Scroll down to win a Kindle Fire or signed book of your choice.
Ready for a brand new cozy mystery series with a talking dog?
“Let’s hit it.” Nala dropped the leash and allowed Max to wander at will while she withdrew window cleaner, a rag, and some press-on letters. Her first project would be the exterior door.
“I’m not sure about the clear glass. If a person wants privacy they don’t want everyone and their cousin peering in at them as they come to me to consult about a philandering husband or wife.”
“Do people even do that anymore? I just thought they divorced, divvied up the stuff, and sometimes offloaded the family pet to a friend, relative, or took him for a ride in the country.”
Nala blinked, knowing good and well no one else was in the office. She dropped her gaze to Max who had his head cocked as if waiting for her answer. No, it couldn’t be. Dogs don’t talk, at least not in a raspy baritone. She pinched herself just to be certain she wasn’t dreaming. It hurt. Maybe she just thought he said something. The best thing would be to test out her theory. “Did that happen to you? Did your owners divorce?”
Something must have happened to Max since she had picked him up at an animal shelter the day before he would have been put down. Grown dogs were only kept for a few days at the most. Then again, it could be she wanted Max to talk so she’d have someone to converse with. A fellow traveler in this new life she plotted out for herself.
“Nope.” He grimaced, showing his teeth. “I made the mistake of talking again. Not the first time I’ve been ousted from a comfortable home. This last time I was driven from the house by my former owner holding a crucifix and calling me devil dog.”
“Weird. I would have thought someone would have put you on the David Letterman show. Whoops, I keep forgetting he retired.” Was she really having a conversation with her dog?
“You’d think that.” He barked a couple of times before continuing. “You gotta remember English is my third language and some things don’t translate.”
“You speak three languages?”
He lifted his nose with pride. “I do. Dog, of course, the silent language of scent, and I’m reasonably conversant in English. One potential owner tried to speak to me in German. Despite my muddied bloodlines, I couldn’t understand a word he said. I wanted to tell him I was born in America. I didn’t, since I wasn’t totally sure.”
“Ah, of course.” She nodded her head as if she understood. Was there anything understandable about a talking dog? “So, when did you start talking? Are there a lot of talking dogs out there?”
His nose dropped as he stretched out and laid his head on his paws. “All dogs talk, except for the Basenji who do this weird yodeling thing. I haven’t met one who speaks English, although most do understand it very well. They might pretend not to know phrases such as stay off the couch, not for you, or not now. They do. Even though they understand English, they freak out when I say something. Something about it being us against them, meaning, your kind.”
“Ah.” Nala searched her mind for how she had treated Max in the few days she owned him. Had she offended him somehow by treating him like a dog? “You never answered how you came to talk.”
“Oh, that.” He managed a few sharp yips that resembled a laugh. “Funny story. My first owner was a closed mouth male. Not one to share his feelings or general observations about life. While this didn’t bother me all that much, it was an entirely different story for his girlfriend, who happened to be a witch. She always fixed extra scrambled eggs and bacon for me when she visited, so I liked her. Anyhow, one day, she says to the man, ‘If you don’t talk to me, then your dog will.’”
“Just like that?”
“Took me a while to become a good conversationalist. At the time, I was so excited I voiced every thought.” He lifted his head enough to display a doggy grin. “Imagine a constant litany of me listing everything I saw. Tree, grass, dog poop from the poodle two houses down, smells like she likes me. After all, she left it in front of my house. Well, you get the idea.”
“Yep, I discovered immediately that while people yak non-stop, they don’t appreciate a talkative dog, especially my first owner who didn’t even make the effort to talk to his girlfriend. One day, she was gone. Not sure if they agreed to separate. I just noticed the house smelled less like the sandalwood incense she always burned. After that, I got relocated, too.”