Never Trust a Skinny Cupcake Baker (Death by Cupcake Book 1)

BOOK: Never Trust a Skinny Cupcake Baker (Death by Cupcake Book 1)
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NEVER TRUST A SKINNY CUPCAKE BAKER

By D.E. HAGGERTY

 

Copyright © 2016 D.E. Haggerty

All rights reserved.

This eBook is
licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This eBook may not be re-sold or given
away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person,
please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this
book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then
please return it and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard
work of this author.

Never Trust a
Skinny Cupcake Baker
is a work of fiction. Names, characters, and events
are the product of the author’s imagination and any resemblance to actual
persons, living or dead is entirely coincidental. The incidents depicted are
pure imagination.

Synopsis

A cozy mystery
with a heap of laughs, a generous portion of romance, and just a smidgeon of
suspense.

Callie’s life is
rather awesome. She owns a successful bakery and teaches German literature at
the local university. There’s just one tiny problem. She has no self-confidence
when it comes to her body. And then there’s the little matter of her being
accused of murdering her pole dancing instructor. There’s no way Callie’s going
to risk losing her teaching position and thus she embarks, with her best baker
bud Anna, on a journey to discover the real killer. Between stripper auditions
and a detective who insists Callie is the woman of his dreams, it’s a roller coaster
adventure. Cupcakes not included.

 

Dedication

Why
write my own dedication when Pink! says it so well?

You're
so mean … when you talk …
About yourself. You were wrong.
Change the voices … in your head …
Make them like you instead.

Pink! F*ckin’ Perfect

Chapter
1
Whoever
said ‘nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’ has never had cupcakes.

Anna bursts into the kitchen. “He’s here,” she gasps. The
swinging door separating the café  from the kitchen smacks her in the
butt, but she just stands there fanning herself.  

I look up from the tray of cupcakes I’m icing and raise my
eyebrows at her. “Who is it exactly that is here?” The question isn’t necessary.
I know precisely who she’s talking about. Even though my heart rate nearly
doubles in response to her announcement, I act unaffected and return to my
beloved cupcakes.

“Detective Hottie,” she breathes out.

Sigh.
Detective Hottie, as Anna so affectionately
calls him, is the police detective who she’s been trying to hook me up with
since my latest relationship crashed and burned. There’s not really anything
left to fight for in a relationship when a boyfriend tells his supposed
girlfriend he won’t have sex with her until she loses at least twenty pounds
and then walks out. 

“Stop thinking about that jerk face,” Anna grits out. There
are definitely disadvantages to working with your best friend. She can totally
read my mind and doesn’t bother to even try to not use her knowledge against
me. I never should have told her that her pink hair was cute on the first day
of junior high when the other kids were teasing her.

My best friend doesn’t allow me time for contemplation. She
grabs my elbow and starts lugging me towards the store front. There’s no way
she could drag me if I didn’t let her. Anna’s not even five feet tall and, with
her bright pink spiky hair, easily confused with a pixie. The girl doesn’t even
weigh enough to donate blood – let alone drag a heifer like me across my
kitchen. I set my pastry bag down on the nearest table and push my glasses up
the bridge of my nose before turning to the crazy baker.

“You don’t have to drag me, I’m going already,” I
whisper-shout. It’s not like I don’t want to go out there. Of course, I do. Any
red-blooded American woman wants to be up close to Detective Hottie. But he’s
completely and totally out of my league. Doesn’t matter to Anna, though. In the
past two months since my boyfriend walked out on me, she’s become relentless in
her goal to hook me up with the detective. The last time I refused to serve
him; she crushed a cupcake onto my head. I was washing out frosting for days.
And isn’t that a waste?

I push open the door separating the kitchen from the café
area and smile up at Ben. I’m not exactly short at five feet five inches, but
Ben is easily six feet. And like the nickname Detective Hottie indicates, he’s
hot. Like hotter than the bakery kitchen even when Anna’s been baking for hours
with all the ovens on go. His brown eyes remind me of melted chocolate ganache
and he has the sweetest dimple on his left cheek. And he’s built. He probably
weighs 200 pounds, but it’s all muscle on this man. He must get his suits
tailor-made. There’s no way an off-the-rack suit can fit his wide shoulders and
biceps, which are too big for my hands to wrap around. Time to stop staring and
serve the man.

“Good morning, Ben. How are you?” I just manage not to swoon
as I stare into his dark brown eyes that are twinkling as if he knows how hard
of a time I’m having.

“I’m great now that I’m looking at your beautiful face.” I
roll my eyes at him. “How are things with you, sweetheart?” I may not be in
Ben’s league, but whose heart wouldn’t skip a beat at being called sweetheart
by this man?

I ignore his question. “What can I get you, Ben?”

“Just a coffee, honey. I’m running late.”

I quickly turn to the coffee machine and make Ben an
extra-large serving. I hand it to him in a to-go cup, and he starts to pull out
his wallet. I immediately pull the coffee away. “You know your money’s no good
here,” I state, daring him to try to pay. All the boys (and girls for that
matter) in blue drink for free at
Callie’s Cakes
. It’s a tradition
started by the former owner and, in honor of that wonderful woman, I’ve kept
the tradition going.

Ben doesn’t put his wallet away. Instead, he pulls out a
five dollar bill and puts it into the tip jar, which is actually a piggy bank
in the shape of a cupcake. After he puts his wallet away, he looks at me and
raises an eyebrow as if daring me to say anything. I don’t agree with a five
dollar tip on a two dollar cup of coffee, and he knows it. I’m not in the mood
to argue today though. I shrug instead and hand him his coffee. My traitor
fingers tingle as he deliberately brushes my hand as he grabs the cup.

“Be safe out there,” I say and start to turn away.

But Ben doesn’t let me off the hook that easy. “When are you
finally going to let me take you out, Callie?”

I cross my arms over my chest and stare him down. We’ve been
having this argument for a year now. It’s getting tedious. That’s a total lie.
What it really is, is getting more and more difficult to say no to him. I shake
my head. “I’d say the statistical probability is zero.”

Ben shakes his head. “I never did like statistics.”

“You don’t want to date me, Ben.”

He smiles that devastating smile; the one where his dimple
shows. “I’ve been asking you out nearly every day for a year now. Does that
sound like a man who doesn’t want to date you?”

I ignore his question and prod him to leave instead.
“Thought you were running late.”

He looks down at his watch and mutters a few choice swear
words under his breath. “Til tomorrow then,” he says and salutes me with his
coffee cup before stalking out of the place.

I head into the kitchen, but Anna’s blocking me. She’s
standing there with her hands on her hips, full of attitude. I don’t bother
trying to push past her. The pixie may not be able to stop me, but she’ll grab
onto me and wrap herself around me like an anaconda snake if she thinks it’s
necessary. Instead, I walk out from behind the display cases and start
gathering the used mugs and trash from the tables. The bakery isn’t big, but we
have enough room for seven tables and their accompanying seats. There’d be more
room if I hadn’t updated the area with comfy armchairs and loveseats. I want
customers to be comfortable and stick around – although the free Wi-Fi code
customers get with a purchase only lasts for thirty minutes. I may have studied
German literature instead of business, but that doesn’t mean I’m completely
devoid of business savvy.

“Why don’t you give Ben a chance? He’s hot!” Anna
practically shouts across the bakery. The morning rush may have come and gone,
but the place is never empty. Being close to the University means we have
college kids lounging around the place at all times of the day. The chatter
immediately stills, and everyone looks at me. I blush and shake my head. I grab
my tray and rush into the back of the bakery with Anna on my heels.

I put down my tray and turn on her. “What is wrong with you?
You may be my best friend but don’t you dare do that again!” I hiss at her and
turn back to load the dishes before I say something I’m going to regret.

I feel a hand on my shoulder. “I’m sorry, Callie.” She takes
a deep breath. “But seriously? Why don’t you go out with him?”

I hang my head. She’s not going to stop until I talk to her.
“Look at me, Anna. I’m no one’s ideal date.” I indicate my size fourteen body
with sweep of my hand. “I don’t want a pity date.”

Anna snorts. “You’re an idiot.” I start to respond, but she
throws her hand up like a stop sign. “You may have a PhD Dr. Muller, but you
are completely clueless when it comes to men. That man thinks you’re hot. He’s
been asking you out for a year! He’s not looking for a pity date.”

I sigh and shake my head. She’s not exactly impartial. “It
doesn’t matter. I’m not ready to date again anyway.”

“That jerk of an ex did a number on you,” she mutters and
moves away. I think I’ve finally managed to escape her inquisition for the day,
but in no time she’s back waving a flyer in my face. “So,” she says and hands
me the piece of paper, “I’ve got the solution for you.”

I look down at the flyer she shoved into my hands and
immediately start shaking my head. “No way.” I put my hands up in self-defense
and start to back away. “I am not doing a pole dancing course. I’d break the
freaking pole!”

My pushy assistant isn’t taking no for an answer. “No, you
won’t. Anyway, I already signed us up and paid for the course.”

“Why pole dancing? Are you trying to humiliate me? I can’t
be sexy.”

Anna growls. “You can be sexy! What am I saying? You are
sexy! You just need some self-esteem and that’s why we’re learning to pole
dance.” She turns and heads back to the café, but just before she’s gone, she
glances over her shoulder. “The first class is tonight at quarter to five.”

“Quarter to five! I don’t have time to get to my apartment
for clothes.” The bakery closes at four each afternoon, but I usually need an
additional half an hour or so to get things cleaned up and in order for the
next morning. 

Anna smiles and winks. “Don’t worry. I’ve got you covered.”
No good ever came from those words uttered from her mouth.

Chapter
2

Unless
you fell off the treadmill and smacked your face, no one wants to hear about
your workout.

I’m going to kill Anna for this. Her idea of appropriate
work-out clothes for a beginner pole dance class for me – an oversized woman? A
tight tank top that leaves my arms and practically my entire upper back bare
and a pair of tight crop pants. At least there’s a built-in bra. I stare at
myself in the multitude of mirrors in the locker room and shake my head. I pull
my long and unfortunately straight brown hair into a tight bun on top of my head.
I debate leaving my glasses in my locker but decide I’d rather look like the
nerd I am than be the idiot that knocks herself out when she walks into a door.
It wouldn’t be the first time. 

“Revenge, the sweetest morsel to the mouth that ever was
cooked in hell,” I hiss at Anna when she walks up to me.

She rolls her eyes at me. “No need to quote obscure
literature to me.” Before I get the chance to defend Sir Walter Scott, she
holds up her hand. “You look hot! That tank is perfect for you. The way it slightly
flares out below your waist and is longer than normal makes you look sexy.”

There’s obviously no talking sense into the woman. I follow
her out of the locker room and across the hall into the classroom. We’re at the
fitness studio just a few blocks away from the bakery. One room is completely
set up for pole dancing with several stripper poles positioned throughout the
room. I’ve been coming here off and on for years, but I had absolutely no idea
one of the studio rooms had been turned into a strip club.
What have I
gotten myself into?

The instructor walks into the class, and I nearly swallow my
tongue. She’s tall; I’d guess at least five feet ten inches, with long, red
curly hair floating down her back. Not a curl out of place. She’s wearing tiny
shorts that are glued to her absolutely-not-jiggling-in-any-way derriere. Her
legs go on for miles. Of course her tits are flawless as well. Perfectly perky
and not adhering to gravity’s pull whatsoever. I’m not sure if I want to kill
her or do her. I may be firmly entrenched on the heterosexual team, but I’d
totally switch teams for her. Yeah, she’s that sexy.
 
  

She turns to the woman behind her and any sense of
perfectness flies out the window the moment she opens her mouth. “Oh great,” she
mutters. “Another group of heifers to teach. I hope the poles don’t break.”
Guess
I won’t be switch-hitting after all.

The instructor goes to the front of the class while her
friend moves to the front row of poles. There are no poles free in that row, but
the woman just hisses until one of the women runs away to the back row. I turn
to Anna and raise my eyebrows. Her eyes are widened and she’s shaking her head.

“Okay, sluts,” the instructor shouts from the front of the
room. “My name is Dolly and I’m here to make you sexy for that man or woman in
your life.” She smiles, but it couldn’t have been more insincere if she tried.
She pushes a button on the remote she’s carrying and the sounds of
You Can
Leave Your Hat On
blare through the speakers.

“The first move we’re going to learn is the fireman.” Dolly
grabs hold of her pole and spins like a champ.
Wow.

“So,” Dolly stops spinning and starts instructing. “You’re
going to stand on your toes and grab onto the pole with your right arm. Use a
baseball grip, shoulders down and back. Starting with your right leg, take
three steps around the pole, left leg out and – using your momentum – spin.
Keep your left arm out and lean away from the pole.”

Um, what?

“Move to your poles, lady killers.”

I move to my pole and stare at it as if it were a snake. I
should have brought hand sanitizer. What am I saying? I should have hidden in
the bakery until Anna gave up and came to class without me.

“On your tippy toes.” I look down at my bare feet and am
thankful that at least my feet look pretty with my latest pedicure. “Grab the
pole with your right arm, baseball grip.” It feels a bit awkward, but I grab
the pole. “Shoulders down and back.” Dolly moves through the class adjusting an
arm here and a shoulder there but walks past me as if I don’t exist. “Starting
with your right foot, take three steps around the pole and spin!” Only I don’t
spin. I just kind of hop. “Okay, let’s try that again. One, two, three – spin!”

I grab onto the pole with my left hand to stop myself from falling
as I trip over my own feet. Dolly comes over to me and sneers. “Got two left
feet?” she asks, and I swear she whispers
fatso
at the end of that. I
growl at her, but Anna grabs her attention.

“Um, Dolly?” The instructor turns
her attention to Anna and actually smiles. I guess Anna’s being a tiny thing is
non-threatening or something. “Do you think it makes a difference that Callie
is left-handed?”

Dolly turns back to me and rolls her eyes. “Figures. You
would be backward, wouldn’t you?” 

I shrug and try not to take her
insult personally. People can be weird to lefties. Dolly positions me so that
I’m now holding onto the pole with my dominant left hand. I try the fireman
again and it goes much better.

Dolly sighs. “I guess that’s as good as we can expect from
someone of your
stature.

I may be okay with snide comments under her breath, but I’m
not going to let a direct insult go.  “Look around, Dolly. It may not look
like it, but this is actually a gym. In case you’re confused, a gym is a place
where women of my
stature
come to lose weight and get in shape. Not a
place to pick up men and be witches to each other.” I cringe when I hear how
haughty my voice sounds, but sometimes I can’t seem to help myself from turning
on ‘lecture’ mode. 

Dolly doesn’t shy away from
confrontation. She leans in and whispers into my ear as if she’s my lover. Only
it’s not sweet nothings she whispers. “Darling, when you look like me, you can
be a witch and no one cares.”

I humph but refuse to argue any further with her. She looks
down at me, literally since she several inches taller than me, and sneers
before moving on. She avoids our area of the classroom for the remainder of the
class. By the time the hour is finished, my hand is slipping on the pole from
the copious amounts of sweat gushing out of every pore on my body.

I glare at Anna as I grab my
towel, and we join the other torture sufferers to leave the den of iniquity. I
hear someone shout “Hey, Dr. Muller!” and turn to see one of my students waving
at me. “I didn’t know you came here,” she continues to shout.

I move out of the way and wait for the student to reach me.
I have no idea what her name is. I teach Intro to World Lit at the University.
It’s one of those required classes taught in an auditorium to a bunch of bored
freshmen. It’s pure hell and part of the dues I’m required to pay if I ever
want to have more than an adjunct professor position at the University.

I smile at the young woman in front of me who is somehow not
dripping with sweat. Ah, to be young. “How are you…er?”

“Jennifer,” she fills in for me. We start walking towards
the locker rooms together. “I just wanted to say how much I loved your class.”

I stop and stare at her. “My class? You mean Intro to World
Lit?” No one likes my class. It’s a rite of passage, nothing more, nothing
less.

Jennifer bobs up and down in excitement. “You’re teaching
Intro to German Lit next semester, right?” I nod, and she sighs in relief.
“Awesome! I can’t wait.” I start to push the locker room door open while
Jennifer waves to a friend in the fitness area. “Gotta get my run on. See you
in class!”

“Awesome! I can’t wait,” I hear someone mimic Jennifer’s
excitement in a sarcastic voice. I don’t have to turn around to know it’s
Dolly, the not-so-wunderinstructor. I ignore her and walk into the locker room.
I can hear her laugh – or is it a cackle? – outside in the hallway.

I find Anna and immediately attack. “I’m never coming back
here.”

Anna looks up at me. “Yeah, I know,” she says in defeat.

Now I feel bad, but there’s no
way Anna is going to guilt me into coming back. I’ll have to think of some
creative way to make sure she gets her money back because there’s no freaking
way she’ll take the money from me. Pixies are incredibly stubborn.

BOOK: Never Trust a Skinny Cupcake Baker (Death by Cupcake Book 1)
5.55Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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