It’s been said Lizzie Jones is the very definition of an animal lover. My being a veterinary science student, a pet sitter, and volunteering at the vet clinic have made that accurate.
I’d taken extra time getting ready before heading to the clinic because my boyfriend, Tino Morales, was picking me up for lunch to celebrate his mamá’s birthday at the Lobster Pot. For the occasion, I’d worn my best and newest jeans and favorite blue sweater.
I was in the clinic’s back room, just about to put on a smock, when an agitated cry came over the intercom. “Lizzie, come quick!”
I bolted to the front. Holly, the receptionist, held the door open as Peter Buckley rushed in carrying Horatio, his German short-haired pointer.
“Lizzie,”—Peter thrust the big dog at me like the sixty-pound brute weighed no more than a sack of potatoes—“he’s hurt.”
Peter’s momentum and the weight of the dog staggered me, but I managed to stay upright, stumbling sideways like a drunken sailor before heading to an exam room.
“What happened?” I asked.
Peter fell in step beside me. His voice quivered. “We were out hunting. He went into the pond after a bird and came out bleeding—tree branch or something else cut him.”
Horatio was sopping wet and covered in mud from his nose to the tip of his tail, and since he was now plastered up against me, I was sopping wet and covered in mud too. His injured and bloody hind leg was up against my belly.
The dog shook and panted, whimpering deep in his throat. He tried to lick my face. Poor guy. My heart went out to him and Peter too.
Peter helped me lay Horatio gently on the table.
Horatio began to scrabble, trying to gain purchase on the slick stainless steel. I could see the gash on his right hind leg—trying to clot but still oozing.
Peter’s hands trembled as he tried to calm his dog.
“Doc Whitaker will take care of him.” I laid my hand on his, barely finishing before the door opened and Dr. Adam Whitaker, blond and movie-star handsome, rushed in.
He took a brief moment to question how the injury had been sustained then bent low over the dog. “Hold him for me, Lizzie.”
Poor Horatio went crazy trying to get up, like maybe he’d make a break for it. I spread myself over him. Adam examined the cut.
Now I was covered in mud and slime, and as I struggled with the terrified squirming dog, I caught a whiff of myself. I reeked of stagnant pond scum and wet dog.
Eventually Horatio’s leg was stitched up, and he was settled into a kennel until the anesthesia wore off.
I was heading to clean up the exam room when Tino walked in.
I couldn’t help noticing he looked great—hair perfect, face smooth and clean-shaven. He wore a pair of black jeans and a crisp white-collared shirt under a khaki blazer.
I spread my arms to display my favorite blue sweater and newest, best-fitting jeans in all their mud, blood, and dog hair and saliva glory.
“There was an emergency,” I said simply. “I. . .I. . .I’m so sorry. I know this day is important to you, and I feel like I’ve let you down.”
I was stone cold crazy about Tino Morales, my hot as a chili pepper, gentle as a Buddhist monk Latino, and the idea of disappointing him stung.
There was no way I could join Tino and his family. In my smelly, sorry state, I didn’t figure he’d even want me riding in his car.
“Let me down?” Tino stood blinking his beautiful brown eyes at me, his smile never wavering. “How can you think that? How’s the animal?”
“He’s doing well.”
Doc Whitaker walked out, quickly sizing things up. “Peter came in before you could change?”
“And you had plans for lunch?”
I nodded again.
Tino started to speak, but Doc Whitaker beat him to the punch. “Tino, how would you feel about escorting a woman dressed in scrubs to lunch?”
Tino grinned. “Scrubs? Lizzie’s beautiful no matter what she’s wearing, even mud and dog hair.”
My heart swelled.
“Lizzie,” Adam said, “why don’t you go in the back for a quick shower and pick out one of the newer sets of scrubs. That way Tino can show you off for the kind-hearted woman you are.”
“Do we have time?” I asked Tino.
“Of course,” he said.
Later when we walked into the Lobster Pot, Tino’s family was already there. No one seemed to notice the scrubs with puppies all over them—no one but the waiter.
He asked, “And what can I get for you, Doctor?”
I began. “Not doctor.”
Tino finished. “Not yet, but soon she’ll be the best veterinarian in the state.”
I leaned over, kissing him.
“Nice,” he said. “BTW, you look adorable in those scrubs.”
“Well,” I said, “at least I smell better.”
You can read more about Lizzie in Divas, Diamonds & Death, the 15th book in the “Danger Cove” (Pet Sitter) mystery series.
This little piggy may not be coming home.
This little piggy went to market. This little piggy stayed home. And this little piggy got kidnapped, and her diamond collar was swiped, and then there was a murder and false accusations. . .and. . ..and. . .oh my goodness!
Pet Sitter turned sleuth, Lizzie Jones is excited about the upcoming Second Chance Animal Rescue fundraiser. The celebrity draw, Sabrina Ramirez, is a pet psychic famous for her TV show The Critter Communicator. Sabrina arrives with her entourage that includes Rosie, an adorable teacup pig that Sabrina treats like royalty, Sabrina’s buff bodyguard, her devoted nephew, and unexpectedly, her estranged ex-husband.
When Sabrina needs a pet sitter Lizzie is thrilled to take on the job. That is until the little piglet is pignapped on Lizzie’s watch—along with her diamond collar! But things go from bad to worse when the fundraiser turns deadly and Lizzie’s granddad is high on the murder suspect list. Lizzie jumps headlong into clearing her granddad’s name and finding the pignapper and the killer. Are they one and the same, or is she looking for two separate types of swine? And will she find them first. . .or will the killer be the one frying Lizzie’s bacon?
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Giveaway: Two readers selected at random will receive their choice of any of Jean and Sally’s books (e-book, everywhere or print, US only). Leave a comment below for your chance to win. The giveaway ends August 21, 2017. Good luck everyone!
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Meet the author
Sally J. Smith and Jean Steffens, are partners in crime—crime writing, that is. They live in the Valley of the Sun in Arizona, awesome for eight months out of the year, an inferno the other four. They write bloody murder, flirty romance, and wicked humor all in one package.
Connect with them at smithandsteffens.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter.
All comments are welcomed.