Six Paws Under by Max Parrott

Six Paws Under: Psychic Sleuths and Talking Dogs (A Jaz and Luffy Cozy Mystery Book 7) by Max Parrott

Stepping onto the island near Blackwood Cove, Luffy by her side, Jasmine breathed in deeply. There was no one waiting at the dock for her, but then she had no way of knowing whether anyone else had arrived. Each contestant was taking the journey from the mainland separately, as the producer didn’t want them to meet too soon. He had explained to Jasmine that the meeting was one highlight the viewers enjoyed.

Even though they weren’t in view, Jasmine knew there were cameras somewhere watching her. Cameras, with viewers on the other side. Joining the competition was a choice. She knew, technically, what she was getting into, and all she could really hope for was good editing. Glancing down at Luffy, the stillness of his tail a sign he still wasn’t happy, she picked up her bag.

If they got through to the end, it would be around a month on the island, with a group of strangers. There were eleven, including her, according to the information packet they sent when she became a contestant. The producer had been excited to have a genuine celebrity on the island, even though Jasmine still did not see herself as one. To her, it was simply a way to get the money she needed. Even if she didn’t win, maybe being on telly would be enough for others to invest money in her business.

As Jasmine made her way along the path, she studied the island. It was privately owned, in the hands of the producer, and the competition was in its third year. Three years of people being willing to put their life on hold for a month to live on an island. She shook her head. Until she applied herself, she couldn’t understand the choice, but the money was worth it. Hopefully.

Thanks to the time she’d spent watching the show, after deciding she was going for it, Jasmine knew a little about the layout of the island. Getting from the dock to the main house was easy enough, as long as you followed the path. More than once people got lost, missing a turning somewhere, but there were people around to help. People they would not see unless something went seriously wrong.

Reaching the end of the path, Jasmine opened the door, stepping into the house. Warmth surrounded her. There was no one else in the living room, a sign she might be the first to arrive, or they were off somewhere exploring. It didn’t seem likely it would be all that long before someone else would arrive, and waiting was probably the best option.

The living room had a large sofa and different seats scattered around. The beanbag chair was Jasmine’s choice. Nestling herself, bag by her side, she looked at Luffy. He looked back at her, silence unnerving but not unexpected. From the beginning, he’d made his displeasure with her choice obvious. Luffy didn’t like to break his daily routine, but he acknowledged the need for investment in his best friend’s business. He stayed by her feet, possibly having softened since he noticed there was quite a lot of unchartered land to explore.

Jasmine looked around the room, once more searching for the cameras she knew were there. The game show crew carefully hid them to ensure none of the contestants could cover them. One rule of the game was that you could not hide from the cameras while you were in the house, other than in the bathrooms. Not a surprise, considering what they’d all signed up for.

Finally, a guy stepped into the house. He was pulling a suitcase behind him. Jasmine’s eyes met with his for a moment, and he narrowed his eyes at her. “You the first one here?”

“Possibly. I didn’t find anyone else here, but I also didn’t go hunting. I’m Jasmine. You?”

“Sam. Dog yours?”

“Yeah, this is Luffy.” Luffy raised his head, thumping his tail. “We go everywhere together.”

“Why are you here?”

“The prize money. Can’t help thinking it’s the primary reason most of us are here. Unless you have some other story.”

Download Six Paws Under while it’s on sale on Amazon December 1st – 6th.


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