One of Laguna Beach's best-known plastic surgeons may need a new leash on life. Unless he's just taking a very long nap on the bench outside Melinda Langston's Bow Wow Boutique...
Dr. O'Doggle continued to give us the silent treatment. Fluffy eyed him intently. I studied him too. Tova Randall wasn't my BFF, to say the least, but I didn't wish her boyfriend any bad luck.
My neighbor, Darby, relaxed her grip on Fluffy's leash. The big Afghan lunged toward Dr. O and knocked him over. Tova's handsome hunk rolled off the bench and dropped with a thud at our feet.
Darby gasped. My stomach knotted. "No, no, no." I shook my head. "Not again."
I knelt down and shook his shoulders. "Dr. O'Doggle?" I grabbed his suit lapels and yelled, "Jack?"
No response. No, "I'm fine." No, "Stop yelling in my face." No, "Get your hands off me."
No, no, no.
I checked his throat for a pulse. Nothing. But he was still warm. My fingers brushed against something knotted around his throat, and I'm not talking about his tie. I pulled back his shirt for a better look. I sucked in a breath, my nose filled with a light female perfume I didn't recognize. A thin dog leash was wound tightly around his neck. Identical to the kind I sold at the shop.
This was not an accident.
"Is he . . .?" Darby asked softly.
I looked up at her. "Dead. No more late night walks for him."
Sparkle Abbey is the pseudonym of two mystery authors (Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter). They are friends and neighbors as well as co-writers of the Pampered Pets Mystery Series. The Pen name was created by combining the names of their rescue pets - Sparkle (Mary Lee's cat) and Abbey (Anita's dog). They reside in central Iowa, but if they could write anywhere, you would find them on the beach with their laptops and depending on the time of day, with either an iced tea or a margarita.