This particular work is still an experiment, so if you like the concept – give a shout out in the comments! (Although, by the time this publishes, I may well have decided to send it on out to my newsletter…) WARNING: this story contains no magic (what??) but does have a fabulous canine lead and a female lead who’s in a different place in her life than some of my other characters. I hope you’ll give it a try = )

***Raw and Unedited, just for you! Snip Begins*** (Introducing Zella Marek)

“Fairmont, where have you been? Were you sunning yourself in the breakfast room?” I rubbed his silky brown ears as he leaned his head against my leg. I loved that about him. At fifty-five pounds, he wasn’t too big, but I could still easily pet him while standing. One of the wonderful things about having a German Shorthaired Pointer, all of that personality and love in a perfectly-sized package.

A woman I recognized from the neighborhood approached and asked, “The piano’s also for sale?”

I was moving from thirty-five hundred square feet to nine hundred. Without any hesitation, I replied, “Yes, it is.”

Fairmont nudged my hand with his nose. Leave it to my four-legged friend to have escaped most of the traffic and have found a quiet sunny spot amidst an estate sale. I would have thought seeing his home deconstructed and walked out the door would be upsetting and confusing to his canine brain.

Then again, it hadn’t been his home for nearly as long as my own.

After inspecting the old Steinway thoroughly, the neighbor returned and offered half the value of the piano. I even considered it to save myself the hassle of donating it. But I had found a lovely music school that would enjoy it, and I’d told myself if it didn’t sell for a reasonable sum that it would be happy there.

I wasn’t dotty, just a little sentimental. I knew that piano’s didn’t have emotions, but that piano had been my daughter Greta’s. And I wasn’t the only one who would be pleased with a more benevolent dispensation. Greta didn’t have room for it, but she’d be tickled to find out it had landed in a school.

I did a little math. I’d done very nicely on the dining set and my china, and the sale was still in full swing. Decision made.

“You know, I do believe that the piano has found its home already.” I pulled a sold tag from the half apron tied around my waist. “I’m sorry for the confusion, but thank you for the offer.”

She nodded, looking disappointed. “You’re too young to be going into a home, so what are you off to do?”

A home? A home? I was forty-nine! You better believe I was too young, you crazy old—

A cold nose nudged my hand. I knelt, focusing all of my attention on Fairmont. As I ran my hand along his spotted coat, my blood pressure dropped a few notches.

Looking at the neighbor who I now remember had always been blunt to the point of rudeness, I replied in an equally blunt manner, “After leaving my husband of almost thirty years, I should have left his house. I might have taken me two years, but that’s exactly what I’m doing.”

She chuckled. “Good for you. Start fresh.” Then she leaned close enough that I was briefly overcome by her expensive perfume. “I never did like him.”

“Well, I can’t say never, but you and I seem to have reached the same conclusion.”

***Snip Ends***

This story is excerpted from a Fairmont Finds the Body, A Fairmont Finds Mini-Mystery. If you like small-town pet cozy mysteries with romance, this one might be for you  = )

For another series with a little romance, check out…


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