Murder Strikes a Pose
by Tracy Weber
Midnight Ink, 2014
Author's note: In this excerpt, Kate is at home late at night after finding her homeless friend George’s body. She has taken Bella, the victim’s dog, home to stay with her until the police locate his family. Kate feels guilty over a fight she had with George earlier that day.
I looked at the clock and almost cried. It was one-thirty, and my early morning class started at six. I’d never felt so bone-weary in my life. My head still throbbed, and my stomach ached from hunger. But all I could think about was sleep—deep, dreamless sleep. “Come on, Bella. It’s bedtime.” I showed her the bedroom. She hopped on the bed and flopped down, lying squarely on my pillow.
“Sorry, pooch. This is where I draw the line. I sleep on the bed. You sleep on the floor.”
I grabbed a blanket from the closet, laid it on the floor and pointed to it. “For you.” It took some convincing, but Bella finally relented. I collapsed on the bed and closed my eyes.
Images of George’s body, sounds of sirens, the smell of blood, and the full knowledge of the evening’s horror invaded every crevice of my being.
Bella paced the room, panting and whining. I tried to coax myself to sleep with “Kate’s Sleeping Pill,” my favorite breath practice for insomnia. No good. The horrible memories refused to leave. But at least now the room was quiet. At least that infernal whining had stopped.
My mind froze. My eyes flew open. Why had the whining stopped?
I rolled over and locked eyes with Bella. Her accusing glare scolded me. We stared each other down for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, I realized what was bothering her. Bella was used to sleeping on the ground, but not alone. She and George had lain next to each other every night for as long as she could remember. Changing that now seemed cruel.
“OK, you win. Come on up, but only for tonight.” I slapped the bed beside me.
Bella hopped up, turned a quick circle, and sank down next to me with a heavy sigh. Her brow furrowed, her ears drooped, and her head hung low. I could tell she knew something had changed. She didn’t know what or why, but she knew it was bad. Frighteningly bad. Life-changingly bad.
I suspected Bella couldn’t understand me, but she deserved an explanation nonetheless. So I told her that George was gone, but that he had loved her more than anything. I also promised her that, although I couldn’t keep her, I would make sure she was safe until I found someone who could.
I owed that to George.
You see, I firmly believed that George’s death was at least partially my fault. That if I had listened more and judged less, I might have prevented this awful night. I deeply regretted my stubbornness in not apologizing. I regretted suggesting he euthanize Bella. I even regretted not buying that damned paper. No one else would have blamed me for what happened, but I definitely blamed myself.
As I finished the story, Bella rested her chin on my belly, closed her eyes, and fell asleep. The warmth of her body on mine felt oddly comforting, and I finally relaxed enough to do what I’d needed to do for hours. I broke down sobbing as I held Bella and allowed her rhythmic breathing to rock us both to sleep.
Murder Strikes a Pose introduces Kate Davidson, a feisty Seattle yoga instructor who’s more interested in savasana than solving crimes, until she stumbles over a body in the studio’s parking lot. The police dismiss the murder as drug-related street crime, but Kate knows that George—a homeless alcoholic she had befriended—was no drug dealer.
Kate stretches herself and takes on two new challenges. First, solve George’s murder. Second, find someone—anyone—willing to adopt his intimidating, horse-sized German shepherd, Bella, before Animal Control sends her to the big dog park in the sky. But with Bella’s time almost up and the murderer hot on her trail, Kate will have to work fast, or the next time she practices corpse pose, it may be for real MURDER STRIKES A POSE is available now on Amazon, http://www.amazon.com/Murder-Strikes-Pose-Downward-Mystery/dp/0738739685/ and wherever books are sold.
Tracy Weber is a certified yoga teacher and the founder of Whole Life Yoga, an award-winning yoga studio in Seattle, where she currently lives with her husband and German shepherd. Weber is a member of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association, Dog Writers Association of America, and Sisters in Crime. She loves sharing her passion for yoga and animals in any form possible. Murder Strikes a Pose is Weber’s debut. For more information, visit her online at http://TracyWeberAuthor.com or friend her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/tracywe