“Well, that was quick.” Fragging, frogging mutt.
Okay, so she should have grabbed the leash. Too late for hindsight. Like him or not, she needed to find the dog. There was a cougar out there twice his size, a coyote pack, javelinas with serious attitude, and if he made it that far, scorpions and rattlesnakes on the Chihuahua Desert floor. Pojo could likely deal with Afghanistan, he’d worked there, but West Texas was a whole ’nother country.
Repeated blasts from the dog whistle, the one that was supposed to bring the brilliantly trained bomb sniffer from the ends of the earth, produced neither hide nor hair. And she couldn’t get a signal on the cell phone, despite the military sort-of-surplus antenna on the roof. Well, signals were problematic at best, here in the mountains and the middle of nowhere. Bonnie shimmied up the ladder to the loft and flicked on the AN/PRC-77 radiotelephone, preset to the park ranger station’s channel.
“Pine Springs Station, Pine Springs Station, this is Whiskey Five Zulu.” Impatience bit at her. “Neal, Terri, are you there?”
The radio crackled. “Pine Springs Station here, Whiskey Five Zulu. It’s Terri, hon. What’s wrong?”
“Terri, my new dog arrived today and he’s already run off. I’m going to try chasing him down with the jeep. Leave the channel open for me?”
More crackling as the pause dragged out. Bonnie pressed her lips together. Terri Thomas was sweet and big-hearted. She’d understand hunting for a lost dog, even though the park was closed for the night and the rangers home around a television and fire. But Terri wouldn’t approve the hunt without a nod from Neal, her husband and the senior ranger. While Neal had gone along with Bonnie’s plan for a dog and horse, he hadn’t hidden his lack of enthusiasm. She didn’t like Pojo, but he was her responsibility.
She couldn’t abandon him. No matter what Neal said when he took over the mike.
No matter how much, for one desperate second, she yearned to.
“Whiskey Five Zulu,” a new, deeper voice said, “this is Pine Springs Station. It’s Neal, Bonnie. Go ahead and get your dog. But take a rifle along as well as the radio. I found what was left of another mule deer up on McKittrick Ridge today, a bare mile from the Grotto.”
A cold fist squeezed inside her chest. The limestone Grotto was less than a mile from her cabin. If the cougar was ranging that close, then Pojo was in grave danger.
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Here's the Sweet List. Enjoy. Cheers,
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