Lucie Rizzo Mysteries

Chapter One 


Lucie stood on the sidewalk under a soothing stream of October sunshine while Fin, an eight-month-old Australian shepherd with more energy than a horny frat boy, sniffed at a giant maple tree on Chicagos West Side. After this stop, shed call it a day. As soon as she got horny frat boy off the tree. 

Not always an easy task. 

Time to break out some Alpha Lucie. Okay, Fin. Finish up. No more stalling. 

Fin swung his head around, stared at her with his one blue and one green eye, and Alpha Lucie crumbled. Just completely melted. Im useless to the Alpha population. 

In her own defense, Fins eyes—shades of tropical seas—could take down an entire army. She simply could not get mad at this dog. 

Even when he hurled himself at her, blasting her in the chest with both front paws and knocking her on her butt. Or when he decided to stop, plop his furry bottom on the sidewalk and bark—woof, woof, woof. 

Three rapid-fire barks meant, at least in Fins mind, playing fetch. Which he could do for 90 percent of his waking hours. 

But shed been working on him. Giving him a treat every time he kept pace with her. He might be fifty pounds overweight by the time she finished with him, but hed be a dog walkers dream. A graduate of Coco Barknell. 

On the street, a car rolled by, slowing as it went. Probably someone looking for a parking space. They wouldnt find one on this block. Every parked car was squeezed bumper to bumper. 

Fins ear went up, and he barked at the car. Her hero. She bent low, gave him a nuzzle. You make me crazy, but I love you. 

A wet tongue slapped across her cheek. The bonus of working for dogs. 

Aw, you two are the cutest. A middle-aged woman hoofed down the sidewalk wearing a flowy skirt, an equally flowy blouse and a long cardigan against the late afternoon wind. She carried a briefcase in one hand. 

Lucie scratched Fins snout before standing tall. Hes a good boy and deserved some love. 

The woman stopped just a few feet away. Can I pet him? 

Something in Lucies spine fused. After the dognapping of the Ninja Bitches last spring, she didnt take to strangers wanting to come near her clients. The woman must have sensed Lucies sudden-onset Terminator and gestured to the auction house behind her. 

Im Estelle. I manage Bendorf Auctions. Ive seen you out here with this cutie. 

Lucie let out a long, silent breath. Fin. 


His name is Fin. You can pet him. Sorry. Im protective. 

Estelle glanced at Lucies messenger bag with the screen print of a winking poodle wearing a diamond collar. The Coco Barknell logo created by the fabulous Ro, aka Lucies best bud. And currently the squeeze of Joey, Lucies ape of a brother. Blech. 

Youre a dog walker? 

Yes. Im Lucie from Coco Barknell. We also have a line of dog accessories. Lucie slipped one of her business cards from the easy-access front pocket of her bag. Thered been a time when shed been too shy to even tell people about her fledgling business. Now she was a pro and whipped out her card to anyone with even a passing interest. Her growing bank account helped inspire this newfound aggressiveness. 

Estelle took the card. Thank you. I have a little guy at home myself. A mutt, but the cutest darned thing. Maybe Ill buy him a collar or something. 

Sure. Check out our Web site. If theres something you see, let me know, and Ill drop it by next time I walk Fin. 

Oh, thatd be great. Thank you. 

Finally, Estelle bent over and gave Fin a good rub. 

Stay, Fin, Lucie warned. 

Please dont let him launch. With Fin, she never knew. One second hed be calm and the next—airborne. 

But, lookie here, he stayed put. Hed definitely get a treat for that. 

Good boy, Finnie! 

Lucie pulled out another treat. Peanut butter this time. Although the carob seemed to be his favorite. 

He made a move to jump, but Lucie tightened her hold on the leash. Stay. 

Well, now Ive made a new friend. Estelle gave him one last pat. Ill be sure to look out for you now, Fin. 

He loves people, Lucie said. A little too much. 

I see that. It was lovely meeting you, Lucie. She held up the card. Ill check out your Web site. 

Estelle wandered up the walkway to the entrance of the auction house, an old, brick building with a door the color of the purest blue sky. Such an interesting choice. Eclectic, yet elegant. 

Fin finished his treat and stretched out on the sidewalk for one of his siestas. Oh, no you dont, mister. Lets get this walk finished. 

Lucie took two steps, but Fin—as usual—didnt move. Come on, boy. She clicked her tongue—the treat sound—and he popped right up. Lucie sighed and tossed him another peanut butter nib. 

In order to fix one bad habit, shed created a treat monster. Shed deal with that later. After saving her precious schedule. 

At the corner, they turned right and looped around the front of the auction house. Fin spotted something on the ground and charged, dragging Lucie with him. 

As they approached she recognized the telltale eye—the blue in the middle—of a peacock feather. Actually, this one had two eyes. How cool was that? The sun glinted off the iridescent green and turquoise, and images of Fannie and Josie—the Ninja Bitches, a couple of shih tzus long on attitude and short on stature—wearing those colors flashed in Lucies mind. 

Gripping the leash so Fin couldnt snag the feather, Lucie bent low and scooped it up. Shed take it back to the office so Ro could create some sketches of peacock doggie coats. 

That, Fin, Lucie said, would be a best seller. I just know it. 

About the author

Adrienne Giordano writes romantic suspense and mystery. She is a Jersey girl at heart, but now lives in the Midwest with her workaholic husband, sports obsessed son and Buddy the Wheaten Terrorist (Terrier). She is a co-founder of Romance University blog and Lady Jane’s Salon-Naperville, a reading series dedicated to romantic fiction.