|Amazon: Print or eBook|
When a top-ranked competitor keels over at a dog obedience trial, photographer Janet MacPhail is swept up in a maelstrom of suspicion, jealousy, cut-throat competition, death threats, pet-napping, and murder. She becomes a “person of interest” to the police, and apparently to major hunk Tom Saunders as well. As if murder and the threat of impending romance aren’t enough to drive her bonkers, Janet has to move her mother into a nursing home, and the old lady isn’t going quietly. Janet finds solace in her Australian Shepherd, Jay, her tabby cat, Leo, and her eccentric neighbor, Goldie Sunshine. Then two other “persons of interest” die, Jay’s life is threatened, Leo disappears, and Janet’s search for the truth threatens to leave her own life underdeveloped – for good.
by Sheila Webster Boneham
Jay stood on the bed, and it shook every time he let out a booming buroof. I should know by now to listen to my dog, but the shock to my adrenals had brought my headache back with a vengeance, and I took Jay by the collar and hustled him down the hall toward the kitchen. I flipped the switch for the hallway light, but nothing happened. I told you to replace that bulb, whispered the voice from my pompous side.
Jay tried to pull me into the living room, growling and barking, but I hauled him through the dark to the kitchen and out the door. “Go out and pee, and have a look around. Then maybe we can get some sleep!”
I groped for and found the light switch by the door, but it made no difference. No lights. Storm must have knocked out a transformer, I thought, until I noticed that Goldie’s back porch light was on, as it often was all night. My circuit breaker must have tripped.
I turned toward the laundry room, felt my way past the kitchen table and chairs, hoping not to catch a toe on a chair leg, and followed the smooth surface of the wall into the gloom of the windowless laundry room. My fingers hit the cool edge of the dryer, drifted to the right, touched the wall, and ran over the vinyl wallpaper until they found metal. I felt for the pull ring and yanked the breaker box open, then realized that I had no idea which breaker was where. I needed some light.
I backtracked into the kitchen and slowly made my way to the counter. I opened the first drawer to the right of the sink and felt around, trying to remember whether anything sharp lay waiting to stab me. The biggest hazards in the drawer were probably a couple of pens. As my fingers closed over the hard plastic flashlight handle, I thought I heard something behind me.
I stopped, listening into the dark. Must be the wind. I picked up the flashlight and tried it. No go. Note to self: replace flashlight batteries.
Jay was raising hell outside the door. It wasn’t his usual “let me in” bark, but more serious, a prolonged medley of deep-throated boofs and high-pitched squeals. “Quiet!” Knowing he didn’t like the wind but puzzled by the panic in his voice, I hollered that I’d be right there.
My fingers fumbled further into the drawer and were rewarded by the feel of a cylinder about four inches long. I pictured its scarred red surface and blackened wick, and was glad I’d kept it though its tabletop days were done. As I’d told Goldie many times, you never know when something may come in handy. I put the candle stub in my pocket and edged back toward the laundry room. I was just starting to pull open the matchbox when a stunning pain knocked all thought out of my mind.