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Berry Lemon Cake Shot
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup vodka
1 pint blueberries
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon raspberry liqueur, such as Chambord
Lemon cake, store bought or made from a cake mix
In a small saucepan over medium, combine sugar and vodka. Cook until the sugar dissolves. Pour the liquid over the blueberries and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. The longer the berries are in the liquid, the more “drunk” they will be.
In a metal bowl, whip cream until it begins to form soft peaks. Add sugar and liqueur; continue beating until the cream forms stiff peaks.
Using a round metal ring about the size or just slightly smaller than your serving class, cut the lemon cake into circles. Place one cake circle at the bottom, topping with a spoonful (or two) of berries and a couple dollops whipped cream. Repeat cake-berry-cream layers until you reach the top of the glass.
Garnish with additional blueberries and fresh lemon zest.
Chapter 1 recap
Twenty-six-year-old Mirabelle Graham had always loved sweets, so it was only natural that she would open up a shop filled with tasty confections. In the month since Queen Pin opened on South Calhoun Street in the heart of downtown, the bakery had become a popular spot to get a sweet tooth fix. But on a night expected to be busy after a TinCaps game, the bakery stood empty.
Illustration by Laura J. Gardner | The Journal Gaz

Chapter 2

Finn had a feeling he shouldn't drive to the TinCaps game – Parkview Field isn't that far a walk from his Wayne Street coffee shop. And now, standing in the middle of a parking lot at Parkview Field, he wished he'd have listened to his gut.

Three tires – all but the front driver's side – on his green Toyota Prius had been slashed, leaving the rubber lifeless on the asphalt.

"You've got to be effing kidding me," he grumbled, moving his right hand to push back the brown, curly hair from his face.

"I know. It's just … so random," Finn heard someone say.

Looking to his right, Finn saw an older man, probably in his 50s, decked out in TinCaps gear and standing next to his own car – a black sedan with three flat tires.

"I'm George, by the way," the man said, stretching out his hand.

"Finn," he said, shaking George's hand. "I'd say nice to meet you but I'm not sure there's anything nice about this situation."

The two turned from each other and gazed into a crowd of stranded TinCaps fans. There must have been at least 100 vehicles vandalized, Finn noted, each with three tires slashed. A few cars in the lots had been spared but not many and seemingly without any real reason. The lucky fans stood by, too embarrassed to leave so many behind. In the distance, Finn could see the red-and- blue lights of police cruisers nearing the lot, but the sound of gasps and cursing drowned out the wail of the sirens.

A caravan of officers descended upon Baker Street to survey the scene and take reports. Officer Griffith, a man of slight build and the face of a boy, got to Finn about an hour later and went through the battery of questions. The officer seemed to stutter as he spoke.

"So what now?" Finn said.

"Well, …" Officer Griffith said. "You'll need to arrange to have your vehicle towed. I'm not sure whether you'll have any luck with that tonight so if you can get a ride, the city is allowing cars to remain parked in the lot for 24 hours."

Finn, arms crossed, stared at the officer.

"Do you have a ride?" Griffith asked.

"Yeah. Sure," Finn said. "I'm fine."

He shoved his hands in his pockets and walked off. Finn wasn't sure how long it had taken him to walk from Parkview Field to his Lakeside bungalow, but the glaring red numbers on the cable box read 12:48 a.m. when he walked through the door.

It was far too late to call Mirabelle to apologize for not making it to Queen Pin that night, he thought, flopping on the couch, hoping to fall asleep quickly.

The morning sun shined through the glass front of Queen Pin, reflecting off the tables and nearly blinding Mirabelle as she arranged cookies – garbage, chocolate chip, tropical macadamia nut – in the display case.

She looked up, her brown eyes meeting those of Finn, who was standing at the counter. His hair was disheveled and T-shirt rumpled. Seeing her perfectly groomed friend in such a condition made her lips turn up at the corners.

"I need a shot," he said.

"A shot?" Mirabelle asked, trying to keep a straight face. "It's 9 a.m."

"Yes. And I need a shot."

"Well, I guess I could work that out for you," Mirabelle said. "Do you want a cup of coffee, too?"

Finn nodded his head as he sat down at the bakery's front table.

Mirabelle moved swiftly through the stainless steel doors into the kitchen. Finn hadn't told her what kind of "shot" he wanted so she decided to do something appropriate for the morning – lemon cake, drunken blueberries and raspberry whip cream.

"Berries equal breakfast, right?" she said, as she set the tall, thin glass down in front of Finn.

"So … ," Mirabelle said, "why do you need a shot at 9 a.m.?"

"Why?" Finn scoffed. "Did you not hear about last night?"

"All I know about last night was that I had a case filled with cupcakes that never saw the mouth of a customer," she said.

"That would be because they were all waiting to file police reports after having their tires slashed at Parkview Field," Finn said. "Here's the paper – see for yourself."

Mirabelle picked up the morning Journal Gazette and gave it a glance.

"I didn't know you were going to the game," Mirabelle said. "Who did you go with?"

"John," Finn replied as he took a bite of his berry lemon cake shot.

"John?" Mirabelle said with a smirk.

"Yeah. He's been coming into the coffee shop and mentioned one of his buddies bailed for the night. I took the spot."

Finn owned the popular coffee shop down the street, his zebras legendary, and came to Queen Pin on opening day as a courtesy to welcome her to the neighborhood. His sweet tooth kept him coming back.

He looked up at Mirabelle sheepishly and turned his focus to the dessert.

"God, Mirabelle. I told you I needed a shot – I didn't say that I needed a heart attack," Finn said. "This is too good."

"Thanks," Mirabelle said. "So … did the officer you talked to … well, did he know why this happened?"

"He didn't say much but from the confusion of last night, I'm guessing not," Finn said.

"I just don't know who would do something like that," Mirabelle said, clasping the warm coffee cup between her hands. "I hate to be selfish but the bakery is far too new to have too many nights like last night."

"Let's just hope this is an isolated incident," Finn said. "You know, just some crazy off his meds for a night."

kdupps@jg.net

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