Stay Calm and Collie On

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Buckingham Pet Palace is known for treating dogs like royalty—until their chauffeur’s murder dethrones its good reputation!

As owner of an upscale doggy daycare and spa, animal-lover Sue Patrick pampers pooches for the most elite clients in Lewes, Delaware. Surely she can survive a weeklong visit from Lady Anthea Fitzwalter, her well-to-do business partner from England. But before Sue can serve her guest a spot of tea, she discovers more-than-a-spot of blood inside the company van—and all over the driver’s dead body . . .

Someone abandoned the van full of dogs at the Lewes ferry terminal and got away with murder, leaving Sue and Lady Anthea pawing for clues. With a fundraising gala approaching and Buckingham Pet Palace facing scandal, can two very different women work together to fetch the culprit from a list of dodgy suspects—or are they heading toward a proper disaster?

If the cover and synopsis wasn’t enough to hook you, keep reading for an excerpt from the book below! Though you’ll have to wait until November 11, 2017 for the book’s release, you can start falling in love with the characters right now.

Chapter 1

“Sue! Hi!” My customer gave the Buckingham Pet Palace lobby a furtive once-over. “Is she here?”

No need to say who she was.

I propped my elbows on the reception counter and lowered my voice like I was about to reveal news to her and her alone, secrets people would kill for. “Her flight from Heathrow landed on time. She flew into Dulles. The driver called me from there and then again when they crossed the Bay Bridge.” I was happy to indulge her curiosity with minute details; after all, I had worked long and hard to get everyone in Lewes, Delaware talking about Lady Anthea Fitzwalter. The whole town seemed to be looking forward to the first visit of our very own royal personage.

“Good afternoon, Lydia.” My head groomer, Mason, joined us, leading a geriatric beagle. He handed our customer the leash, then pivoted to giveme a tired, put-upon nod.

“Thanks for fitting us in. I wanted Loopy to look his best for Friday’s gala.”

Mason turned back to her and managed a weak smile. I telepathically dared him to point out that the beagle looked pretty much the same after a groom as before, the exception being the Union Jack bandana Loopy now wore. Though only in his mid-twenties, Mason was one of the best dog groomers in Delaware. This particular dog had hardly been a challenge, still I complimented him on a job well done. But received no acknowledgment.

“You look tired,” she cooed. Bingo! That’s what Mason was longing to hear.

“Exhausted. You have no idea.” Mason reached a toned and heavily tattooed arm down to give Loopy one final behind-the-ear scratch, then dragged himself away, calling over his shoulder, “I did teeth and glands.”

She turned back to me. “Sue, is he okay?”

“He’s loving every minute of it.” Mason’s hangdog expression hadn’t fooled me at all. He tells me weekly that he’s an artist. On Saturday he told me he was suffering for his art. I slid Lydia’s credit card slip across the counter and showed her where to sign. “Both of my groomers are booked solid getting all the dogs ready for the gala.” Abby, my standard Schnauzer, still needed to be groomed. It was only Monday, so I wasn’t worried. I discreetely tucked the receipt into a cellophane bag along with a gluten-free dog treat in the shape of a blow-dryer.

She patted her shoulder bag. “I have my invitation right here. Engraved, even. Oh, my. Very nice.” She paused in her quick sentences. “Might we see Lady Fitzwalter during the week here?”

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