Tag Archives: cozy mystery

A day in the life of Sunny Taylor by June Shaw

It started as a bad day. Since my twin Eve Vaughn was grief-stricken, instead of working on our new remodeling and repair business, she chose to stay home and slap black paint all over her newest canvas.

Living a block away, I couldn’t lift her mood. If you know anything about me, you might recall that I also couldn’t do much physical labor since a killer shot me in the shoulder and almost made me his next victim. My arm was healing, but complications set in, making me also discontent. That’s when Dave Price called and changed everything.

Eve is thrice divorced, but after businessman Dave moved into our small bayou town, she decided he was her soulmate—the man she had been searching for all along. Coming on strong with him, she let him know how she felt. The problem was (and he is too much of a gentleman to just say it), he didn’t want her.

The worse problem? I had never been truly in love with a man (even though I divorced the one I’d agreed to marry) and never thought I wanted another man—until Dave and I were thrown together. He seems to really care for me, too, and recently bought a fishing camp along the bayou. He wanted me to give him suggestions on how to improve it. Eve doesn’t know of our interest in each other so to get her out of her doldrums, I easily convinced her to join me at Dave’s new place.

At his camp that should provide a relaxing space, I let him show Eve one section while I checked out the utility room. The previous owner had cleared everything out of it except the hot water heater, which a filled large black garbage bag leaned against. Uncomfortable because a plastic bag leaned against a heater, I tugged to move it away but could not. I opened the top to remove some items—and that’s when my sister knew.

The Christmas carol that rang out from my mouth made her come running to see what I feared.

You can read more about Sunny in Dead on the Bayou, the second book in the “Twin Sisters” mystery series.

It may be easier to patch up an old home than a broken heart. But along the Louisiana bayou, where beauty and danger mingle all too seamlessly, thoughts of romance may have to simmer on the back burner . . .

Twin sisters and fellow divorcees Sunny Taylor and Eve Vaughn have established their home repair and remodeling business with an eye toward quality and personal attention. So when they’re approached by hunky Dave Price to fix up his bayou fishing camp, they’re more than happy to take the job—especially since they both secretly think he may prove to be more than just another satisfied customer . . .

The ramshackle campsite could certainly use a woman’s touch. What it does not need is a dead body—but that’s what the trio stumble across. Clearly, the poor soul was murdered—and once the town tongue-waggers get going, Sunny, Eve, and Dave come under suspicion of the police, not to mention potential clients . . .

Now, with their futures on the line, their brewing love triangle will have to wait. Helped—and harried—by the twins’ mother and her retirement home’s cadre of amateur sleuths, the trio starts snooping on their own. But when another dead body turns up, they’ll have to get their hands dirtier than a swamp-bottom snake if they hope to clear their names . . .

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June will be giving away two Kindle copies of A Fatal Romance, book one in this series, in a random drawing two days (August 25, 2017) from now from those who leave a comment. Good luck everyone!

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About the author
June Shaw is a bestselling author from the bayou country of Louisiana. She represents her state on the board of Mystery Writers of America’s Southwest Chapter, which includes La., Arkansas, Texas, and Oklahoma. She has written another mystery series and other books and loves to hear from readers! Reach out too June at juneshaw.com.

All comments are welcomed.

Colleen Caruso’s Midas Touch by Jo-Ann Lamon Reccoppa

I think there’s something wrong with me. I have a proven track record according to the residents of Tranquil Harbor, New Jersey. It’s common knowledge that everything I touch turns to – well, let’s just say I don’t have the Midas touch. Take the Golden Anniversary celebration for the Town Crier, the newspaper where I’m employed as a crime reporter. The Friday night gala at a trendy eatery down by the ocean was anything but celebratory. I should have known something would go wrong, regardless of how carefully and deliberately I dressed to entice my hunky boss, Ken Rhodes.

My mother said the outfit made me look like a hooker. Okay, maybe just a little. But I liked the effect and planned to get a lot of action out of that low-cut, blinding red dress. After all, the kids were spending the weekend with their father – the entire weekend. I had major plans for later in the evening, hopefully with no dress involved. So when my boss keeled over after one bite of his trout almondine at the party, those romantic hopes were dashed.

Ken offered me a taste of his dinner, but I shook my head no and toyed with my unappetizing broiled chicken instead. Being half Italian, good food is life and I tend to take really huge bites. I’d have been a goner for sure if I sampled Ken’s meal. As it was, I spent the rest of that night in the emergency room, dressed like a street-walker, praying my gorgeous man wouldn’t die.

Coincidentally, Ken’s wife had been poisoned several years ago and he was the primary suspect. The grand jury failed to indict him, but that didn’t quell suspicion.

Normally when I put two and two together it comes out five, but what are the odds of a husband and wife both being poisoned by two entirely different toxins three years apart? Slim to none, I would imagine – which is why I decided to poke into Nadine Rhodes’s untimely demise and clear Ken’s name in the process.

Who wanted the power couple dead? Why? Was it someone they both knew well, like Evan Rhodes, Ken’s charming, ne’er-do-well, black sheep brother? Or might the poisoner be a friend or acquaintance from Ken and Nadine’s past, despite the fact that the people they ran with, both literally and figuratively, were influential and highly-respected? Not one of them appeared to be the killer type – yet it seemed possible someone from their fashionable circle possessed a homicidal heart. I knew I’d have to dig deep through their lucrative, opulent muck to figure it all out.

As I said, I’m a crime reporter. And I don’t mind getting my hands mucky one bit.

You can read more about Colleen and Ken in Another Man’s Poison, the third book in the “Jersey Girl” Cozy Mystery series, released August 10, 2017.

Crime reporter Colleen Caruso’s appetite for romance with her hunky boss falls flatter than a ruined soufflé when he keels over after one bite of his trout almondine. With his food editor wife mysteriously poisoned three years before, Ken was and still remains the prime suspect. Clearly someone wanted both Ken and Nadine Rhodes dead, and Colleen finds herself hot on the case of the poisoned plate. She whisks her way into the scrumptious world of the culinary arts, hoping her investigation isn’t a recipe for disaster. Colleen is determined to give those responsible their just desserts, but has the reporter bitten off more than she can chew?

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Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Another Man’s Poison. U.S. entries only, please. The giveaway ends August 24, 2017. Good luck everyone!

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About the author
Jo-Ann Lamon Reccoppa lives in New Jersey and draws on her experience as a freelance correspondent to create oddball characters and unusual scenarios. In addition to hundreds of published articles, her short fiction has appeared in various magazines and anthologies. She is a member of both Sisters in Crime national and Sisters in Crime – Central Jersey, and a past treasurer of the Garden State Horror Writers. New Math is Murder is her first full-length novel and the first in the Jersey Girl Cozy Mystery series. The second book in the series, Hide nor Hair was released in April, 2015. Another Man’s Poison is the third installment in the series.

Connect with Jo-Ann at joannlamonreccoppa.com.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of Meera Patel by Leena Clover

The gingham curtains in the kitchen window fluttered in the early morning breeze. Butter sizzled in the pan and I added in the minced jalapenos. A mixture of lightly beaten eggs with a few splashes of half & half went in next. I reduced the heat and gently stirred the eggs. A pile of grated cheddar stood ready to be folded in at the right moment.

“Jalapeno cheese eggs?” Motee Ba asked, coming into the kitchen.

She pulled down an apron from a peg, ready to get my grandpa’s breakfast.

“Pappa’s soft boiled egg is ready,” I told her, pointing to an egg sitting in a cup. “And his toast should be ready now.”

The toast popped up just then. I hit the gong with a flourish, a remnant from my grandpa’s life in the colonies.

My grandpa hobbled in, tapping his cane, demanding breakfast.

My name is Meera Patel and I am a 20 something grad school dropout from Swan Creek, Oklahoma. I had enough of designing networks and warding off evil cyber attacks one day. Now I shelve books for a living. My Dad, a department head at the local university, is not pleased.

Our six bedroom ranch houses the entire family. It’s the famed ‘joint family’ of Indian culture. We didn’t get the brief on separate households. Nah!

I gobbled my eggs and toast and headed out the door before anyone handed me a list of chores. My beat up old Camry started at the first try and I made tracks to my pal Tony’s gas station.

Tony Sinclair is my best friend, and maybe a little more. We haven’t explored that yet. You see, the ‘little more’ never occurs to both of us at the same time. I grabbed the candy bar Tony tossed in the air while he rang up my coffee.

“We on for lunch today?”

I nodded. “Thai food?”

Tony picked up a copy of the Swan Creek Daily.

“Did you read about this? Old lady down by the lake got robbed in broad daylight.”

Our small town is a peaceful place to live in most of the time except for a murder or two once in a while.

“Who got robbed? Does it say?”

“Ophelia something…”

“Oh, she’s in Motee Ba’s Bingo group. Is she alright?”

“She slept through it,” Tony said. “Police are investigating.”

We both rolled our eyes at that. Our local police force leaves much to be desired.

“Maybe you’ll get a call from Stan Miller.”

“I want to stay away from any more sleuthing, Tony. You know Dad’s given me a strict warning. He’ll be throwing me out soon.”

“You can come and live with me,” he winked.

Tony dropped out of law school after a personal setback. He lives with his parents too. We are a pair, aren’t we?

“I don’t see Aunt Reema going against Dad’s wishes.”

Tony’s mother’s from India too. I love her more than Dad’s sister who rules over us from her kingdom in New Jersey.

“If Stan calls, you won’t be able to refuse. Wanna bet?”

My mind was miles away, wondering who was targeting the old and helpless people in town.

The day passed with plenty of shelving. A hefty serving of fiery Red Thai Curry for lunch was the only respite I had from it. I stepped out of the library the moment the clock struck 5 PM.

Five mintues later, I was pulling up in front of Sylvie’s Café and Diner. Sylvie’s diner is a fixture in town. Everyone from absent minded Pioneer Poly professors to grocery store clerks eventually ends up there.

Sylvie hugged me and her husband Jon came out with steaming bowls of gumbo.

“You’re just in time, sweetie.”

My friend Becky came out of the kitchen. Becky works at Sylvie’s full time. I put in some hours there helping them with the new Indian fusion menu.

“I need your help with the fried chicken today. The marinade doesn’t seem right.”

The Masala Fried Chicken is the latest hot selling item at Sylvie’s. I perfected the recipe over summer. It’s all written down for Becky but she insists it needs my magic touch.

“Any word on Ophelia?” I asked Sylvie.

Sylvie is better informed than the Swan Creek Daily.

“She was drugged,” Sylvie whispered.

I tried not to get too excited. I’d promised my Dad to stay away from this kind of stuff. But it looked like I would have to break my promise.

You can read more about Meera in Gone With The Wings, the first book in the NEW “Meera Patel” mystery series.

Author Leena Clover announces a brand new cozy mystery series set in a small Oklahoma college town. Mystery readers will enjoy this culinary cozy murder mystery featuring plenty of yummy recipes like Masala Fried Chicken and Shish Kabob Blue Plate Special.

Meera Patel is back home with the family after she dropped out of graduate school. Now she shelves books for a living and rustles up fusion recipes at Sylvie’s Cafe & Diner. Everything is fine until her old nemesis Prudence Walker floats up in the local pond. Meera is accused of murder! Well, she did publicly declare Prudence would drop dead.

Meera cries foul and screams police harassment. But she has no defense when she is accused of a second crime. Flanked by pals Tony and Becky, Meera puts in the leg work, trying to solve clues and discard red herrings.

Fall in Oklahoma has never been more exciting.

Cozy mystery fans will love this new mystery series featuring an Asian American amateur sleuth. There is a full cast of characters with a professor father, young sibling, old grandparents, loyal friends and a candid glimpse into South Asian culture.

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Meet the author
Leena Clover is the author of the brand new Meera Patel Cozy Mystery Series, starring a 20-something Desi girl as the protagonist. The series is set in a small Oklahoma college town Meera calls home.

Leena Clover offers plenty of clues for her readers so that they can solve the mystery as they read along. Readers can expect a unique look into Indian/ South Asian culture and plenty of yummy recipes.

All comments are welcomed.

A negotiation between Summer and Dorothy by Lisa Q. Mathews

The following exchange between Summer Smythe, 26, and Dorothy Westin, 78, takes place at 12:23 pm. Monique’s Boutique, Milano, Florida. Also present: Monique Belleek, designer dress shop owner.

S: Come on out, Dorothy. Let’s see what you’ve got.

D: None of these outfits seem quite right for the Majesty Holiday Fashion Show. Or right for me, anyway. Is my choice of wardrobe really that important?

S: Yep. Remember, we need to blend in with the other guests, and they’ll be dressed to kill. I mean. . .they’ll be super dressed up.

D: Well, all of this fuss seems silly. Our focus should be on finding Angelica’s killer.

S: You can’t go wrong with a little black dress.

D: Emphasis on the little. It’s frightfully short.

S: You’re just not used to that length. It looks really nice on you. You’ve got great legs, Dorothy. You need to flaunt them every once in a while.

D: Mhmm.

S: Try the sparkly blue one. That’s going to be my favorite, I bet.

D: I’m not sure beading is my style. I was perfectly comfortable in that coral seater and skirt set I wore to the last show.

S: Yeah, but that’s what you had on when Angelica disappeared and we found her stuffed in a garment bag. It’s bad luck. Besides, it’s a formal event and you cannot be an outfit repeater.

M: How are we doing in there, Mrs. Westin? I’ve brought a few more dresses you’ll just love. They’re a bit more high-couture.

D: (Sighs.) Wonderful.

S: You know what, Monique? Dorothy will take the black dress. And maybe some accessories, too. Could you please bring us all the jewelry you’ve got?

M: I’ll be right back.

S: (Glances at phone) Oh no.

D: What’s wrong, Summer? Not more bad news, I hope.

S: It’s practically the worst thing ever. I just got a text from the booker at PAGE Models. They want me to fill in for Angelica at the Majesty show, can you believe it? A lot of the regular models have been dropping out because of what happened to her at Waterman’s.

D: It sounds like a perfect opportunity for our investigation.

S: You’re kidding, right? I’m not a model. It’d be, like, a joke.

D: Don’t worry, you’ll do a fabulous job.

S: But I don’t want that kind of job. Even if it pays more than being Aquatics Director at the Hibiscus Pointe Senior Living Community pool. And Detective Donovan’s going to be there, with his grandma who hates me.  Very. Bad. Idea.

D: Ah. Well, sometimes we have to put our personal preferences aside for the sake of a case. (Nods toward black dress.) Don’t you agree, dear?

Dress to impress (or just to relax) and join Summer Smythe and Dorothy Westin on the case in Fashionably Late, the third title in Lisa Q. Mathews’s lighthearted mystery series “The Ladies Smythe & Westin” from Carina Press/Harlequin. Don’t forget your sunhat!

It’s murder, she wore. . .

Sporting a chic Florida outfit and designer baubles, seasoned model Angelica Downs belonged on the runway. . .not in the morgue. Summer Smythe and Dorothy Westin are determined to retrace her final moments—right up to her desperate plea for help.

The Ladies pin their suspects down to just a few questionable characters. But why would anyone target such a seemingly sweet, lovely woman?

To lure the murderer—and perhaps some accessories of the criminal kind—the Ladies hit Milano Fashion Week, even organizing their own charity event at Hibiscus Pointe. Killer fashion may be this season’s drop-dead look, but Summer and Dorothy will be wearing little black funeral dresses if they don’t flatiron the culprit soon.

Don’t miss Cardiac Arrest, The Ladies Smythe & Westin’s first case, and Book #2: Permanently Booked!

Praise for The Ladies Smythe & Westin Mysteries

“An absolutely delightful series that readers will be thrilled to discover. . .a thoroughly entertaining experience that should not be missed.” ~ Kings River Life

“Sweet, sassy, and smart. Senior sleuth Dorothy Westin and impetuous young Summer Smythe make an endearing team in this sparkling debut. Lisa Q. Mathews is a terrific new voice in cozy mysteries.” ~ Cleo Coyle, New York Times bestselling author of The Coffeehouse Mysteries

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Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a digital copy (Kindle or Nook) of Fashionably Late. The giveaway will end August 18, 2017. Good luck everyone!

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About the author
Lisa Q. Mathews was a lifeguard, a figure skater, and a Nancy Drew editor before she started writing cozy mysteries. She also authored kids’ series such as Mary-Kate and Ashley and The Lizzie McGuire Mysteries and she was Creative Director at Random House Children’s Books. Mom to three grown kids, Lisa lives in New Hampshire with her husband, a lucky black cat, and a crazy Golden Retriever named Farley. Like her odd-couple co-sleuths in The Ladies Smythe & Westin series from Carina Press, she loves swimming, rich desserts, romantic comedies, and above all a good mystery. Please visit Lisa at lisaqmathews.com and join her on Twitter, group blog Chicks on the Case, Facebook, and Goodreads.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life with Kay Powell by E.J. Copperman

I don’t have a “typical” day. There’s just no such thing. Most days I have a client or two to see, potential clients to consider and sometimes I accompany a client to an audition. I do spend some time walking and cleaning up after my clients as well.

I’m Kay Powell of Powell and Associates (my only associate is actually my office manager Consuelo). I’m a theatrical agent whose clients are all animals. Not the Hollywood kind; the four-legged (usually) kind.

The story of how I got into this business is told elsewhere so I won’t take up your time. Suffice it to say I come from a showbiz family, didn’t want to perform on stage—anymore—and had a law degree with no desire to practice law. So the natural jump was to representing dogs, cats, birds and the occasional snake in movies, TV and theater, right?


I know it’s a little unusual, but the fact is most of my conflicts in business are with my clients’ human owners, not the animals themselves. Most of the clients—even the snake—are just as sweet as can be. It’s the people who can be problems.

For example, I had this client Bruno, the nicest big shaggy dog you ever met. Well okay, so you never met him, but I did and he was a gentleman and a terrific actor. But his owners, Trent and Louis Barclay, were a little less than charming. In fact, the director Les McMaster (yes, that Les McMaster!) was ready to give Bruno the role of Sandy in his hit revival of Annie on Broadway—but he insisted it be written into the contract that Trent especially could not be in the theater for rehearsals or have any contact at all with Les while Bruno was working in the show.

That became somewhat moot when they found Trent with a knife in his back and his face in Bruno’s water dish.

And that’s when my life started getting interesting. More interesting. No, I’ll go back to it: Interesting.

To tell the truth, I wasn’t that upset about what happened to Trent. But if anybody comes after Bruno, they’re going to have to go through me first.

Perhaps I should rephrase that.

It’s a long story, told elsewhere. Suffice it to say it wasn’t a typical day. Because I haven’t had one of those yet.

You can read more about Kay in Dog Dish of Doom, the first book in the NEW “Agent to the Paws” mystery series.

Cozy fans and animal lovers alike won’t be able to keep their paws off Dog Dish of Doom. Laugh-out-loud funny, E.J. Copperman’s series debut is “lots of fun” (Library Journal, starred).

Kay Powell wants to find that break-out client who will become a star. And she thinks she’s found him: His name is Bruno, and he has to be walked three times a day.

Kay is the Agent to the Paws, representing showbiz clients who aren’t exactly people. In fact: they’re dogs. Bruno’s humans, Trent and Louise, are pains in the you-know-what, and Les McMaster, the famous director mounting a revival of Annie, might not hire Bruno just because he can’t stand them.

This becomes less of an issue when Trent is discovered face down in Bruno’s water dish, with a kitchen knife in his back. Kay’s perfectly fine to let the NYPD handle the murder, but when the whole plot seems to center on Bruno, her protective instincts come into play. You can kill any people you want, but you’d better leave Kay’s clients alone.

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About the author
Kay Powell debuts in the Agent to the Paws mystery series with Dog Dish of Doom from Minotaur on August 15. E.J. Copperman is the author of the Agent to the Paws series, the Haunted Guesthouse mystery series, the Mysterious Detective mystery series and, with Jeff Cohen, the Asperger’s mystery series. E.J. has a beagle named Gizmo who does not perform on camera or onstage. But he does a heck of an act when he wants some chicken from your plate. Connect with E.J. at ejcopperman.com.

All comments are welcomed.

Author Showcase ~ Diamonds Aren’t Forever by Connie Shelton

New Caper Mystery Series Debuts from USA Today bestselling author Connie Shelton

Release: August 14 2017
Series: Heist Ladies #1
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Secret Staircase Books

A bold museum robbery. A missing million-dollar necklace, a stalled police investigation. For the victim of the crime, the situation calls for desperate measures.

Albuquerque, NM, July 26, 2017 – Penelope Fitzpatrick wasn’t born to wealth. Her grandfather fed the family by selling his small stash of gemstones smuggled from tsarist Russia when the monarchy fell. Now, Pen has done well for herself as a successful novelist living in Scottsdale, Arizona. But when the final jewel in her family legacy becomes the target of a cunning band of thieves, and the priceless piece is stolen from the museum where it was on loan, the police have many excuses why they can’t solve the crime. Not one to accept defeat, Pen does the only thing she can do—gather a group of friends to help catch the crooks and steal back the necklace.

It becomes apparent the thief is a master con man who is likely working with an international theft ring. The chase takes the Ladies far from home and into elegant European enclaves as they attempt to face him down. Close calls and near misses—it’s never quite certain whether the women will be able to pull their own spectacular heist and see justice done.

“The entire Heist Ladies series came to me during a long car trip, where I jotted notes for five books with five female protagonists. Each book will feature one of the women and an crime done against her,” said author Connie Shelton. “For the first story, Diamonds Aren’t Forever, I drew upon two of my interests. I’ve always been fascinated with con men and the ways they work. And I love beautiful jewelry. The chance to develop a plot weaving them together proved irresistible. After studying the methods con men use, I knew I had to pit the man in this story against a woman who would not, as many victims do, hide away from the crime and let him win. Penelope Fitzpatrick had the perfect attitude. All she needed was a team of friends with the necessary skills, and—voila—the Heist Ladies came together.”

Part caper, part heist, this fast-paced story of a team of contemporary women brings a sense of adventure and fun as Penelope, the woman who has lost a very valuable piece of heirloom jewelry, pursues the thief. Fans of Janet Evanovich and Jana DeLeon will love this daring and spunky group of women friends in their first mystery caper, Diamonds Aren’t Forever.

“I write mysteries from many levels,” says Shelton. “Yes, there’s a crime (or two or three) and, yes, my protagonists are out to solve that crime. But I also like to include a look at the people behind the actions, and I want to do it with a touch of humor and often a lot of food! Fans often comment on those aspects of my stories. To my readers, my lead characters feel like friends. Knowing that people relate to my protagonists and the extended cast of characters on such a personal level is what makes this so much fun for me.”

Meet Connie Shelton and her characters from all three of her series at connieshelton.com, and be sure to check out the Food page which includes recipes from New Mexico, Connie’s home state, a sampling of the great dishes which have been featured in her books. Subscribe to Connie’s email newsletter to receive the latest news and have a chance to win prizes each month.

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Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a digital copy (Kindle or Nook) of Diamonds Aren’t Forever. The giveaway will end August 15, 2017. Good luck everyone!

Meet the author
Connie Shelton is the USA Today bestselling author of two mystery series set in her home state, New Mexico, in addition to the Heist Ladies international series. She read her first non-picture book at age seven and has not stopped reading since. She has been involved with books as an editor, publisher, teacher, bookseller, reader and writer. She has taught writing courses and was a contributor to Chicken Soup For the Writer’s Soul. Many of her previous books have achieved mystery bestseller status on Amazon and Kobo. She and her husband reside in New Mexico with their two dogs. Contact her through her website at connieshelton.com.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of Theo McDermott by Beth Prentice

This morning had started like any other day. I’d opened one eye and looked up as Chloe stirred next to me, pulling the blanket away from me as she moved, allowing the cool morning air to sweep over my body. As she threw her legs over the edge of the bed, rubbing her eyes as she did so, I figured it really was time to get up. Rolling onto all fours, I pushed my butt in the air and stretched. Once that was done, I shook myself, fluffing my glorious fur until I resembled a fluff ball. Morning routine complete. . .tick.

“Good morning Dude,” said Chloe, rubbing me behind the ears. Oooh that felt good. Just a little scratch would be better. . .yep right there. . .that’s it. I blew out a blissful sigh as she kissed the top of my head before making her way to the bathroom.

My name is Theo and apparently I’m a Chihuahua. My doppelganger was on television last night, and they kept calling him The Rock. Looking at him was almost like looking in the mirror. He was tall, strong and all the girls swooned when he smiled at them. I have that same effect on the women. One look from me and they’re putty in my little paws. Which is really how I came to live with Chloe. You see, she was supposed to hand me in to the animal shelter, but I used my big puppy dog eyes and she couldn’t resist. And really, it’s worked out the best for both of us. I get treated like a king and she gets my little kisses. Win, win!

Chloe’s a parcel courier with the local post office and most days I get to ride along with her. That means I get to travel in the van, and get to meet the residents of Westport. Today started like any other work day. We went to the sorting shed, I was given lots of treats, pats and tickles from her co-workers, and then we were on the road, the wind blowing in my face—from the air conditioning vent that is. There’s no way I’m sticking my head out the car window—what do you think I am? A dog? Pfft! The first disappointment came when Chloe stopped at Jimmy’s house and I had to wait in the car because it was raining. I quite like Jimmy. He’s retired now and has nothing better to do than buy me treats. But instead of getting spoilt, I had to stand on a stack of packages, my paws resting on the van door, pressing my nose against the cold glass window, watching them. I whimpered quietly—alright it wasn’t quiet. It was quite loud really, not that they seemed to notice me. The men sitting in the car opposite us noticed me though. They’d been watching Jimmy’s house as we pulled up, but as soon as I started to howl, they turned their full attention to me. Maybe that was the point where I should have quietened down, because I’ve since realized that sometimes in life, it’s better to go unnoticed.

You see, the day changed dramatically after that. When that same car pulled up in our street at home, and the guy got out and spoke to Chloe, I knew he wasn’t a good man. I knew that someone had to scare him away from her. I was the Rock. It was my duty to keep her safe. But Chloe had placed me inside our home, so I couldn’t get to him, to warn him that I was on the job. Thankfully, whatever Chloe said to him made him go away and life returned to normal. Until another man showed up, opening our gate and strutting up the front path. I had the perfect view looking down on him from the window seat in the bedroom. He had that look about him and I knew he wasn’t good. I needed to show him that I was the boss and I would protect Chloe, even if my life depended on it. Which it turns out, it may just.

I tried to tell the man to go away. I tried to tell him that he was not welcome. I ran down the stairs, growling, barking, and baring my teeth. I was ferocious! But instead of running away, instead of being scared, he opened the door, picked me and left, taking me with him.

As Chloe’s screams echoed in my ears, the home I loved disappeared in his rear-view mirror.

Shivering and shaking, I reassessed my plan of action. Maybe I wasn’t ferocious, maybe I wasn’t strong, but I could be darned annoying when I put my mind to it. I stepped over to the man, used my big puppy-dog eyes and tapped him unrelentingly with my paw. Give him a night of this treatment, and I’d be home before I knew it.

You can read more about Theo in Deadly Tails, the second book in the “Unleashed” mystery series.

Chloe McDermott’s life in Westport is pretty close to perfect. She has a good job, a gorgeous boyfriend, Brody, and an adorable little dog, Theo.

But when Chloe receives a gift of an old chessboard from an elderly friend, her perfect life unexpectedly falls apart. Theo is dognapped, the chessboard is stolen, and her friend apparently commits suicide in his home. But when the autopsy reveals a murder, Chloe knows something doesn’t add up, and she suspects the old game board is at the center of it all. She enlists the help of her boyfriend’s hot-headed father and her flamboyantly fabulous BFF to get to the heart of the truth. Can she solve the riddle and find a killer before Theo is added to the body count? Or will she lose her little furry friend forever?

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Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a signed copy of Deadly Tails. The giveaway ends August 12, 2017. Good luck everyone!

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About the author
Beth Prentice is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the Westport Mysteries. Killer Unleashed, her GHP debut novel, received a bronze medal in the 2016 Readers Favorite International Book Awards.

She was born in Manchester, England, but after moving backwards and forwards across the world 13 times in 14 years she decided that at the age of 18 that Australia was to be her home. She now lives on the beautiful Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia where every day is a good one. She is the lucky mother of two grown up children, and, along with her ever-patient husband, she is the proud but sometimes flustered owner of four dogs, a cat, and a canary. She has always had a love of reading, and even though her background is in accounting, she has now discovered her love of writing. Her main wish is to write books you can sit back, relax with, and escape from your everyday life. . .and ones that you walk away from with a smile! When she’s not writing you will usually find her at the beach with a coffee in hand, pursuing her favorite pastime –people watching!

Connect with Beth at bethprenticenovels.com, on Facebook and on Twitter.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of astrologer Julia Bonatti by Connie di Marco

My profession isn’t an easy one. Oh, I know, people assume being an astrologer is a snap. They think I just flip on the computer, open my astro program and pull amazing predictions out of the air. Uh uh. Doesn’t work like that.

I have to spend time, sometimes hours, with a natal chart. I have to figure out where a new client is at in their lives, what planetary cycles have occurred, which transits are coming up, and most importantly why they’re coming to see me at this particular time. I can usually figure it out, that’s why I prefer they not tell me why they want an appointment. I’d rather approach the chart without any preconceived notions, look at it with a clear mind.

It’s not psychic power. If they want a psychic, I’d send them to The Mystic Eye to see my colleague Zora. She’s actually a very good psychic, but trust me, I can deal in more detail and not to sound egotistical, but I can also give my clients a plan for the future.

I have some terrific clients. I really do. And most of them are lovely people that I like very much. But then there are the others . . .

The Stone Face Client – this guy won’t move a facial muscle or respond at all. He’ll sit like a statute and not even give a nod of acknowledgement, as if he expects a performance. No no no . . . doesn’t work like that. This is a give and take situation. Even when you say, “Let’s talk about what happened when you were ten.” Still no response. Because I can see it in their chart that something traumatic happened at that point in their life. So then of course, I pretty much have to tell them what happened when they were ten. It’s like chipping away at a mountain of rock. Exhausting!

The Redundant Client – she’ll come back in six months or a year with the very same problem, as if it’s just happened and I know then she didn’t listen to a thing I said at our last appointment. She has not moved on and has not taken my advice, even when I try to change her perspective and point the same thing out in a different way.

The Freebie Client – these are the ones who call on the phone and launch into their latest drama. Because they showed up once for an appointment, they expect free advice for the next ten years.

Now, I’m perfectly happy to repeat what I’ve told them at their last session, but I’m not about to get into anything else unless they want to make an appointment. I mean I’m kind and understanding, but I’m not running a charity.

The Misdirection Client – they arrive with loads of business and career questions, but I know they’re really struggling with a romantic dilemma. When I introduce that subject they bounce back to chatting about their careers, and continue talking as if I hadn’t asked a question. It’s like pulling hen’s teeth.

The No-Show Client – they’ve made an appointment but they’re terrified. They’ll call half an hour before they’re due to arrive (after I’ve done all the work I might add) and cancel with some excuse. What I really love is when they call again, make an appointment and still get cold feet and cancel. I mean, why? I’m not going to bite. There’s nothing to be afraid of.

And that doesn’t take into account my clients who inveigle me into investigations and crime solving. Believe me, I’ve gotten into a lot of trouble trying to help people.

I don’t mean to complain. I really don’t. I love what I do and my clients are, for the most part, terrific people. But you’ll get a taste of some of the things I have to deal with in the Zodiac Mysteries. And just wait till you find out what happens in my next adventure ~ All Signs Point to Murder. I hope I make it through alive. If I do, I’ll never complain about a client again. I swear!

Still, I wouldn’t change my profession for the world!

You can read more about Julia in All Signs Point to Murder, the second book in the “Zodiac” mystery series.

The stars predict a wedding-day disaster, but San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti never expected murder.

Julia Bonatti is alarmed by the astrological signs looming over Geneva Leary’s wedding day, but nobody asked Julia’s opinion and being a bridesmaid means supporting the bride no matter what. Even with the foreboding Moon-Mars-Pluto lineup in the heavens, no one’s prepared for the catastrophes that strike: a no-show sister, a passed-out wedding planner, and a lethal shooting in the dead of night.

With anger and grief threatening to tear the Leary family apart, Julia is determined to understand how such a terrible tragedy could have occurred. As she digs deeper into the family’s secrets, her astrological insights lead her to some rather unexpected conclusions.

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About the author
Connie di Marco is the author of the Zodiac Mysteries from Midnight Ink featuring San Francisco astrologer, Julia Bonatti, who never thought murder would be part of her practice. All Signs Point to Murder is the second in the series, released August 8, 2017.

Writing as Connie Archer, she’s the national bestselling author of the Soup Lover’s mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime. You can find her excerpts and recipes in both The Cozy Cookbook and The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook. She is a member of International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

Connect with Connie at conniedimarco.com, or on Facebook, Twitter and Amazon.

All comments are welcomed.

My Musing ~ Cat Shining Bright by Shirley Rousseau Murphy

Cat Shining Bright by Shirley Rousseau Murphy is the 20th book in the “Joe Grey” mystery series. Publisher: William Morrow; coming August 15, 2017

The stakes are higher and more personal than ever for feline investigator Joe Grey when death comes to his beloved coastal California town in this twentieth installment of the enchanting cat mystery series.

While new father Joe Grey is overjoyed to teach his three young kittens about the world, he misses his cop work — secretly helping solve crimes alongside his human friends at Molena Point P. D. But when beautician Barbara Conley and one of her customers are found dead in the salon, Joe makes an exception, he heads for the crime scene. He has no idea that the kittens are following him, or how they will complicate the investigation.

But this is not the only danger to the kittens. A stranger is lurking around the home of Joe’s tabby lady, Dulcie, where the kittens were born. Both parents’ backs are up and their claws out, ready to protect their babies and to protect Wilma Getz, Dulcie’s human housemate.

As the death of the beautician becomes entangled with a gang of thieves working the village, Joe, Dulcie, Kit and Pan are all into the investigation; and they are led to unexpected connections, to the building of the new cat shelter and to a neighbor who becomes suddenly an unexpected part of the tangle.

Joe Grey fans will relish this latest installment following their favorite feline detective and his growing group of friends.

This is my first book in the series where the felines communicate with the humans. It is an interesting concept and I had a good time reading it. The author did a great job in presenting the mystery that kept me intrigued with all that was happening. I liked following the path that was taken to weed out the suspects and maintain a good story. The kittens were adorable and I liked how they were portrayed. For fans of this series, they will enjoy the latest adventures with Joe, Dulcie and their friends. This was a friendly whodunit that captures the soul of the town they live in.

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FTC Full Disclosure – I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) from the publisher.