In the following excerpt from Fifty Shades of Greyhound, Pampered Pets mystery #5 from Bell Bridge Books (2014) pet therapist Caro Lamont has recommended her friend and part-time receptionist, Verdi, as a house-sitter for her neighbor who is out of town. But now with all that’s gone on in the past week, Caro finds herself worrying about whether it was a good idea…
Not that the coastal village isn’t beautiful on a perfect weather day like today had been. But sunset in Laguna is nothing short of phenomenal – almost every time.
I turned into my driveway and hit the button for the garage door opener. I hesitated as I did. There was a light on next door. Maybe Verdi was spending the night.
April Mae had told her she was welcome to stay at the house, but Verdi had her apartment and most nights stayed there. She took great care of April May’s cats, Tobey and Minou, which was the most important thing.
I hadn’t noticed her car so she could have accidently left a light on when she’d left. Not a bid deal and, if that was the case, I could run next door and turn it off after dinner.
I parked my car in the garage and pushed the button to close the door.
Dogbert was thrilled to see me. Thelma and Louise barely acknowledged me. They lifted their furry heads as if to say, “Oh, it’s you. Let us know when dinner is ready.”
I took Dogbert for a quick walk and then back home changed into my most comfy clothes. Remember those yoga clothes I wore to the self-defense class? Yeah, those were the ones.
Note to self: must shop for something nicer before next week’s class.
I fed my fur kids and started dinner for myself. As I threw together the spinach salad and tossed some toasted almonds on top, I considered the day. Pretty productive. My regular client load was under control. A few more Greyhound clients to go.
Maybe I’d have some news on Grandma Tillie’s brooch tomorrow. That FBI agent still had not called me back.
Bloody berk. I used Ollie’s term in my head. I still didn’t know the meaning, but his tone had conveyed the gist.
I took my salad and a glass of Chardonnay out to my patio.
The light was still on next door at April Mae’s house and it bugged me. I couldn’t tell for sure which light was on. It didn’t appear to be the veranda. There was an enclosed veranda at the back of the house that had been set up as an area for Toby and Minou, April Mae’s cats.
They’d become April Mae’s cats in my mind. My next door neighbor, Kitty, had named them, but when she was killed (another murder, I’m afraid) and her sister inherited the cats and the home, the two Bengal cats had immediately bonded with April Mae. I hoped she was faring well in getting things sorted out in her home state of Missouri. I missed her flamboyant presence.
I’d run next door as soon as I’d finished eating. If Verdi were there, I’d update her on the status of the investigation as I knew it. If she wasn’t, I’d turn off the light in the house. Better than worrying about it all night.
I carried my dishes back inside, rinsed them, and set them aside. I grabbed my sweatshirt, cell phone, and my key to the house next door just in case Verdi wasn’t there. I stepped outside. There was no little green car in the drive, but I rang the doorbell anyway.
I unlocked the door and stepped in. The light I’d seen from my house was in the kitchen. Halfway down the hallway I heard something. Maybe Verdi was there after all.
I could see a shadow moving in the kitchen.
“Verdi?” I called.
The shadow froze.
Okay, not Verdi.
I backed up, my eyes glued to the doorway, ready to turn and run if necessary.
Sparkle Abbey is the pseudonym of mystery authors Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter. They are friends as well as neighbors so you’ll often find them writing at ML’s dining room table or at their local Starbucks. They live in the Midwest, but if they could write anywhere, you would find them on the beach with their laptops and depending on the time of day either an iced tea or a margarita. They love to hear from animal lovers and readers and can be contacted via their website at: www.SparkleAbbey.com
Fifty Shades of Greyhound is the fifth book in their national bestselling Pampered Pets mystery series which features Caro and Mel, two feuding cousins who solve whodunits set in the wacky world of pampered pets, precious pedigrees, and secrets. The first book in the series Desperate Housedogs, an Amazon and Barnes & Noble Nook #1 bestseller, was followed by Get Fluffy, Kitty Kitty Bang Bang, and Yip/Tuck. The Girl with the Dachshund Tattoo is up next.