Return Without Dog #SampleSunday

Here’s another sample from A DEAD GUY AT THE SUMMERHOUSE, my YA/NA paranormal suspense set in 1968. Mitch and Lydia have just returned from the vet’s, where they left one of Aunt Missy’s dogs. The dog had … fallen, surely … from the balcony.

Return Without Dog

by Marian Allen

cover warsWe found Aunt Missy, Dr. Andrew, Mr. Walton and Mrs. Seldon-Hardesty in the sitting room.

“Oh, Aunt Amelia!” Lydia lunged for her.

Aunt Missy dodged and came to me for a hug. She clutched my shirt with trembling fingers. I dropped the afghan and put my arms around her, but I felt like I was the one being embraced.

“I told you!” she said. “I told you they were in danger! I told you they had enemies!”

“Nonsense!” Mr. Walton said abruptly.

“Chan is all right, Aunt Missy. He’ll be home in a couple of days. He has a few broken bones from his fall–

“I knew it would happen some day! Something like this.” She glared across her shoulder. “I hold you responsible, Matt Walton!”

Mr. Walton’s frown looked like it had a headache behind it. “Amelia. . . .”

Mrs. Seldon-Hardesty looked at her watch and said, “Is this going to go on much longer? I don’t like to leave Eleanor alone.”

I had almost forgotten about Eleanor. Now that I remembered her, I remembered that she hadn’t come running at the sound of a dog in distress, and neither had Mary. Neither had Corrie.

“Where’s Wong?” I asked.

Aunt Missy said, “Sandy and Ava have him in their quarters. Will you go get him, Mitch?”

It seemed to me she wasn’t standing as straight as she usually did. She looked old and frightened, and that scared me.

“You want me to bring him to your room?”

“No.” She sighed deeply and shook her head. “No, I’m going to lie down for an hour or so. Bring him in at about one and we’ll have lunch together, you and he and I.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Lydia touched Aunt Missy’s arm. “I’ll take you up. I know how to make you comfortable, don’t I, Aunt Amelia?”

Aunt Missy transferred her weight to Lydia and rather vacantly allowed herself to be escorted away.

“You,” Mrs. Seldon-Hardesty pointed out to me, “are supposed to be getting the dog.”

“Yes, ma’am,” I said, not moving. “Mr. Walton, you said you wanted to see me when I got back?”

“Later. Drop by my office later this afternoon.”

Dr. Andrew swept up the bloody dog-wrapper. “I’ll take care of this.”

Mrs. Seldon-Hardesty stood and, if looks could kill, I’d have been dead in three languages. She was chalk white except for her rouge.

“Can’t you do what you’re told?” Her voice grated through her teeth.

“Yes, ma’am,” I said simply, and left as fast as I could without actually scuttling.


A DEAD GUY AT THE SUMMERHOUSE is available at Amazon in print and for Kindle, or can be ordered from a local bookstore through Indiebound.

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Your character takes an animal to the vet.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Return Without Dog #SampleSunday

  1. Jane

    October 25, 2015 at 11:33am

    I just read a book, not so much a bad book, but it contained a random heroine’s cat, whom she allowed to come and go. The heroine began to come under attack on several occasions in her apartment. Throughout the book, she regularly mentioned being worried about the cat, but did she do anything about it? No. This was just a clumsy way for the author to “create suspense.” It should’ve wound up being another attack on her. Finally, at the end, after she’d said she hadn’t seen him for a while, he turned up righty tighty in her newly refurbished apartment (done up by her grateful friends). Yucchh!!!

    Just so you can compare.

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      October 25, 2015 at 5:10pm

      I HATE it when there’s a random animal cluttering up the works! I don’t mind if it’s just kind of there — “Mindy unlocked the door, kicked off her shoes, and fed the goldfish” — but. if it’s more than that, I want it to be IMPORTANT.

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  2. Jane

    October 25, 2015 at 11:36am

    I finally pursued all your friday Recommends, and WOW!
    Everybody, right now, just go back and check them ALL out!

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply

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