Title: DOG’S BREAKFAST
Genre: Adult Upmarket
Word Count: 79,000
Is Your Main Character hot or cold:
Veteran diplomat Andy Pulano has achieved a level of success but aches to rise to the top. He is cold to the bone and chillingly effective.
Hot on the inside, cool on the outside, Tara Zadani is a first-generation American, the daughter of Indian immigrants. She is a young woman, new to the world of diplomacy, with strong feelings about justice. Her ideals and love of life burn within her heart. But to succeed in her environment, she must be cool and calculating.
Soon after junior officer Tara Zadani arrives for her new assignment at the U.S. embassy in a remote crevice of the Balkans, deputy chief Andy Pulano imposes an odd extra task. On top of overseeing the motor pool and maintenance crews, she now has to figure out who tried to poison the ambassador's Labrador.
Years of climbing the State Department ladder have brought Andy Pulano within one promotion of his ultimate goal in life: to become an ambassador. When the actual ambassador overreacts to his pet getting sick one morning, Pulano seizes the opportunity to advance himself by undermining his boss. Through stealth and subterfuge, he creates diplomatic chaos so he can claim credit for the cleanup.
In her off-hours, Tara discreetly investigates the dog incident, volunteers at a Roma school, and starts a romance with an intriguing traveler from Denmark. With a few zigs and zags, Pulano makes great progress in destroying the ambassador’s standing with the host country’s president. As Pulano’s scheme reaches the brink of fruition, Tara shocks him by solving the mystery of the attempted poisoning and by informing the ambassador, in defiance of Pulano’s orders.
The ambassador, about to fire Pulano, persists in blaming local authorities for what happened to his dog, resulting in Pulano being left in charge of the embassy. And in Tara being left to his mercy. To safeguard her fledgling career and pursue her romance with the adventurous Dane, she must match wits with the wily veteran.
DOG’S BREAKFAST will appeal to fans of Alexander McCall Smith and Carl Hiaasen.
First 250 words:
Second fiddle. Fourth fiddle would perhaps be more precise, insofar as the ambassador’s wife and dog also appeared to outrank him. Andy Pulano, deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in Vodaynia, felt something unusual at the outset of yet another diplomatic reception: he needed to summon an effort to project the hearty good cheer he considered a hallmark of professionalism.
Pulano’s eyebrows sagged at this realization. In public, especially at large social gatherings, his eyebrows were accustomed to romping freely across the expanse of his forehead, like a pair of frisky weasels. Not now. Why, all of a sudden, did he have to exert himself to project congeniality? Granted, his current assignment held out scant prospects for distinguishing himself. A splinter of a fragment of a nation so remote and inconsequential many people in neighboring countries had never heard of the place, Vodaynia was no one’s idea of a stepping stone for advancement up the State Department ranks.
But deep in his bones, something else gnawed. The dog.
Pulano’s freshly-shaved head glistened, and he clenched his smile in place as Davos skittered across the foyer, tail whipping and paws clicking on the marble, and careened into the guest book stand. In a matter of moments, a fair sampling of Vodaynia’s luminaries, such as they were, would swarm the ambassador’s residence for the entertainment of a visiting senator from Nebraska. The prominent participation of the rambunctious chocolate Lab heightened Pulano’s awareness that his own precious career had somehow slid onto a trajectory to nowhere.