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It's National Mutt Day


To celebrate, meet Ace, Greg Musgrove's Portuguese Water Dog. Ace has a starring role in Dead in the Alley.


"As I drew closer, I saw a black furry head hanging outside the back side window. Greg had a dog? A pang of longing hit me and wiped away my irritation. We’d never had pets. Too dicey when you owned a hotel. My parents never wanted to chance the liability. I’d broached the idea of a dog or a cat with Derrick, but he hadn’t been keen. Greg owned some kind of big, black dog who lolled in the back of his truck.

“Hey, Bay.” He leaned down and kissed my cheek before helping me into the front of the cab. As I fastened my seat belt and settled, I could feel a wet nose nuzzling the back of my neck pushing the strands aside. Then a big tongue licked me.

Greg slid into the driver’s seat. “This is Ace.” He reached back and patted the big dog on the head.

My curiosity piqued, I asked, “What kind of dog is he?”

“A Portuguese Water Dog.”

“How long have you had him?”

Greg rubbed the dog some more, then put on his seat belt and started up the truck. “Eight years. He’s getting to be an old man now.”

“Eight years…” My voice trailed off as I remember the accident that ended his career as a professional cyclist.

“My parents got him to help me heal.” His tone was matter of fact. “And he did. The companionship and the exercise brought me back.”

I slewed my eyes in his direction and saw a slight droop to his mouth.

“Was his name Ace when you got him?”

That brought a laugh and a twinkle to his eye. “Won him in a poker game. Ace high royal flush. I decided Ace would be the perfect name.”

“I thought you just said your parents got him for you.”

“Uh, well, my dad was playing too, and technically he won Ace.” He ran his sleeve across his forehead.

“Are you lying to me?”

“I’ve been dying to use that story.” His chuckle sent prickles all over my body.

“Story? You’re playing me?”

“My parents adopted him for me. His name has always been Ace. A perfect fit because he’s aces in my book. They thought I could use the company after I got out of the hospital. And the daily grooming and walking made and still make a huge difference. I needed something to focus on while I decided what to do with my life. But I do play poker, just not for dogs.”




Dead in the Alley will release on August 10, 2022. Click here to preorder the ebook. It will also be available in paperback and Kindle Unlimited.



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