The Cat Sitters Nine LivesHere’s how they make a spicy grapefruit margarita at Colonel Teddy’s Tiki Bar on Siesta Key:


1 fresh habanero pepper, halved
3 ounces Pueblo Viejo Tequila
1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1 ounce freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
1 ounce simple syrup


In a cocktail shaker, steep one half of the habanero pepper in the Tequila for half an hour (or more if you want to abuse your taste buds). Then remove the pepper and add the lime juice, the grapefruit juice, and the simple syrup. Cover and shake for no less than thirty seconds, pour into a Mason jar with a salted rim, and serve immediately with a thin wedge of lime.

And now, here’s how to drink a spicy grapefruit margarita at Colonel Teddy’s Tiki Bar on Siesta Key:

As slowly as possible, preferably with your toes in the sand and your face turned to the sun as it descends into the ocean in a glorious orgy of scarlet, cerise, violet and lavender. It’s traditional to wait until at least five p.m., but here in Siesta Key things are a bit laid back, so it wouldn’t be a crime at three.

I’m Dixie Hemingway — no relation to you-know-who. I’m a cat sitter. I live on a tiny sliver of an island off the coast of Florida. For the most part, my life is pretty damn boring. I mean, it’s not every day I’m at Colonel Teddy’s at three in the afternoon cradling a spicy grapefruit margarita in my hands, but this morning I opened the front door of my first client to find a dead body lying on the marble floor in the middle of the foyer. It was a man I didn’t recognize. He was flat on his back in a dark suit, his bare feet poking out of the pressed cuffs of his pants at odd angles, his eyes frozen in astonishment, and there was a small white envelope pinned to his lapel.

You’d think I would’ve screamed, but I didn’t. Instead, I raced through the house and found Winston, the green-eyed Abyssinian I was there to take care of, and then I carried him right out of the house and down to the street to call 911. I may look like a ditzy blond, but I’ve seen more than my share of bad stuff. I’m a sheriff’s deputy. Or at least I was until about five years ago, when my whole world came crashing down around me… but that’s a whole other story.

For now, all I want to do is forget today ever happened, which is why I’m guzzling this margarita instead of sipping it, and why I’m seriously considering asking the bartender for another. Problem is, there’s not enough tequila in the world to make me forget that poor man, or for that matter, the envelope on his lapel. It was attached with a six-inch hat needle, at the tip of which was a white, pea-sized pearl. In the upper left corner of the envelope, in perfectly careful hand-writing, was a name written in dark blue ink: Ignacy Horrocks.

Now I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard that name before. It’s not exactly the kind of name you’d easily forget. But the name the envelope was addressed to? Even as flustered as I was, I recognized that name right away…

It was Dixie Hemingway.

You can read more about Dixie in The Cat Sitter’s Nine Lives, the 9th book in the “Dixie Hemingway” mystery series, published by Minotaur. The first book in the series is Curiosity Killed the Cat Sitter. Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on August 1 for the chance to win a copy of The Cat Sitter’s Nine Lives. (US entries only, please.)

Meet the author
John Clement is the son of Blaize Clement, author of The Dixie Hemingway Mysteries. John lives in New York City and is currently at work on the next Dixie Hemingway mystery.

You can also find John at, on Twitter or on Facebook.

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