Friday Sampler: Best in Show by Maria Grazia Swan



In our mission to connect readers, writers, and books, Caleb and Linda Pirtle is showcasing some of the best authors in the marketplace today. Monday’s Sampler features an excerpt from Best in Show by Maria Grazia Swana romantic mystery for pet lovers.

About Maria Grazia Swan:

Maria Grazia Swan
Maria Grazia Swan

Award winning author Maria Grazia Swan was born in Italy, but has also lived in Belgium, France, Germany, in beautiful Orange County, California where she raised her family. She is currently at home in Phoenix, Arizona.

As a young girl, her vivid imagination predestined her to be a bestselling author. She won her first literary award at the age of fourteen while living in Belgium. As a young woman Maria returned to Italy designing haute couture. Once in the U.S. and after years of concentrating on family, she tackled real estate. These days her time is devoted to her deepest passions: writing and helping people and pets find the perfect home.

Maria loves travel, opera, good books, hiking, and intelligent movies (if she can find one, that is). When asked about her idea of a perfect evening, she favors stimulating conversation, Northern Italian food and perfectly chilled Prosecco.


The Story

Mina Calvi, Italian transplant to Southern California, thinks her love life might finally come together, just as her professional life has.

Her Furry Friends Foundation, a no-kill shelter for rescued cats and dogs, is a success, and Mina hopes she may find a loving forever home for her-self, in the arms of Diego Moran, her elusive, frustratingly mysterious, on again-off again, lover.

When a seemingly innocent night out with friends lands Mina in a hospital bed and Diego undercover, and not the covers Mina wants him to be under, Mina has to draw on all her new-found maturity, and all her supportive friends for strength. Meanwhile, a Best in Show cat takes up residence at the Ritzy Cats B&B, Mina’s other venture, setting Mina on the trail of a suspicious character who might not have the cat’s best interests at heart.

Add a Matchmaker to the Stars, a temperamental Italian chef and the usual menagerie of people and pets, stir it all up and you have an entertaining, hard to put down romantic tale of suspense found in Best in Show.

The Sampler

The moonlight no longer lit the room, and dawn was still a flicker, a tease on the eastern horizon. Mina guessed all that by the lack of glow outlining the objects in her bedroom and by recalling the many sleepless and lonely hours she’d spent at times, waiting for the night to end.

Not this night.

She had awakened in the dark, startled to see Houdini, her cat, staring into her face. Diego’s arm had tightened around her waist, pulling her closer. She nestled against the warmth of his body and in her drowsy state heard him whisper something in her ear. “Red dress.” Was he talking in his sleep?

Later when sunlight seeped into the room without being invited, Mina cursed the unavoidable beginning of the day.

Will he stay, or will he once again leave for her own good?

It always amazed her to see how people’s good intentions more often than not ended up hurting the ones they loved most.

Did he love her?

In the heat of the night, love was a given. But as daylight unfolded, her insecurities found their pat to her heart. Mina didn’t move, afraid the slightest shifting might wake him. His chest rose and fell against her back as he breathed peacefully. Their bodies touched, connected in a perfect fit. A match made in heaven she repeated to herself, in heaven but not on earth?

The longing she felt for him transcended sex and lust. Eyes closed, she revisited their good-bye two years ago at the cemetery in Italy, and that sense of unconditional love he’d brought into her life. It was the kind of love Mina assumed girls customarily expected from a father, a brother, a kin. But that was only a guess, a yearning since she’d grown up without parents or siblings, so she had never experienced such love, until then during that magical Italian summer.


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