Imagine Needing Rescue…

We’ve been talking a lot about heroes as of late and again, I’m so thrilled and proud to be a part of Hero Undercover – a compilation with 24 other authors from Blushing Books. The huge collection is all about heroes. Well, heroes come in all shapes and sizes – including furry ones. My love of all things animal related has always been a part of my writing, but I wanted to highlight just how amazing in particular dogs can be. I have two beautiful Golden Retrievers and they are my world. They’d also super intelligent.

Rescue Me is a series revolved around animals and whether humans rescue them or Maveric_500x755the other way around, the love and honor given by fur babies is amazing. The first, and I have to admit, is all about a beloved Golden Retriever who is the only thing left in our heroine’s world. She’s gone through trauma, forced to leave everything and everyone she knows and try and forge a new life.

Unfortunately, monsters – the human kind – really do exist. They feed on our nightmares, our insecurities and they know how to destroy us. Or do they? The first coming from Blushing Books on June 27th. Please celebrate with me the extreme love and a book I’m so  very proud of.

MAVERICK – RESCUE ME

SYNOPSIS

If I can’t have you, no one will…

The words have haunted McKenzie Reynolds for months. Running away wasn’t the best answer, but she had zero choices. If she stayed, he’d have continued down his path of abuse disguised as domestic discipline. Once a man she thought she could trust, his evil deeds slip past the mask. A new home. A new life. Only her Golden Retriever, Maverick by her side. She is free, ready for every new challenge, including the chance at love.

Until he finds her…

Dr. Diego Mitchell, a struggling veterinarian, leaves his past and every bad memory behind, or at least he tries to. He has begun forging new relationships in a new community, while developing clientele. On a stormy night, he learns a valuable lesson as tragedy strikes. He’s forced to use his valuable skills to save a life, but what he doesn’t expect is a rush of emotions, including the need to protect. The mysterious woman might be his savior.

Two strangers bond together as a mystery develops, leaving the local ranchers terrified of the recent arsons. With several dead, including an unidentified man, McKenzie is not only the key but perhaps the intended victim. A game of cat and mouse ensues and McKenzie and Diego race to find answers before the monster strikes again.

Can McKenzie take a chance and truly trust Diego?  Can Diego push his demons away, so he can protect McKenzie? Will the rugged cowboy be able to rescue the woman he loves? Will the scared, haunted woman take back her power and rescue the man she loves, right back? Together, can they survive and heal?

The first in a collection of stories involving humans who rescue beloved animals. Or is it the other way around?

EXCERPT

Diego’s car careened to the side. He twisted and turned the wheel but skidded straight into a ditch. His body jerked forward, constrained by the seatbelt, yet the force knocked the wind out of him. When the car stopped, he sucked in his breath and shook his head. He blinked until he could focus and grabbed the rearview mirror. He’d hit something, but what? The darkened road was all he could see. He peered out of the windshield and controlled his breathing. Maybe a tree limb?

“God help me.” Fiddling with the belt, he struggled to release the clip. As he scrambled out of the car, he blinked in an attempt to make out anything. The wind howled but he heard a distinct whimpering sound. Swallowing hard, he lumbered forward. The rain continued to pour, making seeing anything all but impossible. Shaking, he stopped and listened.

“Eeee…”

He folded his arms across his chest and continued trudging in a straight line as the wind slashed rain across his face.  A lump formed in his throat. A knowing.

“No! My baby. No!”

cowboy with lassoHe heard anguish in a woman’s voice. The sound was close. Too close. Gulping, he held his hand over his eyes and continued walking. “Hello?”

The woman was crying hysterically, her wailing heard above the storm. “No! Please God no!”

“Miss, are you all right?” Dear God, let her be okay. Please God. Please.

“My baby. You hurt my baby,” she screeched. “What’s wrong with you? No. No. No.”

“What?” Diego could no longer feel his legs. He closed the distance and peered down. A dog lay in the middle of the road. The pup’s chest was heaving and the breathing irregular. This can’t be happening. “Oh God. I’m so sorry.” He looked up and down the road. If anyone came around the blind corner, they’d be crushed.

“You have to help me! He’s all I have. Why? Why?” She was shaking, her voice rattled.

“Hold on. Let me see. I might be able to help.” As he knelt down he touched her shoulder. She flinched and kept her hand on the dog’s head.

“Why? Why didn’t you stop?”

“I didn’t see you. The storm and…” He couldn’t finish his sentence. What if he hadn’t been distracted? What if he’d kept his eyes on the road?

Crack!

As the thunder rolled, a flash of lightning gave him a momentary view of the injured animal. There was a massive gash on the dog’s neck as well as one of the back legs was twisted in an unnatural position. He realized that the animal could be in critical condition. Talk to her. Keep her calm. “What’s his name?” He eased his hand down the length of the dog’s torso. The heart rate was fast, but strong.

“Maverick. His name is Maverick and he’s all I have. All I have.” She crouched down, placing her face against the dog’s. She moaned as she rubbed his back. “He’s everything.”

The name stunned him momentarily. “Maverick?” An unwelcome memory surfaced and he was momentarily lost, the past strangling his breathing.

“You have to help him.”

“I’m trying. I don’t know what you want me to do.”

“He’s dying. You can’t let him die,” she wailed as she clutched his jacket, tears streaming down her face.

“I…I can’t. I don’t know how.”

“Mister, are you hearing me? You have to help him.” The woman turned her head in his direction. “You just have to make everything okay. Do you understand me? Do you!”

“I…” Diego jerked back to reality, shaking from the intense vision. Another flash of light and he managed to see her horrified eyes as well as her swollen lip. They’d both been running from something. You can do this. You’re trained. You know what to do. “Okay. I’m a vet. Let’s try and get him to my car. We’re not safe here on the road. Are you able to walk?” Placing his hand on Maverick’s heart he knew the situation was dire. There was no doubt the dog had to have internal bleeding. He had no choice but to move him.

“Yeah,” she mumbled and wiped rain from her face.

Maverick lifted his head, a single whimper escaping his lips. He lifted his paw to Diego, his eyes imploring.

Diego calculated the dog’s chances of survival. He believed that things occurred in the world for a reason. Tonight, his entire being was being challenged, let alone his very soul. “Come on buddy. It’s going to be okay.” He gingerly lifted the dog into his arms and rose to his feet, nuzzling the injured pup close to his chest. He prayed the car would start and he could get out of the ditch.

“Careful. Don’t hurt him. Please.” She huddled behind Diego as they struggled to get back to his car.

He opened the back door and eased Maverick inside. From the amber glow of the interior light, he managed to study her features. Whatever had occurred, the woman had suffered almost as much. “Go to the side of the road until I can get the car out of the ditch.”

“I’m not leaving him.” She gripped his jacket, her fingers digging into his arm. “Never. Do you hear me?”

Feigning a smile, he patted her hand. “And I’m not going anywhere. Okay? Trust me.”

In a few seconds she released her hold and took a step back, looking over her shoulder. She bit her lip. “Looks like you’re stuck. Why did this happen. Why?”

“Don’t count my old steed out just yet, missy. I’ve been through much worse.” Diego crossed his fingers as he climbed into the driver’s seat, leaving the door open. He’d seen her terrified expression. Someone was after her. “Here we go.” The engine clicked twice before turning over. The roar of the V-8 was at least a good sign. He pushed the gear into drive and pressed his foot on the gas pedal. The tires did nothing but whirl, spinning in the mud. “Damn it.”

“Too much gas and power. Put the gear into first and tap the pedal.”

I so hope you enjoyed.

Have a sizzling day

Piper

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