Harper – The K9 Files Book 19 by Dale Mayer

The K9 Files Book 19
USA Today Bestselling Author
Dale Mayer


With his surgery postponed, Harper can finally take on a War Dog case to help out Kat and Badger. Harper knows it is short-term, a fill-his-time thing. Considering his stage of life, that is perfect. Finding out he needs to find two dogs is a surprise, but he doesn’t expect to track one dog in order to keep another alive.

As Saffron works to keep Beast alive, she knows how important it is to find Beauty, his bonded partner. The pair of War Dogs had come to Saffron for medical treatment. Beauty had thereafter been released, supposedly taken to a huge training facility in Mississippi, while Beast hadn’t been healthy enough to leave Saffron’s care. With Beauty missing, finding Harper on Beauty’s trail is both a relief and a distraction. Saffron can’t ignore the dynamic Harper, even as injured and as scarred as he is. Not to mention the work he’s doing is so close to her own.

As Harper gets closer to Beauty’s location, it becomes obvious that someone wants to make sure the War Dog doesn’t reach her destination. But why? And how far will this person go to take down the dog?

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This book adds a bit of a twist to usual War Dog checkup. Both dogs are in facilities rather than with private citizens. Well, they were until one was sent for more intense care and the other disappeared.

Harper Snowden travels first to where the male dog is known to be. There he meets Saffron a veterinarian surgeon who is really concerned about the dog they call Beast. Apparently, he’s bonded with the female he was traveling with but now they’ve been separated. Saffron has no information on when the female went missing from the other facility, she only knows that it seems suspicious.

After seeing Beast and promising to do his best to bring beauty to him, Harper faces either traveling more or finding somewhere to stay the night. Saffron solves that by offering him a place to stay the night. She also calls her sister to come over and bring dinner. Dinner is pleasant and Harper leaves to head to the training facility in early the next day, texting his thanks to Saffron.

What he finds when he gets there is the lie that Beauty never arrived, but someone else says the owner’s son took her outside and she got away. He reports all this to Badger who is going to look closer at the facility. After meeting with the father, Harper heads off and is being followed. However, his last sheriff stop gives him a clue. Milly saw the dog, but since they consider her a ‘crazy cat lady’ they didn’t give it much thought.

I have to say I really loved Milly. Not only does she have good information for Harper, but she also recognizes that he’s been shot when she sees his shirt full of blood. She gives him first aid and a place to stay the night. He calls Saffron once he’s settled to update her.

This is a favorite scene.

“I know, and either they were an excellent shot and deliberately left me with this burn, which— outside of being specialized military— not too many people have that kind of control. I mean, I could be wrong. Maybe that’s all this is, or maybe it’s got nothing to do with it at all. Maybe whoever it is intended to take me down or to just warn me. I don’t know, but obviously the game has changed.”

“Yeah, you think?” she snapped, and he heard the stunned disbelief in her voice. “This isn’t normal stuff that happens all the time.”

“Unfortunately it is stuff that happens,” he argued, yet his voice remained calm. “It’s just generally not something you know about or are impacted by.”

“Yeah, you’re not kidding,” she muttered. “And, for the record, I’m not impressed.”

“No, of course not,” he agreed, then hesitated. “I’m sorry. I probably shouldn’t have called you.”

“No, no, no, wait,” she called out. “That’s not what I mean. I’m very unimpressed that anybody would do such a thing, that anybody would think that life is so fragile and so worthless that they would shoot you like that, regardless of their intent. And you don’t even know why.” Then she hesitated, her voice a little bit calmer and asked, “Or do you?”

“No, I don’t. Not at all. I have no clue what’s going on here. The only thing I’ve done is stir up a hornet’s nest over this missing War Dog, which now makes me all the more curious about what may have happened to her.”

“This woman, Milly,” Saffron asked in sharp tone, “does she know where Beauty is?”

“No, she just told me that the dog looked like she was in pain. She went out to try to help her, but she took off. Anyway, I probably should ring off and try to grab some sleep.”

“Okay.” Then in an anxious voice, she asked, “Are you sure you’re all right? Are you sure you shouldn’t go get it checked out?”

“I kind of trust Milly here more than I do anybody else in this area right now,” he shared. “I’m just not sure what’s going on.”

“No, I’m not either.” Saffron’s voice gained in volume. “This is absolutely despicable, and it makes me even more concerned about Beauty.”

“I know. Me too,” Harper agreed in a quiet voice. “I’ll be back on the road first thing in the morning.”

“That’s not all I’m concerned about,” she said in exasperation. “You are obviously not fully healed yourself, so you need to be extra careful.”

He snorted at that. “I didn’t think I wasn’t being careful,” he replied. “I certainly wasn’t expecting anything like that.”

“So you haven’t had any confrontations with anybody?”

“No, not at all. I mean, did anybody care that the War Dog was missing and that people were checking in on it? No, not particularly. I think they all thought it was just a dog, and it would probably all disappear by the wayside.”

“Maybe,” she said, “but now I’m not so sure about that.”

“Neither am I, and that’s the good part of this. He showed his hand, so now we’re sure something else is going on here. He made a mistake, a big one.”

“In what way?”

“Because now I know for sure. Now I know I need to find out more, something that’s not quite right here. And that is what I do best.”

“Sure, maybe when you’re fit and healthy, but not when you’re being shot in the back out of the blue.”

“No, and believe me. I won’t make that mistake a second time,” he declared.

“And this lady, she didn’t see who shot you?”

“No, it didn’t happen here, and a lot of people in town won’t even listen to her because, you know, she’s the crazy old cat lady.”

“Right, my kindred spirit you told me, and thank you very much for that. I do know the type.”

Such a wry note was in her voice that he had to laugh. “Oh, come on. I was kidding, sort of. You probably have quite a few of them come to your clinic, don’t you?”

“More often than not they don’t have the money to keep the cats, but I help a couple with the cat food and then spay or neuter as many as I can. The way I look at it, all the cats they keep wouldn’t have a home at all if not for these cat-loving people, so I consider it a part of my charity work to help them out,” she told him.

Harper grinned. So like Saffron. And Milly. He had already decided to leave Milly some cash for her cats, to buy some food, along with his card and a handwritten note for her to call him, if she ever had a problem. Yet Saffron’s sister was another matter. “I’m sure your sister has a hard time with that.”

Startled, she asked, “How did you know that?”

“I don’t think your sister quite gets who you are.”

After a long moment of silence, she said, “You know what? I’m not sure she does. She’s a good person, but she’s had some issues in life, and it’s kind of tainted her worldview.”

“Hopefully she’ll figure it out.”

“Will you get any sleep tonight?”

“I’m not sure,” he admitted. “As much as I don’t like taking painkillers, I may have to tonight to get any rest, which I need.”

“Exactly. You’ve got quite a lot going on, and your senses will be more dulled from lack of sleep than any residual effect from a pain pill or two.”

“Yeah, that’s what I had concluded too.” Yawning, he added, “I am feeling fairly tired, so hopefully I can sleep.”

“What will it take for you to get to sleep?”

“Just talking to you right now is kind of doing it.” Then, as if realizing what he’d just said, he quickly apologized. “Sorry. I really didn’t mean that the way it sounded.”

She chuckled, as she must have heard the note of panic in his apology. “I know what you mean. It’s not that I’m boring but it helps to have some soothing voice, some white noise even, to help you doze off.”

“Just talking about today has let my mind unwind a bit,” he murmured. “It’s been a very strange day.”

“You’re not kidding, and I feel completely helpless here.”

“How is Beast holding up?”

“Not as good as he could be, and, of course, we’re hoping that Beauty is on her way to him, but that doesn’t mean she is or that she’ll make it.”

“No, I know,” he murmured. “The only thing we can do is try to track her down and help her however we can first, and then see about getting her reunited with him.”

“Any of that seems almost like an impossibility right now.”

“I don’t know. I’m not prepared to see it that way at all.”

“Of course not,” she smiled. “You are very much an optimist.”

“If we’re not being an optimist, we end up being a pessimist, and that’s not good either.”

She chuckled at that, acknowledging the truth of it. “I still would feel better if you contacted the sheriff.”

“I don’t want to do that because I’m not sure what the hell’s going on here.”

“You told me that the sheriff wanted to be kept in the loop.”

“Yeah, and that’s not something I’m prepared to do. Especially now.”

“You don’t think he’s involved, do you?” she asked, her tone almost a whisper.

“No, I don’t, but I don’t know what he knows and what he doesn’t know as to whether this kid is in any way related. There have been plenty of times in my world where law enforcement help was the best thing, but then again there have been enough times when it was the worst thing. And that I just don’t want to risk just now. Not until we know more.”
Dale Mayer. Harper (Kindle Locations 1289-1351). Valley Publishing Ltd..

With the stakes higher than before, Harper continues on the track he believes Beauty is taking. He knows he has to get to her before whoever is following him does.

This one is truly a hold your breath, cross your fingers and pray story. I couldn’t put it down.

5 Contented Purrs for Dale!

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Dale Mayer

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.

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