Clem's dog can talk? Is it possible for her life to get any more complicated? Of course it is. Even though Clementine is dealing with upheavals in her life (encountering an evil wizard from her past, talking dog), she is determined to keep things normal--meaning, business as usual. But when a house cleansing goes terribly wrong and someone winds up murdered, keeping things normal seems to be a pipe dream. To make matters worse, Clementine is the only witness to the crime. And when the body disappears, no one believes that a murder was ever committed. But Clementine is convinced that a crime took place and she is determined to catch the killer. To add on even more mayhem, Malene Fredericks wants her help spying on their neighbor, Clem's dog can now talk, and Rufus Mayes is still hanging around looking for the memory spell that she has hidden. As Clem sorts out her feelings for Rufus and searches for a killer, she finds herself entangled in a darker mystery than she ever imagined. And when everything comes to a head, Clem finds herself face-to-face with danger. Will she escape, or will she become the next victim? Find out now!
Release date: August 9, 2020
Publisher: LADYBUGBOOKS LLC
Print pages: 199
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Let’s get some things straight. First off, I might be a witch but I don’t use my powers often, and I definitely don’t use them for evil. Now I might use them against evil people, but that’s just how the penny rolls. Who can say I’m wrong in doing that?
Well, you might, but I would heartily argue with you.
The second thing that I want to get straight is that yes, I might be keeping a certain wizard from remembering who he is, but if you were in my situation, I’m pretty sure you’d be doing the exact same thing.
You would. We can discuss this at length some other time because we need to get on the third thing.
Which is that I never meant for my dog to start talking. Yep, that’s where we are. I’ve just arrived home and found that Lady, my dachshund, had broken a mason jar with a spell in it and wolfed down the magic.
“Lady, you can’t talk.” I told her this as if it would make a difference. I must’ve gotten hit in the head on my way home. “I mean, you don’t speak.”
Lady’s nails clacked on the wooden floor as she padded up to me. “Clem, I’ve always been talking in my head, but now I can do it out loud. It’s great. Now, instead of thinking that you’re about to make a bad decision, I can tell you when you’ve made one.”
I chewed on the fleshy inside of my cheek for a moment, thinking. “How exactly is this about me?”
“I’ve been waiting a long time to communicate with you.” Lady tapped her nose against my leg. “There’s so much to talk about. I can let you know when I want to play fetch and when I’m hungry. Which is now.”
I rolled my eyes. “Lady, you’re always hungry.”
“Ain’t that the truth!” She smacked her lips. “I think I would like some fried chicken. Do you have any of that? Or some bacon. That sounds delicious. This is even better than I imagined! Now I can tell you what I would like to eat. You don’t have to give me boring little crunchy rocks anymore.”
I placed a fist on my hip. “I’ll have you know that those are not rocks. That is expensive dog food which I buy to make sure that you’re healthy.”
“Well it don’t taste expensive.” Lady padded off toward the kitchen and sniffed. “Now, let me smell around and see what I want to eat.”
I pressed my fingers to my temples. What was I going to do? My dog could now talk, and she had attitude! Like, she was sassy, even. It was one thing to discover that Lady could talk, another to find out that she was chock-full of fire and vinegar. Why, she’d be running my entire household if I let her.
“I don’t see you in here, Clementine,” she called. “I don’t have opposable thumbs. These cabinets won’t open by themselves.”
I groaned. “I have created a monster.”
Lady stood in front of the refrigerator wagging her tail.
“What happened to wanting something from the cabinet?” I asked.
Her tongue lolled to one side. “Everyone knows the good stuff is in the fridge.”
She was right about that. “Lady, listen, I hate to tell you this, but you ate a spell, one that made you talk. There’s no telling how long it will last. You might stop talking any minute now.”
Alarm filled her dark eyes. “In that case, we’d better skip the food. You better sit down, and we can go over all the problems in your life. I’ll tell you how to do better.” Before I could argue, she started spewing off her issues. “First off, you need to stop eating chocolate for breakfast. Everyone knows that chocolate kills.”
“That’s dogs,” I said. “It kills dogs. Not humans.”
“Do you realize there is a type II diabetes crisis in this country? I watch the news.”
I rolled my eyes. “That’s not completely related to diet, Lady. Some of that has to do with genetics.”
“All I’m saying is that you should skip the chocolate. Secondly, I would like a friend.”
“So that you can talk them to death?” I muttered.
Lady’s eyes narrowed. I didn’t know dogs could do that. “No, not so that I can talk them to death, but so that I have a companion. Clementine, you need a friend, too. From what I’ve seen, that John fellow seems to be a really nice guy. After all, he helped you renovate Old Man Hutto’s barn. I think you should date him. Because let’s face it, Clem. You’re not getting any younger. The sooner you pick a man and start having babies with him, the better you’ll be.”
“Whoa,” I nearly shouted. “You can stop it right there.” I wagged a finger at her. “Lady, if this is what you’re going to say now that you can speak, I will leave right now and find a spell that will shut you up forever.”
Her lips clamped in worry, as they should have.
Okay, so Lady’s been my pet ever since she was a pup, but I never knew that she harbored so many opinions about my life. Heck, I don’t even have that many opinions about what goes on in my day-to-day routine.
It made me think I was really doing something wrong in my life.
“Clem,” Lady said, sulking, “like you said, there’s no telling how long I’m going to have this superpower—to be able to speak—and there’s a lot to say.”
I raked my fingers through my red hair. “Well, how about we simply start off with the basics? I will gladly give you something to eat from the fridge after you’ve eaten the good dog food. Regarding your personal feelings about the choices I make—only after we’ve had a few starter conversations about my life are you allowed to start judging my decisions. How does that sound?”
Lady sat, her tail sweeping the floor. “Seems to me that I’ve been in a position to judge your choices for a while now. But”—she lifted her nose—“if you don’t want to hear what I have to say, that’s fine. I’ll just be quiet.”
She laid down and blanketed her nose with her paws.
Great. Now I’ve hurt her feelings.
I sat, legs outstretched, beside her. She glanced up but said nothing. I sighed. Wow. Who would’ve thought having a talking dog would turn out to be so difficult?
“Lady, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings. It’s just…you’ve never spoken before, and I think it’s fair to say that this is an adjustment for both of us. It’s one thing to have you talking, and another to get used to you commenting on me. Don’t get me wrong,” I added quickly, “I love that you can communicate with me right now; it’s just that maybe we should take things slowly. Let me get used to your outspokenness for a while.”
Lady lifted her nose. “You mean you’re not angry that I can talk?”
I laughed. “Of course not. If anything, I’m shocked and I certainly didn’t expect you to be so…opinionated. I guess that I don’t mind having you tell me what you think of my choices so honestly, but maybe you could tone it down a bit? Wait for me to ask your thoughts before telling me that I’m eating the wrong food for breakfast?”
Lady pressed her nose to my knee. “I guess that I’ve been thinking all this for so long that just saying it made the most sense. Now that I can speak, I guess I’ve got to learn how to talk.”
I smiled and rubbed her head. “Trust me, it’s a talent that plenty of folks lack. I’m not so great at it myself, either, but I try. That’s all that any of us can really do.”
Lady sighed. “Well, okay. I tell you what—I won’t offer my opinion unless you ask.”
“Like I said, I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.”
“You didn’t.” She sat up, tail flapping. “Now, how about some food? All this talking has made me hungry. Nobody says that when you first learn to talk that you’ll be starving after.”
I laughed and rose. “All right, let’s see what I can make you.”
Even though she wanted more, Lady ended up with dog pebbles and roasted chicken for lunch. I felt that it was a decent compromise. After all, she wanted the entire chicken.
For a small dog, she certainly had a big appetite.
I was about to have the let’s-not-talk-in-front-of-other-people conversation with her when the doorbell rang.
Lady immediately jumped up from her doggy cushion placed beside the couch and charged for the door. “Who is it?”
She rushed to the curtains, bouncing up and down, trying to see who was outside.
“Shh, Lady,” I said. “We can’t let people know you talk. That could be a big problem for us.”
She stopped, stared at me. “What’d’ya mean, Clem? This is the best thing that’s ever happened to this town!”
“People might not understand.”
Between panting, she replied, “Okay, I promise. I won’t speak.”
Relieved, I unbolted the door and opened it. Malene Fredericks stood on my porch. Her gray hair was pulled into a bun, and wire-rimmed spectacles hooded her nose. She rested one hand on an ample hip, and in the other she held what looked like chocolate pie.
Lord, how I loved this woman.
“Clem, I just came by to make sure you’re doing okay,” Malene said. I opened the screen for her to enter, and she barreled inside my house like a storm. “All that fuss about possibly losing your renovation business and everything.”
I’d almost lost my business, Magical Renovations, to the wizard mafia—don’t ask. But a knight in shining armor, who also happened to be my old enemy, Rufus Mayes, had found a way to save it.
I waved away her concern before taking the pie and thanking her. “Malene, if you ever wanted to bribe me, you know how to do it.”
She adjusted the bun of blue hair that sat like a knob atop her head. “Ha! If I ever wanted to bribe you, all I’d have to do is say I’ll withhold my treats or else!”
“You’ve got me there. But yes, everything worked out with my business.”
That was when Malene reached down and gave Lady a pat. “And how’re you, Lady?”
Lady spoke. “I’m just fine, Malene. How’re you?”
Malene threw her hands up, screaming. Then Lady started to scream because Malene was yelling, which made Malene shriek even louder.
I covered my eyes with my hand. Oh no, here we go again.
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