It is our pleasure to start the new year by introducing our readers to Jessie Harleman. Her story is now available on a Kindle near you in Dressing Myself (our first novel NOT in The Val & Kit Mystery Series).
Jessie has been happily married to Kevin for twenty-eight years. With their two grown kids now out of the house and living their own lives, Jessie and Kevin have reached the point they thought they longed for, yet slightly dreaded. But the house that used to be bursting at the seams now has too many empty rooms.
Still, Jessie is a glass half-full kind of woman, eager for this next period of her life to take hold. The problem is, it just doesn’t go the way she planned.
Meanwhile, our two supersleuths, Val and Kit, remain in dogged pursuit of a murderer in their latest escapade, Lethal Property, to be released this spring. This No. 4 in The Val & Kit Mystery Series showcases their old cohorts along with the usual sprinkling of new characters, including a special four-legged friend who's a big Downton Abbey fan.
Speaking of friends with four legs, we have a new guy in our gang. Please meet Brew, the sweetest boxer we know. He was “rescued” by our editor Sarah and her husband and is now a permanent fixture in their home. Although he looks kinda tough in this picture, he’s really a pussycat . . . well, maybe not a pussycat; he’d box us just for saying that.
When Roz was a child, she was very afraid of dogs, but for no particular reason. Her family never owned a dog, and she never had an encounter that justified her fear. But she can remember visiting another family that did own one and literally climbing on the kitchen table to escape (Roz doing the climbing, not the dog).
Now she wonders why. The first dog she owned was a Labrador puppy (Oliver). A tiny bundle of black velvet with a face that could melt the hardest heart. Even so, her husband had to assure her there was nothing to fear before she reluctantly agreed to take the pooch on. Within a few weeks he was sleeping in their bed, and she was rushing home from work every day, wracked with guilt that she’d had to leave him alone for several hours. The only solution was to add another Lab to their family. This time they went blond (Duncan).
Today she’s rather suspicious of people who don’t like dogs. What’s not to like? As an adult she’s owned four dogs at one time or another (including Jessie, below) and has had a couple more for sleepovers when their owners were out of town.
For her part, Patty grew up having dogs, as did her children. Now she and her husband have three granddogs, all Labs: one black, one yellow, and one chocolate (Harry, Hank, and Chester, top to bottom below). Like all their grandchildren of the two-legged variety, each has a distinct personality and a unique set of traits and, um, talents. Grandma and Grandpa know immediately which one stole the Christmas dessert off the table, which one pooped on the floor, and which one will run and hide in the chicken coop when the Fourth of July fireworks begin.
But all the dogs in Roz and Patty’s lives have been sweet, loving, and loyal to a fault. Most of them have had a great sense of humor, and one was a little snooty; but without exception, they've all been good people.