My heart leapt to my throat and I stood, fearing the worst, "Is Aunt Rowe okay?"
"She's fine, Miss Sabrina." Thomas pulled out a chair and plunked himself down.
"Thank goodness." I eased back into my seat.
Thomas took his hat off and placed it on the chair across from me. "Your aunt's having a good day so far. Glenda got her settled on the patio chaise so she can enjoy some sun before the day gets too hot. The physical therapist should be there shortly."
My aunt, Rowena Flowers, took a nasty fall in early spring and was recovering from a concussion and a broken leg. Which was my impetus for finally quitting my Houston paralegal job and accepting her offer to come live with her for a while. In addition to keeping my aunt company, I was helping Thomas and Glenda, the housekeeper, manage the cottages during Aunt Rowe's recuperation.
Thomas lifted his arm to check his watch, and I spotted a bloody cut on his forearm. Looked to me like he might need stitches.
"What happened to you?" I pulled a fresh napkin from the dispenser and handed it to him.
He accepted the napkin and dabbed at the wound. "El Gato Diablo is what. Gosh-darned cat crossed my path, next thing my toe caught on the curb, and fell flat out. Arm caught the edge of one of them fancy metal planters in front of the wine shop. Better'n smacking my head, I guess.
"A devil cat?" My forehead creased. "What are you talking about?"
"The black cat," he said. "Big fella. Been around these parts since I was a kid."
Since he was a kid?
"You're what?" I said. "Thirtysomething?"
The coffee shop's owner, Max Dieter, came up with a mug for Thomas in one hand and a steaming coffeepot in the other. The big man had a fringe of strawberry blond hair surrounding a bald crown and always offered a holly smile. Without asking what Thomas wanted, he filled the fresh mug with a flourish.
"Heard you talking about the bad luck cat," he said. "Legend around town. I thought we'd seen the last of him when West Krane loaded him up and carted him off to Nolan County."
"I'd met the crotchety Mr. Krane, owner of the local hardware store, and wasn't surprised that he'd drive across the state just because a cat annoyed him.
Thomas lifted his arm to show Max his injury. "The cat's here in Lavender. Did this to me."
May shook his head. "The animal better steer clear of my place. I remodeled to bring in more business. Don't need bad luck scaring people away..."
Black Cat Crossing
By Kay Finch
Sabrina was not superstitious and she was surprised to learn that many residents of Lavender considered black cats bad luck! In fact, as soon as she met the black cat who was "terrorizing" the town, she was drawn to him, even to the point of starting to feed...hide... and name--Hitchcock--him! And we all know that once a cat is named, a bond is developed...
|"Aren't you gorgeous?" |
I said, and that's
when the cat took off...
And since the murdered man had been related to Aunt Rowe, and they had fought when he came to see her, of course she was the main suspect!
|Get a grip. You're talking|
to a cat as if it's your
When I reached my cottage, I saw the cat sitting on the top stone of the steps leading to the river. I stooped down and talked to the animal. "You've made quite a trip coming all the way out here from town," I said... The cat meowed.
"Glad to meet you, too," I said... The cat stood and looked at me, then turned and darted down the steps...When I reached the bottom, the cat's eyes appeared in a place that made it seem like the animal was suspended over the water.
No, he was sitting on a fallen tree limb. A rather large limb with one end resting on the riverbank, the other end submerged. The cat was taunting me for some reason, and I was crazy to be out here in the middle of the night following the animal around...I swear he meowed again, though I couldn't be sure over the sound of the river. I turned the light back toward him and stopped when I spotted a brown ostrich-skin boot propped on top of the fallen limb near the cat.
What the heck?
I walked as close as I safely could to the riverbank's edge, three feet or so above the water. The book was actually lodged in the fork of a branch attached to the limb.
My heart raced. Was there still a foot in that boot?
And when she discovers that years ago, a young girl was found in the same tree in a similar position, she immediately believes that is a major issue in the present murder. Of course, nobody else is listening...much...
Aunt Rowe has a group of cottages that are rented out and the various individuals who are in the cabins at this time lend an interesting flavor to the story. Especially the little girl who has also found a friend in Hitchcock...
And then there's the man who moves into the cottage next to Sabrina who she mistrusts immediately...
|He pointed. "That's the--"\|
"The cat who saved my
life," I interrupted, "and
she's one heck of a good
The mystery and investigation in this particular book is fairly complex and many different characters had motive because of the man's own life of shenanigans! Enjoy!
Kay Finch grew up on a Pennsylvania farm but she got to Texas as fast as she could and discovered the Texas Hill Country, the setting of her Bad Luck Cat mysteries coming from Berkley in 2015. As a child Kay wrote mystery stories, but it wasn’t until she went to work for a renowned criminal defense attorney that plot ideas once again began to flow. In addition to the Bad Luck Cat mysteries, check out Kay's Corie McKenna PI mysteries, Final Decree and Final Cut, and Relative Chaos, her Klutter Killer mystery. Kay is long-time member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the State Bar of Texas Paralegal Division. She lives with her husband, a rescue cat, and two wild and crazy rescue dogs in a Houston suburb. Visit her at www.kayfinch.com.