USA Today Bestselling Author
Landon, after a tough couple of years helping his navy buddy live out his last years, needed a break. Tracking a war dog named Chica to make sure it was okay sounded perfect. Especially being able to take his three chihuahuas with him. But finding a dog that had been part of a large shipment heading to a rescue across the Canadian border but had gone missing on the last stop before the border – well that was going to be a challenge. Particularly one that had a lame leg and half a paw.
Sabrina had spent years volunteering at a local vet clinic, because all animals had a soft spot in her heart. Finding out Landon is trying to track down a missing War Dog, well how could she not volunteer to help him? Still when her world flips upside down, she’s more than happy to have Landon close by.
Now if only they could find the dog and figure out who was responsible for endangering her life…
The war dog Chica had a good retirement until, her caretaker died. She along with many other dogs was shipped to Canada. Unfortunately, she never made it across the border.
Badger and his wife Kat have been helping the government find missing war dogs and this is the next one they need to find, hopefully quickly. They contact one of Kat’s patients only to find he’s unavailable for a while. However, his brother might be able to help them out.
Landon had been caretaker for his friend Joe and now that he is gone, he could use a bit of a distraction. He still has the three chihuahuas that brought Joe so much joy in his last days. Landon cared for them since their birth bottle feeding them around the clock, they are family to him.
When his brother calls to ask if he wants to help find the war dog he immediately says yes and calls Kat and Badger. is more than willing to help find Chica, now he just has to figure out where to start. It takes a while, but he manages to find the phone number of the man’s mother. She informs him of the accident and the hospital where he is a patient, requesting only that he let her know how her son Charlie is really doing. The hospital is close to the border crossing where Chica went missing so visiting in person is Landon’s choice.
Sabrina volunteers at the Veterinary clinic where her best friend Angela works. Angela’s partner is a veterinarian who hopes to join the practice, but so far, they haven’t come to terms with Angela’s boss. As a result, they are extremely busy, and Sabrina frequently picks up a meal and helps out with the animals after her regular shifts as a nurse at the local hospital. She’s picking up lunch for Angela and her boss Dave when she meets Landon. He’s debating which sandwich to buy.
They run into each other again in the hospital parking lot and the third time is inside the hospital when he gets lost while talking on the phone first with Charlie’s boss, and then with Badger.
This is a favorite scene.
Stepping into a waiting room, Landon made a quick call to Charlie’s boss, who confirmed what the injured man had told Landon. She didn’t have any more information on the location of the dog but did add that it had been a last-minute solution to put Chica on the truck going up to Canada. She also confirmed that the cross-country transport was a common practice and that they did it several times a year. He shook his head at that because it just seemed crazy that Americans weren’t looking after their own, but apparently the Canadians had been doing this for years, and it was a system that worked very well.
She was really anxious that nothing mess it up because they had hundreds more already looking toward the next load.
And, with that, Landon contacted Badger to give him an update as to how far he had gotten, as he slowly wandered down the hallway toward his truck. By the time he put away his phone, he realized he must have taken a wrong turn, and he was in a completely different part of the hospital. He frowned, did a full turn, and just as he went to walk up to a counter to ask for directions, a woman stepped up and then chuckled. “Okay, now three times can’t be a coincidence.”
He looked back to see the woman from the sandwich shop. He smiled at her. “I was talking on the phone with my boss, and I completely lost track of where I was, and now … I’m lost.”
“That’s easy to do in this hospital,” she declared, with an eye roll. “You’re not the first person.”
“So how do I get back to the parking lot?” he asked, raising his hands. “It seems foolish to admit I got lost inside the building.”
She grinned and took him to a window at the end of the hallway, then pointed out where the parking lot was.
Landon frowned. “I know I was talking and walking for a while, but, jeez, I didn’t think I’d managed to travel that far.”
“A hallway connects the two buildings,” she explained, “so if you ended up there, you wouldn’t even have realized that you left one building for another, but you would have already been heading in this direction.”
“Okay, but this doesn’t bode well for my trip though.”
“What trip?” she asked. “Did you get to see the guy you hoped to see?”
He nodded. “Yeah, I came here because Charlie was taking a load of dogs up to Canada, and one of them, a War Dog, somehow got lost.”
Her eyebrows shot up. “Lost?” she asked cautiously.
He winced and nodded. “Yeah, lost. Apparently anyway.” Then he explained the little bit that he knew about the situation.
“Oh my, I hope you find the poor thing.”
“That’s my intention.” He smiled. “I just don’t know what all will be involved in getting there.”
She nodded. Pointing down the hallway, she began to escort him to his truck. “I volunteer at a vet clinic here in town,” she added. “That’s who I was getting all the sandwiches for this morning. Animals get dropped off there all the time.”
“How can somebody do that?” he asked, staring at her. “I have three dogs of my own out in the truck right now.”
“Three?” she repeated, her eyebrows shooting up again.
He nodded. “Chihuahuas.” She gave him a tiny smirk. “Don’t say it,” he warned her in good humor, even as he narrowed his gaze at her.
“Say what?” she teased, obviously trying hard to keep a straight face.
“That I don’t look like a guy who would have Chihuahuas.”
She nodded. “You said it, not me.” She gave him a huge smile. “But, hey, at least you’ve got dogs.”
“Always had dogs,” he confirmed. “Love them. Absolutely love them.”
“So do I. I have two at home myself, and I’m absolutely thrilled that you’re searching for this poor dog,” she stated. “Since I work for free at the vet clinic, I can’t volunteer any of their services, but I know that we’re always more than happy to help out, if you end up in a spot of trouble and the dog needs somebody to look after it.”
He shrugged. “I hope not. I don’t know what the score will be. Chica’s been lost a couple months now, so not sure what she’s already been through since then. Plus, she had her own war wounds to heal from. So I’m really hoping somebody has been good to her in the interim.”
She nodded. “If you do find Chica, let me know.”
“How will I do that?” he asked, looking at her. “You haven’t given me your number.”
“In the interest of helping out an animal, I can do that. This is for the vet clinic.”
“What about afterhours?” She nodded. “Fine, here’s my cell. Don’t abuse it.”
He grinned at her. “Never. Unless it’s a case of a dog that needs help.”
At that, her smile fell away. “If that’s the case, you call me. Where was she lost? How far away is it from here?”
He shrugged. “Not too far. I just got a location at the Canadian border where it was last seen.”
She frowned at that. “You know what? I feel like I heard rumors about a wounded dog being picked up somewhere near here.”
He stared at her. “I don’t suppose you have a way to chase down those rumors?”
She shook her head slowly. “No, but now it’ll really bug me until I figure it out.”
“If you do”— he pulled out his phone again and quickly sent her a text—“ that’s my number. I’m Landon. Let me know if you hear anything.”
“Sure. And I’m Sabrina. What’ll happen to the dog if you do find her?”
“First off,” Landon noted, “we need to make sure that she’s okay and gets whatever medical treatment she needs. It’s missing half a paw already, so it’s very distinctive. Plus, she’s also had multiple breaks in her back leg, so she limps.”
“Right, and there’s a fine distinction with that too.”
“She’s also a highly trained War Dog. She’s used to being in difficult situations and still going strong, so she won’t necessarily look like she’s injured or down to that extent.”
She stared at him for a long moment. “Kind of like you, huh?”
He winced at that. “Is that really how I come across?” he asked in mock horror. “Like I’m a lame dog, one step away from being put down?”
She frowned, then burst out laughing. “Uh, no, that’s the last thing I would say about you.” Still snickering, she explained, “You’re more like a junkyard dog than a retired War Dog, and you look like you’ve seen better times in your life.”
“Yeah,” he agreed. “I’m still dealing with losing that friend of mine.”
At that, her smile sobered. “I’m sorry. I deal with loss at my work all the time, and it’s never easy, even when you haven’t gotten to know them very well yet.”
“Nope, not easy,” he confirmed, “and, just when you think you’ve got a handle on it, something comes out of the blue and throws you for a loop.”
“Agreed,” she replied, “but you’re doing really well.”
He smiled at her. “How would you know that?” he asked in a teasing manner.
“Hey, I can see that you’re doing well,” she stated. “I have really good instincts.”
“I hope so,” he said. They had reached the front door, where Landon had entered. “And, if you do hear anything about the dog, let me know.”
“Will do.” And she stood at the entrance and watched as the most interesting man she’d met in a very long time got into his vehicle and drove off.
Dale Mayer. Landon (Kindle Locations 548-610). Valley Publishing Ltd..
A couple of things happen as Sabrina helps out by contacting the vets she knows, including Angela. Angela is very skeptical with regard to Landon thinking her friend is being gullible and pushes Sabrina away rather than bringing her closer.
She does get a clue from a rescue who has sighted Chica but was unable to catch her. Landon sets up some cameras and puts out food for Chica. He hears her but doesn’t yet see her. He does however, meet a problem with a BB gun.
There’s so much that goes on with Chica’s situation and also with Angela. The relationship between Landon and Sabrina also develops into more.
I love these rescues; every war dog deserves to retire to a loving home.
I can’t wait to read the next book in this series.
5 Contented Purrs for Dale!
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Dale Mayer is a USA Today bestselling author best known for her Psychic Visions and Family Blood Ties series. Her contemporary romances are raw and full of passion and emotion (Second Chances, SKIN), her thrillers will keep you guessing (By Death series), and her romantic comedies will keep you giggling (It’s a Dog’s Life and Charmin Marvin Romantic Comedy series).
She honors the stories that come to her – and some of them are crazy and break all the rules and cross multiple genres!
To go with her fiction, she also writes nonfiction in many different fields with books available on resume writing, companion gardening and the US mortgage system. She has recently published her Career Essentials Series. All her books are available in print and ebook format.