Saturday, March 16, 2013

Saturday's Chapter from Groomed For Murder by Zoe Dawson

Excerpt from Groomed for Murder

Book #2

Going to the Dogs

By Zoe Dawson

All rights reserved

“You stupid cow!”

Brooke yanked her gaze away from the computer screen, her heart plummeting to her toes like a stone. Kristen Wright-Davis. Not again. With a surge of adrenaline, she raced out of the office toward the grooming room, where her nemesis shrieked in short, staccato blasts, punctuated by the yapping of her hyper toy poodle, Mimi.

“I have asked you repeatedly to sedate Mimi, Mrs. Wright-Davis.” Her groomer’s voice wobbled and Brooke moved faster to stave off disaster.

Pushing the door open, Brooke wasn’t surprised to find that Kristen—a life-sized, hard-gloss, Barbie-zilla—had backed poor, disheveled, worn out Rachel into a corner physically as well as verbally. Her groomer was buckling under the pressure and looked like she was about to burst into tears. Kristen loomed over Rachel, her tanned, pampered skin in stark contrast to the groomer’s pale face.

The hair on the back of Brooke’s neck popped up like porcupine quills. How dare that self-absorbed witch attack poor Rachel!


"Don't talk back to me, dog groomer girl. You are nothing but a service provider, and you aren’t entitled to an opinion!" Kristen snapped, wagging her head like Mick Jagger on steroids. “Look what you have done to my Mimi!” She pointed a trembling finger at her noisy dog for emphasis. “This is outrageous! She has a show this weekend! You have ruined any chance she had to win. You stupid, stupid cow.”

Brooke stepped forward, summoning her most soothing manner. “Kristen, why don’t you and I discuss how we might solve this problem to your satisfaction?”

The woman’s head snapped around and homed in on the new target, just as Brooke hoped she would. As smooth as silk, Brooke maneuvered herself between Kristen and a cowed Rachel, squeezing her groomer’s shoulder reassuringly as she ushered her out of the room with a quick whisper. “Go hide in my office.”

“Look at what she’s done to my baby. It-it-it’s intolerable,” Kristen screeched, pointing again with a blood red-tipped finger, then settling her fists at the waist of her tight leather pants with a huff. Her collagen-puffed lips evolved from a pout to a nasty snarl.

Brooke looked down at the spoiled furball that still yapped and growled and snapped the air, straining to reach Brooke and sink in her needle teeth. The tension inside the small room scraped against Brooke’s skin. Obviously Mimi was simply reacting to the tension and to her owner’s state of mind.

And then Brooke finally took a close look at the poodle’s cut. What a disaster. Fur was missing in clumps scattered throughout her otherwise precise and professional show cut.

Brooke mentally threw up her hands. Half of this animal’s problem was that she had such an indulgent, spoiled, pretentious woman for an owner. The other half was she had an indulgent, spoiled, pretentious woman for an owner. Maybe Kristen should be the one to take a sedative before coming into Pawlish.

“I’m so sorry this happened just before a show.” Brooke cleared her throat, reaching for a more mollifying tone. “I sympathize with your disappointment. I would be happy to offer you six months of grooming for free, and I’ll refund the full amount of the entrance fee as compensation.”

Kristen’s eyes narrowed and her face darkened. “Six months free? Entrance fee? My baby looks like this, and…and you insult me with six months of grooming free and money? That’s a slap in the face. I will never use your cut-rate joint again.”

She grabbed Mimi and stuffed the yapping, snarling bundle into her Louis Vuitton dog carrier. Mimi shoved her head up over the zipped closure and snapped at Brooke again as Kristen swept past her toward the door.

Brooke’s first line of defense and strongest skill was her ability to defuse tense situations, to turn snarling lions into pussycats. It was definitely time to put her lifetime of practice to work as skillfully as she could. Fast.

As the young wife of an older, wealthy, and prominent lawyer, Kristen had a great deal of influence in New York City, especially in the social circles where Brooke found most of her clientele. It would be all too easy for this woman to bad-mouth Pawlish to all her friends and sabotage the business Brooke had made successful by providing unparalleled and skillful service.

Staying calm and thinking creatively should do the trick. “Kristen, my policy is that no client leaves Pawlish unhappy. Let’s work together to make that happen.”

Kristen turned around and stared over Brooke’s shoulder. Brooke looked behind her, frowning. What was she looking at? Rachel stood at the office door, tear tracks marking her face. She was the sweetest, most helpful girl, and was the only one at Pawlish who would work with Kristen’s unruly poodle. Brooke’s heart turned over, and she wanted to go comfort her, but she had to deal with Kristen first.

With a hard-edged, steady gaze at Rachel, Kristen snarled, “Fire that stupid cow.”

Brooke’s head whipped around, her face stiff with shock, her jaw slack. Rachel’s sobbing and the slam of the office door struck her heart with a hard, painful thump. Was this woman serious? Fire Rachel, an employee who had been with her since she’d started her business, who took on any task that was asked of her, who worked so hard that Brooke had to shoo her home to her kids? Brooke had no words—well, she did, but those words weren’t professional. Kristen’s callousness was simply mind-boggling.

Fire exploded in the pit of her stomach and flashed up her torso, heating her face. It wasn’t enough that Kristen insisted on bringing her nasty, fidgety, contrary little dog for grooming without sedating her first. Noooo, this woman—who had more money than she could spend—wanted Brooke to fire a hard-working, very competent employee just to satisfy her spiteful whim. Kristen’s smug look only fanned the flames of Brooke’s determination. Rachel wasn’t going anywhere.

For the first time since she’d opened her doors, Brooke decided this particular customer was not right.

“Oh, Kristen, there’s no need for such drastic action.” Brooke waved her hand in dismissal. “We can come up with something much more palatable. Like a yummy basket of homemade, totally organic doggie treats for sweet Mimi? How does that sound?” She needed to unclench her jaw so the next words she spoke sounded more calm and self-assured.

Kristen tilted her head. “Ahhhh…you’re placating me, and usually I’m all for that. A little groveling always makes my day. But in this case, no. I insist you give me what I want. And I always get what I want.” Her smile was full of sunny, self-satisfied condemnation.

“I’m trying to make amends. Please, let’s put this behind us.” Brooke smiled, too, trying to extend an olive branch without wishing at the same time that Kristen would choke on it.

Kristen wrinkled her nose in mock cheer, but her eyes projected just plain mean girl. “Ooooh, you’re so cute when you’re insolent.” Kristen took a step closer, getting right into Brooke’s face. Her eyes narrowed, her voice low with a steely calm. “You’ve made a big mistake, Brooke. I’ll ruin you any way I can. Just wait and see if I won’t.” With that, she flipped her unnatural blonde hair and flounced out.

Oh, shit, that chick was scary.

Brooke took a deep breath to calm her pounding heart. Surely she could find a way to win Kristen over. She’d been able to convert cranky old Mr. Witherspoon into a fan when she was a kid. If she could do that, Kristen should be easy. It was just a matter of time.

Brooke dragged her hands through her hair, rolling her eyes. Turning to her receptionist, she said, "Really, can a dog have a bad hair day?"

"Maybe," her receptionist laughed softly, “but I'd wager that poor Mr. Wright-Davis didn't get the first place trophy with that wife."


Two days later Brooke carefully backed herself and her armload of goodies in through the front door of Stunning, a West Village boutique that featured indie wedding dress designers. A burst of chill October wind followed her into the shop, reminding her that Thanksgiving and Christmas were mere weeks away.

She somehow managed not to drop the container of mini bacon and mushroom quiches she’d baked that morning, or the bottle of champagne and container of orange juice for the mimosas. Thank goodness she’d stashed the white-with-silver-wedding-bells-wrapped box in one of her canvas totes to protect the cheery homemade bow, and the champagne flutes and small plates in the other.

An attendant greeted her with a cheery smile and offered to carry something. Brooke flashed her a grateful grin, handed over the box of quiches and one tote, and followed the woman into a fitting room salon where one of her best friends, Callie Lassiter, would spend the next hour searching for the perfect wedding gown.

Callie was part of Brooke’s circle of dog park friends. Callie had finally met her next door neighbor, popular nightclub owner and sex god Owen McKay, when her Great Dane Jack had gotten Owen’s Great Dane Jill pregnant last year. After an eight-month engagement, Callie and Owen had set the date for the beginning of August, eleven months away, and the whirlwind of planning and preparation for The Event was just beginning.

Setting down her array of mouth-watering breakfast goodies, Brooke shifted out of her warm wool coat and set it on the hook near the door. Then she carefully created an elegant display on the sideboard with the morning hors d’oeuvres, bubbly, and juice.

As she worked, excitement built until the happiness she felt for her friend was spilling over the top. She relished again the hours she’d spent putting Callie’s gift together. She’d stayed up late last night to finish it and had fallen into bed exhausted at about 2 am. But it had been worth it. It was for her best friend, after all.

But this morning she couldn’t quite understand why she had this…unsettled feeling. She knew that, in spite of their wildly differing tastes, she and her circle of friends would unite in their love for Callie to help find the perfect wedding gown.

But still, in spite of these inner reassurances, her heart tightened, her chest ached, and her eyes watered as a lump formed in her throat. She brushed it all away like cobwebs in the rafters. She was just being emotional, that was all.

She rubbed the back of her neck and sighed. She could attribute the unwelcome emotions to the hellish week at Pawlish and the hullabaloo over Kristen Wright-Davis and her yappy, cantankerous, high-strung toy poodle.

Thankfully, the incident with Wright-Davis appeared to have blown over. At least she hadn’t heard from her, and everything at Pawlish had gone back to normal. She'd sent Kristen a very expensive dog basket with her favorite designer goodies, with an extra helping of her famous homemade dog biscuits and a note of apology. She resented having to placate the woman, but with the expansion of her doggie spa and the extra financial burden it had generated, Brooke couldn’t afford to have Kristen denigrating Pawlish to her rich friends. Word of mouth was a powerful force.

Brooke sighed and revisited a favorite fantasy, of a world where everyone got along with everyone else, and there was no need for stress and discord.

Kristen had asked too much. Brooke would easily sacrifice her very soul to mend the situation, but she wasn’t going to throw Rachel to the wolves for that harpy.

She made herself a mimosa and sipped the fruity drink, enjoying how the bubbles fizzed under her nose. She was determined to enjoy every minute of this day, and quit thinking about problems that had solved themselves.

As she folded down wearily onto one of the comfortable benches that lined the room she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror. Her dark hair had lost some of its shine, there were dark circles under her eyes, and her mouth looked a bit pinched. Suddenly the exhaustion surged over her, leaving her a bit dizzy as the lack of sleep abruptly caught up with her.

“Oh, Brooke,” Callie said as she slipped off her coat and took in the elegant display of treats. “It looks delicious! But…you’re so busy. You shouldn’t have gone to all this trouble.”

“It was no trouble at all.”

“I’ll have one of those, too,” Callie’s mother, Kate said as Brooke rose, gave Callie a quick hug, and began to make the mimosas. Kate’s eyes twinkled at Brooke while she took Callie’s coat, hanging them both on a hook by the door.

“You ready to try on wedding gowns?” Brooke asked as she handed mimosas to both her fresh-faced friend and her lovely mother.

“As ready as I’ll ever be. You know I don’t usually get dolled up. I just hope I don’t let Owen down.”

Brooke laughed. “Oh, men don’t care about weddings. They just want it over with.”

Callie looked nonplussed for a moment.

“Oh, not in a bad way,” Brooke bit her lip, feeling like an idiot. She waved her hand to erase the comment.

“They just want to get to the good stuff,” Harper added as she playfully shouldered Brooke aside and made herself a mimosa. She hugged Kate and Callie and lifted her glass in a salute to Brooke.

Harper Sinclair was the dog park group’s socialite. She enjoyed doing charity work, judging dog shows, and showing her gorgeous standard poodle, Blue.

“Speaking of the good stuff…” Poe spoke from the doorway as she whipped out a bottle of champagne, and Brooke laughed and gestured to the one she’d brought, saying “Great minds, Poe!”

“Awww, Brooke, you’re always prepared. Oh, well, now we have double the champagne for double the fun.” She gave Callie a hug and traded the bottle for a sunny orange mimosa.

Poe Madigan rounded out their group of dog park friends. She and her precocious Jack Russell terriers, Edgar and Allan, always made for a rocking time at the park. Poe was a first-year veterinary resident after graduating from Cornell with her DVM.

“I still can’t believe you’re getting married,” Poe grinned and raised her glass to Callie.

Brooke again felt that strange pang in her heart, but continued to staunchly ignore her silly emotions.

“It’s surreal, but I love Owen so much, so it feels supremely right.”

“Yes, Mr. Wrong-for-All-The-Right Reasons turned out to be Mr. Right. Go figure.” Harper chuckled.

“We all want you to be blissfully happy, right, ladies?” Brooke said.

They all nodded.

“So it’s all about Callie for the duration.”

“Exactly,” Poe said. “There’s no excuse for tears, bloodshed or giving the silent treatment to your maid of honor, until after your honeymoon. And today is all about the dress of your dreams, no matter how opinionated some of us can be. And I’m looking right at you, Harper.”

Harper gave her a wide-eyed, innocent look. “Who, exactly, is going to be your maid of honor? I don’t believe you’ve said, Callie. I know the rest of us will be bridesmaids.”

“Well, I’ve given it a lot of thought, and I so don’t want you all to think I’m playing favorites.” Callie’s hands twisted nervously in her lap.

“We won’t think that,” Brooke soothed.

“Harper’s a great friend and the life of any get-together, and Poe is wonderfully loyal and giving, but…”

When Callie turned to Brooke, she felt tears prick her eyes. They came perilously close to spilling over when Callie took her hands. The connection between them was so strong.

“It was Brooke I first met at the dog park, Brooke who’s always been there to help and give me advice—even when I didn’t want it.” She turned to Brooke with a radiant smile. “Will you be my maid of honor?”

“I would be honored.” Brooke sniffled and hugged Callie hard. She was silly to think she was losing a friend. Instead she was gaining one in Owen. She resolutely pushed away the wistful feeling. Even though dating was less than spectacular now, she knew she would someday have her own wedding and husband. And, for now, she was accustomed to going it alone. Well, no, she wasn’t alone, she reminded herself firmly. She had her ancient, beloved bulldog, Roscoe, her loving, uncritical, steadfast companion since childhood.

The attendant entered the room beaming, followed by another woman pushing a rack of frothy white lace, buttons, and bows. “Let’s get started, shall we?”

Everyone settled themselves for the fashion show, and, in the silence, the loud pop as Poe uncorked the second champagne bottle made Brooke jump nervously. She shook her head and firmed her lips. The edginess she was feeling would pass. All she had to do was get out of her head and stop worrying about Pawlish. Everyone chuckled at Poe’s noisy reminder that it was time for fun, and Brooke laughed along with them. “Yes, let’s get this party started,” she said.

“Oh. My. God. Brooke! These bacon and mushroom mini-quiches are rockin’. I think bacon should be in the periodic table. It’s so good.” Poe said with a smirk.

“Like an element?” Brooke asked.

“Yes!” Poe nodded vigorously. “I can see the description now. Bacon with the symbol Bn is a meat product derived from the back of the pig where the leaner meat is found, which gives you a slice that is 85% meat and 15% fat. Due to popular demand, it has replaced hydrogen in the number one slot on the Periodic Table. When it is cooked, it gives off a sweet, tasty aroma. The reaction to bacon is pronounced. Saliva forms and causes homo sapiens to engage in ‘grabbing-the-last-piece’ syndrome.”

Mirth bubbled up from her diaphragm as all her friends, Callie’s mother, and even the attendants burst into laughter.

Poe giggled. “But instead of atomic power it would have to be pig power.”

“To what degree?” Callie asked between giggles.

“The tenth!”

“I have to agree with Poe,” Callie said, holding her sides and laughing through her tears. “Bacon is so good it should have been a subject in school.”

Poe nodded, unable to contain her enthusiasm. “I’d definitely teach that class. Bacon 101 or Baconology.”

“Well, if you’re going to those lengths, I want an honorary degree in bacon.” Harper chimed in.

“Nice, a doctorate in bacon! And all I have is this darn DVM degree!”

“You are crazy, Poe. Are you sure you should be doing surgery on animals?” Harper said, her words rippling with laughter.

“I’m very vet-like at St. Mark’s,” she replied, struggling to keep a straight face.

“You have to be. The dogs can’t talk back,” Brooke said.

“No, but I’m sure they’re laughing inside.”

The room erupted again in peals of laughter.

“Bacon is no joke. In fact, I’m sure if a zombie was chasing you, and you had bacon on you, you could throw it like a stick and they’d chase the bacon instead of you.” Poe took another bite of the mini-quiche.

Harper raised a brow. “Poe, if a zombie was chasing me, I’d just trip you.”

“Oh, that would be okay! I would have bacon.”

Harper grabbed Poe around the neck and said, “You are such a nerd.”

Poe wrinkled up her nose, and said, “Come over to the dork side. We have Pi.”

By then Brooke was holding her sides and could barely catch her breath. Suddenly everything was all right again.

Thirty minutes into the fitting Callie had rejected every single one of the gowns the attendant had selected. Brooke hadn’t noticed that Harper had disappeared until she returned with a dress in her arms.

“Callie,” she said softly, “try this one on.”

Callie turned toward Harper, and her audible gasp as she saw the gown made everyone sit up with interest.

As the lace-covered satin slipped over her daughter’s head and flowed down her body, Kate covered her mouth, and Brooke’s heart lurched. What she wouldn’t give to have her own mother look at her like Kate was looking at Callie now. Love shone out of her eyes, glassy with tears. Brooke just knew that Callie’s mother was thinking about Callie as a little girl, her memories reflected in her eyes, Callie growing from a skinned-kneed tomboy into a beautiful woman with a spitfire edge.

And then her throat tightened and that same embarrassing well of emotion hit her so hard she had to blink rapidly to hold off the tears. Callie took her breath away. Oh, God, she wanted to get married someday and look as stunning as Callie did right this minute.

Harper just smiled and nodded.

The mermaid dress fit her to a T. An understated satin ribbon cinched the waist and ended in a simple bow that rode atop a series of buttons ending right at the flair of a short, sassy train. The square, modest neckline accentuated the off-the-shoulder chain of lace straps which added just the right touch of romance.

Brooke rose abruptly, blinking away tears as she excused herself and left the room. In the bathroom, she closed herself in the stall and leaned back against the door. Her fists clenched, her stomach in turmoil, she fought the feelings she couldn’t name. Change was good, and Owen was good for Callie. Their love shone like a beacon. It was wonderful to watch and hope that love like that would find her. It took her only a few moments to get herself under control, since she was eager to get back. This day was about Callie, not about her.

When she came out of the stall, Harper was leaning against the sink, her arms folded across her chest.

Brooke stopped and her face flamed.

“What gives?”

“What do you mean?” Brooke walked nonchalantly towards the sink and washed her hands as Harper’s eyes bored a hole in her back.

“You look exhausted and in unguarded moments…worried. You’re always the one to nurture us and be the top cheerleader.”

“I’ve had a rough week.”

“Are you sure that’s all it is? Sweetie, we want to know when something is bothering you.”

Brooke had no intention of burdening Harper with her business problems. She’d handled Kristen Wright-Davis and her spoiled dog. It was done. Resolved. “I’ll be fine after some sleep and a little TLC.”

Harper snorted. “When have you ever taken time for yourself? I swear, Brooke. You do too much for too many people.”

“Look who’s talking. You do plenty for others.”

“Yes, but I don’t own a business. I just sponge off my family’s wealth.”

Brooke laughed, warmth settling in the pit of her stomach. Thank God for Harper’s bluntness. “It’s my thing, and it makes me happy.”

“I would just like to see you taking care of yourself. Be a little selfish. It won’t be the end of the world.”

“You mean the zombie apocalypse?”

Harper laughed. Then sobered. “No joke. I mean it.”

“I’ll think about it. Enough about me. Now let’s get back to Callie. And that dress is sensational. You just know what works best, don’t you?”

“It’s a gift,” came the smug—and oh, so correct!—reply.

Back in the salon with her emotions firmly in check, Brooke ooohed and aaahhhhed over Callie’s dress. It was simply gorgeous. She also participated in chatter about what would fit best for a headdress. They left Stunning to continue the conversation over lunch at one of their favorite places, a quaint bistro named Habit, which happened to be directly across the street. After they pulled two tables together, the women settled down on the wooden chairs.

Judging it the perfect moment, Brooke produced Callie’s gift and, with a flourish, presented it to her.

“Prezzies! After all you’ve done today, I don’t need gifts, but it’s much appreciated. Thank you, Brooke.”

“Open it. The suspense is killing me,” Brooke said.

Callie carefully removed the ribbon, placed it aside, and tore into the paper. She gasped when she pulled out the book. “Oh, my God. This is just what I needed! I’m so lost when it comes to wedding planning. Look at all the great stuff in here. This must have taken you forever. No wonder you look so tired. Oh, shoot, I mean, you look great as always, so pulled together…but…you know, you do look a bit tired, and frayed around the edges.”

“All I need is a good night’s sleep,” Brooke dismissed Callie’s worry with a shrug. “And I was having so much fun putting this together last night I almost forgot to sleep. I pulled pictures from bridal, lifestyle, fashion, gardening, design, and food magazines and also found a great app we can all use to link up our ideas. All the information I gathered is in the app, too, so you can make a decision on the spot. Just let me know if you like it. I even found a great travel agent on Times Square that we can visit for honeymoon ideas. I made an appointment for two o’clock in case you like the idea.”

“That’s a good place to start. I can get some brochures. Although I think Owen wants to surprise me.”

“Now, about the headpiece,” Harper said. “I think a veil would detract from the simple, clean style of the gown.”

Callie’s mother nodded. “I totally agree.”

“I have a hairdresser who is phenomenal and can weave real flowers into your hair. You can pick what you personally like along with either lace or ribbon for a stunning look. What do you think?”

Callie sighed with relief. “That’s perfect, Harper. I can’t see myself in a veil or tiara. It’s just not me, but flowers would fit perfectly.”

“Good. Let’s eat.”

Food was ordered and passed around, although once it arrived, Brooke discovered that she lacked an appetite. After paying the bill, Callie touched Brooke’s shoulder while the party started to break up. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

Brooke flashed a smile to hide her sudden sense of disconnection from her best friends. “Of course I’m fine. One of my best friends is getting married to the man of her dreams. My business is evolving into a one-stop spa for pets and their owners to make my clients feel even more pampered.”

“I’m more interested in how you feel, Brooke. You do too much for people, and I can see it’s taking its toll. I think you need to change some things in your life so you can have more time for yourself. Have the courage to change.”

“She doesn’t want to change,” Poe said, “or she’s too afraid to.”

Dismissing Poe’s very astute observation, Brooke insisted, “I told you. I’m just fine.”

Harper, Poe, and Callie’s mother had to run, so Brooke and Callie hailed a cab to Times Square.

“Thank you for the wedding planning ideas. You did that for my mom, right?” Callie said.

“Yes, actually. I knew you would love the app, but your mom is more old-fashioned.”

“You’re so thoughtful.”

At Times Square Brooke paid the fare, but when she stepped out of the cab, she collided with Callie. “Callie, what…” Callie was looking up and Brooke followed the direction of her gaze. Suddenly dizzy, she stared in shock at one of the huge Times Square digital screens. It was broadcasting a local pet psychic show featuring none other than her nemesis.

Kristen Wright-Davis sat next to Trudy Sommers, and her teary voice wobbled out of the loudspeakers. Mimi reclined in her lap, all the worst parts of the poodle’s cut emphasized on a grand scale. “I’m so distraught for my baby,” Kristen sniffled theatrically.

Brooke’s stomach twisted into hard knots. This kind of publicity could ruin her.

“Hello, everyone. I’m Trudy Sommers. Please welcome Kristin Wright-Davis and her toy poodle Mimi. They’re joining us today on Pet Speak because Mimi seems to be out of sorts. I sense she’s upset over a recent trip to the groomer.”

“Yes, she was just at Pawlish two days ago, that cut-rate place. They were callous and unkind to my darling sweetheart.” Kristen’s baby talk to Mimi grated on Brooke’s nerves like the shriek of a siren. The dog licked Kristen’s face.

“Cut rate?” Callie exploded. “I’ll shave that damn dog bald. How dare she go on TV and defame your business! I think you should sue that witch for slander!”

Instead of anger at Kristen’s malicious behavior, a confident calm settle over her. She could smooth this over. It would just be a matter of talking to Kristen to encourage her to see reason. This was grim, and certainly not good for her business, but it could be fixed. The longer the woman blubbered, the more Brooke was sure she could be convinced to see it Brooke’s way. She just needed to know she mattered.

“Mimi’s telling me she is mortified by the terrible cut she got there, and I’d say it would be best if she got some therapy.”

“Kristen Wright-Davis,” Callie snarled it like a four-letter word. “She’s consulting a pet psychic? I don’t need a psychic to tell me the woman is nothing but a con. But, of course that pretentious, narcissistic bitch would choose to go on TV to defame your business.”

“I’m getting something else,” the pet psychic said as she gazed at the dog. “She thinks the owner of the place where she got her bad trim should be punished.”

“She does?” Kristen cooed. “What a clever girl. What does she think is a good punishment?”

Punishment? As if she’d done one thing wrong! Kristen would never accept the blame, and now something dreadful was about to happen. It was coming, bearing down on her like a speeding train. She clutched her stomach, the terrible feeling there spreading like a disease. In another second or two everything was going to change, and nothing in her world would ever be the same again.

“A lawsuit.”

“Yes,” Kristen said, snuggling the dog up to her face. “I am going to sue Brooke Palmer for everything she’s got.”


Melissa Keir said...

Sounds like a great book! I remember the day the groomer cut my dog. I was so shocked and worried cuz the cut wouldn't stop bleeding. We had to go to the emergency vets. :)

Zoe Dawson said...

Melissa - Oooh that sounds like it was something that needed a vet's attention. Hope your muffin was okay.