Those Furry Side-Kicks #3


Free prequel to the series at:

Sally Bayless is an author of cozy mysteries and clean romance. She writes the Dogwood Springs Cozy Mystery series and The Abundance Series.

She lives in the Missouri Ozarks, and when not working on her next book, she enjoys shopping for cute shoes, swimming, watching BBC television with her husband, and—of course—reading! She has two grown children.

If you like a mystery with a pet who will win your heart, friends who feel like family, and a sweet small town, you’ll love the Dogwood Springs Cozy Mystery Series! These are clean books with a hint of romance.

Who is your protagonist’s sidekick?
Libby Ballard’s furry sidekick is Bella, a lovable and very intelligent golden retriever. Libby adopts Bella in the first novel of the series.

What role does the animal play in the story?
Bella always manages to help Libby solve crimes. Because Bella is so friendly and has lived in Dogwood Springs longer than Libby, she sometimes “introduces” Libby to people who can provide clues. She puts potential suspects at ease when Libby talks with them. And—as Libby investigates more mysteries—she begins to suspect that Bella may be nudging her toward clues!

Does your animal help or hinder your sleuth?
Bella definitely helps!

Give us 1 example of the interaction between your main character and the Fury Sidekick.
When Libby moves to town, she rents an apartment that belonged to an older man who passed away. Bella had been his dog and is supposed to be living with his daughter, Melinda, a nurse. But Bella keeps turning up at Libby’s apartment.

From Chapter One of “Antiques, Artifacts, and Alibis”:
“I’m sorry,” Melinda said when I called. “This time, Bella found a way out under the fence. I don’t know what I’m going to do. She’s terribly lonely at my house, but I’m working a lot of double shifts. What with that and the time I spend commuting and the way Bella misses Dad, I don’t know if she’s ever going to like living with me.” She let out an audible sigh. “I have to admit, I promised Dad I’d make sure Bella had a good home, but I never really wanted a dog.”

“That is difficult.” I pictured Bella, all alone for those long days. She clearly loved people, and she was such a nice dog. She’d even seemed appreciative when I wiped the mud off her paws with some of my new paper towels.

“There’s a woman at the hospital who says she’ll take her, but”—Melinda hesitated—“between you and me, I’ve met her kids, and I’m not sure they’d be nice to Bella.”

I sank onto the couch.

Bella trotted over, tags jingling, and laid her head on my knee. She looked up, a plea filling her soft brown eyes.

My heart twisted. “Um, can I call you back in a few minutes?” The words slipped out before I’d thought them through.

“Oh…” Melinda sounded confused. “Sure.”

I hung up and ran a hand down Bella’s back. I was bound to be busy starting a new job. But I had been hoping to adopt a pet, and I knew how to care for one, since we’d had dogs, cats, and even a hamster when I was growing up. 18 Antiques, Artifacts & Alibis Plus, I only lived a few blocks away from my job. I could pop home every day at lunch and let Bella out. And if I had extra work, I could bring it home in the evenings. It wasn’t like an extra shift at a hospital an hour out of town. By five-thirty every day, I’d be home, free to take Bella for a walk and spend time with her.

I made a quick call to my landlord and called Melinda back. “Would you be willing to let Bella stay with me for a week, on a trial basis, to see if we get along?”

She eagerly agreed and said she’d be right over with Bella’s bed, her brush, a giant bag of dog food, and a few toys.

I hung up, looked down at Bella, and drew in a deep breath. “Okay, girl, let’s give this a try.”

She gave me a happy doggie smile and wagged her tail.

A tingle of hope welled up inside me. Maybe, just maybe, this move might not be a mistake.

Maybe it was the fresh start I needed.

Is your book part of a series, if so, tell us about the series.
If you like a mystery with a pet who will win your heart, friends who feel like family, and a sweet small town, you’ll love the Dogwood Springs Cozy Mystery Series! These are clean books with a hint of romance.

Give the readers a hint of what’s to come for your character in future books.
Libby, Bella, and their friends continue to investigate murders in the little town of Dogwood Springs, Missouri. Throughout the series, Libby’s romance deepens with Sam Collins and she learns more about how smart Bella is.

Book Three is on preorder!

Victoria LK Williams


One thought on “Those Furry Side-Kicks #3

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