women in sweatpants and shorts, all in various degrees of pain or triumph. 

Olivia shifted her feet and tightened her grip on two large boxes of Strawberry Fluff Truffles. She spotted the reception desk just ahead and heaved a sigh of relief. This was her last delivery of the day – she couldn’t wait to get home and take a bubble bath with a cup of cocoa. 

Entering the gym and experiencing the pumping music and grunts from the exercise clan shoved her right out of her comfort zone. 

“May I help you?” The tanned receptionist asked. 

“Yes, please,” Olivia squeaked, and rushed toward the desk. 

“Would you like to take out a membership plan?” The receptionist, the tag on her chest read Vanessa, looked her up and down from head to toe and twirled blond hair around her finger. “We have a seniors special at the moment.” 

Thank you for that. Olivia’s self-esteem curled up into a ball. She was barely over forty for Pete’s sake. “No, I’m here to make a delivery.” 

“Oh? That’s super weird. We don’t usually accept deliveries here. Unless its gym equipment,” Vanessa said, and continued twisting that section of hair. Gosh, she’d twist it right off if she didn’t stop. “But you don’t look like you deliver gym equipment for a living. Unless, are you – I’m sorry, are you a guy? Because –”

“Vanessa,” a voice whip-cracked through the air above their heads. Apparently, this wasn’t the first social faux pas the receptionist had made. 

Another woman, this one lean, toned, and brunette marched up to them. “Sorry about that,” she said, and fixed Olivia with a million dollar smile. “I’m Tina.” She extended a hand. 

Olivia shook it, juggling the chocolate boxes out of the way. “Olivia Cloud,” she said, “I’m here to make a delivery.” She checked the address card on top of the box. “It’s for Joe Kristin.” 

“Ah, he’s one of my clients,” Tina said, but a frown wrinkled her flawless forehead. She wore tights and a black workout top. It was tight enough to show there wasn’t an inch of fat on her. “May I ask what’s in there?” She nodded to the boxes. 

“Chocolates,” Olivia said, “Strawberry Fluff Truffles to be precise. Is Mr. Kristin around today?” 

“Chocolates,” Tina whispered, then pinched the bridge of her nose. “I don’t believe it.” 

Vanessa shrank back, moving toward the other end of her cordoned off reception cubicle, eyes wide. “Don’t panic, Tina. It’s okay.”

“I’m not panicking,” Tina replied through gritted teeth. “I’m not the least bit panicked. No, I’m seething. I’m furious. But I’m not panicked.” 

Uh oh. “Is there a problem?” 

“Oh, you could say that.” Tina dropped her hand and fixed Olivia with a piercing gaze. “I’m Joe’s personal trainer. He’s on a strict no-carb, no-sugar, no-fat diet and if he eats those chocolates he’ll relapse.” 

Olivia didn’t know much about fitness training, but that was a diet that sounded both deathly and unattainable. “I’m sorry to hear that,” she said, and kept up her professionalism, “but these chocolates are paid for and I must deliver them.” 

“Give them to me,” Tina said, “I’ll make sure he gets them.” 

Vanessa shook her head frantically behind the trainer’s back. 

“I have to give them to Mr. Kristin himself.” 

“He’s busy at the moment. Either give them to me or come back later,” Tina replied through gritted teeth. “We’re closed later.” 

“I’ll find him at home, then.” She mentally crossed her fingers that Tina wasn’t about to inform her that Joe didn’t go home, but rather camped out at the gym between meals of carrot sticks and pea juice. 

Tina opened her mouth with another rebuttal. 

“Ah, there you are!” A large man trundled out of one of the doors nearby, marked Dance Hall 1. He clapped his palms and rubbed them together. “I thought you’d never get here.” 

“Joe,” Tina growled, “what’s the meaning of this?” 

“Of what?” Joe reached them and patted his belly. “I’ve already lost like 10 pounds. I think I deserve a treat. I read up online that if you don’t allow yourself a treat every once in a while, you’re setting yourself up for disaster. Wouldn’t want to go on a binge, would we?” 

“I wouldn’t class two boxes of chocolates as a small treat,” Tina replied. 

“They’re not all for me.” He focused on Olivia, kind eyes wrinkling at the corners. “Hi, I’m Fat Joe Kristin.” 

Olivia’s jaw dropped. She clicked her teeth together again. “Olivia Cloud. These are for you, if you’ll just sign the card.”

Tina raised a finger. “Don’t you take those chocolates, Joe.” 

“Fat Joe,” he said, then focused on Olivia again. “I use the Fat part as motivation to lose weight. It’s working so far.” He picked up the pen and signed the card, then accepted the boxes. 

Olivia let out a tiny sigh of relief. Another delivery made successfully, unpleasantness aside. 

“You will not eat those chocolates,” Tina said, and reached for them. “Give them to me.” 

“No.” Fat Joe darted back, holding the boxes aloft. “They’re mine and I’m going to enjoy them. In fact, I think I’ll go home early today.” 

“No, you won’t. You’ve got a yogalates class in ten minutes and you can’t be late.” 

Olivia backed away slowly, as if witnessing a clash of giants. 

“I’m not going to yogalates. I’ve spent months in this gym and I deserve a break,” Fat Joe yelled, the warm smile slipping for the first time since he’d appeared. “You’re horrible. You’re working me like I’m a servant.” 

“You’re a servant to your body, Joseph. You’re overweight and you’re –”

“I pay your salary!” 

The argument continued. 

Vanessa scooted out of her seat and around to Olivia, wincing at every insult. She drew Olivia aside. “Listen, I’m so sorry about this,” she whispered, “and about asking if you were a man. Oh gosh, look, the afternoon is almost done and everyone will leave soon. Please, let me buy you a drink in the juice bar to make up for the commotion. The owner of this place will be furious once he finds out.” 

“I –” Olivia blinked at Fat Joe and Tina, both face to face and red as beets, yelling, spittle flying. 

“It’s the least I can do to make up for the discomfort,” Vanessa whispered, and clamped her hand onto Olivia’s arm. She dragged her away from the fight, past the reception area and the staring gym bunnies, and toward the distant juice bar on the second level. “Don’t worry, they serve fruit smoothies too. Unless you’d like to try the spinach one.” 

“No, thank you.” 

The yells followed them all the way up the stairs.


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