Emma and Gabriel by Sandra Parshall in this Pet Spotlight

I live with two serial killers.

I call myself their mommy, but I suspect they think of me as She Who Must Obey, the disciple who caters to their every need and disposes of the evidence after one of their murderous rampages.

This time of year, the waning days of overripe summer, is when the Dark Passenger stirs in Gabriel, the brown one. He lies in wait for his prey at the front door, the back door, the door between the utility room and garage. He knows they will come. He has virtually no patience for delay in any other aspect of life, but when he’s on the hunt he can be as still and focused as a lion in the long grass of the veldt. Most of the time I never see the kill. I find the sad little corpses of black field crickets scattered about the house, one or more legs missing, a single fang mark piercing each body.

Eat them? No. Gabriel prefers Fancy Feast.

Miss Emma, the one with stripes and spots, is too fastidious to pounce on anything as nasty as a cricket (which, to put it bluntly, will ooze greenish stuff when bitten). But let a fly get into the house, or a tiny meal moth gain entry in a bag of birdseed, and she’s off. Larger and far less graceful than she believes herself to be, Emma crashes across tabletops and counters, leaving lamps teetering and potted plants overturned in her wake. She kills with the crushing grip of her bare paws. Since she tried to squash a wasp and ended up in the hospital with her leg swollen to three times its normal size, she seems to have given up on prey that can fight back, but she remains merciless with anything else that flies.

To look at those innocent, big-eyed faces, you’d never know that coldblooded killers lurk within. Gabriel is a sweetie who kisses his vet. Miss Emma is a snuggler who also serves as my muse, reporting to our office on time every morning and remaining with me while I write. Aside from her insistence that every chapter would be improved by a chase scene, she never steers me wrong, and I’ve dedicated my new book to her.

BLEEDING THROUGH, the fifth entry in Sandra Parshall’s critically acclaimed Rachel Goddard mysteries, came out on Sept 4th. Kirkus has praised it for blending “nerve-wracking suspense with a twisty mystery.” Sandra can be found on Facebook.