Monthly Archives: May 2017

One day on the life of Grandma Bertha by Matt Ferraz

Castor! Rufus! Mustafar! Come here, you boys! Don’t bark at our visitor. I’m sorry, my doggies are not used to new people. Is everything okay? Did Lydia talk to you on and on about how I’m an old lady who says a lot of nonsense? Lydia tells that to everyone. Sorry that you had to pass by her to get to me. We have that back gate over there, but we don’t use it anymore. It’s where they found the cadaver.

You don’t have to worry, they never bite anyone. Let’s go inside. This is my room. It used to be a garden shed, but Todd adapted it for me. Todd is my son, Lydia’s husband. Sweet boy. Lydia wanted me in a retirement home, but Todd didn’t comply. He wanted to have me around in my last years.

Would you like a beer? Too soon for you? Well, I’ll make you a cup of tea then. Do sit down. Just a second, let me get this. How silly, I almost made you sit on my special collector’s DVD of The Exorcist! I shouldn’t let this lie around in here. I’m usually very organized with my DVDs.

It’s very small in here, but it feels cozy, doesn’t it? Todd is taking good care of his old lady. Did you see the little boy with Lydia? That’s Tiny Stu, he’s my only grandchild. I love having him around, but Lydia doesn’t like it when I watch a movie with him. She asked me to show him a superhero film, or a cartoon, but I only have horror films in my collection.

Here’s your tea, dear. So, you wanna know about how I spend my time? I’m usually up very soon every day. I have a very light sleep, and sometimes I snore so loud I wake myself up. Todd brings me breakfast and stays with me until I’m finished, but we don’t talk much.

After he’s gone, I spend most of the time alone, just me and the doggies. We watch a movie or two on the DVD, and then I go out for a walk. At least that’s how things were before they found that poor girl on the back alley, three bullets on her back. Now Lydia doesn’t want me to go out by myself. So I walk in circles around the backyard, pretending I’m somewhere else.

Lydia almost never comes back here to see me. She doesn’t like me very much. She cares about me, though. You can care about someone even though you think they’re crazy. But she brings me supper, and, if it’s cold, an extra blanket.

Most of the time I don’t have anyone to talk to, so I just take care of my stuff. It gets pretty boring sometimes. I’m so old now, and people don’t find me that interesting. But I do my best to stay cheerful. I drink a beer after lunch, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. I’m already a lonely old bag, and don’t want to become a drunkard too.

Do you want to know where they found the body? Right there, behind that wall. She was so young, so pretty. . . it’s a shame! But I’m not gonna let that killer get away with it. Did they tell you that? I’m gonna solve that murder, even if it’s the last thing I do!

Going away so soon? Come back anytime. I enjoy having people to talk to. Would do me a favour? Next time, please bring me some newspapers. They are my favourite source for clues. Just don’t listen to what Lydia has to say about me. And even if you don’t come back, keep your eyes on the news. Soon I’ll be famous, and people will talk about how Grandma Bertha solved that murder! I’ll show everyone!


You can read more about Grandma Bertha in The Convenient Cadaver, the first book in the NEW “Grandma Bertha Solving Murders” mystery series.

When Grandma Bertha moved to her son’s place, she brought along three dogs, several cases of beer and many, many horror film DVDs. While her daughter-in-law insists on the idea of sending Grandma Bertha to a retirement home, a dead girl appears near the house, shot three times in the back. Many years ago, Grandma Bertha let a murderer escape for not trusting in her own detective abilities. Now, armed with her wit and wisdom, she decides to solve that crime before the police. Could this crazy dog lady be a threat to a cold-blooded killer? And for how long can the family stand that situation?

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Meet the author
Author of all trades, Matt Ferraz has written thrillers, sci-fi, cozy mysteries and a lot of witty e-mails that sadly can’t be published. With a degree in journalism and a Masters in biography, Matt has works published in English, Italian and Portuguese, and loves trying out new genres.

Killing Dr. Watson was released in March 2016 by MX Publishing. The book deals with TV series fandom, and follows the misadventures of a TV geek with no social life and a Sherlock Holmes actor past his prime who team up and become the most unusual detectives in the business.

With The Convenient Cadaver, Matt has started the “Grandma Bertha Solving Murders” series, starring an old lady who loves beer, dogs, horror movies and a good murder to solve. Grandma Bertha was based on Matt’s own grandmothers and on an elderly friend, all of whom loved to be turned into a literary character.

Matt won’t stop writing, and right now he’s working on the next instalment of “Grandma Bertha” and on a LitRPG book, which will be out next October.

Connect with Matt on Twitter at @Matt_Ferraz

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of Sasha Silverman by Meg Macy

bearly-departedAs manager of my parents’ Silver Bear Shop & Factory in Silver Hollow, Michigan, my day begins with the alarm ringing in my ear at seven thirty. Ugh. “Sasha, get up!” That’s my sister Maddie’s piercing call from downstairs. We live ‘above the shop’ in a renovated Victorian house.

After three or four times hitting the snooze button, I shove my sweet ‘teddy bear’ dog, Rosie (a mix of Lhasa Apso and Bichon Frise, whose muzzle is right in my face – dog breath!), aside. Crawl out of the sack, one eye open. Rosie snuggles deeper in the bed, on my pillow too, clearly grateful she has it all to herself. I head into the shower and stand under the pulsing hot water until my brain fog clears. I grab my silver tee shirt with our teddy bear logo, black jeans, sandals, and pull my still-wet hair into a ponytail.

Maddie, an unapologetic happy morning person, has already made a pot of coffee – God bless her! – and left me a toasted English muffin with cream cheese and raspberry jam. She’s already at work in the office. I enjoy a second cup of coffee while watching the morning news show. By nine-thirty, I’m in the shop checking the cash register, the shelves of bears and accessories, and ready to greet customers at ten o’clock.

Do I want to marry again and have a family? One day, I hope.

Oh no. Trouble arrives when our sales rep, Will Taylor, once again demands to know why I’ll be hosting a tour of senior citizens from the local church. It’s a waste of time, in his opinion. He’s also mad that someone keyed his sporty car in our parking lot yesterday. He’s unpopular enough with our staff, but also around the village – how would I know who might have damaged his car in a show of fury? As for the tour, I’ll keep giving them. People enjoy seeing our factory, the staff in action, how we cut the fur and sew bears, and they always buy one or several as souvenirs.

I ignore his opinion that we need to cut staff, too. He’s crazy. We can barely keep up getting all our orders filled. Maddie interrupts our argument. She’s just agreed to accept a small company’s request for a hundred silver teddy bears to reward their employees’ children. Uncle Ross barges in, waving another special order for a five-foot-tall bear. The Oktobear Fest committee wants to give it as a prize at the festival, but their budget is limited – they need it ‘at cost’.

When Will refuses to budge on anything less than retail price, my uncle backs him against the door with a clenched fist. The Silverman family has always been generous to the community, and that will never change. Will stalks out of the shop in disgust.

Uncle Ross, Maddie, and I exchange satisfied grins and get back to work.


You can read more about Sasha, the Silver Bear Shop & Factory, and Silver Hollow in Bearly Departed, the first book in the NEW “Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear” cozy mystery series.

The Silver Bear Shop & Factory might be the cutest place around, but there’s nothing warm and fuzzy about murder . . .

As manager of the family teddy bear shop and factory, thirty-one-year-old Sasha Silverman leads a charmed life. Well, except for the part about being a single divorcée with a ticking biological clock in small-town Silver Hollow. And that’s just kid’s stuff compared to Will Taylor, the sales rep who’s set on making drastic changes to the business her parents built from scratch—with or without Sasha’s approval.

But before Will digs his claws in, someone pulls the stuffing out of his plan . . . and leaves his dead body inside the factory. Reeling from shock, Sasha’s hit with more bad news—police suspect her hot-tempered Uncle Ross may have murdered him. Sasha knows her uncle would never do such a thing, and she’s launching her own little investigation to expose the truth. As she tracks Will’s biggest rivals and enemies for clues, Sasha can’t get too comfy—or she’ll become the next plaything for a killer . . .

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About the author
Award-winning mystery author Meg Macy lives in Southeast Michigan, close enough to Ann Arbor, Chelsea, and Dexter — the area she chose for the setting of her new “Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear” cozy mystery series for Kensington. She is also one-half of the writing team of D.E. Ireland for the Eliza Doolittle & Henry Higgins Mystery series; two books have been named Agatha Award finalists. Meg’s first published book, Double Crossing, won the 2012 Best First Novel Spur Award from Western Writers of America. She’s also a graduate of Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction program. Meg loves reading mysteries, historical and contemporary, and other genre fiction. She needs more time for gardening, crafts, and watercolor painting – and a week or two on Mackinac Island. Visit the author online at megmacy.com.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Bearly Departed from Kensington Books. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends June 1, 2017. Good luck everyone!

A day in the life with Giulia Driscoll by Alice Loweecey

Never say never. My grandmother used to tell me that when I was in high school and the nuns had their annual Vocation Day. I came home three years running with a colorful brochure about how wonderful the convent was. I’d show it to the family and say “Never” and toss it in the trash.

So what did I end up doing? Entered the convent right out of high school.

You’d think I learned my lesson.

Skip ahead thirteen years. Driscoll Investigations is always busy. So busy sometimes I’ve considered finding a bigger office and hiring a minion for Sidney and Zane, my multi-talented staff.

Everyone knows the rule for a successful business is “don’t turn away work.” But there are limits. We don’t take divorce cases anymore. I have a standing objection to angry, drunk spouses invading the office with violence on their minds.

Then came Stone’s Throw Bed & Breakfast with its staged haunting and loopy hired psychic. Because of that case, DI acquired a ghost hunting reputation. The phone’s been ringing off the hook and my email is overflowing.

New clients; yay?

No. No Ouija Boards. No ghost hunting. No exorcisms.

Are you waiting for the shoe to drop? It was a big shoe. A size 23 in the form of a wisp of a woman who thinks her house is haunted.

Never, I said.

Until her eccentric cousin showed up and said the real trouble was the woman’s business partners: They were trying to force her out of her business. Oh, and maybe the house really was haunted. On top of that, the woman’s housekeeper followed the cousin to our door, insisting the only way to win the woman’s confidence was to go along with the haunting idea.

So now we’re Driscoll Investigations, Ghost Breakers. I’m learning Tarot and my brother-in-law the priest is schooling me in exorcism. I’m having fun with EVP and EMP apps on my phone.

Because it’s all in fun. Ghosts don’t really exist. Never have.

Right?


You can read more about Giulia in The Clock Strikes Nun, the fourth book in the “Giulia Driscoll” mystery series.

When terrified Elaine Patrick knocks on Driscoll Investigations’ door and insists her house is haunted, Giulia Driscoll’s first response is “we don’t handle ghosts.” When Elaine’s housekeeper and crackpot filthy rich cousin descend on Giulia and demand she find out who’s trying to steal sweet, fragile Elaine’s family business out from under her, that’s a different story. They want DI to provide Tarot readings, ghost hunting sessions, and even an exorcism.

Ghost hunting? There are apps for that. Tarot readings? Experts in the skill are right across the street. Exorcisms? Having a priest for a brother-in-law comes in handy. Giulia plunges into a crash course in all things supernatural, convinced everything happening to Elaine is stagecraft.

Except when it isn’t. Giulia’s about to discover a new dimension to sleuthing, if she can survive attempted murder long enough to see through the web of lies around her client.

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About the author
Baker of brownies and tormenter of characters, Alice Loweecey recently celebrated her thirtieth year outside the convent. She grew up watching Hammer horror films and Scooby-Doo mysteries, which explains a whole lot. When she’s not creating trouble for her sleuth Giulia Driscoll or inspiring nightmares as her alter-ego Kate Morgan, she can be found growing her own vegetables (in summer) and cooking with them (the rest of the year).

All comments are welcomed.

Cover Reveal ~ Asking for Truffle by Dorothy St. James

I am thrilled and excited to reveal the cover for the first book in the NEW “Southern Chocolate Shop” mystery series from Crooked Lane Books, coming September 12, 2017.


Title: Asking for Truffle
Series: Southern Chocolate Shop #1
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Website: Dorothy St. James

When Charity Penn receives a letter saying she won a trip to Camellia Beach, South Carolina complete with free cooking lessons at the town’s seaside chocolate shop, The Chocolate Box, she’s immediately skeptical. She never entered any contest. Her former prep school friend offers to look into the phony prize―only to end up drowned in a vat of chocolate.

Struck with guilt, Penn heads to the southern beach town to investigate why he was killed. But as wary as she is of the locals, she finds herself lured into their eccentric vibe, letting her defenses melt away and even learning the art of crafting delicious chocolates. That is, until delight turns bittersweet as she steps straight into the midst of a deadly plot to destroy the seaside town. Now, only Penn’s quick thinking and a mysterious cask of rare chocolate can save the town she’s learning to love.

Rich and decadent, Asking for Truffle, the first in a new cozy series by Dorothy St. James, is sure to be a delectable read for fans of JoAnna Carl and Joanne Fluke.

Pre-Order Link


About the author
Dorothy St. James, known for the White House Gardener Mystery series, is going back to her roots and setting a mystery series in a Southern beach town much like the one she’s called home for the past 20 years. The Southern Chocolate Shop Mysteries combine her love of fine chocolates, quirky Southern charm, with a dash of danger. Asking for Truffle hits bookstore shelves September 2017.

All comments are welcomed.

My Musing ~ Bearly Departed by Meg Macy

Bearly Departed by Meg Macy is the first book in the NEW “Teddy Bear” mystery series. Publisher: Kensington, May 30, 2017

The Silver Bear Shop and Factory might be the cutest place around, but there’s nothing warm and fuzzy about murder.

As manager of the family teddy bear shop and factory, thirty-one-year-old Sasha Silverman leads a charmed life. Well, except for the part about being a single divorcée with a ticking biological clock in small-town Silver Hollow. And that’s just kid’s stuff compared to Will Taylor, the sales rep who’s set on making drastic changes to the business her parents built from scratch—with or without Sasha’s approval.

But before Will digs his claws in, someone pulls the stuffing out of his plan . . . and leaves his dead body inside the factory. Reeling from shock, Sasha’s hit with more bad news—police suspect her hot-tempered Uncle Ross may have murdered him. Sasha knows her uncle would never do such a thing, and she’s launching her own little investigation to expose the truth. As she tracks Will’s biggest rivals and enemies for clues, Sasha can’t get too comfy—or she’ll become the next plaything for a killer.

This is a delightfully charming debut featuring store manager Sasha who quickly becomes involved in a murder when her uncle becomes the prime suspect and it is the path that Sasha takes that makes this an enjoyable read.

This author did a great job in creating a wonderful story with a comfortable tone and a steady pace that fit the tempo of this lighthearted whodunit. The narrative was visually descriptive putting me in the middle of all the action and the character development was on par with being the first in the series. The staging of the mystery kept me entangled in all aspect of this intriguing drama from the discovery of the murder, to the actions of the residents and to the apprehension of the killer, in a setting that speaks of coziness, yet mayhem ensued.

The author presented a nicely woven tale where any of the characters we’ve met along the way could be the suspect, but with clues here and there, it was fun watching how it all played out, especially the small tidbits that directly pointed to the killer who was hiding in plain sight. This was a great read and I look forward to the next book in the exciting new series that is a welcome addition to the cozy genre.

FTC Full Disclosure – I received a digital ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.

My Musing ~ Sticks and Bone by Carolyn Haines

Sticks and Bones is the 17th book in the “Sarah Booth Delaney” mystery series. Publisher: Minotaur Books, May 2017

Private investigator Sarah Booth Delaney and her friends are celebrating New Year’s Eve at the party of the year, a smashing Winter Garden party at the Prince Albert Hotel. It’s a dazzling success…until Frangelica “Sister” McFee walks through the door. Sarah Booth knew Sister in college, before Sister became a bestselling author and moved to New York, and fame and fortune don’t seem to have tempered her arrogance and cruelty.

Sister’s latest book is a memoir about the death of her mother and brother many years ago. Now, a film about the book is in the works, and a film crew has descended upon Zinnia, Mississippi, to tell the complete tale. The film crew soon realizes there may be more to the story than meets the eye―or is told in Sister’s memoir―and they hire Sarah Booth to discover the absolute truth about those deaths so many years ago. But Sarah Booth quickly realizes that someone is desperate to keep the truth hidden and will go to any lengths necessary to protect a long-held secret.

Carolyn Haines’s next Sarah Booth Delaney novel, Sticks and Bones, is sure to delight series fans and newcomers alike.

I love, love, love Sticks and Bones. This book kept me engrossed and enthralled in all aspects in the telling of this tale. The mystery was enjoyable and the interaction with the main cast and the visitors kept me glued to the pages. The narrative was visually appealing, putting me smack dab in the middle of that was happening in this fast-paced drama that oozes southern charm. All the major characters play pivotal roles and one of my favorite scenes featured Sarah Booth, Coleman and Tinkie. Yes, I’m still smiling at the remembrance. With an eccentrically quirky cast of characters and engaging dialogue, this is the best book in the series thus far and I can’t wait for the next one in this delightfully endearing series.

My Musing ~ The Color of Fear by Judy Alter

The Color of Fear by Judy Alter is the seventh book in the “Kelly O’Connell” mystery series. Publisher: Alter Ego Publishing, May 2017

The Color of Fear marks Judy Alter’s return to mystery fiction and the Kelly O’Connell series after an absence of more than a year. This time, the indomitable Keisha narrates the short tale wherein Kelly and her family live under the threat of infant Gracie’s kidnapping. The story serves as a reprise of many of the previous novels in the series, as Keisha, in her search for the kidnapper, recalls Kelly’s earlier adventures.

Keisha remains outspoken and independent as she balances her need to protect Kelly and her family with her love for new husband, José Thornberry. Some but not all of Kelly’s friends and foes from previous stories appear here, along with such new characters as Clyde, the guard dog, and Cowboy, the homeless guy with a soft heart.

Kelly and the gang are back in this mysterious tale of fear that leaves the family in a sedated state of mind. What happens next is an engagingly riveting tale where Keisha takes center stage as the narrator bringing forth her perception of things to come. The author did a great job in ratcheting up the tension as the story moved forward. My eyes were glued to the pages as I had to know how this will all end. All forms of safety precaution were undertaken included the addition of Clyde who did what he had to do to bring peace to the family. The main characters all played pivotal roles that enhanced the telling of this tale, especially that small surprising twist at the end. This was an enjoyable story and I hope there are more adventures with Kelly and her friends.

A day in the life of Achilles, K-9 Sidekick by Carolyn Mulford

Footsteps woke me. I sprang to my paws. Still night. I sniffed. No stranger, no danger. Annalynn was pacing again, grieving for her dead mate.

Phoenix, my human, stirred. No need to wake her. I would comfort Annalynn. I trotted across the hall to her.

She knelt to hug me. “Oh, Achilles, I miss him so. The congressman’s accident last night brought back that horrible moment I heard Boom had died.”

I whined my sympathy and licked her hand.

She gave me a gentle shove. “I’m okay, sweet boy. Go back to sleep.” She closed her door the moment my tail went through it.

Her door was still closed at daylight. Phoenix and I kept quiet until we went outside. As usual, she wore her gun under her jacket. As usual, I checked for intruders while she stretched. Then I took her on our morning run. I headed for the park to meet my friend Toby. There Phoenix threw my Frisbee for us to catch. I gave him a head start. After all, a Belgian Malinois is much bigger than a terrier.

When I came up to take my human home, Toby’s human was sniffling. Phoenix patted the woman’s shoulder.

After I led Phoenix away, she said, “I hope the dog walker’s wrong, Schatzi. She thinks the congressman’s death wasn’t an accident. If Annalynn hasn’t heard that from her political contacts, I won’t tell her. No need to know.”

I barked my disapproval. Annalynn got angry when Phoenix said “no need to know.” So did I. Secrets meant trouble.

We had a quiet morning. Annalynn talked on the phone. Phoenix worked at her computer. I patrolled for cats, chased squirrels, and practiced running hurdles. Bored, I barked for Phoenix to join me. I tempted her with a clean tennis ball.

“Sorry,” she said. “I have to find an abused wife a safe place to live.” She rubbed behind my ears. Wonderful. “This afternoon we’ll go inspect where the congressman’s car crashed. That should be interesting.”

I looked forward to going. Until Phoenix got behind our car’s steering wheel and told me to curl up at Annalynn’s feet. Only a terrier could fit in that space. I whined.

“It’s a short drive, Achilles,” Phoenix said. “Ride there or stay home.”

Annalynn moved her seat back to give me more room. “Come, Achilles. We need you.”

I jumped in, settled on Annalynn’s feet, and studied them. Phoenix was calm. She hadn’t put my bullet-proof vest on me. Annalynn was sad. She didn’t wear her gun. I relaxed.

Soon the car stopped. A back door opened. Two women climbed in and sat on my seat. I put my paws on Annalynn’s knees to raise up to see the passengers.

“Down,” Phoenix said to me.

The two women ducked out of sight.

Odd. I dropped down.

Annalynn talked with the women in my seat. I didn’t understand their words, but I heard grief. I sat up to rest my head on Annalynn’s arm.

I smelled fields. I don’t like fields. Bad humans shoot at us in fields. The car went down a giant hill. Phoenix stopped the car at the top of the next hill. Cats and toads! We knew this hill. A bad, bad place. I whined a protest.

All four doors opened. I hopped out so Annalynn could move. Smells smacked my nose. Many people and cars had been here. Bad! We should go home. I pushed past Annalynn to jump back into the car. I ignored her coaxing me to come out.

Phoenix came to me. “It’s okay, Achilles. No shooter today.” She held up the thin gloves she wore for searching. “We came to find.”

I loved to find. And poor Phoenix couldn’t smell drugs or explosives. I jumped out. We walked down the hill. One woman cried. She and Annalynn went back to the car. Phoenix walked off the road into a field. A car had run over baby trees. A mistake? A bomb? I loped down the car’s path sniffing for explosives. None. No drugs either. I turned back toward Phoenix.

“You’re right, Achilles. No marijuana, no meth, no bombs. Find a glove, please. Find—uh—whatever doesn’t belong here.”

I didn’t understand. Was this a new game? No, not a game. I put my nose to the ground and moved in bigger and bigger circles. An unexpected odor. Crushed grass covered a cell phone. Not a weapon, but not right. I signaled Phoenix.

She praised me. We all three searched. The woman found a glove. I, of course, made the big find, a thermos of coffee. I smelled it from far away. Too far away.

Phoenix picked it up and took off the top.

Whew! Danger! I barked and nudged her hand to warn her. She put the lid back on. “Thanks, Achilles.”

The trouble started there.


Phoenix Smith rather than Achilles tells the story in Show Me the Sinister Snowman, the fifth book in the “Show Me” mystery series.

Former CIA covert operative Phoenix Smith must play detective again when Achilles, her K-9 dropout, sniffs out a unique murder weapon at the scene of a congressman’s “accidental” death. Suicide? Murder? Collateral damage? Phoenix suspects either a corrupt political insider or an enraged abusive husband set out to kill. To catch the culprit and protect intended victims, Phoenix and Achilles accompany her friend Annalynn to a candidates’ gathering at the late congressman’s antebellum mansion in rural Missouri. A blizzard traps them in the isolated house with multiple suspects dissembling inside and a snow-loving psychopath lurking outside.

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About the author
Carolyn Mulford worked on four continents as a nonfiction writer/editor before switching to fiction. Her award-winning Show Me series features Phoenix Smith, a former CIA covert operative who returns to rural Missouri and adapts her tradecraft to solve crimes with old friends and a K-9 dropout. You can read the first chapters of the five books in the series on her website at carolynmulford.com.

Giveaway: One person (a U.S. resident) who leaves a comment by May 30, 2017 will be selected at random to receive a print copy of Show Me the Sinister Snowman Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life with Mackenzie Harris by Jenn McKinlay

Did you ever have that one life changing event? That one moment where you made a decision that changed the course of your life forever? I’m Mackenzie Harris, Mac to my friends, and this was mine.

Three days back in town and I was late meeting my friend Emma, so I took a short cut through an alley and was striding quickly down the uneven pavement when I heard a fierce growl that made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end. I stopped and slowly turned to my right.

There behind a dumpster next to the shattered remains of what looked like several pots of tulips was a brown dog, baring its teeth and looking like it wanted to rip my throat out.

“Easy, boy,” I said. My heart thumped hard in my chest and I glanced at the end of the alley to determine if I could escape if I ran. I had visions of trying and having the dog chase me down and clamp its powerful jaws on my leg or throat. I’d never make it.

I glanced back at the dog. It growled, keeping low to the ground. It had a big blocky head and from what I could see of its shoulders, it was built strong. Oh, man. Why couldn’t it be a Yorkie or a Shih Tzu?

I took a cautious step away and the dog growled, deeper and meaner. Then I heard a thumping sound. It was wagging its tail. What was that supposed to mean? I took another step away. The dog growled and it rumbled low and deep from its chest.

Okay, so the stepping away thing wasn’t really working for the dog. I stood still and studied the face staring at me from behind the dumpster.

“You don’t want me to leave, do you?”

The dog whimpered and I felt my heart clutch in my chest, maybe the poor thing was hurt.

“Listen, I don’t speak dog,” I said.

I glanced around, looking for help. There was no one, just me and the dog. I slowly crouched down, watching how the dog reacted.

“It’s okay,” I said. I kept my voice soft and kind. “I’m not going to hurt you.”

The dog whimpered and then wagged. Maybe it was hungry. I wished I had a dog treat, but then I remembered the granola bar in my pocket. Maybe some food would make the dog trust me.

I carefully pulled out the granola bar. I took off the wrapper and noticed that the dog never looked away from me.

“It probably tastes like rocks and sticks to you but it is food, I swear.” I held out my hand. The dog stared. I moved closer and the dog lowered itself to the ground, making me tense up and then it wagged.

“You’re really giving me mixed signals here,” I said.

I inched closer. I didn’t know what I’d do if the dog attacked her at this point. Die, I supposed.

“I’m not going to hurt you,” I said softly. “I promise.”

My legs were beginning to cramp and I was sure we were going to be in this stalemate until nightfall when the dog belly-crawled toward me just a few inches and stopped.

“Good dog,” I said. “That’s right. I got you.”

The dog crawled forward again, stopping just in front of my hand. I waited. The dog’s tail was still wagging and its ears were flopped to one side. The warm brown eyes never left my face. I really wished I could tell what the puppy was thinking.

To my surprise, the dog nudged the granola bar aside with its cold nose and pressed the top of its head into the palm of my hand.

“Oh,” I said softly.

The dog’s head felt like warm velvet beneath my fingers and it looked up at me with big brown eyes that seemed to have witnessed a world of hurt.

“It’s okay, baby,” I said. “You’re going to be okay.”

The dog made a deep shuddering sigh as if it was psyching itself up for something, then it cautiously climbed into my lap. The dog’s posture was rigid as if bracing for rejection. There was no question it was taking a huge leap of faith in trusting me. I felt my throat get tight as I looked into the dog’s earnest face, I could see the pretty eyes imploring, Please don’t hurt me!

“It’s okay, you’re safe now,” I said. I hugged the dog close until I felt it relax against me.

Now what to do? It was a ridiculous question. There was only one thing I could do. I had to take the puppy to the one guy I’d been avoiding like a case of the flu over the past few days. Gavin Tolliver, the town veterinarian, and the one man my poor heart had never forgotten during my seven years away from home. In short, I had to see a man about a dog.


You can read more about Mackenzie in About A Dog, the first book in the NEW “Bluff Point” romance series.

Fall in love with a little help from man’s best friend in New York Times bestselling author Jenn McKinlay’s contemporary romance debut.

Mackenzie “Mac” Harris fled her hometown of Bluff Point, Maine, after being left at the altar—and seeking solace in the arms of her best friend’s off-limits brother. Now, seven years later, she’s back to attend her best friend’s wedding—safe, or so she thinks, from the mistakes of her youth.

But Gavin Tolliver has never forgotten the woman who has always held his heart. And when Mac rescues a stray puppy named Tulip, only Gavin, the town’s veterinarian, can help. With a little assistance from Tulip, Gavin vows to make Mac realize that their feelings are more than just puppy love. . .

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About the author
Jenn is the New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly, and USA Today bestselling author of several mystery series and will be debuting her women’s fiction series on May 30, 2017, starting with the title About a Dog. She lives in sunny Arizona in a house that is overrun with kids, pets and her husband’s guitars. Visit her website at www.jennmckinlay.com.

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