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Authors: Lia Farrell

Tags: #romance, #dog, #tennessee, #cozy, #puppy mill

Three Dog Day

BOOK: Three Dog Day
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Three Dog Day
A Mae December Mystery
Lia Farrell

Camel Press

PO Box 70515

Seattle, WA 98127

For more information go to:

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously.

Cover design by Sabrina Sun

Three Dog Day

Copyright © 2015 by Lia Farrell

ISBN: 978-1-60381-971-8 (Trade Paper)

ISBN: 978-1-60381-972-5 (eBook)

Library of Congress Control Number: 2014951811

Produced in the United States of America

* * *

or Truly Scrumptious, Doozy, Bandit, Lucky Boy and Riley; sweet dogs who went on home this year. We will miss you. And for Millie Roo; we're glad you stayed right here.

* * *


e want to personally acknowledge and thank the many people who made this book possible. First among them is Carol Jacobsen, Professor of Art and Women's studies at the University of Michigan. She is an award winning social documentary filmmaker and the Director of the Michigan Women's Justice and Clemency Project. Her Project works to free women prisoners who were convicted of murder but who acted in self-defense against abusers and did not receive due process or fair trials; and to conduct public education and advocacy for justice, human rights and humane alternatives to incarceration for women. The fictional Abused Women's Commutation Project in
Three Dog Day
is loosely based on the important real life work they do.

We would also like to thank Detective Lieutenant Robert Pfannes of the Ann Arbor Police Department for his consultation on the interrogation of suspects and the use of evidence in interviews. We wish to thank Daniel Degnan, MSW, for his help in adding authenticity to the descriptions of the Huron Women's Prison in Ypsilanti. He is the social worker for a woman in the facility who killed a police officer. Lastly, we would like to thank Joe Elenbaas for his information on weapons and knives that have been used in all our books.

Our apologies to the Potawatomi tribe members who reside in Hannahville, Michigan. Unlike the poor people we depicted in this story, the Hannahville Indian Community is a rapidly growing entity with a vibrant social, economic and cultural existence. They are a federally recognized tribe with a casino, an 18-hole championship golf course, an island resort, schools and modern homes.

would like to thank our publication team; Dawn Dowdle our literary agent (Blue Ridge Literary), Catherine Treadgold, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief and Jennifer McCord, Associate Publisher and Executive Editor as well as Sabrina Sun, graphic artist for Camel Press. We continue to be grateful for all their help and to Sabrina for her wonderful cover designs.

Last, but certainly not least, we want to acknowledge Will Schikorra, who single-handedly made our website. He also keeps it up to date and helps enormously with computer issues from day to day.

January 2nd

e looked down at the knife, shaking in his left hand. His forearms and hands were red with Web's blood. He set the knife on the ground and took a deep breath.
Got to be smart about this.
Trying not to look at the dead man's face, he pulled Web's denim jacket off the body and went through the pockets. No wallet. He laid the jacket on the ground and rolled Web onto it, face down. He quickly found Web's wallet in the back pocket of his brown corduroy pants. He stuffed it in his jacket pocket; he would get rid of the wallet after hiding the body.

The cold wind carried the sounds of barking and howling across the field. He would have to hurry. Someone could show up anytime now. He ran to the back of Web's truck and dropped the tailgate. There were some rags and tools in the truck bed, including a shovel. A bottle of water lay in the front seat. Pouring it on himself, he washed off as much of the sticky blood as he could, then went back and got the knife. After wiping the handle down, he poured the rest of the water over the blade and wrapped the knife in the rag. Getting caught was not an option. His whole future lay in the balance.

The top few inches of ground were frozen hard. Despite the January chill, sweat dripped off his forehead as he worked. Soon he had a hole big enough to bury the rag-wrapped knife. He stomped the ground, packing it down hard. With any luck, the forecasted snowstorm would come and blanket this field. He put the shovel in the back of the truck and flipped Web's body back over, dragging him by his feet until he was close to the truck. Crouching down, he put an arm under Web's knees and the other arm under his neck. With a grunt of effort, he heaved him up and into the truck bed.

He smelled blood. Spots danced in front of his eyes and his mouth filled with excess saliva. He slammed the tailgate shut. Swallowing hard, he picked up Web's jacket and climbed into the truck, where Web's keys dangled in the ignition. He turned the key and the old truck roared to life. After driving across the field to the edge of the bluff, he turned so the back end faced the river. The bank was steep here. He put the truck in park but left it running when he got out, leaving just enough room to walk behind the truck and open the tailgate one last time. Pulling Web's limp body to the edge, he hurled it down toward the dark, fast-moving river below. He heard the splash and closed his eyes for a second.
I'm sorry, Web. But you shouldn't have come after me with that knife.

The river arced in a horseshoe shape around the broad, flat field. It was starting to snow, and the light was fading from the winter sky. If he could put the truck over the bluff on the other side of the field, it would be upstream from the body. Web's body should float farther and faster than the heavy truck. He drove to the other corner of the bend in the river and nosed the truck right up to the bluff, then put the shifter in neutral and opened the window all the way before climbing out.

His heart was pounding and there was a ringing in his ears. The adrenaline reaction was making him tremble all over, but he had to do this. He pushed with all his remaining strength against the rear bumper. The truck eased forward slowly, then picked up speed as the front end went down, crashing through trees. He leaped back and the truck rolled down into the river. He turned and ran through the gathering dusk and heard the slap and whoosh as the vehicle went in. The water would rush in through the open window and the old truck would submerge quickly.

There weren't any lights on yet at the distant house. The snowflakes cooled his cheeks and the cold burned his lungs. He was almost back to his own truck. He deepened his breathing, trying to slow his thudding heartbeat. The wallet could go in the incinerator at the lab tomorrow. He had always been smart—smarter than anyone he knew. If he went home, cleaned up, and kept his mouth shut, no one else would ever know what he'd done this day.

Chapter One
January 3rd
Mae December

ae December, thirty years old and, to her mother's dismay, still single, delayed the release of her dogs for a few minutes. She looked out the window toward the barn, amazed to see it was snowing. The Middle Tennessee area was much more likely to get freezing rain than snow, but this morning a blizzard of white blanketed the yard. She released the dogs from the laundry room, pulled on her barn jacket, and let the dogs out. Titan, her male Welsh corgi, sniffed the snow and began to run around barking in excitement, his short legs churning up the fresh snowfall.

Thoreau, the creaky old Rottweiler Mae had inherited when her former fiancé Noah was killed in a tragic automobile accident, stepped stolidly out into the white world. The Tater, her blond corgi puppy, joined Titan, plowing a pathway through the three inches of snow with her little chest. Snow reached the tops of her short legs. Tallulah, her black pug, gave Mae a sideways look that plainly said, “Are you out of your mind, woman?” The pug sat on the top step looking down in a disgruntled manner at the white stuff. Mae nudged her out into the world with the toe of her boot.

After taking care of chores in the barn and feeding her two boarding dogs, Mae ran back to the house. Mae owned a boarding kennel and also bred designer puppies that were half corgi and half pug. She called them porgis and had been successful selling them across the country. Tallulah, the pug who had been the original mother of the porgi litters, was now retired. The small, snow-hating dog had already peed and dashed back into the house. The Rottweiler was also waiting on the stoop when Mae returned from checking on her boarders. She let them in and cast her eyes over her shoulder at the two happy corgis,
showed no sign of wanting to come inside. She would leave them to romp for a while, since they seemed delighted with the rare covering of white fluffy stuff on the grass.

Mae's kitchen phone rang almost as soon as she hung up her barn jacket. It was her neighbor, Annie Butler.

Good Morning, Annie.”

Hi, Mae. I have a big favor to ask. Jason and I went into Nashville to see one of our friends play at The Bluebird last night. The roads got bad and we decided to stay overnight at his house. Anyway, we're headed back this morning, but I was wondering, could you drop by our place and let the dogs out? There's a key under the mat by the back door.”

Sure, no problem. I'm sure Baby isn't going to want to go out in this storm, but Bear will.” Baby was a porgi. The Butlers had purchased Baby from Mae almost a year ago. Bear was the Butler's high-energy black Lab, a rescue dog.

I was just going to take Titan for a walk. He's crazed with excitement about the snow. I'll take Bear too. She always needs exercise.”

Thanks a lot, Mae. See you soon.”

Mae looked outside at the swirling white world and the outdoor thermometer, which read thirty degrees. Calling Tater into the house, she grabbed her gloves and barn jacket, pulled on her boots, clipped a leash on Titan's collar and walked out to the car. Driving down the street with Titan as co-pilot in the front seat, she noticed the snowflakes were becoming thicker. The sky was totally white. When she got to the Butlers, both Baby and Bear were delighted to see her. She let the dogs out, while she refilled their food and water bowls. Baby dashed back into the house when Mae called. The little porgi was shivering. Like her mother, Tallulah, she did not enjoy the cold. She loaded the Butlers' young black Lab, Bear, into the rear cargo area of her Explorer.

Hey dogs,” she told them cheerfully, “we're going for a walk.”

By the time they got to her favorite hiking trail along the river, the wind was rising, but Mae thought she and the dogs would warm up soon from walking. The trail ran high above the smoothly flowing river. A tree had fallen, creating a rippling cascade of white foaming bubbles in the dark amber water. Hiking through the high oak and beech forest, Mae remembered how it looked in the spring when the hill was a cascade of trillium, anemones, violets and may apples—a tapestry of pale colors falling sharply down the green ravine.

The wind rose and Mae started walking faster. The dogs kept pace with her. They were having fun darting into the woods to bark at the falling snow before she pulled them back. Her arms were getting tired from pulling on their leashes, so she decided to unhook them.

BOOK: Three Dog Day
5.11Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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