The Sound of Running Horses
by Donna Ball
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Still recovering from the traumatic events of the past year, newlyweds Aggie Malone, police chief of Dogleg Island, and Deputy Sheriff Ryan Grady are looking forward to a carefree day of picnics, pirates and buried treasure with their precocious—and uncannily perceptive– border collie, Flash. But when Flash discovers a body in a shallow grave on the deserted Wild Horse Island Nature Preserve, a tangled knot of conspiracy, murder and deception begins to unfold, revealing that the things that are buried are often the most dangerous and the only pirates you have to fear are the ones that live next door.
Fifteen hundred miles away, an ex-con and a fifteen-year-old girl embark upon a crime spree that will earn them the nicknames “Bonnie and Clyde”. As they make their way inexorably south, Aggie, Grady and Flash are thrust into the middle of a murder investigation that leads to the arrest of one of their neighbors and the attempted suicide of another. When a search of the dead girl’s belongings reveals a priceless emerald bracelet and two of the islands most popular residents go missing, the puzzle becomes even more complicated. Grady and Aggie struggle to put all the pieces into place while Flash, ever obsessed with understanding the human condition, wrestles with a more painful dilemma: how do you tell the good guys from the bad guys when they are so often the same person?
Aggie dropped the phone into her pocket and shouted, “Flash!”
While she was on the phone Jack had cast off and started the engine, but he hadn’t yet moved away from the dock. Aggie dived for the rope just as Flash reached the rail. She stripped the rope off the cleat and tossed it to Flash, who made one circuit around the rail support before leaping onto the dock with the end of the rope in his mouth. The boat began to edge away from the dock, taking up the slack in the rope, as Aggie snatched the rope from Flash and started to wind it around the cleat. She was tying the knot when she heard the gear lock in and felt a strong tug that almost pulled her off balance and into the water. Panic leapt to her throat. She finished tying the knot, praying it would hold, and shouted, “Jack Saunders, cut your engines! Cut your engines and disembark! That’s an order!”
The line stretched taut but the knot held. The boat rocked in the water. Saunders called back,
“You can’t give orders to a captain on his own boat!”
Aggie pulled her gun and got down on one knee in a shooter’s stance. “Cut your engines this minute or I swear I’ll fill this boat with so many holes she’ll never float again! Do it now!”
The boat railing began to creak as it strained against the pull of the engines and the opposing pull of the rope. Aggie held her breath, but she also held her aim. In a moment the engines throttled down. “Return to dock!” she shouted. “Disembark with your hands above your head!”
Flash jumped on board as soon as the boat was close enough, and kept Saunders in the pine-scented wheelhouse until Aggie had securely tied off again. He had done take-downs before, but never on water and never, he had to admit, one that was this much fun. Captain Jack snarled at him but Flash had bigger teeth, and after he demonstrated as much the captain gave him no more trouble. Saunders climbed sullenly onto the dock and raised his hands in the air. Flash kept a wary eye on him. After all, people, as he well knew, were unpredictable.
Aggie holstered her gun and snatched Jack’s hands behind his back. She was breathing so hard she was practically wheezing, and she was soaked in sweat. “You are under arrest,” she said, with difficulty, “for evading a police officer, interfering with an investigation, withholding evidence, and disobeying an order from an officer of the law. Damn it,” she said angrily as she snapped the cuffs closed, “I told you not to make me do this the hard way.”
Donna Ball is the author of over a hundred novels under several different pseudonyms in a variety of genres that include romance, mystery, suspense, paranormal, western adventure, historical and women’s fiction. Recent popular series include the Ladybug Farm series by Berkley Books and the Raine Stockton Dog Mystery series. Donna is an avid dog lover and her dogs have won numerous titles for agility, obedience and canine musical freestyle. She divides her time between the Blue Ridge mountains and the east coast of Florida, where she lives with a variety of four-footed companions. You can contact her at http://www.donnaball.net/
The Sound of Running Horses, Book Two in the Dogleg Island Mystery series, is available July 15, 2016 in paperback, and for Kindle and Nook. Buy it from Amazon.com here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GOLP4FE
Donna will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B&N gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.