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Marsha Dillard’s whole life is about dogs. Her husband knows that, her kids know that, her church knows that. As one of the higher ranking, long-term animal control officers for the city of Tallahassee in north Florida, she has seen her fair share of cats, pigs, chickens, horses, snakes, possums and racoons. The majority of her work, though, usually consists of dogs.Loose dogs, sick dogs, abused dogs, lost dogs, feral dogs, dead dogs – she has seen it all. She has taken dying dogs out of fighting rings and she has revived should-be-dead dogs from heat stroke.Nothing prepared her for rescuing a dog named Parker. This is a FREE prologue to the book Parker's Sanctuary, a gay romance/suspense novel set in the unique alternative universe of Guardsmen, bonded pairs of weredogs and their partners who live on the edges of society -- worshipped and feared in turn, sheltered as much as they are shunned, Guardsmen mates live, love, and die together.
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About the Author
Cover design by Tiferet Design
Book 2017© Cooper West
Full copyright information contained in book’s end matter
BadMan barely leaves Parker time to finish the small scoop of food that is on the plate before it is yanked away from him. He growls for whatever good it might do, which is none. Parker is too weak to put up a fight anymore, and needs the water more than the food. If he puts up too much of a fight, BadMan will not let him drink anything until after night falls. The porch has a concrete floor and is screened in, but that does not work in Parker’s favor during the heat of midday.
After glaring at Parker for a moment, BadMan shoves a shallow bowl of water into the cage and slams it shut. He stands there, looking down at him.
“You’re an arrogant shit, you know that? I keep waiting for you to come to your goddamn senses but I’m thinking it might be time to stop waiting.” He frowns, the smell of disgust and cigarettes wafting off of him. He slaps his hand down on top of the cage but Parker doesn’t respond. He only knows the threat is real, that the man is deranged and feral.
Parker is terrified of everything the man says, but he is too weak, too broken, to bite or claw his way to freedom. If he ever had that chance, it disappeared long ago. His concept of time and his self-awareness drift freely some days, and he knows he’s not making it out of BadMan’s clutches alive.
He listens to BadMan grab his keys and leave. He’ll be back, but for the moment, it’s a break from the electrical shocks and the whippings and the fear. He slurps some water and tries to settle, giving his injured rear paw a rest. The only time he sleeps anymore is when BadMan is gone.
Marsha Dillard’s whole life is about dogs. Her husband knows that, her kids know that, her church knows that. As one of the higher ranking, long-term animal control officers for the city of Tallahassee in north Florida, she has seen her fair share of cats, pigs, chickens, horses, snakes, possums and raccoons. The majority of her work, though, usually consists of dogs.
Loose dogs, sick dogs, abused dogs, lost dogs, feral dogs, dead dogs – she has seen it all. She has taken dying dogs out of fighting rings and she has revived should-be-dead dogs from heat stroke. Whatever tragedy comes her way on any given day, she knows she is going to go home to her four hyper Cairn terrier rescues and drink a beer on her porch with her husband, surrounded by love and joy and wagging tails.
She thinks about that as she drives up to one Jackson Howell’s house on a side street off St. Augustine Road. The area used to be the “edge of town” back when Marsha was in high school, but that was a while ago (she refuses to confirm to anyone just how long ago that was) and now it is just another artery leading out to the suburbs. The street in question missed the housing boom, though, and looks like it has not changed much since 1975, with rectangular cement block houses on small lots separated by rusted chain link fencing. Every so often, she spies a window A/C unit or two.
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