Skip to product information
1 of 1

Sue Hollowell Books

Daffodils and Deadbeats (EBOOK)

Daffodils and Deadbeats (EBOOK)

Regular price $1.99 USD
Regular price $0.00 USD Sale price $1.99 USD
Sale Sold out

EBOOK. Daffodils and Deadbeats is a short story in the Treehouse Hotel Mysteries series.

A new companion, nosy neighbors, and a revitalized purpose for life…

Recovering from the passing of her long-time husband, Chloe ponders what’s next for her life in retirement.

With a regular visit from her neighbor’s dog, she contemplates a canine companion. In the process, she discovers suspicious activity that leads her on a quest for answers.

Will her attempt to sleuth out the mystery change the course of her life?

A light, cozy mystery in a small town with a puzzle loving, amateur female sleuth, quirky characters (human and canine), and enough flowers and pastries to fill your garden and your belly. No gore, swearing or cliffhangers. Can be read as a standalone.

FAQs: How will I get my ebook?

Ebooks are delivered instantly by link in your confirmation email (and as a backup, also by email from our delivery partner, Bookfunnel).

FAQs: How do I read my ebook?

You can read the ebooks on any ereader (Amazon, Kobo, Nook), your tablet, phone, computer, and/or in the free Bookfunnel app.


He strolled up like he owned the place. The caramel-colored, curly-furred Goldendoodle looked left through the chain-link fence that bordered the alley parallel to our backyard. As if my eye contact granted him permission, he took two steps back and leaped the short fence.

I’d gotten to know Bruce over the last year. For some unknown reason, he’d visit us now and then. Although us was now just me. Bruce loped over to me on the patio. I scratched his ears. His presence was a welcome change. My days since retirement had gotten lonely. I spent the time pondering what was next for my life. Maybe Bruce was sent to tell me I needed a canine companion of my own.

These evenings on the patio were a ritual that Frank and I had when the weather turned nice. Savoring a huckleberry vodka cocktail, relaxing, and talking about our days. We concocted new recipes all the time with the locally brewed alcohol. I shared my quiet days at the accounting office, which paled compared to Frank’s career. Law enforcement was his passion. Mostly because he enjoyed helping and serving others. His hard-shelled candy coating disguised his soft insides. Although the time my office did some forensic accounting on a large crime ring that got busted juiced up life at the office like never before.

Bruce sniffed and rested his chin on my knee. My hand disappeared into his thick fur. Those deep-set, big brown eyes warmed my heart. “OK, Bruce. You got me. I’ll start looking for a new friend. I’ll probably never get rid of you after that.”

With understanding, his tail wagged. The pressure of his chin transmitted pure love. Animals are more in tune with our emotions than we realized. Right on cue, Bruce hopped into Frank’s empty chair. Our little patio sanctuary was one of the last projects we completed together. He always deferred to my tastes. Chairs with teal, mesh seats, and matte charcoal, powder-coated steel frames. A matching teal, white, and charcoal geometric rug. My favorite color reminded me of the ocean, its expansiveness and peace. Light gray pavers extended the patio for those summer parties we’d never get to host again.

Frank’s absence was heavy on my heart. The cancer came on suddenly and progressed quickly. He fought valiantly through the treatment, always keeping his sense of humor. He joked about saving on shampoo when all of his hair fell out. We weren’t spring chickens, but we weren’t old geezers either. Losing him was like losing a part of my body. We’d been together most of our adult lives. Living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest provided us with ample opportunity to be active. We snow-skied, kayaked, hiked, and did stand-up paddle boarding. Ever since Frank’s passing three months ago, I had been sitting on my butt. And it was growing. Adding a furry friend to my family would get me up and active again.

“All right, Bruce. Time to head home.” I put my empty glass on the side table. He jumped off the chair and stood in front of me, ready for me to buckle him up. I retrieved the leash hanging on a nail behind me. Frank and I had broken down and bought it when Bruce had become a regular visitor. We wanted his return trips home to be safe. I snapped the leash onto his collar and we strolled through the gate toward the front yard.


Bruce led the way to the sidewalk as if we’d made this trip a thousand times. We turned right toward James street. There were cheery sounds as we passed by the houses in this older part of town. They had built most homes around 1950. Like ours, they were two stories with basements on postage stamp-sized lots. Small front porches and low or no fence in the front yard. Mature landscaping. Beautiful, fragrant lilac bushes. The local Spring Lilac Festival was a highlight of our year. Families were outside enjoying the change to the beautiful weather from the sometimes harsh winter in this area of the Pacific Northwest. Bruce’s home was several blocks from ours. I don’t know how he ever found us.

His owner, Sandy, tried relentless ways to keep him contained in her yard. They worked for a while. But he outsmarted her and escaped. His jaunt usually led him to our house. His most recent trick was unlatching the gate. Sandy added a lock after that. Bruce, Frank, and I made this trip about once a week. Seeing Sandy’s house on the next block, Bruce tugged hard on the leash. He barked, his tone showing displeasure. I almost thought he was mad at me for taking him home. There was no reason he should want to leave home. He was absolutely spoiled rotten and had two young kids to play with.

We crossed the last street. Sandy’s house was the second one down the block. Bruce amped up his barking and stopped in front of the corner house, stepping into a bed of daffodils. His barking sounded like he was warning off a predator. For the life of me, I couldn’t see what he was barking at. He stood stubbornly in front of Sandy’s neighbor’s house. I walked past him and pulled the leash to divert his focus.

“Bruce, come on.” He looked at me and returned his gaze to the neighboring house. I tugged again to jolt his attention. Then I heard it. The sounds weren’t loud, but there were a lot of them coming from the backyard. Little piggy squeals and snorts like they were fighting for a trough. Except city ordinance prohibited keeping livestock. People breaking laws had been job security for Frank.

Sandy appeared on her front step and waved. “Hi, Chloe. Nice to see you.”

“Ok, Bruce. Show’s over. Hi, Sandy.” I pulled the leash a final time and unstuck Bruce to finish our trek. Sandy met us at her gate and opened it for us to enter.

“Thanks for delivering my escape artist. He visits you so often, maybe you should keep him and I’ll come visit.”

“No problem, Sandy. It gave me a chance to get out of the house. I think Bruce has convinced me to adopt a dog. Though, if he has a new friend, you might never see him again.”

“I really appreciate you always bringing the big lug home. If I ever crack the code for keeping him contained, I’ll write a book about it.”

I unhooked the leash and released Bruce into the yard. He jetted to the corner and resumed his barking toward the yips.

“What’s going on over there?” I pointed to the sound emanating from behind the neighbor’s fence. “Sounds like they have pigs.”

“Nah, they’ve always got puppies. It drives Bruce nuts. Because they annoy him or he really wants to play. Actually, there’s so many puppies all the time that I reported them to Animal Control. They’re always trying to escape this way under the fence. I don’t know what they’re doing, but I’m concerned. Nothing ever seems to happen about it, though. Maybe you’d have more luck with your law enforcement connections.”

Sandy retrieved Bruce from the corner and dragged his reluctant body into the house. That eighty-pound dog had the strength of one twice his size. He relented.

“Thanks again, Chloe.” Sandy and Bruce entered the house, probably for a good scolding.

I left the yard and closed the gate behind me, making darn sure I had locked it. Didn’t want another escape on my watch.

View full details