Doggie Day Care Murder

Doggie Day Care Murder by Laurien Berenson

Book: Doggie Day Care Murder by Laurien Berenson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Laurien Berenson
striding out. Candy filled the doorway behind him.
    â€œDon’t come back here,” she said angrily. “We have nothing to say. Nobody here will talk to you.”
    Body blocking the doorway, hands on her hips, she watched until the man climbed into the other car. Then she turned away and noticed us for the first time. Her expression softened slightly, but she still looked annoyed.
    â€œSorry about that. Those damn reporters are everywhere. They’re like ghouls, trolling around and searching for bad news.”
    Then abruptly, she stopped talking and stuck out her hand. “And they’re making me so crazy that I’ve forgotten my manners. You must be Alice, Berkley’s mom. It’s nice to meet you. I’m Candy.”
    Considering what she’d been through recently, Candy was looking pretty good. No dark shadows or red-rimmed eyes. She smiled as she shook Alice’s hand. I guessed she was working on keeping up a good front for the customers.
    â€œCome on,” she said. “Let’s go inside and talk.”
    Madison glanced up briefly as we passed through the reception area, then went back to perusing her magazine. When Candy opened the door in the far wall that led to the offices, Alice hung back. I slowed my steps and waited for her.
    â€œI’m sure there won’t be anything to see,” I said under my breath. Indeed, I could already see that the door to Steve’s office was firmly shut.
    â€œEven so . . .” Alice’s voice squeaked.
    Already halfway down the hall, Candy noticed for the first time that we hadn’t kept up. She stopped and turned.
    â€œI thought we’d talk in my office,” she said. “Would you rather we went somewhere else?”
    Even as I started to shake my head, Alice said, “Yes, please.”
    â€œNo problem.” Candy retraced her steps. “Let’s go back outside.”
    With Candy leading the way, we took the path that circled the building and ended up on the back walkway that led to the outdoor paddocks. Dogs, some by themselves, others in groups, were frolicking in several of the enclosures.
    The nearest paddock held Cookie, the English Springer we’d met the other day. The black and white spaniel had flopped down in the shade, panting. A red rubber ball was balanced between her front legs.
    Candy glanced over at the dog and smiled. “Coming out here was a good idea. Now you can see for yourselves that everything at Pine Ridge is proceeding absolutely normally. Of course, Steve’s death was a huge blow to us all, but I want you to know that the quality of our care and our customer service will remain unchanged.”
    The speech sounded like something Candy had repeated many times over the last couple of days. Days she should have been able to spend taking care of herself, rather than reassuring customers and tending to business.
    â€œI know you said you had some questions for me,” she said gamely. “Go ahead. Feel free to ask me anything.”
    I looked at Alice. She looked at me. I could tell we were both thinking the same thing. All at once, Aunt Peg’s concerns about emergency vets and the quality of kibble just didn’t seem that important anymore.
    â€œI’m really sorry we took up your time,” I said to Candy. “It looks like you’re doing a great job. We don’t have any questions. Alice just needs to fill out an application, and then we’ll be on our way.”
    â€œAll right. If you say so.” Candy looked confused, but she recovered quickly. “We’ll have to return to the front office then. Madison has the application forms at the check-in desk.”
    â€œI do need to know one thing,” Alice said as we resumed our stroll. “How soon will you have an opening for Berkley? I’m going back to work and I need to be able to make plans.”
    â€œThat’s easy, we can take him right away. You can start

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