Wendy Meadows Cozy Mystery Fudgement Day (EBOOK)
Chocolate Cozy Mystery Book 3

Fudgement Day (EBOOK)

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Olivia Cloud just can’t help herself. Where there is a mystery, she is there to try and solve it. This time the mystery involves the death of Jason Horn, her son Sebastian’s friend. With her son being the prime suspect, Olivia must piece together the clues and find the real killer. With her friend Jake and the ‘A’s,’ Olivia is in a race against the clock.

Can she find the killer before Sebastian is arrested?

Chapter One

Sebastian Cloud hovered in front of the counter in the Block-a-Choc Shoppe and rubbed his palms together. “I told you you’d love it here, Jase,” he said and nudged his friend, another college-aged kid at his side. 

“I’ve got a special treat prepared today,” Olivia said and smiled at her son. He’d been back in town for a few days, but she hadn’t seen enough of him. He’d opted to stay with his friend rather than uproot Alphonsine from his old room above the store. The French woman had planned to stay with friends—or at the only motel in Chester—at first. 

“What is it?” Sebastian asked, and ruffled his curly brown hair. 

Olivia bent and brought out the silver tray she’d prepared that morning for this very occasion. “My latest chocolatey invention,” she announced. “The caramel fudge drop.” 

The chocolate balls sat on a decorative white paper towel, streaked with fine swirls of pink. They jostled for attention, dark as little blobs of coal but much more palatable. She hadn’t dusted these with cocoa powder. They didn’t need the extra kick this time around. 

“Awesome,” Sebastian said. 

“Wow,” Jason breathed. “I’ve never seen chocolates like these before.”

“Yeah this isn’t a Hershey’s bar,” Sebastian replied and snorted a laugh. “Or one of your favorites, bro. A Snickers.”

“Whatever.” Jason shrugged. 

The boys stared at the chocolates but didn’t touch.

“Help yourselves. I made them as testers. You two can give me the final verdict.” Olivia dusted off her apron and spared a glance for Alberta at the coffee machine. The oldest ‘A’ loved the front of the shop—absorbing the gossip and relaying it to Olivia, whether she wanted to hear it or not. 

The boys helped themselves to the chocolates. Sebastian bit into his and shut his eyes. “Mom, these are awesome.” 

“Thank you,” she said. “I didn’t make them by myself, though.” 

Jason Horn chewed noisily. “What’s in them, Mrs. Cloud?” 

“Miss,” Olivia said and tapped the side of the tray. “They’re basically fudge balls, flavored with a caramel essence, and covered in smooth dark chocolate for a kick. Do you like them?” 

“They’re great,” Jason said, his teeth coated in the chocolate. “Sebastian told me you were a chocolatier, but I didn’t believe him until we got back into town.” 

“You’re originally from Chester, I hear,” Olivia said. Sebby—gosh, her son hated that nickname—hadn’t filled her in on much, apart from where he’d decided to stay and the bare basics about the Horn family. 

Olivia had resisted the urge to participate in an extracurricular search of her own. After the past few weeks, she could use a break from mysteries and suspicion, after all. 

“That’s right. Born and raised,” he said and gave her two thumbs up. “I think my dad was born here, too, but my mom was one of those darn city folk.” Jason chuckled at his own joke. 

Sebastian had gone into ‘chocolate devourer’ mode. He gobbled down drop after drop. 

“Sebby,” Olivia said. 

He met her gaze and stuck out his tongue. “C’mon, Ma, you know how much I hate it when you call me that.” 

“And you know how bad it is to eat that many chocolates in a row. I hope you don’t do this when you’re at college.” Ugh, since when had she become a super protective mom? 

Sebastian rounded the counter and gave her a quick hug. “We just stopped by to say hi, Mom. We’re on our way to go check out a movie.” 

“But Chester doesn’t have a cinema,” Olivia said. She reprimanded herself in her head. She’d hardly spent time with Sebastian, sure, but she’d never been the clingy soccer mom type. Now, she’d likely made a fool of herself in front of his friend. 

“Yeah, we’re going to watch it at our other friend’s house,” Jason said, and his cheeks colored slightly. “But hey, I wanted to ask if you’d like to come over for dinner tonight, Miss Cloud. My dad and mom would be thrilled to meet you. Sebastian’s spoken so much about you, and I think my mom’s come in a few times to get some of your chocolates.” 

Delight scraped away the humiliation of seconds before. “That would be lovely,” Olivia said. 

Alphonsine wouldn’t mind looking after Dodger, her doggy pal, for the night. They always enjoyed each other’s company, even though the dastardly doggy loved causing trouble in the most haphazard ways. 

“Awesome,” Jason said and smoothed his short black hair. “We’ll see you then.” 

“Have a good day,” Olivia said. 

Sebastian planted a kiss on her forehead—he’d shot up as a teen and towered above her—then high-tailed it out of there. The store’s glass front door swung shut behind the boys. 

Olivia sighed and risked a smile. The week had started out great, and it was good to have her son back, even if it was only for winter break. 

She focused on the street outside and the low bank of thick, gray clouds which confirmed the snow forecast in Olivia’s mind. 

“You look happy as a clam,” Alberta said and popped a coffee mug down in front of her. “What’s the occasion?” 

“The occasion? No occasion and that’s exactly the point. I think it’s high time we enjoy a relatively event-free week, Albie. Don’t you?” Olivia asked, lifting her coffee mug. She tilted it toward her A in a salute, then took a sip. “I’ve had enough adventure and mystery to last me a lifetime.” 

“Famous last words,” Alberta called as she hurried toward the coffee machine to brew a pot this time. 

The cold weather and the lead-up to Christmas had drawn customers into the store like moths to a flame. The scent of roasted coffee beans and melting chocolate, rich and aromatic, raised the comfort level in the store to new heights. 

Olivia didn’t let Albie’s joke get to her. She’d enjoy this evening and this week with her son back in town, no matter what.

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