This week, I’m welcoming author, Beth Prentiss.
Beth Prentice is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the Westport Mysteries. Killer Unleashed, her GHP debut novel, received a bronze medal in the 2016 Readers Favorite International Book Awards. Her main wish is to write books you can sit back, relax with, and escape from your everyday life…and ones that you walk away from with a smile! When she’s not writing you will usually find her at the beach with a coffee in hand, pursuing her favorite pastime—people watching!
Chloe McDermott’s life in Westport is pretty close to perfect. She has a good job, a gorgeous boyfriend, Brody, and an adorable little dog, Theo.
But when Chloe receives a gift of an old chessboard from an elderly friend, her perfect life unexpectedly falls apart. Theo is dognapped, the chessboard is stolen, and her friend apparently commits suicide in his home. But when the autopsy reveals a murder, Chloe knows something doesn’t add up and she suspects the old game board is at the center of
it all. She enlists the help of boyfriend’s hot-headed father and her flamboyantly fabulous BFF to get to the heart of the truth. Can she solve the riddle and find a killer before Theo is added to the body count? Or will she lose her little furry friend forever?
Here is an excerpt:
“Stop!” I yelled, running down my hallway. My socks were sliding on the shiny floorboards beneath my feet, and I was having a hard time getting traction. But I couldn’t let that slow me down. It was of the utmost importance that I caught him in time. I couldn’t let him get away. If I did, I would live to regret it.
I should have been more mindful. I should have taken more care. But I didn’t. If I could go back just two minutes in time, I would do it all differently.
“Theo, please!” I begged, skidding to a halt as I grabbed the door jam and spun into the lounge room, my foot landing in a large dollop of sticky chocolate sauce. My white couch came into view as Theo stopped in front of it and took a giant leap onto his footstool, the chocolate sauce bottle firmly clenched between his little teeth, the contents pooling beneath it. From there Theo turned to look at me.
My breath caught with the knowledge of what was going to happen next. How did I not see this coming? How?
I knew how. I’d been busy daydreaming about my boyfriend Brody as he’d stepped into the shower this morning, and I hadn’t been paying attention to what I was doing. I should have known doing two things at once was a bad idea. Pouring chocolate sauce onto a breakfast biscuit while sitting on the floor to pull my shoes on was never going to end well. But in my defence, I’d thought that Theo was still sound asleep on my bed. How was I to know that he had snuck up behind me and stolen the sauce container the second that I placed it on the floor?
Theo is my Chihuahua. He’s ten inches tall, white with big brown spots, not quite as hairy as he once was (thanks to a seriously bad haircut I may have given him), but when he looked in the mirror he saw The Rock. In all honesty, he fit in my handbag. (I know—I’ve had him in there.) But for something so small, he had a lot of personality
“No!” I yelled, my cranky voice turned up for maximum effect. Not that it mattered. Theo blinked one last time, and before I could launch myself towards him, he clamped down harder on the sauce container and leaped up onto the cushion, only stopping once he’d completed three anticlockwise turns, the chocolate sauce dripping concentric circles around him.
“Dude! You’re killing me,” I cried, surveying the chocolate trail leading from the kitchen to the brand-new couch that Brody had bought for me. That was going to stain. Oh boy! How was I going to explain this to Brody? He’d already lectured me on my choice of breakfast.
Theo didn’t want to give up his prize, but after I lifted him under my arm and wrestled the plastic bottle from grip, he relented. His mouth was tiny, but apparently eco plastic was flimsy and squashed easily for a perfect fit. It may save the planet, but it didn’t save my couch.
“You’re a really bad boy!” I scolded. “You know that you’re not allowed to have chocolate. And look at the mess you’ve made!”
Theo just blinked, his deep brown eyes shining with contentment, his tongue hanging to one side, as chocolate sauce stuck to his fur.
I’d only owned Theo for a few months, but he seemed to have settled in with me pretty well. I didn’t really mind though. I’d completely fallen in love with him. You see, Theo used to belong to my elderly neighbor Betty. A few months ago, she asked me to hand him over to the local animal shelter for her as she was moving into a retirement village and couldn’t take him. Of course I said yes, as I do pretty much whatever people ask of me, but when I got there I just couldn’t hand him over. At the time, Theo used his big puppy-dog eyes to woo me. Now he just uses them whenever he wants to get his own way or get out of trouble.
Brody was moving around upstairs, his footsteps echoing on the floorboards. I knew his routine, and I had approximately three minutes to clean up before he came downstairs. One look at this mess and I’d be listening to a lecture on the adverse effects of sugar for months. Brody is an amazing man, but he’s also very health conscious. I loved sugar, and the last thing I needed was another reason to remove it from my pantry.
Running back to the kitchen, I threw the sauce bottle into the bin, grabbed the antibacterial wipes, dropped to my knees, and frantically started to wipe every bit of chocolate that I could find.
The upstairs toilet flushed.
Pushing the dirty wipes into the pocket of my jeans, I pulled out a clean wipe and hurriedly wiped at the trail.
Who knew chocolate sauce was so sticky? Maybe I should reassess my breakfast choice. Surely it couldn’t be good for me.
Theo trotted ahead, licking here and there. “Stop that!” I hissed.
“Chloe!” called Brody from the top of the stairs. I froze, worried that I was about to be sprung. “Have you seen my white cotton shirt? I need it for a meeting that I have this morning.”
“Ummm…it’s in the ironing pile. Maybe you could wear the blue one instead?” Brody murmured a response and moved back to the bedroom. He actually lived across the road from me, but over time, his wardrobe spent more time here than it did there. Not that I was complaining. I loved having him here. Except when he went all fitness, health guru on me, then it wasn’t as much fun. I knew he only had my best interests at heart, so I should lighten up on him. And he is adorable when he gets that intense look in his eyes when he’s passionate about something. Still, I didn’t have time for that this morning. I was already late for work.
I’d managed to clean the sticky trail that led to the couch. Standing and looking at the cushion, I wondered how I was going to fix that. Why hadn’t we chosen leather?
The stairs creaked as Brody made his way down.
Theo had jumped back onto the couch and was now licking at the sweet stain he’d made. The cover was going to have to be removed and then dry-cleaned. But how was I going to achieve that in the next ten seconds?
As Brody stepped off the bottom tread, I grabbed at the blanket slung over the back of the chair and threw it over Theo and the stain.
“Hey,” I said, hurriedly moving to Brody. “You look good. I love that shirt on you,” I murmured nuzzling his neck, hoping to distract him.
“What’s that smell?” he asked before giving me a kiss.
“Smell?” I asked innocently.
“It’s really sweet.”
“Oh, ummm…it’s a new perfume that I’m trying,” I quickly replied. After all, for all I knew he could have been referring to my quick squirt of Versace that I had sprayed around my neck.
His brown eyes reminded me of the chocolate that I had just been mopping. They just gave me an even bigger reason to love the stuff.
“Okay. Well I think I like your other one better.” He placed his hands on my hips, ready for a much deeper kiss.
“Yeah, me too. I probably won’t wear this one ever again.”
“What’s that in your pocket?” he asked, his fingers stopping as they reached the wipes that I pushed there. “Is that…an anti-bac wipe?” he asked, pulling one out. Only problem was, it was like a magic trick. You pulled on one and they just kept coming. Even I was wondering how I’d managed to get so many in there.
Deadly Tails is available as a pre-order on Amazon at this time:
Publication Date: August 8th.
Don’t forget to check out Beth’s website. www.bethprenticenovels.com/
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