Did you miss Chapter One?
Did you miss Chapter Two?
Maeve arrived at the café the next morning, surprised to
see five people standing in line in anticipation of its
Maybe I should open earlier, she thought to herself as she jumped out
of her purple Volkswagen.
“Morning, everyone!” she called to the small line. “Just give me a
few minutes to get the café ready, and then I’ll be able to open!”
The group nodded approvingly as Maeve slipped inside her café,
mentally ticking through her opening tasks.
First take down the chairs, she told herself. That way those people out
there can come in and sit down while they wait for me to get the machines
As she entered, however, she saw that this task had already been
done. “What in the world?” she questioned out loud, but before the
words could finish leaving her lips, she spotted Gracie stepping out of
the back kitchen.
“Morning, sunshine!” Gracie sang. She was dressed in a canary
yellow dress with matching strappy sandals.
“You look like a blast of sunshine yourself,” Maeve said.
“Uh … but Gracie?” Maeve questioned. “How did you get in here?”
“You didn’t change the locks. This was my grandfather’s old knick‐
knack shop, remember?”
Maeve grabbed a flowered apron off a peg and handed it to Gracie.
“You need to cover up if you’re going to bake in that outfit.”
Gracie slipped the apron over her dress. “Right! I need to careful
after last night. I don’t know if I’ll ever get the coffee stain out of my
“Cold water and vinegar,” Maeve said.
“Good to know,” Gracie said. “I about got the breakfast treats
ready to go. I followed the recipes you had sitting out. There was
some leftover from last night, but I figured you would want a fresh
batch. This place was really popular last night, and I imagined a coffee
shop would do just as well first thing in the morning and that you
might need an extra set of hands. And paws.”
“Paws? Is Wanda here?” Maeve looked frantically about the shop.
Tonya, Penny’s cat peeked around one of the booths. “Hey, Tonya,”
Maeve said, stroking the black cat. The cat stretched and purred to let
her know it appreciated the gesture. “Tonya, you wouldn’t happen to
know what happened to my Wanda, would you?” she asked, and the
cat meowed and sat up.
“Uh-oh, what happened to Wanda?” Gracie asked as she led Maeve
back into the kitchen to show off the prep work she’d already
As Maeve stepped into the kitchen, the smell of freshly baked
goods greeted her.
“Wanda’s missing,” Maeve said. “My crazy pooch is nowhere to be
seen. I got home late last night, and my house was empty. I mean,
Wanda has always been a bit of a wanderer, but she always comes
back. I didn’t even worry about her last night; I figured she would
come home this morning, but she wasn’t. I’m starting to feel anxious. I
hope nothing bas happened to her.”
A timer went off, so Gracie popped open the oven and pulled out
the fresh blueberry muffins.
“Perfect,” Gracie said under her breath. She placed the tray on to
the counter to let it cool and turned to Maeve. “I’m sure she will find
her way home. She did escape the pound that’s an hour away and
make her way back to your house, remember?”
“Oh, I remember.” Maeve laughed at the memory of it. Wanda had
made it clear to her early on that she was not going anywhere. “I’m a
little worried. I probably should have known something was up when
Chuck Lowry walked in with Tonya. He said he found her wandering
around the road, and Tonya had been at my house with Wanda last
night. I must have left the door propped open or something. I could
have sworn I locked up!”
“There’s no sense worrying yourself right now,” Gracie said. “If
she’s not back by tomorrow, I’ll help you make up some lost dog
posters. Wanda was a stray before you took her in, so I’m sure she’s
roaming around town. She can take care of herself.”
“So, where is Penny?” Maeve asked.
“With her mom. They’re having a girl’s day, and I got stuck
watching her cat,” Gracie said as Tonya twirled around their ankles.
Maeve nodded and thanked her friend again for showing up early
to help. “I should consider putting you on payroll,” Maeve teased as
the two of them finished up the opening duties.
“With the way this place is popping, forget payroll and put me on a
profit share,” Gracie teased. By the time they were finished prepping,
the line outside had doubled in size.
A warm feeling filled Maeve. It’s going to be a good day! She thought.
I can’t believe it’s only my second day, and people are already forming a
line out the door!
She opened the shop, and people swarmed in to get their early
morning coffee before work. Among the crowd was her one actual
Maeve looked at the clock. “Donnie, you don’t have to be here for
Donnie smiled. “Yeah, well, it’s your first full day. Thought I would
show up early and lend a hand.”
Maeve studied the kid. He was far from the punk teenager type he
liked to present himself as. “Thanks, Donnie,” she said, motioning him
behind the counter to take orders.
They worked their way quickly through the crowd of customers
like a well-oiled machine, but shortly after the morning rush, the café
turned into a ghost town.
“Well,” Gracie said, sounding disappointed. “I was hoping that luck
would have continued at least another hour or two.”
“You and me both,” Maeve moaned.
“Forget the profit share,” Gracie joked, lifting the cat off the
counter. “I need to get Tonya back to Penny. I wanted to make sure
you were covered during that morning coffee rush.”
“I really appreciate it, Gracie. You too, Donnie,” Maeve said, as
Gracie bid her farewell and departed. Maeve stood upright. “Well,
looks like it’s going to be you and me for a while, Donnie.”
“Did you ever get that alcohol permit approved?” Donnie asked.
Maeve huffed. “We’re good through the weekend since I managed
to get that temporary one, but I don’t know what I’m going to do
about it now. Mayor James is being a real tool!”
“You think he’s bullying you because you made his affair with
Eleanor public?” Donnie questioned.
“Honestly, yes,” Maeve said. “There is no legitimate reason that
approval for an alcohol permit should be taking this long, and he
keeps brushing me off every time I try to call him or get an appoint‐
ment to speak with him face to face. Besides, I got to know that man
pretty well when I was looking into Nadine’s case, and I don’t care for
anything I learned about him. You realize he tried to throw you under
the bus, right Donnie?”
Donnie grunted. “So I heard. It would have been easy for him. I’m
the town’s black sheep.”
“Not anymore,” Maeve said, placing a reassuring hand on his
shoulder. “You’re a good kid. Everyone else will figure that out soon
“Thanks, Ms. O’Dare,” he said.
“Call me Maeve. I’m going to go to the back and work on stocking
the shelves. We never finished that yesterday with all the commotion
of opening night! You man the counter.” She spun around on her
As Maeve headed to the stock room, she heard music come on
over the loudspeakers. She smiled, glad that Donnie was forward
thinking. She didn’t recognize the punk-rock music he’d put on, but
she found herself tapping her foot to the beat. The café’s edgy theme
was appealing for Donnie’s age group, so Maeve was willing to let the
teen make suggestions such as music. He had good taste.
The flowery smell in the stock room overpowered her as she
entered, and she realized that Gracie had adorned herself with her
strong perfume in the small, enclosed space. Maeve’s nose tickled and
she sneezed. Her fingertips sparked with a slight bit of purple light.
She hadn’t known of her magickal abilities long, but in her brief stud‐
ies, she’d learned that her strength was smoke and scent. Clearly,
Gracie’s makeshift powder room was giving her magick a boost.
Maeve brushed off the rush of power that zipped through her and
began working on unpacking boxes. It was mostly extra mugs, various
boxes of coffee beans, and a hefty supply of scotch.
I sure do wish the place had been a little busier this morning, she
thought to herself and then began to sneeze violently from the smell.
One last sneeze sent a jerk of purple electric magick from her in all
directions, and the room shook for a moment.
“Uh oh,” she muttered to herself. “I wonder what that did …”
She thought of Rodney–her unintended practice dummy, and she
hoped that she hadn’t accidentally sent a bolt of magick into Donnie
who was in the next room. She waited for a moment, but nothing
strange happened, so she continued unpacking boxes.
Seconds later, Donnie burst into the storage room wide-eyed.
“Um, Ms. O’Dare, I mean, um, Maeve … I need some help.”
“Help? With what?” Maeve questioned as Donnie bolted toward
“Come see for yourself!” he called out.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”I couldn’t stop reading!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Fast-paced and fun. I love these mysteires!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Diana Orgain is my new favorite author!”
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