Horse of a Different Killer

Horse of a Different Killer by Laura Morrigan Page A

Book: Horse of a Different Killer by Laura Morrigan Read Free Book Online
Authors: Laura Morrigan
guard. Moss stumbled but recovered quickly. He spun with a growl.
    Reflexively, I opened my mind completely and hurled it into the fray. Stupid.
    A wave of pure joy hit me. Energetic enough to make me stagger sideways, the emotion inspired a fit of near-psychotic-sounding giggles to erupt from my throat.
    â€œZeke!” A young teenager sprinted over the dunes toward us. “He won’t hurt—” He stopped, eyes widening.
    I wasn’t sure whether it was the sight of a wolf tackling his dog or the sound of my deranged laughter, but the kid looked like he was about to faint.
    â€œIt’s fine,” I said with effort, still winded from the run and buzzed from the joy-zap. “Just playing.”
    And play they did. Though in a limited way, because I, unlike the kid, still held Moss’s leash.
    â€œOkay, enough,” I told the dogs, feeling like Officer Unfriendly of the Fun Police. They stopped with reluctance. I bent, picked up Zeke’s sand-coated leash, and held it out to the kid.
    I could hardly give him much grief, having just been given the slip by my own dog the day before. Still . . .
    â€œYou need to be careful,” I warned the kid.
    â€œYes, ma’am.”
    â€œThere are people who would panic if a pit bull tackled their dog, even if Zeke just wants to play. Panicked people can be dangerous.”
    As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I realized what bothered me most about the message I’d gotten from Ortega: He hadn’t just sounded upset, he’d sounded desperate.
    What would make a guy like Ortega, who lived to control everything and everyone around him, lose his cool?
    Could it have something to do with his murder?
    The buzz I’d gotten from the pit bull had worn off by the time I climbed the steps to the condo. I stepped through the front door and stopped to pull in a deep breath.
    Coffee.
    Emma was up and had put a pot on for me.
    â€œIs she a great sister or what?”
    I freed Moss from his leash and followed him into the kitchen. He stood, loudly lapping up water as I poured a cup of coffee.
    As I raised the mug to savor the first, rejuvenating sip, I saw the note I’d left for my sister on the counter. Below my writing, she’d drawn a smiley face followed by the words
Sorry, had to run. Talk later—E
.
    â€œReally, Em?” I asked aloud.
    Had she not read my note?
    Aggravated at my sister’s sparse reply, I tried calling her, but got her voice mail. I decided not to leave a message. I was going to have to head to my first appointment soon and wouldn’t have much time to discuss the Ortega situation in detail. I pushed the issue to the back of my mind and headed to take a shower.
    After our walk, I’d needed a caffeine boost to remain ambulatory, Moss, in contrast, seemed indefatigable. I was still toweling off when he started dancing around me asking to go for a ride.
    Once upon a time, Moss had often joined me on errands and appointments with clients. He loved to ride in Bluebell and acted not only as a deterrent to theft but as backup on the rare occasions I’d ventured into areas where it was needed.
    Things changed the night Emma had brought the kitten home. Voodoo had been worn-out, malnourished, and frightened. Moss had taken one sniff of the kitten and morphed into a helicopter parent. He’d been hovering less and less, as Voodoo had gained strength and it was obvious my dog wanted to get out of the house for a bit. Today, he was revving to go.
    â€œNeed a break, huh, big guy?”
    Go. Ride!
    I was hesitant to leave Voodoo alone for very long. Her claws were small but could shred a roll of toilet paper with no problem. I hated to imagine the damage she could do to the couch if deprived of her playmate for an extended period.
    I decided to let Moss ride along to my first appointment, which happened to be with a woman and her cat who lived in Marsh Landing, which wasn’t far.
    Moss

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