Death by Chocolate Cake: A Bakery Detectives Cozy Mystery

Death by Chocolate Cake: A Bakery Detectives Cozy Mystery by Stacey Alabaster

Book: Death by Chocolate Cake: A Bakery Detectives Cozy Mystery by Stacey Alabaster Read Free Book Online
Authors: Stacey Alabaster
boxes loaded in the back of my car and the keys to Pippa's new apartment firmly in the pocket of my jeans, I was all set...for the chance to snoop through all of Marcello's stuff.
    Sure, I felt a little bit guilty for lying to Pippa, but it was all going to be worth it when I found proof, undeniable proof, that Marcello had known Pierre Hamilton and had been there the day he was killed.
    It took even longer than I'd feared to get to Pippa’s new place in downtown Belldale. Looked like she was soon to be no closer than a twenty-five minute drive away from me. Right now, she was a twenty-five second walk away from me.
    That was if she still wanted to go ahead with the moving plans.
    I had an inkling that once I found what I had a hunch I'd find, her plans might change somewhat.
    When I finally pulled into her new place, I barely had time to even appreciate how nice the apartment was.
    If this was located anywhere else, say on the other side of the highway, I’d live here, I thought, as I hurried in with the boxes. I wanted to be inside, out of the way of preying eyes, before I unleashed the carnage.
    Using the same knife that Marcello had used to slice through his finger, I began to gut the boxes, one by one. I had no idea how long it would be before Pippa, and maybe even Marcello himself, joined me.
    Items spilled out as I sliced the boxes open. I got down to my knees and sifted through them, looking for something, anything, that would confirm the unthinkable: that Marcello had killed Pierre.
    It was a mad scramble at first and I realized I was getting nowhere the way I was chucking things over my shoulder and frantically sifting through books, photos, receipts, and random accessories.
    I took a deep breath and thought about what my nana would have told me. "Take your time, Rachael. Be methodical. Don't leave anything to chance."
    I started over and began to sort the items into piles, taking the time to check over each one carefully.
    "There has to be something here."
    Time passed without me realizing it as I flicked through Marcello's journals and diaries and passport. Most of the writing was in Italian and anything I couldn't read, I secretively placed in my purse to take with me—either to show to someone who spoke Italian, or to translate it later myself with the help of Professor Google.
    I was just about to pack everything up and send Pippa a text when something came fluttering out of one of Marcello's leather backed journals.
    A bus ticket.
    Innocuous enough at first, I turned it over and read the details.
    I froze. It was a ticket for a concession pass to Hillsville Park. The place that played host to the Baking Warriors audition and the makeshift studio on audition day.
    My heart almost stopped beating. I even reached up and thumped my chest to try and get it working again. With my hands shaking now, I checked the dates.
    Then double-checked them.
    July 22 nd . The day of the auditions. The day that Pierre Hamilton had died.
    I was so shocked that I didn't hear the footsteps enter the empty apartment behind me. I probably wouldn't have heard an earthquake in that moment.
    I probably wouldn't have heard Marcello in that moment.
    But it wasn't him that entered the apartment. It was Pippa. And it was too late for me to hide the wreckage.
    I spun around as I saw the shadow behind me.
    "Rachael?" Pippa's voice said. "What the heck are you doing?"

    * * *
    I scrambled to my feet , trying to hide the evidence of what I was doing by kicking the exposed items underneath an overturned cardboard box. I shoved the ticked into my coat pocket.
    I gulped. "Pippa, it's not what it looks like." Even though it kind of was exactly what it looked like.
    "Why are you snooping through Marcello's stuff?" At first Pippa's face was nothing but confusion, but all color and expression drained from it as the realization dawned upon her.
    "What? Rachael, please tell me there's another reason why you are going through Marcello’s things." Her

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