I feel the soft tap on my nose at dawn. Before I even open my eyes I know which one of my three cats is nudging me awake. Chablis, the seal-point Himalayan. I’m Jillian Hart, by the way. I live in Mercy, South Carolina with Chablis and two more cats (all Katrina rescues). Chablis is my “girl” fur-friend and the boys are Syrah (an amber sorrel Abyssinian) and Merlot (a red Maine coon). The boys tend to sleep in just a tad longer, but once I open my eyes, let the singing for breakfast begin.

What is it about needing “fresh” cat food for breakfast? There’s still Fancy Feast left from last night’s dinner. No matter. Once I’ve made my housemates happy, I start my day with a tall glass of sweet tea out on the back porch where I can see the sun shedding light on Mercy Lake. Later, there will be coffee—a vanilla latte, to be exact–when I head to The Cotton Company to pick up the fabric I ordered. After I visit the quilt shop, I always head down Main Street to Belle’s Beans. Best coffee east of Seattle, I always say.

Mornings are usually spent checking for any orders that have come in from my online business. I make little quilts for cats. Some folks may think “yarn” when it comes to felines, but they really love fabric. My big boy, Merlot, who weighs in at twenty pounds, has been known to sit on a square of fabric no bigger than three inches by three inches. And quilt bindings? They do love to play with those. You’ll have to read about my latest mysterious adventure in The Cat, The Wife and The Weapon to know just how much we love them!

Before I’ve even finished my tea, a Mercy Police Department squad car pulls into my driveway and Deputy Candace Carson arrives. She seems troubled and I soon learn why. There’s been a murder in Mercy and the victim owned a cat. Though Shawn Cuddahee, owner of the Mercy Animal Sanctuary, usually helps the police out with such matters, he is unavailable. Would I help?

And so it begins. Mercy is a small town and we never hesitate to help each other out. This particular cat may end up staying with me if the Sanctuary is full. No doubt secrets will be revealed and trouble for this cat is in store. We are off in the squad car after I turn Animal Planet on TV for my three friends. On the way to the scene of the crime, I get a call from my very special and good-looking friend Tom Stewart. He knows about the murder and also knows I’ve been recruited to help out. (News travels faster than a cat with its tail on fire in Mercy.) He says he’ll meet me at the scene to help with the orphaned cat. But I know he’ll also be looking out for my safety. He and Candace are very special friends that way.

You can read more about Jillian in THE CAT, THE WIFE AND THE WEAPON, the fourth book in the “Cats in Trouble” mystery series. The first book in the series is The Cat, The Quilt and The Corpse.

** Thanks to the publisher, I have one (1) copy of THE CAT, THE WIFE AND THE WEAPON to give away. Contest open to residents of the US only. Contest ends April 7. Leave a valid-email address with your comment. The book will be shipped directly from the publisher. **

Meet the author
NY Times bestselling mystery writer Leann Sweeney, originally from western New York, has called Texas home for many years. She writes two series, the Yellow Rose Mysteries set in and around Houston, and the Cats in Trouble Mysteries set in fictional Mercy, South Carolina. Leann lives with her husband, two cats (Agatha Christie and Wexford) and Rosie, the labradoodle. Visit Leann at www.leannsweeney.com

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

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