I love dogs, I really do. Ask anyone, and they’ll say, “Sunny McKillip loves dogs.” But I never expected to become a governess for a dog. And certainly not for a millionaire dog, which is what happened when Honeybelle Hensley, the most flamboyant woman in Mule Stop, Texas, died and left her considerable fortune to her beloved pet–a lovable, but often obnoxious Texas cattle cur with the unlikely name of Miss Ruffles.
You see, I started out working as Honeybelle’s private secretary, but gradually Honeybelle urged me to take on more duties, and soon I was escorting Miss Ruffles to the football games at the University of the Alamo where she was a kind of team mascot. I also kept her from digging up Honeybelle’s prized roses, and hauled her out of the backyard pool during one of Honeybelle’s lavish garden parties. I took Miss Ruffles running every morning (the only way to make sure she didn’t chew up Honeybelle’s beautiful chintz sofa or her silk-upholstered chairs or break her fancy porcelain collection.) I was trying to teach her some manners, in other words, because Miss Ruffles pretty much ran Honeybelle’s roost. Honeybelle liked her gracious home, but Miss Ruffles did just about everything she could to destroy it.
But then suddenly Honeybelle died. She was sitting pretty as a picture in the front seat of her white convertible as it was parked in front of the Ambiance Salon when she was stricken by a heart attack. Her passing was a shock to the whole town, because Honeybelle was Mule Stop’s the leading citizen, the one who donated the most money to good causes and pestered the town council to put up flower baskets on all the street lamps. She ran the board of the university, too. She wielded a lot of power, in other words. She was a rich widow with many friends. And a surprising number of enemies.
So when she left most of her money to Miss Ruffles . . . a lot of people were furious. What happens when a small dog inherits a large fortune? Well, somebody decided to kidnap Miss Ruffles. And I am the only living person who can rescue her.
Trouble is, I’m from Ohio. And Texas often feels like another planet to me. It’s been a struggle to understand the people and the culture. Take the weather, for one thing. I really must learn to wear a hat before I get broiled by the Texas sun. And the people? They’re all sweet as pie and so polite! But sometimes I get the impression they’d like to pull a six gun on me. In a town where sexy cowboys are also lawyers and bouffant hairdos are still alive and well, I’m struggling to understand this place so I can rescue Miss Ruffles. There’s barbecue and honkytonk dancing to learn. And that lazy way of talking isn’t lazy at all. Let me tell you, honey-voiced ladies can turn into scorpions at the slightest provocation.
And then there’s the whole issue of Honeybelle’s death. Did she have an ordinary heart attack? Or is there something sinister going on in this small Texas town? I’m not sure, but I think it’s time for me to cowgirl up and find out.
You can read more about Sunny and Miss Ruffles in Miss Ruffles Inherits Everything, the first book in the NEW “Miss Ruffles” mystery series, published by Minotaur.
About Miss Ruffles Inherits Everything
Rich and flamboyant Honeybelle Hensley, the most colorful character in Mule Stop, Texas, dies a suspicious death and enrages the whole town by leaving her worldly fortune to the most undeserving recipient-her dog. The incorrigible Miss Ruffles is a Texas Cattle Cur, not a cuddly lapdog, and when Honeybelle was alive, Miss Ruffles liked nothing better than digging up Honeybelle’s famous rose garden after breakfast, chasing off the UPS man before lunch and terrorizing the many gentleman callers who came knocking at cocktail hour.
But now Miss Ruffles is in danger, and it’s up to Sunny McKillip, the unwilling dogsitter, to keep her safe. Sunny is new to Texas, and sometimes she feels as if she’s fallen into an alien world. If it isn’t the pistol-packing football fans and the sweet-talking, yet ruthless ladies of the garden club who confound her, it’s the rowdy rodeo hounds and the tobacco-spitting curmudgeon at Critter Control who have her buffaloed. With a killer on the loose and a cowboy lawyer keeping a suspicious eye on her every move, Sunny needs all the help she can get understanding how Texans think. There’s more to Honeybelle’s death than meets this Yankee’s eye, and Sunny has Miss Ruffles to protect, too. It’s a bucking bull ride of an adventure for Sunny, and if she’s not careful she might just get killed . . . or her heart lassoed.
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About the author
Miss Ruffles Inherits Everything is a new mystery novel from Nancy Martin, author of the bestselling and award-winning Blackbird Sisters mysteries. Nancy has written nearly fifty books in four genres—mystery, suspense, romance and historical, but this is the first time she has ventured south of the Mason-Dixon. Find Nancy on Facebook