Today we have Renee Pawlish with an excerpt from her novella Walk Softly, Danger

Walk Softly Danger - final

Two forms of justice collide in Colorado.

I stood for a moment and mulled things over. It sounded like the shipment would arrive somewhere tomorrow night at midnight and then rendezvous here about four hours later, so I could come back then and see what kind of operation Weeden had set up. That seemed my best option, so I crept back
down the drive toward the street. I reached the edge of the building, started around the corner, and ran into the biggest dog I’d seen in a long while. It bared its teeth and growled.
“Don’t move or he’ll rip you to shreds,” a voice said softly.
I did as instructed. I froze.
“Easy there,” I said gently to the dog. It was tall, like a Great Dane, but it had the body of a wolf, with a long, elegant muzzle. There was nothing elegant in the way it glared at me, though. It growled louder and bared its teeth. “I’m not going to hurt you.”
“Shut up,” the low voice said. “And Blue’s not worried about you hurting him.”
I recognized the voice. It was the black-haired woman, and she held the pistol in her hand. It was aimed at me. In the distance, cars zipped along the highway, too far away to be of any help to me.
I gestured at the dog. “Two against one. That’s not fair.”
“Too bad.”
“Blue?” I said. “That’s his name?”
She nodded. Then her eyes narrowed. “Who are you?”
“Do you really need the gun?”
She took a step toward me. “Start talking or you’ll never see tomorrow.”
I held up a hand. “Okay, you don’t need to ask twice. My name’s Philip Marlowe,” I said. I liked to use pseudonyms when I wanted to remain incognito, and my usual choices were names of detectives in my favorite film noir or books, especially if Bogie played the detective. “I’m a private investigator.”
If she’d heard of Philip Marlowe, she didn’t show it. She scrutinized me closely. “Why are you following me?”
“I’m not,” I shot back. “I’m looking for Yana Zubova. She’s disappeared. You’re just a nasty bonus.”
She ignored my barb. “You mentioned that name to Spencer Gage.”
I nodded. “Yana’s father hired me to find out what happened to her. She went missing last week. How much you want to bet her disappearance has something to do with the women you’re looking for?”
“What do you know about them?”
“I didn’t know anything until I talked to a woman at the club earlier tonight, and I don’t know much beyond the fact that they disappeared after Spencer Gage took an interest in them.” I wasn’t sure I could trust her, but decided it couldn’t hurt to tell her what Lexi had told me. “She knew about the women you mentioned. Ana Garcia, Maria Vazquez, and Lupe Rosas.”

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