I sat on my rotting back deck, looking at Molly as she checked the time
on her new watch. Her watch matched the rest of her. Perfect. It was a
designer brand and matched her designer dress, which was a bit too
short, a bit too tight, and cut low enough to show everyone who cared
just how ample her bosom really was.
I looked down at the T-shirt dress I’d bought from K-Mart and
wished—not for the first time—that I could just be a little more
Maybe if I had her budget I’d be able to dress like that. I sighed.
The truth was, even with her budget, I still couldn’t pull that outfit
together so effortlessly. Molly’s my sister and she’s beautiful.
We’ve been told that we look very much alike, but honestly, I am a
very watered-down version of her.
My name is Lizzie Fuller, and I’m the tallest female member of my
family, measuring in at five foot two inches.
Barefoot, Molly is just shorter by half an inch, but that half an inch
is very important to me. Our brother Danny towers over both of us at
five foot eight, but both Molly and I have a much more impressive
D-sized cleavage. I am however, the only sibling to have inherited two
dimples. Where from? Who knows? Grandma Mabel was a bit of a wild card,
so we have no idea what’s hidden in the family gene pool.
The day had turned into a bit of a scorcher which, as it was summer, I
guess should be expected. My deck was a bit old and rotten, but if you
sat on the end nearest to my neighbors, Helen and Allen, it was safe
enough. Of course that had the disadvantage of Helen, the quintessential
busybody, being able to hear everything I said. But as long as I
didn’t talk about her, it wasn’t really a problem.
I sighed contentedly, and pretended to listen as Molly dreamily told me
about a new man she was interested in. Honestly, my attention was on her
dog, a little Maltese Terrier named Harper. Every time Molly came over
for a visit, Harper went out to the garden, and frantically dug in the
same spot. I usually went out and shooed him away, but next visit, there
he was again. I’d decided to let him go for it. I wanted to plant some
trees anyway so he was saving me the trouble of digging the hole. Plus,
I always looked at him with his bright eyes and his tongue hanging out,
and thought how enjoyable his life was. Seriously, when it’s my time
to be reincarnated, I want to come back as a dog.
I turned to look at Molly, still dreaming about the new man, her eyes
bright and her tongue almost hanging out, and right there and then I
believed people really did look like their dogs.
Lucky for me, I owned a cat, and that rule didn’t apply to cats. Did
it? I was about to ask Molly when she shouted at Harper.
“Harper! Get out of there!”
I looked, wondering where he was as I couldn’t see him anymore, when I
realized he was in the hole he’d dug.
“Come here, boy,” she called. He stuck his head up out of the hole
and barked. Woof.
“Don’t bark at me,” she scolded. “Just come here.”
Eventually he came, but he didn’t come clean. Harper was usually white
and fluffy but right then, he was brown from his shoulders down, and had
dirt stuck to his snout. He also brought something from the dirt to give
to Molly. I noticed her eyes bulging as the realization dawned that she
had to put him back into her beautiful shiny Lexus. I stifled a giggle.
“Oh, Harper! Look how dirty you are,” she chastised as she stood and
walked towards him. “And what is that?”
“Don’t yell at him,” I said. “He looks so happy.” And he did.
His eyes shone brightly as he trotted up the three steps onto my wooden
deck, and dropped the gift at Molly’s Jimmy Choo-clad feet.
“Eww, that’s disgusting!” She squirmed, moving her toes to push it
back down the stairs.
I knew she was squeamish about things like that, but as she turned
towards me, her complexion paled, she swayed, and then fainted ... right
on top of Harpers gift. Shit. Shit.
Running over to help her, I looked at Harper. “Good one, Harper. Now
what am I supposed to do?”
I wasn’t good in stressful situations, especially medical ones. My
heart rate increased, as my heart pounded against my ribs, leaving me
short of breath. Calling an ambulance would probably be a good idea, but
my phone was inside the house. Years ago, I’d completed a first aid
course, and a memory stirred about how to put a patient in the recovery
position. I knelt down next to Molly, grabbed her shoulder and shook
her. Not exactly the recovery position, but it felt like the right thing
to do. She moaned. That was a good sign, right?
“Molly!” I yelled, shaking her a little more. “What the hell are
She moaned again. At least I knew she wasn’t dead.
I grabbed her shoulder and rolled her onto her back.
“You’re going to be in big trouble when she wakes up,” I said to
Harper, my heart rate decreasing slightly as Molly’s eyelids
“Urgh,” she gurgled, stirring.
“Molly!” I shook her shoulder once more. “Molly, wake up.”
She opened her eyes wide and stared back at me, her gaze unfocused.
“Molly, can you hear me? Molly!”
My yelling must have worked—well, either that or the shaking I gave
her—because she groaned and sat up.
“Stop yelling at me,” she whispered, her eyes rapidly moving about,
as she tried to figure out what happened.
As she moved, a bone rolled out from under her. Harper saw his chance,
grabbed it and ran straight into the house, towards my couch—my white
“Harper!” I yelled. I didn’t care how happy he was. I did not need
a big muddy stain on my favorite chair. Leaving Molly to get herself up,
I ran through the kitchen door after Harper, but he was quicker than me.
I wasn’t sure how though, as that bone had been almost the same size
as him. Before I could catch him, he’d run through the kitchen, across
the hallway, and straight into the lounge room. He was just settling
into place as I ran through the door.
“You naughty boy!” I chastised, stepping up to him. “That couch is
nearly new and I happen to like it!” As I spoke, I looked down at the
As Harper nuzzled it into position, it overbalanced, rolled off the
chair, onto the floor, only stopping once it was under my timber coffee
table. I gave a disgusted sigh and knelt down to retrieve it, wondering
what poor family pet it would once have belonged to.
Feeling around the dirty carpet, I shuddered as my hand made contact
with it and I felt the cold, damp soil lodge under my fingernails. As I
dug my fingers in and pulled the bone out, I looked down at my hands,
nausea rolling in my stomach. A clod of dirt fell onto the mat. The
world swayed slightly as I saw looking back at me ... a skull. But it
wasn’t the skull that freaked me out, it was that I was pretty sure
this one didn’t belong to a dog ... or a cat.
In fact, I was pretty sure this one was human.
Excerpted from "Give Murder A Hand: Lizzie. Book 2 (The Westport Mysteries) [Kindle Edition]" by Beth Prentice. Copyright © 2015 by Beth Prentice. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.