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Afraid Knot (Large Print)

Afraid Knot (Large Print)

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Olivia's life as an entertainer on a cruise ship takes a turn when the ship's youth counselor disappears. Instead of enjoying cocktails by the pool, Olivia must care for the children on board. When a staff member is found dead, Olivia and her parrot Chico must solve the case before it's too late.

Book 4

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Experience a thrilling adventure on the high seas with Olivia and her talking parrot Chico.

Olivia’s glamorous life as an entertainer on a cruise ship takes a hard turn when the ship’s youth counselor goes missing and she and her friends Hayley and Rachel must spend their cruise corralling kiddos instead of sipping cocktails by the pool.

When a staff member is found dead, Olivia and her talkative parrot Chico must use their quick wits and sharp detective skills to solve the case. With danger lurking around every corner and plenty of twists and turns, Olivia must stay one step ahead and solve the mystery before it's too late.

“I really love this author!! I can’t get enough!! This book was great!! I can’t wait for another book to come out!! Pick this up today!!”

Main Tropes

  • Amateur Sleuth
  • Pet Sidekick Adoption Story
  • Cozy Mystery Prequel novelette


When Olivia walked into the pet store to buy dog food for her mother’s chihuahua, she wasn’t looking to adopt a pet.

After all, traveling the world as an entertainer on a cruise ship isn’t exactly pet friendly.

But she desperately wants to save the bird from the nasty pet shop owner.

Not only is the pet shop owner mean to the little parrot, but Olivia suspects that he is up to no good.

Can she save the parrot and take down the pet store owner, or will the pet shop owner take Olivia out?

Intro Chapter One

Milk splashed onto the counter as Olivia poured it on her bowl of cereal. She slammed the carton down on the counter. She shook her head and sighed. Olivia pulled a couple of paper towels off the roll and wiped up the milk. She carried her bowl over to the kitchen table and slumped down in her chair. The clink of her spoon against the side of the bowl echoed in the hushed house.

Olivia’s eyes stung as she looked at the empty seat to her left.

Her father should be sitting there, reading his morning paper and eating his usual breakfast of two fried eggs over medium, two slices of toast, and a side of bacon. Her mom made that for him for breakfast every morning for the past thirty-seven years.

A tear slid down her cheek. Olivia pressed her eyes closed.

Olivia froze and listened. She thought she’d heard a noise coming from upstairs.

Her mom lay in her darkened bedroom.

The headache that started at the funeral, had blossomed into a full-blown migraine by the time their guests had left the house last night. Margaret had locked the door behind them and headed straight for her bedroom.

Olivia had offered to make her breakfast this morning, but her mom had just waved her off. Olivia had walked to her mom’s bedside to kiss her, but Chi Chi, her pet chihuahua, growled at her from her place, cuddled in Margaret’s arms. She’d bent down and kissed the top of her mom’s head, anyway.

Olivia scooped the last of the cereal into her spoon.

Chi Chi’s toenails clicked on the linoleum floor of the hallway as she approached the kitchen. Chi Chi paused in the doorway as she looked at Olivia. Her tongue peeked out of her mouth.

Olivia raised her spoon to her mouth and ate the last of her cereal.

Chi Chi cocked her head and whined.

“Hmm. I thought you didn’t like me?” Olivia shook her head. “You want my cereal? Sorry, pup. I just ate the last bite.”

Olivia showed Chi Chi her near empty bowl.

Chi Chi stood on her hind legs and danced in a circle, her front paws held together. Her little tail whipped back and forth as she begged.

“Hm.” Olivia tilted her head. “So is food the secret to making friends?”

Olivia stood up and put her cereal bowl in the sink. She walked over to the cupboard where her mom kept Chi Chi’s dog food. She found the bag and poured what was left into Chi Chi’s empty bowl.

Chi Chi dove into her dish, her tail wagging back and forth as she ate.

Olivia tossed out the empty bag and dug around in the pantry, looking for a fresh bag of food.

“Huh. Looks like we’re out, Chi Chi. Any idea if Mom has any more food stashed somewhere?” Olivia reached down to pet her.

Chi Chi whipped around and bared her teeth, growling.

“Oh, for goodness’ sake.” Olivia shook her head. “I thought we could be friends. I guess I’m good enough to feed you, but not good enough to pet you.”

Olivia found a half-empty bag of dog biscuits. She pulled one out and held it up. “Sit!”

Chi Chi eyeballed the treat, debating if she wanted it enough to sit. She glanced back at her empty bowl and then up at the treat and sat.

“Good girl!” Olivia cautiously lowered the treat

Chi Chi grabbed it out of her hand and carried it to her basket in the corner of the kitchen. She monitored Olivia as she gnawed on her treat.

Margaret shuffled into the kitchen. She was wearing the lavender robe and matching slippers Olivia had sent her for Christmas just a few weeks before.

“Hey.” Margaret looked into Chi Chi’s empty dish and sighed. “Did you feed Chi Chi?”

“Yes, Mom. I did. She ate it all up. I finished the last bag of her food in the pantry. Where do you keep the extra bags of dog food?

Margaret put down her teacup. Her shoulders sagged. “That was the last bag. With everything going on… I haven’t bought any in a few weeks. I guess I’ll have to get some today.”

Olivia hugged her mom. “Don’t worry about it, Mom. I’ll go get food for her.”

Margaret pulled her robe shut and shivered. “Are you sure?”

“Of course.” Olivia bent down and kissed her mom on the cheek. “Give me a list of things you need and I’ll swing by the grocery store after the pet store.”

“You don’t need to do that. I can probably live on leftover casseroles for a month.”

“Mom, casseroles aren’t a balanced diet. You need to eat something that doesn’t have cream of mushroom soup as the first ingredient.”

Olivia grabbed her keys off the hook by the garage door. “Are you going to be okay while I’m gone?”

Margaret shrugged. “I’ll be fine. I have to get used to being alone. You’re only going to be home for a couple more days before you are going back to the ship.”

Olivia put her keys back on the hook and sat down at the table. “You know I would stay longer if I could.”

“I know.”

“Peter got the dancer captain to fill in for me this week, but….”

“Peter.” Margaret swatted in the air as she spit out his name.

“He wanted to come with me, mom.”

“I’m sure he did.”

“We have a contract.”

“It’s fine, Doodlebug.” Margaret sat up straighter. “It just seems like he would want to be with you for the funeral.”

“He did.” Olivia looked down at her hands. “He just couldn’t.”

“When Peter’s grandfather died, you both signed off the ship for an entire cruise so you could go to his funeral.”

“Mom.” Olivia sighed.

“Never mind. It doesn’t matter.” Margaret took a sip of her tea. “I’ll be fine while you go to the store. You can’t stay home forever, right? I’m going to have to get used to being here without…. him.”

Tears streamed down Margaret and Olivia’s cheeks. Olivia pulled her mom into her arms and held her tight. She felt the tension in her mom’s body slowly ease.

Margaret let out a sigh. She pulled away from Olivia and reached into the pocket of her robe. Margaret pulled out a tissue and wiped her tears. She looked at the clock on the stove. “Oh goodness. I need to go take my shower and get dressed. What would your father think of me, still in my robe at ten in the morning?”


Olivia pulled up in front of the pet store. It looked dark inside, but the open sign was lit. She looked at the hours posted next to the front door and opened the door. A bell rang over the door as she pushed it open.

“Hello. Come in.” A gruff voice called from the back of the shop.

Olivia wandered the store, looking for the dog food aisle.

“What are you doing?”

Olivia looked around the store. “Um, looking for dog food?”

“Uh, oh!”

“Uh, oh?” Olivia’s brow furrowed. “Don’t you carry dog food?”

“Woof! Woof, woof!”

Olivia followed the sound of the barking to the back of the store. A small parakeet cage was tucked in the dark corner. Inside, a dull green parrot with a yellow head sat on the lone perch in the cage. He backed towards the wall when he saw Olivia.

“Hey.” Olivia cautiously approached the cage. “I’m Olivia. What’s your name?”

The green bird froze.

Olivia lifted her hand to wave at the bird.

The bird screamed and fell off of his perch. He landed on the floor of his cage and cowered in the corner, one foot up, as if to protect himself from her.

“Oh, no!” Olivia stepped back.” I didn’t mean to scare you. I’m sorry!”

The papers at the bottom of the bird’s cage were filthy. His food dish was empty and bits of food floated in his water dish.

Olivia looked around the shop for an employee to help her. “Hold on. I’ll be right back, okay?”

The parrot cocked his head. “Okay.”

Oh!” Olivia took a step towards the cage. “Did you understand what I said?”

The parrot backed into the corner and made a sound like a baby crying.

Olivia backed away. “Don’t cry. I won’t hurt you. I’ll be right back. Let me find someone to get you food and fresh water.”

Olivia headed towards the cash register, but the desk was still empty. She circled the store, but no one was there. She walked through the aisles to the back of the store. There was a door on the back wall.

“Hello! Is anyone here?” Olivia knocked on the door and turned the handle, opening it enough to peek in the back. Piles of stuff lined the walls of the cramped storage room. “Hello?”

A door to the alleyway in back opened. “What are you doing back here?” A man shouted at her.

Olivia took a step back. “Sorry. I need to buy dog food. No one was up front to check me out.”

The man stomped through the store room towards Olivia and paused in front of the pile of stuff lining the wall. “I’ll be out in a minute.”

“Of course.” Olivia walked back into the store. She bumped into a display of Chi Chi’s favorite dog food and picked up a bag.

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