It’s convenient that Here Be Magic is celebrating pets as a theme this month since I’m—as some of my acquaintances put it—a "crazy pet lady" whose book featuring a sassy cat and goofy dog just so happens to have gone on sale Monday. Never mind that I only have one cat that I have a co-dependent relationship with, but whatever. I do love animals and have been known to wade into dangerous situations to save strays, so I suppose I own the crazy. Back when I had time, I was also an active volunteer at my local animal shelter and did a lot of transporting, driving animals from our high-risk kill shelter to rescue groups in other states. Cats, dogs, rabbits, Guinea pigs, you name it, I love it. Except snakes. I’ve never been able to imagine having a pet snake, but that’s just me and, to be clear, I fully support anyone who gives them a loving home, provided they keep their snake far, far away from me.
That said, I haven’t written a book yet that didn’t feature a dog or a cat, or a dog AND a cat, in it somewhere. My psychic detective series has dogs and a cat as sidekicks to my detectives. When and if I get fan mail, it’s usually about Abbott and Costello, that snarky cat and dumb but lovable dog featured in my series.
Speaking of, the first book in that series, ON THE SCENT, is currently on sale by my publisher, so I thought I’d spotlight it for those of you new to my books. Here’s a synopsis and except, and if you’re interested, you’ll find buy links below. As always, a portion of my royalties go to my hometown shelter, so the animals and I thank you in advance. Grab it for 99 cents for a limited time!
Hannah is shocked to inherit a sassy cat, a dim-witted dog, and $10 million — along with the attentions of every money-grubbing weirdo in Atlanta! Can a gorgeous private detective keep her safe? This witty romantic mystery “will make readers laugh out loud” (RT Book Reviews).
Hannah eased back in her chair and watched Zachary Collins closely, but if this sexy-as-sin man had known her late employer, he was doing a fine job of not giving the fact away.
His face still scrunched, he stood up and moved back to his chair. “Collins Security specializes in helping people safeguard their home. I can get one of my people to come out to your place, arrange an alarm system and teach you some safety precautions.”
Don’t roll your eyes. Don’t. Do. It. I mean, really. As if she hadn’t already tried all of that. “I came to your firm because I’m looking for more help than that.” She bit her lip. Just say it. “And because I would like to hire your services as a psychic.”
There it was. The woman who thought all that supernatural mumbo jumbo was baloney wanted to hire a freaking psychic.
Good grief, has it really come to this?
She expected him to ask, “Why?” but Zachary simply sat back in his chair, rested one ankle on his opposite knee and created a triangle with his fingers. His penetrating gaze never wavered from hers.
“You want me to communicate with the animals?”
A rush of air escaped her lungs. She hadn’t even realized she’d been holding her breath.
“Yes!” she exclaimed, wondering if she should tell him everything or stick to the story she’d rehearsed on the way over here. “Like I said, I’m familiar with the show you did several years ago, and even though your website didn’t advertise your services as a psychic, I thought —”
“—that I could get inside their heads and tell you what they want from you? Are they happy? That kind of thing?” Not exactly, but she would use the excuse. Hannah nodded.
Lord, she almost hoped he wasn’t psychic, or else he’d see right through her and know exactly why she was here.
Ellie’s attorney had relayed to Hannah a cryptic message from the will. These animals are the key to my past. Only they know the truth. When you’re ready to hear it, they’ll tell you.
O-kay. Tell her what? Better yet, tell her how?
Mixed in with the instructions Ellie had left for Hannah had also been a brief scribbled note and a clipped article from a magazine. When I die, hire this man to help you. The torn and tattered old article had been a brief story previewing an upcoming season of The Psychic Detective. A publicity shot of Zachary Collins with his thick, dark hair, square-jawed masculinity, and eyes so blue they’d reminded her of the Georgia sky on a sunny day had taken up most of the page. His charisma in print had packed such a wallop, it was easy to understand why the man had been cast in his own TV show. Who the heck cared if he was psychic or a detective? The man was gorgeous.
Hannah had assumed he was only an actor, but Zachary Collins was a legit investigator. His website announced he’d opened an agency in Atlanta a little over five years ago. Licensed, bonded, and he’d come highly recommended by the Georgia Board of Private Detectives and Security Agencies when she’d called this morning.
Okay. Psychic plus detective. Hannah wasn’t stupid. Ellie had obviously thought this guy could communicate with Abbott and Costello and—what? How had Ellie known Hannah would need protection? Because of the money?
“I was hoping you could use your, you know, psychic abilities or whatever it is you do, to help me talk to the boys. Is there anything they need to tell me?” She shrugged and tried to look sheepish as she waited to see if he’d pass her test and freak her the heck out by saying something along the lines of “Abbott said to tell you that Ellie had a detailed journal describing her life as a Mexican drug lord hidden in the floorboard of her bedroom.”
Hannah needed that kind of proof to believe this guy could read minds, furry, human or otherwise.
His cobalt gaze captured hers, and whoa mama, she practically melted in the chair from the intensity of his stare. Tugging the collar of her shirt away from her neckline, she squirmed in her seat and looked away.
“I don’t communicate with animals, Miss Dawson,” he said. “My psychic abilities aren’t specialized to pet readings.”
“I understand that.” She might as well be panning for gold when it came to figuring out why Ellie had wanted her to hire him—well, other than the old woman had lost her mind—but the only thing different about him from the other private investigators she’d researched was that he claimed to be psychic. “I’d hoped you might be persuaded to try, or perhaps you can recommend someone who does talk to animals? I’ve got the money. I can pay whatever it takes.”
“I read people, not animals, but—” He seemed to hesitate. His eyes held hers. When he finally leaned forward and turned his gaze to the dog stretched out on his office floor, the tension she’d been feeling for the past few days loosened its grip on her muscles. “I sense that they’re still grieving. They miss their former owner, but they are quite happy with you. I’d dare say grateful.” He took a deep breath. “I’m afraid there’s really not much else to tell you. Animals are pretty simple-minded creatures. People tend to think they’re much smarter than they really are.”
Oh, really? Hannah crossed her arms and studied him to see if he was feeding her a line of BS. Costello knew exactly when eight o’clock was each day without looking at a clock—it was his feeding time—and Abbott could open doors and cabinets like it was nothing.
Oh, no. This man was obviously a quack. Zachary Collins had one helluva poker face though. She snuck a look down at the bag containing the cat. Abbott had also awoken her when the person trying to kidnap Costello had been wrestling with the dog.
The cat’s yellow eyes peered up at her with a sardonic expression. Almost as if the animal was thinking Are you buying this crap?