Pre-school teacher turned private eye Nala Bonne, and her opinionated dog, Max, have a nose for evil doings in Circle City. They’ve recently gone to the dogs, make that rescue dogs. Not everyone in Indianapolis has a soft spot for a homeless pup. Someone has it out for the dogs and the people who love them. A midnight call jolts Nala and Max into action as they rush to the aid of a local rescue dog queen, but it may already be too late.
Targeted Age Group:: 12-90
Heat/Violence Level: Heat Level 2 – PG
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Local readers asked me to write books set in Indiana.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Some are based on people I know, but most are a combination of various traits I've witnessed in family members, co-workers, and friends.
The sunlight painted the lake with a golden shimmer. Nala leaned back in her boat seat as her handsome companion expertly guided the craft toward the pier. He’d mentioned reservations at a lakeside restaurant that had received a stellar review in The Indy Star newspaper. The thought of the renowned grilled rainbow trout had her mouthwatering, or maybe it was her date. She glanced back to the tall figure at the wheel. With his broad shoulders and thick, wavy, dark hair, he was almost movie-star handsome, which caused her a momentary pang. What was he doing with her, an ex-preschool teacher turned private eye? She’d never stop traffic with her cute nose and average figure.
Forget about it and enjoy the moment. Her hair streamed behind her as the boat picked up speed. Even though it had been a hot Indian Summer day, going this fast on the water chilled her. The windbreaker she brought just in case would solve the issue, but would cover up the flirty top she’d donned for the date. Should she be comfortable or becoming?
A loud noise interrupted before she could decide. The lake remained empty and calm, except for the wake behind the boat. Using her flat hand as a sun shield for her eyes, she peered toward the shore to figure out who might be playing the same trio of notes repeatedly. No one on the shoreline, which only deepened the mystery. It sounded so familiar. In an aha moment, she realized it was her phone. Unfortunately, the realization forced her to open her eyes in her dark bedroom.
The red numerals on her clock indicated it was one-thirty in the morning. It was too late or too early for anyone to call. The sound stopped when she realized the tune had been the one, she assigned to Karly, her best friend. Karly would only call her this late if it were an emergency. A cold canine nose touched her hand as she reached for her phone on the nightstand.
“Go back to sleep, Max. It doesn’t involve you.”
Even though it was dark and Max was a black German shepherd mix, she would have sworn the dog cocked his head and gave her an oh, really look. The damp nose disappeared with the sound of dog nails on the wood floor as Max settled on the floor. She could hear him mutter under his breath. “We’ll see.”
Yeah, dealing with a talking dog could be problematic at times. Her fingers found the phone, which now had a glowing dot on the dashboard for notifications. Before she could call back, the phone rang again, vibrating in her hand. Karly again.
“Why in the world would you be calling me in the middle of the night?”
Her friend’s breathless voice gasped out. “We need your help!”
“We?” Her friend had never been a we since she tended to form relationships with men that were strictly me people. She usually figured it out after a few dates that often ended with splitting the bill or paying for everything since her companion conveniently forgot his wallet. Karly couldn’t afford a love life.
“Fiona and me. I’m at her house, and the police just left. They aren’t taking this seriously.”
“Not taking what seriously? Did you need to call me in the middle of the night?” No need to add she’d ruined a perfectly wonderful dream, which was about as close as she got to romance, lately.
“I had to call you. There was no one else I could depend on. It’s important someone in authority knows what’s going on.”
If she were trying to reach someone in authority, she’d misdialed. The only thing Nala had control over was Max and her own life, and neither one ever did what she wanted. “You called me as an authority?”
“No, not really. I thought you could pass it on to your father, who’s a captain on the police force and could exercise some control in the matter. Maybe give the officer who blew us off a good talking to.”
She shoved up into a sitting position and turned on the lamp, even though it made her wince with the sudden explosion of light. Max shot her a disdainful look and padded out of the room, possibly for a darker sleeping area. “You haven’t told me anything. Who’s Fiona? What happened that you had to call the police?”
Karly gave an audible inhale before starting. “Fiona Bridgewater, she’s the woman I told you about who inherited all the money and started a personal no-kill dog shelter on the county line.”
A slight memory surfaced of her friend gushing about a lucky woman who had a boatload of money and constructing her own giant kennel for homeless dogs. Karly met her because the woman had come in and relieved the shelter of twenty dogs at one setting. She usually took the handicapped and elderly dogs, the ones that had the least chance of adoption. Nala remembered thinking at the time if she’d inherited a boatload of money, she’d pay off her credit cards and take a luxury cruise.
Karly gave a little sniff, an indication she was very upset and had been crying or the autumn pollen was getting to her, possibly both. “Well, she built her kennel, which is really nice. Very state of the art. It’s like those stables for thoroughbreds.”
“Karly,” she gently reminded, knowing her friend could get wound up about kennels the way some women did movie stars. “What happened?”
“Yeah, that. Someone has taken exception to Fiona’s personal dog sanctuary.”
“That might be understandable, having twenty dogs barking constantly.” Whenever Max decided to go into a full-out barking frenzy it got old very fast. At least her dog understood her when she demanded that he stop.
“Oh no, it’s not like that. She’s out in the middle of nowhere. Fiona bought forty acres and stuck her kennel in the middle of it. You need to drive down a long stretch to reach it. There’s no zoning, which is why she purchased the property. A quarter horse farm, about a half mile away was her closest neighbor.”
“Okay.” Her lips twisted as she tried to figure out what caused her friend to call. “Why did you call the police?”
“The idiots who have been harassing her returned. She thinks it is just teenagers out on a lark, but this time they went too far. I remember your dad saying something about the police couldn’t do anything without a chain of evidence. I was trying to establish that chain.”
“In the middle of the night?”
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