Coming home to Louisiana was hard after ten years away, especially when I’d made such a big to-do about striking out on my own. Still, home is home, and New Orleans is mine. So, when I walked in on my ex-fiancé getting to know a coworker, biblically, I hiked up my big-girl pants and left them both in Virginia. I caught a plane back home and found a way to turn my two greatest passions into money by opening Furry Godmother, a custom pet boutique and organic treat bakery on Magazine Street. Now, I make gowns and costumes for a literal cat walk. With a mother who only wears couture and a beloved local veterinarian for a father, I suppose my fate was in the cards.
I hop into my car most nights and head back to Furry Godmother after dinner with my parents. Tonight is no different. I have an order for seven Shih Tzu tutus and a desperate need for distraction after the five-course lecture from my mother on the state of my tragic love life, my incessant lack of offspring, and recent humiliation by a Yankee.
I slide my car against the curb and breathe. Magazine Street is the heart of the Garden District with its miles of quaint shops and artistic boutiques. The night air is a perfect mix of café au lait, powdered sugar and fresh baked beignets. I’m revitalized the moment I leave my car in favor of the oppressive sub-tropic temperatures. Live jazz music and the steady hum of traffic puts an instant kick in my step. I almost hate to go inside.
The interior of Furry Godmother is exactly as I’d imagined it as a little girl, when I’d made bows and bandanas for my father’s four legged patients. I flip the switch and illuminate a row of fancy white chandeliers overhead, then stride across the polished, wide-planked floors toward my stockroom where glitter and tulle are in abundance.
My arms are loaded with bolts of fabric, a tackle box of rhinestones and my trusty golden glitter gun when I hear the first unfamiliar footfalls. The heavy steps do not belong in my shop afterhours. My heart is racing and my breaths are short. I locked the door, yet I’m clearly not alone. The contradiction is baffling, but I cannot right it when my trembling limbs are demanding an escape. I’ll find out how the intruder got inside later. For now, it’s time to run.
I break for the rear exit, dropping everything except my trusty glitter gun and launch into the darkened back lot. A man bursts through the door behind me, and I spray a blinding dose of golden glitter, then flee into the night as he curses.
I run blocks on adrenaline alone before I dare a look over my shoulder. The coast is clear, and an officer on the corner offers to drive me back to Furry Godmother so I can make a proper report. That’s the way it goes in my city. Something good always comes from something bad.
I don’t even flinch when the officer asks me to wait outside, or when a striking young detective drives his giant pickup onto the sidewalk outside my shop door and gives me a sobering once over. Maybe he had plans with the nice officer and I’d interrupted by accepting the help. Who knows? Either way, I’m buying both men a round of coffees the minute the report is filed.
At least, that’s my plan until the angel-eyed detective asks me to take a look at the crime scene with him. Amidst the tangle of my discarded supplies lies a motionless man with gold glitter caked on his face and a growing halo of blood on the pavement at his temple.
The detective’s cool gaze is on me. He wants to know why I killed this man, and he raises an evidence bag with my glitter gun between us.
My next ride is to the New Orleans police station.
Cat Got Your Diamonds is book one in the Kitty Couture Mysteries Series published by Crooked Lane Books, November 2016.
Grandeur and opulence are everything in the famed New Orleans Garden District where pets are family and no bling is too big. Opening Furry Godmother, pet boutique and organic treat bakery, is Lacy Marie Crocker’s dream come true–until the glitter gun used to make her Shih Tzu tutus becomes a murder weapon. And Lacy becomes public enemy #1.
Now Detective Jack Oliver is hounding Lacy, and her Furry Godmother investor wants out before his name is tarnished by association. To make matters worse, a string of jewel heists with suspicious ties to the murder case has New Orleans residents on edge. To save her dream, Lacy must take a stand, put her keen eyes to work, and unravel what really happened at her shop that night. But can Lacy sniff out the killer cat burglar in time to get her tail-raising designs on the catwalk?
Witty and whimsical, Cat Got Your Diamonds, the first in a new cozy series by Julie Chase, will be the cat’s meow for fans of Rita Mae Brown and Miranda James.
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Meet the author
Julie Chase is a mystery-loving pet enthusiast who hopes to make readers smile. She lives in rural Ohio with her husband and three small children. Julie is a member of the International Thriller Writers (ITW) and Sisters in Crime (SinC). She is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyons Literary Agency. Julie also writes as Julie Anne Lindsey. Connect with Julie at juliechasebooks.com.
All comments are welcomed.
Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Cat Got Your Diamonds. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends November 9, 2016 at 11:59 AM EST. Good luck everyone!