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With murder, a mysterious disappearance, and an anonymous threat to the life of her rescue collie, Winter, life in the little town of Foxglove Corners becomes deadly for Jennet Greenway.
Her search for Winter’s original owner leads Jennet into danger, making her the target of an unknown killer.
Still, I was prepared to dislike Matt Maynard. I didn’t expect him to be so likable and uncertain. Dressed casually in jeans and a polo shirt under a brown jacket, he walked slowly around Winter, looking at him carefully from every angle, without responding to his friendly overtures.
"Well, I don’t know," he said. "He looks like Jester, but I don’t think Jester was this pretty and fluffy. He was smaller, too." Matt shrugged and smiled as if to apologize for everything he didn’t know. "I only saw him twice."
He thrust his hands into the pockets of his brown jacket and stepped back saying, "Jester" softly.
Winter’s only response was an inquisitive little whine that, in my view, indicated nothing.
Matt sat down again. Still looking at Winter, he pushed a strand of light brown hair away from the frame of his glasses. "He might be Jester. I wish I knew."
"Shouldn’t his owner have come to identify him herself?" I asked.
"She couldn’t. My sister has been missing since around Thanksgiving. I’m not sure of the date. Isn’t that when you found him?"
"No, it was after that, before Christmas. The details are in the Banner story."
Matt was quiet for a moment, no doubt trying to hide his disappointment but failing completely. "So Alexandra wasn’t with him when you found him?" he asked.
"Winter was alone. I assumed he was abandoned."
I laid my hand on the black side of Winter’s head. He wagged his tail, as if he understood the significance of my gesture and knew this visit concerned him.
The meeting wasn’t going as I had anticipated. I’d been prepared to give Winter back to Matt Maynard. Now it looked as if that wasn’t going to happen. Matt couldn’t swear that Winter was the collie he’d known as Jester. He didn’t even know where his sister was.
All the same, our reprieve was temporary. Alexandra could still be Winter’s owner. I might lose him yet.
"Do you have any clues to your sister’s whereabouts?" I asked.
"Your dog was the first one. Zan used to take Jester with her wherever she went. When I saw his picture in the paper and read that you found him around the time she dropped out of sight, I got my hopes up. I guess this is another dead end."
As he rose to leave, he looked so disheartened that I longed to offer him some comfort. Also I wanted to hear more about Alexandra.
"It’s so warm," I said. "Before you go, would you like something to drink?"
I glanced doubtfully at the pitcher of tea that had been brewing in the sun all day. That wouldn’t do for a young man somewhere in his twenties or, I hoped, over twenty-one.
"I have lemonade, ginger ale, and beer."
"A beer would taste good right now," he said.
"That’s what it’ll be then."
As I went through the door, I heard him say, "Jester?" softly.
Winter didn’t respond, not even with a whine.
I brought out a can of beer and a ginger ale for myself and settled down, hoping to hear the rest of Matt’s story.
He practically drained the can in one gulp. "That’s good. Thanks, Ms. Greenway. It’s hot for May, but it’s nice and cool here." He sat back, looking more relaxed than he had earlier, even though his mission had failed.
"Call me Jennet," I said. "In the summer, this porch is my favorite place."
Noting that refreshments were being served, Halley walked over to her water pail, where she lay drinking noisily and slopping water on the floor. Winter’s dark eyes were fixed on Matt. It was uncanny, but he seemed to be waiting to hear Matt’s story, too.
"Will you tell me more about your sister’s disappearance?" I asked.
"I’m not sure exactly when it happened. We didn’t see each other often. I’m up in Kalamazoo at college, and she’s in graduate school at Oakland, but she was taking the winter off. She couldn’t decide what she wanted to do next. She’s like that, always with a lot of interests, never settling on one."
"Didn’t anyone report her missing?"
Dorothy Bodoin lives in Royal Oak, Michigan, with her black collie, Holly, who appears in the Foxglove Corners cozy mysteries as Halley. After attending Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, where she earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in English, she taught secondary English for several years. Now she is a full-time writer of cozy mysteries and novels of romantic suspense. At present she is working on a novel of romantic suspense.
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
No. of Pages: 314
Paper Weight (lb): 13.3
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