Substitute teacher Barbara Reed knows better than to say the word "perfect." Using the P-word is a sure way to jinx romance, finance, and circumstance. Despite a chronic shortage of funds, things are looking up for Barb after the events of NO SUBSTITUTE FOR MURDER. She's completing grad school and hoping for a job at Captain Meriwether High School in Reckless River, Washington. Her drug-cop boyfriend, Dave Martin, wants to move in and his daughter is all in favor. Even Barb's tiny dog Cheese Puff has no objections-undaunted by size, he's infatuated with Dave's partner Lola, a drug-sniffing Golden Retriever. Then Dave uses the P-word. And Barb's luck leaves town. Her car breaks down, her domineering sister comes for a visit, the condo manager plots to ban dogs, her jailed ex-husband begs her to be a character witness at his trial, a computer hacker creates chaos at the high school, and a hulking thug threatens violence. Just when it appears things can't get worse, Lola sniffs out a package in her car and a drug dealer decides Barb and Cheese Puff are his tickets out of trouble.