I’ve lived in Frog Ledge almost my whole life, and I can’t remember a time when things have been so upside down. I would say it’s coincidence, but it all started when Stan Connor came to town…
I’m Jake McGee, and I run McSwigg’s. It’s the best Irish pub this side of the Connecticut River, if I do say so myself. I’ve been running the bar since I came back to Frog Ledge after college. It sounds cheesy, but there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. My family is here, and I love this town. Bought the building myself, renovated it, and moved in upstairs so I didn’t have to worry about the commute. Pretty much everyone in town is a regular. Except for the elusive Ms. Connor.
Sure, she comes in to the bar once in a while, but I think it’s more to get information than anything else. I’d like to think it’s because she can’t resist my charms, but I can’t really say that without sounding like an idiot. She’s a hard one to read. But she does come in and sit at the bar sometimes. I know she likes red wine (preferably Merlot), and Irish music. She usually comes in alone. Mostly she just watches people. Taking it all in, I think. She told me once she feels like she’s on a different planet, living here. She’s definitely not used to people being all up in her business, but that’s the way it is around here. Even if you try to keep to yourself – which she does.
She’s got a knack for getting herself into hairy situations, though, even as quiet as she is. There was that business with the vet over the summer, and now she’s involved in the Happy Cow Dairy Farm problems. Someone put Hal Hoffman out of his misery in the farm’s corn maze. It’s been the talk of the town, which isn’t surprising considering A) people around here love to talk and B) just look at Hal Hoffman’s track record – but that’s another story. I’m staying out of that one. I pour the beers, smile and nod. And take it all in.
But now Stan’s working at the farm, which is a hoot. I mean, she’s clearly a city girl through and through. I know she’s doing it to be nice, but part of me can’t help but think she’s a little nosy too. Nosy in a good way. And my sister, Trooper Jessie Pasquale, thinks the same. She’s had Stan in her sights since the vet debacle. My sister makes me crazy sometimes, but I know how she is and just try to manage her. She doesn’t like strangers, though. She’s kind of old-school that way. You’d think after a while, people wouldn’t be strangers anymore, but Jess doesn’t think like that. If she hasn’t known you since kindergarten, she doesn’t know you. Period. That dynamic could make for some interesting family dinners. If Stan would ever agree to go on a date so we could get to the family dinner point.
My dog loves her, so that tells me I’m on the right track. Duncan saw her before I did, that weekend last summer when she moved to town. Or should I say, he sniffed her out. Literally. She carries those dog treats around in her pocket all the time, and Dunc lives for that stuff. He spotted her on the green and nearly took her out. She still lectures me to this day about not keeping him on a leash. She drives me crazy. But I still want to date her. Duncan can’t think of anyone better for me to pursue.
But at the rate she’s going, it’ll be tough just to keep her alive long enough to go out for dinner…
You can read more about Jake in A Biscuit, A Casket, the second book in the “Pawsitively Organic” mystery series, published by Kensington. The first book in the series is Kneading to Die. Books are available at retail and online booksellers.
Comment on this post by 6PM EST on April 13, and you will be entered for a chance to win a an advanced reader copy of A BISCUIT, A CASKET. One winner will be chosen at random. Unless specified, U.S. entries only.
Meet the author
Liz Mugavero is the author of the Pawsitively Organic Mysteries. As you can imagine, her canine and feline rescues demand the best organic food and treats around. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Salem State College and a Master of Arts in writing and publishing from Emerson College. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Sisters in Crime New England, Mystery Writers of America, and the Cat Writers’ Association.
Kneading to Die is nominated for a 2013 Agatha Award for Best First Novel!