Falling For Spring by Heather Day Gilbert

I’m a huge flower-lover (perennials in particular), so spring is a special season to me. It’s a thrill to catch sight of that first robin, the first tulips poking through the dirt, the first hummingbird, and the list goes on.

I love spring so much, we got married on May tenth. In my part of the country (the mountains of West Virginia), we had to get tulips shipped in for the event, but the lilacs on the reception tables were from a neighbor’s bush, which was nearly at the end of its bloom season. My mother-in-law planted one of the hydrangeas from the ceremony, and the last I saw, it’s still growing in a large pot (22 years later!).

We’ve since discovered that May tenth is a predictable date of a chilly snap in West Virginia, and on the day of our wedding, our bridesmaids had to huddle in their matching wraps and guests dug around for sweaters to ward off the cold. But by the time the reception was over, when we headed out to my old faithful Volvo to take off for the honeymoon, it had warmed up a little.

Many years and four children later, and I still enjoy uncovering the first green growth of spring (and mentally blasting the deer that chomp the tops of my accessible tulips and hostas!). There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing a new flower appear that you forgot you planted in the fall, or like guessing the color of the discounted poppy plant you bought at the end of the season.

In a life filled with both terrible and happy surprises, it’s nice to slow down and listen to the first peepers of spring, uncover the new blooms, and watch a bluebird making its nest nearby. I think one of the most beautiful sights in the world is West Virginia when all its mountains are bathed in myriad shades of green. Despite my seasonal allergies, I’ll always enjoy the first breath of spring.

When exotic pet-sitter Belinda Blake moves into a carriage house in tony Greenwich, Connecticut, she’s hoping to find some new clients. Instead she discovers a corpse in the garden—and a knack for solving murders . . .

Pet-sitter Belinda Blake doesn’t rattle easily, but move-in day has been eventful, to say the least. The python in her care tried to slither to freedom—just as she met Stone Carrington V, her landlords’ disarmingly handsome son. With the constrictor back in its cage, she heads out to the garden, only to discover a designer shoe poking out of the boxwood hedge—attached to a woman’s dead body.

The victim, Margo Fenton, was a Carrington family friend, and no one in their circle seems above suspicion. Between client trips to Manhattan and visits to her family in upstate New York, Belinda begins to put the pieces together. But though she’s falling for Stone’s numerous charms, Belinda wonders if she’s cozying up to a killer. And soon, daily contact with a deadly reptile might be the least dangerous part of her life . . .

“A humorous series debut with exotic pets and a zany cast of characters. Gilbert’s cozy will make you smile.” —Amanda Flower, USA Today bestselling author of Premeditated Peppermint

“Cozy fans will root for pet-sitter Belinda Blake as she unravels this cleverly-crafted mystery in a delightfully-deadly new series by Heather Day Gilbert.” —Elizabeth Spann Craig, author of the bestselling Myrtle Clover Mysteries

“Smart and fresh, with a compelling mystery at its heart, Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass is an enchanting cozy that will hook you from page one. As will amateur sleuth Belinda Blake, a delightfully original heroine you’ll want to meet again and again.” —Karin Kaufman, author of the bestselling Juniper Grove Cozy Mystery Series

“Snakes rank only slightly more favorably with me than spiders, leeches, and ticks. So you can imagine my surprise when, by the end of this book, the snake was my second favorite character after Belinda herself. On top of being a great book for animal-lovers (trust me, you’ll love even the snake), this was a fun read with a smart sleuth. I can’t wait to see what Belinda does next, where both pets and perps are concerned.” —Emily James, award-winning and bestselling cozy mystery author