Excerpts

Chapter 1
     Lacey was so small, Mama called her Little One. She didn't start her life here on earth as a sleek, long-legged, graceful greyhound. Like all greyhound pups, she was round and roly-poly with short legs and a short, round snout. She looked and acted like a typical puppy. Though her coat looked gray, it was considered a rare blue by the humans in her life, but we'll get to them in a bit...

Chapter 2
     Dr. Maria turned quickly, her dark eyes boring into him. “Oh, I found something all right. I was called out there by the sheriff's department. Do you want to know what I found, Ryan?”
     He realized something was wrong, but it was too late to turn back.
     “I found the bodies of four dead greyhounds. That's what I found, Ryan."

Chapter 3
     As they sailed over the jump she listened for the telltale sound of his hoofs hitting the rails, but there was no sound, he'd cleared the jump easily. They hung suspended in space for a second and then everything went into slow motion. She felt the reins in her hands and her feet in the stirrups, ready for the landing, but then she heard the terrible sound of his foreleg cracking and saw the ground coming up to meet her so fast.
     There was the shock of hitting the ground and trying to roll, but her feet were still in the stirrups and poor old Mac was rolling on top of her, a bay blur. Then she was awake, breathing hard, looking around her bedroom, the curtains closed, the empty case where her trophies used to stand, the wheelchair beside her bed. She awoke every morning to the same horrible dream...

Chapter 4
     Ryan reached forward, and held her hand in his. His hand was warm and firm, but gentle. Ryan and Ali didn't notice Dr. Maria standing in the doorway of the kitchen beaming at them. By the looks on their faces, Dr. Maria could see that for just a few seconds, the rest of the world didn't exist around them. YES! Can't beat good old chemistry, she thought.
     She finally spoke. “I think someone else would like a proper introduction as well.”
Then Ryan and Ali noticed that Lacey was sitting beside Ryan with her front paw raised. Ali laughed and shook her paw, “Well hello, Lacey. Yes, it's nice to meet you, too.”

Chapter 5
     Lacey's heart began to sink as she saw him easily pouring on even more speed through the final turn, but Mama's words came to her loud and clear as though Mama was right beside her. “Little One, don't ever give up, no matter what. Keep going and always do your best.”
     The thought of Mama and her words gave Lacey new strength and she dug down deep inside and drove on as hard as she could. Her lungs began to ache and her legs were tired, but she fought as hard as she could and focused on the lure and getting closer to it, closer, closer, closer...

Chapter 8
     There was a loud explosion and the concussion knocked Lacey off her feet. It filled her with terror and she did the one thing that came naturally. She ran from the terrible noise and black smoke, her heart pounding, her dazed mind wondering, “What was I doing there in that terrible place?”
     The hot sand burned her paws and the spines of goatheads, hard little nuts with three sharp spines, stuck in the pads of her feet and drew blood, but she was running on sheer adrenaline and nothing would stop her flight of terror from the horrific scene behind her. Blood ran into her eyes from the deep cut on her head. She ran, oblivious to the pain in her back and hip, into the unrelenting heat of the desert with all its dangers that would offer no refuge and almost certain death...

Chapter 10
     "The reason I was bringing her to you was because I wanted to see you again.”
     Ali's heart skipped a beat. It was hard to speak, but she managed to say, “What?”
     “I wanted to see you again. Ever since we met I haven't been able to think about much else. The little time we spent together while you were visiting wasn't enough. I needed more time with you,” Ryan said. He was blushing, but his eyes were on hers.

Chapter 11
     Lacey loved riding in George's truck. There was no windshield, no doors, and just a piece of canvas for a roof. They slowly drove across the desert, taking their time, sometimes getting out so George could stroll along with his metal detector. Once in a while he would get very excited and pick up a rock from the earth...

Chapter 14
     “What happened to you?” Mary said, “and where's George?”
     Lacey cried when she heard George's name.
     “Lady, is something wrong with George?” Mary asked.
     Lacey barked and rooed
     “What's wrong, Girl?” Mary asked. She patted Lacey's head. Mary's body stiffened in fear and apprehension.  “Oh, no, it's George, isn't it? Something bad has happened?”
     Lacey whined. She heard Mary say George's name and knew that Mary understood her.

Chapter 15
     Lacey wagged her tail and poked her nose over the bottom rail. Dusty bent his huge head down to sniff her nose. Lacey liked him at once. Unlike many race horses, he was calm and gentle.
     “He's a sweetheart now,” Mary said, “but you should have seen him when I got him off the track. He was a bundle of nerves. Weren't you, Dusty Boy? A few more days and he would have been on a truck heading for a slaughter house in Mexico. He might not have had much luck on the race track, but when the truck broke down and needed a few days for repairs before it could haul him away, he got pretty lucky,” she said and laughed. Then her face got very serious and she muttered, “Damn slaughter houses.

Chapter 17
     While Ryan and Ali removed the goatheads from Smokey's paw, the yellow eyes studied them. Hmm, I've gotten tired of the taste of wild pig, the one who watched thought to himself. Maybe a little fresh dog meat would be good and after that... As always, I'll just watch and wait and when they settle down for the night...

Chapter 18
     Ali lay awake for a while with Smokey snuggled beside her. She thought about the sad events that had led her to be camped at a waterhole in the desert with a shy, young man and two lovable dogs...

Chapter 19
     “I've heard there's dog fighting going on around here, Tony,” she said. “If I find out that rumor is true and I find out who's doing it, there will be hell to pay. I'll see to that.”
     “Well, Mary, I'm shocked,” he said in a mocking tone. “You wouldn't be threatening me would you?”

Chapter 20
     She wondered what it would be like to have his arms around her and feel his lips on hers. She smiled to herself and thought, What a sweetheart. He sits there talking about our day of searching and I sit here fantasizing about something else entirely. Oh, Ryan, if only you knew what I was thinking about...

     He slipped his arm around her and rested his hand on her hip. She raised her face and looked into his eyes. He looked into her dark eyes and felt himself drawn in like a man helplessly being pulled into a whirlpool, but he wasn't struggling to resist her charm.
     “Listen, Ali...” he began...

Chapter 21
     “This cat is so clever,” Professor Harper added, “that he systematically kills all the dogs of a village before stalking and killing villagers. I'm afraid that if your lost greyhound and this guy crossed paths, she may have been one of his victims.”
     Ali's heart sank...

Chapter 22
     Though she was terrified, she would not let Mary go alone to face them, no matter what the cost.  She wanted to tell Mary and Dusty to go back, stay away from them, but she didn't know how. She kept herself in front of them in order to meet Lobo and Slasher first, if their paths crossed...

Chapter 23
     Ranger tried, but couldn't sleep. The anger and frustration in the cab of the truck was bothering him and he thought of how silly humans could be. He knew they loved each other, but they fought all the time, Next to cats, he thought to himself, humans are the strangest animals on earth...

Chapter 27
     Patience, El Tigre thought. Let the foolish one come a little closer.
     Just when it appeared that the dog would trot right by his hiding spot, so close that he could be on him and kill him instantly, the dog stopped. El Tigre angrily twitched his tail...

Chapter 30
     Buck and Clyde ran into the desert. It felt good to stretch their legs. Within minutes they were a half mile away, loping along in a wide arc that would cross the trail they'd rode in on. Suddenly, Clyde stopped, the hair on his neck standing on end and his nose first to the ground and then in the air. Buck stopped and began to sniff excitedly. “Big cat!” he said.
     “Very big cat!” Clyde barked and they began to howl and bark excitedly on the hot trail as they raced back...

Chapter 34
     Dr. Maria studied them all and thought, What an interesting mix of people, and to think they were all brought together by one little greyhound.