First Line: Ali Reynolds leaned her head back against the pillow in the soaking tub and closed her eyes.
Ali Reynolds is finally getting married to longtime love B. Simpson. Having her wishes for a simple Christmas Eve ceremony overruled, family and friends are gathering in Las Vegas. Ali's got more than enough to do with last-minute wedding details and keeping track of friends, family, and-- especially-- her grandchildren, who rescue a miniature dachshund. Ali's not in the market for a pet, but as she searches for the dog's owner, she discovers a mystery. The dog's elderly owner has vanished, and her son seems to be behind it. Ali and B. have to solve this mystery and still get themselves to the church on time.
If you're looking for a big advance in the storyline in Jance's Ali Reynolds series, I'd suggest you wait for the next book. If you don't like dogs you might want to give this story a pass, too. But if you're looking to spend a little time with characters you've grown to love, then settle down for some Christmas cheer that will tug on your heartstrings.
This is just the type of story that many authors' fans want to see: little vignettes of their favorite characters' lives that won't fit comfortably into a novel; something that will help tide them over until the next book is published. "A Last Goodbye" also has the added bonus of Jance blending her own life into the story. One cold, wet night Jance herself found a terrified miniature dachshund running down the side of a busy street. That little dog, Bella, is now a part of Jance's life and goes with her on book tours. It was lovely to read this blending of fact and fiction even if it did make me break into tears at the end.
The Author's Note after the story tells you about the dogs Jance has loved throughout her life, and will evoke smiles and similar memories from any pet owner.
Do you need to be a follower of the Ali Reynolds series in order to make sense of this story? Not at all. Don't be afraid to jump right in. To be honest, I wanted to read this story because I've met Bella. Somehow I knew the fictional Bella would be very bit as memorable as the real one.
A Last Goodbye by J.A. Jance
Pocket Star Books © 2014
eBook, 57 pages
Short Story featuring Ali Reynolds