A couple of snips and stitches to ensure that a male cat doesn’t pass on his genes, a jab in a German shepherd’s flank to keep rabies at bay, an “awwww” moment with a client’s new kitten – those are the things that would make up a normal day for me as a veterinarian. When I moved out to a small community in the mountains of southwestern Virginia, I expected all my future days to be routine and quiet.

It didn’t work out that way.

The truth is, I’ve hardly had a minute’s peace since I arrived. Nobody warned me I was moving to the mountain version of Cabot Cove. Life might be a bit easier for me if I hadn’t become involved with Captain Tom Bridger, chief deputy and homicide investigator for the Sheriff’s Department, but against my better judgment I let myself fall in love with him, and now I always seem to get pulled into whatever crime he’s solving.

Fortunately, Tom and I are able to grab some time together away from both our jobs, and those are the days I treasure. On the weekends we’ll have a leisurely breakfast and a run or hike over the meadows and hills on the sheep farm Tom inherited from his parents. We often take Tom’s young nephew Simon horseback riding at our friend Joanna McKendrick’s horse farm. On Monday it’s back to neuterings and vaccines and new pets for me and routine police work for Tom – until the next time the phone rings and somebody reports a murder.
You can read more about Rachel in UNDER THE DOG STAR, the fourth book in the “Rachel Goddard” mystery series. The first books in the series is THE HEAT OF THE MOON.

The life and times of Rachel Goddard is written by Sandra Parshall who is the Agatha Award-winning author of the Rachel Goddard Mysteries. Although her series features a young female veterinarian and animals abound in the stories, the books aren’t cozies. They’ve been called thrillers, suspense novels, and dark mysteries, and the author considers them a blend of all three subgenres. The latest, UNDER THE DOG STAR (Sept. 2011), is a fast-paced tale praised by Kirkus for “spine-chilling tension from cover to cover,” but it’s also a story about the meaning of family, the power of compassion, and the duty we have to the animals who share our lives.

Sandra and her journalist husband share their lives with two unbelievably spoiled cats, Emma and Gabriel, who have acquired their own fan base on Facebook and never let Mom forget it for a second.

Visit Sandra at www.sandraparshall.com

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

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