Did you miss part one of Chapter One?
From Prams and Poison
Chapter One Continued
“It’s a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” she raved. “A chance to leave
my mark on a unique piece of classic San Francisco. I just hope I can
do it justice. I’m meeting with the clients tomorrow to look at the
“You deserve every bit of this success,” I said firmly.
Paws zipped across the dirt patch, kicking a cloud of dust up into
my face. A ticklish sensation in my nose overpowered me, and I
sneezed. The four-legged troublemaker turned around and jumped up
on me, his paws connecting with my shoulders and knocking me off
“Paws!” scolded Paula.
But I just laughed and sat back up, brushing myself off. “Maybe we
should dampen the dirt a little so there’s not so much dust. We’ve got
a mister attachment on the hose that should do the job nicely.”
Paula made a face but picked her way to the side of the house and
gingerly picked up the hose.
“Twist it to the left,” I called.
She turned on the hose and raced over to the garden, waving the
hose in the general direction of the dirt patch. Too late, I realized the
mister attachment was lying in the dirt at the side of the house. A
stream of water burst from the end of the hose just as I pulled Laurie
and Danny away.
Paws charged straight for the onslaught of water and tore head‐
first into the mud.
Paula shrieked and dropped the hose. “Oh no! Wet dog!” she
wailed, running back to the side of the house and cranking off the
hose. As the flow slowed, Paws settled at the end of the hose and
licked up the last trickle of running water.
I covered my mouth. “I’m so sorry, Paula. The mister fell off.”
Glancing at Paws, I added, “At least he’s already chocolate colored, so
he doesn’t look quite so muddy?”
“He just had a bath yesterday.” She facepalmed dramatically.
I made a sympathetic noise in the back of my throat. “I’m sorry.”
Out of the corner of my eye, movement lurched toward the muddy
dirt patch. “Danny, stop—”
But it was too late. Danny had plopped himself on his back in
“Angel!” he yelled, throwing out his arms and legs like he was
making a snow angel in a mud-wrestling pit.
Paula squeaked in horror.
Danny scrambled to his feet, giggling, and made a mad dash at
Laurie and me. I shrieked and tried to dive out of the way, but he
caught Laurie by the arm and tackled her to the ground, wrapping his
muddy arms around her.
Laurie’s eyes widened as if she wasn’t sure whether to laugh or
“You’re all right, duck,” I cooed in an upbeat voice. She stared at
me. Then a smile stretched across her face, and she dissolved into a fit
of riotous giggles.
One crisis averted.
Another . . . I took in the two extremely muddy children and even
muddier puppy. Another crisis not-so-averted.
But mud washed off.
I met Paula’s gaze, and a smirk tugged on the corners of her lips.
“Another day in the life?” she offered in a high-pitched voice.
We burst into hysterical laughter. “The Mystery of the Muddy
Mayhem,” I managed to choke out.
Paula wiped tears from the corners of her eyes. “Oh boy. I needed
a good laugh.” Her nose wrinkled. “I’d have preferred it didn’t come
with a side of Gloppy the Mud Monster, but I’ll take what I can get.”
“Everything all right?” I asked, tilting my head to study her.
She waved her hand. “I’m stretched so thin. David is working all
the time, and my mom’s out of town, so I’m down a babysitter. I’m
trying to build my business while taking care of two little ones—and
for reasons I can’t fathom, I added one extremely energetic and needy
puppy to the mix. It’ll pass. Just a season of being a little more tired.”
“Well, you still look glamorous,” I assured her. “Hey, my mom
wanted some time with Laurie tomorrow. What if I rope her into
babysitting your littles, too, and we can go look at your new project
Relief flooded her face. “Oh, that’d be perfect. I’ve been scrambling
to try to find someone—there’s sure to be media around on a Painted
Lady renovation, and I really want to look professional and put
together if a reporter wants to interview me. This is a huge career
Paula always looked professional and put together. I opened my
mouth to say just that, but before I could get the words out, Danny
threw a stick at her.
The stick bounced harmlessly off her leg, and she turned to scold
the toddler. “Hey. No throwing sticks. That can hurt people,” she said
But my attention was fixed on Paws—because his attention was
fixed on the stick. Paws charged the stick at Paula’s feet.
She let out a screech and tried to back away, but at the last second,
he abandoned the stick and reared up, catching her off balance. She
tumbled backward into the grass with a little scream.
With a whimper of joy, Paws clambered up onto her and started
licking her face, his feet tracking mud all over her perfectly fashion‐
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”I couldn’t stop reading!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Fast-paced and fun. I love these mysteires!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Diana Orgain is my new favorite author!”
Share the love!