My teammate Cage nudges my ankle, and my eyes fly open. I hadn’t been sleeping. Merely relaxing and listening to music.
He sits across from me. I pull out my earbuds—goodbye, Soundgarden—and raise my eyebrows in question.
Cage nods at the airplane window. We’re on approach for landing.
I bring my seat into an upright position and note that one of the flight attendants had taken my empty highball from the tray that still hovers over my lap.
There were no announcements to have done those things prior to landing, since we’re on a private plane owned by Jameson Force Security, and they don’t care if we have our seats upright or tray tables put away.
Have to say… I love this mode of travel. Another perk of working for Jameson.
Cage taps Malik next to him. He was sound asleep and now blinks at us with bleary eyes.
“Getting ready to land,” Cage says.
Malik grunts and closes his eyes again, crossing his arms over his chest. Cage shoots me a smirk and I grin back.
It was an absolute fucking pleasure to work this last mission with Cage and Malik, providing private security for a group of American engineers traveling through Mexico to evaluate bridge structures. It wasn’t hard-core stakes like hostage rescue, but we were in some dangerous territory, and the threats were real. It’s one of the reasons I love this job—I can be a bit of an adrenaline junkie.
This is my third international mission since coming to work at Jameson three months ago, and while I’ve rotated among various teams, Cage and Malik have actually become close friends. We hang out a lot outside of work and have a lot in common, given Cage was a Navy SEAL and Malik was in the Marine Corps like me.
Yeah… it didn’t take long.
I’ve settled in as a full member of this dynamic group specializing in high-end security services, and there’s no doubt I made the right decision to move back east. The original intent was to leave California and get closer to my parents in upstate New York, but after meeting Jameson’s owner, Kynan McGrath, at a security conference, I knew he was the man to work for. I applied, had three separate interviews with him, and rejoiced when he offered me a spot.
It’s been a good few months.
“Want to get a beer?” Cage asks. The landing gear unfurls and locks into place, bumping under my feet.
“Nah,” I say, looking at my watch. “I’m beat.”
“That’s just loser code,” Malik drawls, his eyes still closed, “that he misses his dog way too much and would rather spend time with him than with his buds.”
Cage cackles, and Malik’s eyes open slightly as he smirks at me.
Can’t help but laugh at them laughing at me, and I don’t deny Malik’s appraisal. I miss the fuck out of Bubba. While I really dig my new teammates and hang out with them regularly, I love my dog a lot more. I’ve been gone eight days in Mexico, and I know he’s missed me just as much.
“Bubba’s way more fun than you two.” My head rolls on the seat rest, and I watch out the window as the ground comes closer and closer until we touch down with a slight jolt.
Nabbing my phone from the console between my seat and the empty one to my right, go to my texts.
As expected, I have one from the dog sitter, Julie. Simply a picture of Bubba curled up in his bed with his favorite stuffy between his paws. He has his head tipped quizzically toward the camera and looks beyond adorable.
Below the picture, three simple words: He missed you.
Can’t help but smile. I missed that furry bastard too.
Bubba is more than just a dog and calling him a pet is a sacrilege. Bubba—real name Omega, but somehow I started calling him Bubba as a nickname and it stuck—was my partner while I was in the Marines. A Belgian Malinois, Bubba was a single-purpose working military dog trained to detect explosives. We inspected cars that came through entry points at Camp Baharia and cleared streets in Fallujah. We called Iraq home on two different tours of duty, stationed in California between deployments.
But the United States started pulling out of Iraq and Bubba was getting a little too old to continue such strenuous work. When we returned stateside, my enlistment was up, and Bubba was ready to be retired. It made sense for us to leave the Corps together, so I adopted my boy and gave him a life of luxury. Soft beds, good treats, and lots of stuffed animals, which he loves to shove into his mouth while he sleeps.
Bubba is still a working dog with me at Jameson. He’s game to cover events, and we walk venues together as an extra service Jameson provides. A few hours on his feet doesn’t bother him at all, but at eight years of age, with early arthritis setting in, anything longer isn’t good for him.
I flip my phone around and hold it out for Cage and Malik—who has now chosen to sit up and stay awake—to see. “Isn’t he the cutest pupper in the world?”
Cage rolls his eyes. “Yeah… cute as a button for an animal that could rip out my throat if you gave a one-word command.”
Malik chuckles, but they both know that’s not true. Bubba isn’t an attack dog, although he looks intimidating enough. He’s been trained to have a keen nose only, although he is territorial about our house and will snarl and bark viciously at anyone who approaches. Malik, Cage, and all the members of Jameson have heard me prattle on and on about my dog, and while they love to give me shit about it, they understand the special bond we have. They all know that you can’t walk along streets in a foreign country with the stress of knowing your dog could get blown up if he’s not good at his job.
They have the utmost respect for Bubba because he put himself in harm’s way, day in and day out, while on the job. Any given day that dog woke up, it could’ve easily been his last if he’d set off a charge while doing detection.
Before I can even turn the phone back around, a new text chimes, and Cage’s smile goes sly as he sees who it’s from. “Your stalker is back.”
I curse under my breath as I flip the phone so I can see the screen, grimacing at the message from Adriana. Just checking in to see how you’re doing. I miss you.
My former girlfriend, who can’t seem to grasp that we are undeniably over and won’t ever be getting back together.
Cage and Malik—as well as most of my mates at Jameson—know about her.
They were, in fact, expecting her to come to Pittsburgh with me. She’d been in California, wrapping up the packing of my house where we’d been living together prior to the offer to come to Jameson. She did most of the work, getting it ready to go on the market so I could get a jump on my new job in Pittsburgh. I went back to California in mid-April with the intent that Adriana, Bubba, and I would drive the U-Haul and her vehicle east to start the next chapter in our lives.
All plans were ruined when I arrived a day early to surprise her. I surprised her a little too well when I caught her fucking the lawn maintenance guy in our bed.
There were no dramatics on my part. I mean, sure… I was pissed, but I didn’t think twice about leaving her ass back on the West Coast. While there were tears and apologies and promises of fidelity if I gave her another chance, I wasn’t swayed. You give me a reason to earn my trust, it’s given with a solemn vow to uphold it in return. You break trust with me, and you’re cut from my life forever.
I’m a simple guy.
I don’t respond to Adriana because that will only fuel renewed apologies and pleas. She’ll go several days, even sometimes a few weeks, without contacting me, but then she’ll get lonely—and most likely drunk—and reach out. I made the mistake once of trying to just be kind about it, insisting she needed to move on and wishing her the best of luck. She took my kindness as perhaps a change of heart and hasn’t let up since. I’ve found it best to ignore her.
Now slightly irritated by Adriana, I change my mind about Cage’s offer. “I’ll grab a beer with you guys if we can do it somewhere close by.”
“That’ll work,” Cage says easily. The guys live in the city, just east of the airport, but I live thirty minutes south of Pittsburgh.
Another perk of flying Jameson style is that it takes us all of about five minutes to grab our luggage, deplane, and head to our vehicles in the parking lot of the private hangar. We agree on a bar Malik googled, located a few miles from here, and once we’ve got beers in hand, we shoot the shit as only guys can.
That involves a vigorous debate with Cage about baseball. He’s jumped on the Pittsburgh bandwagon since he’s lived here awhile, but I root for my New York team I grew up with. Malik doesn’t follow baseball, but why would he when his two brothers play professional hockey for the Carolina Cold Fury?
Not only doesn’t he participate, but he ignores us, engrossed in a text conversation on his phone. Taking in the lazy smile on his face and the speed of his fingers flying over the screen, I have a good idea who has his attention.
I lean over intrusively, nosily checking out what he’s doing. Anna’s name is at the top of the screen, so I nudge him playfully. “Dude… pay attention to us. You’ll be seeing Anna soon enough.”
“Yes, I will,” he says with enough innuendo that tells me there’s not going to be a lot of talk when he gets home. “Her mom has Avery for the evening.”
“Score!” Cage laughs.
I’ve come to learn a lot about my new teammates these last few months, but there’s no other as compelling as Malik and Anna’s history together. They went through a lot to get to where they are. Anna’s husband was killed in the line of duty on a mission where Malik was taken hostage. He was held prisoner for months until Jameson rescued him.
When he returned, he wasn’t the same. Neither was Anna, for that matter. Pregnant when her husband was killed, Anna had since given birth to their daughter, Avery. She also worked as Kynan’s assistant, and over time, she and Malik grew close.
Very, very close, as in they fell in love, despite the complicated nature of their circumstances. Some might consider it too messy, but I think those are the best love stories.
And make no mistake about it… I’m a romantic. That I wasn’t all that broken up about Adriana’s infidelity only tells me she wasn’t the one.
Of course, I think I’d actually been feeling that way all along, but things had been comfortable and easy, so I didn’t make an exit when I probably should have.
“Let me ask you guys something,” Malik says as he puts his phone on the bar top.
“Shoot,” Cage says, swiveling on his stool and leaning forward so he can see Malik on the other side of me.
“Do you think it’s too soon to ask Anna to marry me?”
Dead silence. I blink at Malik, and a quick glance in the mirror behind the bar shows Cage with the same blank expression.
“For fuck’s sake,” Malik growls, picking up his beer and taking a sip. “Don’t everyone rush to reassure me all at once.”
Cage shakes his head as if jolting out of a stupor. “My hesitation isn’t in reassuring you. My hesitation is in wondering why you even need to ask. I just assumed y’all were going to get married at some point. You haven’t proposed yet?”
Malik shakes his head. “It’s complicated.”
“It’s really not,” I say, thinking back on how easy it was to split from Adriana. I think the reverse is also true. You just know when to do the right thing.
“You don’t understand the complexities—”
“I understand your story just fine.” Clapping a hand on his shoulder, I lean an elbow on the counter. “You’re worried what people might think, and I’m here to tell you, they’d think it’s about fucking time you two got married.”
Malik doesn’t look convinced, and I let my hand fall away. I get his worry, though. Marrying the woman who lost her husband during a mission you were also on could raise some eyebrows in certain circles.
But not the Jameson circle. I’ve been able to tell since starting here that everyone at this company is part of a very close-knit circle. It feels like family, and no one would stand in the way of Malik and Anna’s happiness.
“You know you’re not disrespecting Jim’s memory at all,” Cage adds. “If anything, I know damn well he’s happy knowing Anna is taken care of. Avery, too, for that matter.”
Malik’s eyes go soft at the mention of Avery. Anna and Jim’s daughter just turned one last week, and she is the apple of Malik’s eye. He may not have given her DNA, but he’s been a father to her in every way.
His expression focuses, eyes moving back and forth between me and Cage. “I love Anna with the entirety of my being. I want to officially adopt Avery. I want her legally recognized as my daughter, but I know the first step is to marry her mother.”
Frowning, a thought strikes me. “Are you worried Anna will say no?”
A quick shake of his head. “She’ll say yes.”
“Then what in the fuck are you waiting for?” Cage exclaims.
“Maybe I was waiting for some reassurance. That I’m not treading on anyone’s memory by doing so.”
It’s a brave and bold proclamation. An admission of vulnerability, which men aren’t keen on doing. I admire him for it.
“I suggest sooner rather than later.” I grab my beer and hold it up to him.
“I echo that sentiment,” Cage says and pushes his beer toward mine.
Malik grins, knocks the neck of his bottle against ours, and we drink. While Cage and I lower our beers after a sip, Malik keeps his head tipped back and he downs the rest of his bottle.
He smacks his lips, eyes twinkling, and slides the empty bottle away from him. “I’m out of here. I’ve got an important question to ask Anna.”
My jaw drops as Malik gets off the stool. “Like, right now? You’re going to propose to her right now?”
Malik digs into his pocket for his keys. “Like Cage says… what in the fuck am I waiting for?”
“A ring, for one,” I point out.
His grin is sly. “Already bought it.”
Laughing, I point toward the door. “Then get out of here. You have something far more important to do than drink another beer with us.”
“That I do,” Malik says, and then he’s gone.
Cage and I share a moment, reveling in happiness for our friend. He glances down at my bottle. “Want another?”
“Nah, man.” I laugh. “Got the love of my life waiting for me at home.”
“Bubba is the love of your life?” Cage asks dryly.
“That he is. Jealous?”
“Hardly.” Cage finishes his beer, and we both rise from our stools. “Got a hot wife waiting at home who always knows how to welcome me back in just the right way.”
“TMI, dude,” I chastise with a laugh as we head out of the bar.
When I left Adriana behind in California, I also left behind the house I’d owned for almost five years. In between deployments, I was stationed at Camp Pendleton and liked the area very much. San Diego has the perfect weather year-round, and I thought it would be a good place to put down roots once I got out of the Corps.
Luckily, the house sold after only two days on the market, and with the proceeds, I purchased a house in Washington, Pennsylvania, just south of Pittsburgh. I’m not a city boy, having been raised in the dairy-farm hills of upstate New York, and I couldn’t see myself staying among the glass, concrete, and steel of downtown. I don’t mind the commute and love that my little neighborhood sits off a winding, two-lane road with beautiful views of the mountains and rolling hills.
The house isn’t huge—just an average split-level that could use some updating. My first project will be redoing the kitchen because I like to cook and spend a lot of time in that room. This house stood out more, though, for its fenced-in backyard for Bubba and a small work shed at the back for my tools. I’ve got quite the collection and can fix most household failures as well as do minor carpentry.
I turn onto the driveway and pull into the carport attached to the house. I’d like to remove it at some point and add an actual garage, but that’s after the interior renovations, which could take a while.
My ears perk up as I exit, pulling my travel duffel out and slinging it over my shoulder. Usually, I’d hear Bubba barking at the sound of my car, but it’s eerily silent. I enter the house through the side door that leads into the kitchen, and my chest clenches slightly that my dog isn’t there to greet me.
“Bubba,” I call out and give a shrill whistle.
Relief rushes through me when I hear the scrabble of his nails on the wood floor, and he comes around the corner from the living room. Tail is wagging—obviously delighted I’m home—but he’s moving weird. Head slunk low, and he looks uncomfortable.
Letting the duffel slide to the floor, I squat with arms outstretched so he comes into me. “What’s wrong with you?” I ask gently, accepting licks on my face as his tail continues to wag. But I can tell he’s not feeling well.
I run my hands along his ribs, over his haunches, and through his thick brown and black fur, under to his belly where I press in to see if that causes him any pain, but it doesn’t.
Taking his face in my hands, my eyes lock with his soulful brown ones. “I wish you could talk, buddy. I can tell something is off, but I’m not sure what.”
That earns me a lick from chin to nose, and I laugh, followed by a long rub on the side of his neck. I press my forehead to his and stand up. “How about some dinner?” I ask.
Normally, that word sends him into fits of rapture, accompanied by excited barks, but now he just stares up at me with mild interest. I frown, because my dog is food motivated, and he’s clearly feeling ambivalent. Still, his tail is wagging, a sign of contentment—probably because I’m home—so I put my fears aside.
I tell Bubba all about my adventures in Mexico as he sits and watches me prepare his meal. Only the best for my boy, which includes high-end kibble that I mix with a dehydrated brand for flavor. I add fresh green beans for his constitution and set the bowl on the floor.
Bubba doesn’t move, but that’s his training. He’s not allowed to eat until I give him his release command.
“At ease,” I say, motioning toward the bowl. Any other day, he’d make a diving launch for the food, but now he just saunters over and sniffs. His eyes lift to mine. “Go ahead… eat, buddy.”
He samples some of the food but then turns away from the bowl.
What in the fuck is going on?
I follow Bubba back into the living room. He doesn’t lie on his bed, though, instead pacing around while intermittently panting. I whip out my phone and call Julie.
The adult daughter of my neighbors across the street, she’s been Bubba’s dog sitter since I moved here. She lives with her parents due to a recent divorce and works as a dental hygienist. She’s a dog lover and has taken over the role of his caretaker when I’m on missions, so I don’t have to board him. During the day while she’s at work, one of her parents comes over to let Bubba out and check on him, and then Julie stays with him at night.
I know she’s at work and have no clue if she’ll answer. I’m relieved when she does on the third ring.
“Hey, Julie,” I say as soon as we’re connected. “I’m home, and Bubba’s acting a little weird. Wouldn’t eat dinner.”
“That is weird,” she says, knowing my dog’s love of food very well. “He was fine this morning. Ate his regular breakfast, did fine on our walk. Want me to call my parents to see what they say? I know they were just there at lunchtime.”
“No, I can do that.” I thank Julie again, and as soon as I disconnect, I e-transfer her money owed for her services as I’d forgotten to pay her.
I consider calling Julie’s parents, Rae and Dwight, but my gut tells me no matter what they say, I’m not going to be able to sit back and wonder if this is serious or not.
“Let’s go for a ride,” I say to my dog, and his ears perk up. The word ride is usually right there with the word dinner on the excitement scale. Bubba’s tail wags harder, and he runs to the kitchen door where his leash hangs.
It makes me pause because, at this moment, he seems fine.
But he wasn’t fine when I got here and when he wouldn’t eat.
So hard to know what to do when your dog can’t speak your language. There’s really no debate needed, though, because I’ll always err on the side of caution. A trip to the vet is money well spent if it helps him and gives me peace of mind.
When I moved to Pittsburgh, one of the first things I did was find a good veterinarian. I thoroughly checked out Cove Lake Veterinary Practice and was pleased to learn that the vet had been there for almost thirty years. I met with her—Dr. LeAnne Schoen—and liked her a lot. She gave Bubba a good exam, but it was essentially a meet and greet, as he wasn’t due for any vaccinations.
That’s where I head now, grateful her clinic is only about a mile and a half from my house.
Situated on twenty-seven acres, the clinic sits beside Dr. Schoen’s large, white farmhouse she’s restored over the years. She told me it was built in the late 1800s, and she’s done an amazing job on it, at least from what I can see on the exterior.
Her vet practice is in a stand-alone building set about a hundred yards off to the left of the house and has its own access from the road. I pull in, and there’s only one car parked in front.
When I let Bubba out of my SUV and clip his leash, I give him a few minutes to do his business if he needs to. He sniffs around the lush summer grass and starts pulling up chunks to eat.
That definitely indicates an upset stomach.
“Come on.” I give him a gentle tug, and he follows me into the white one-story building. A young girl sits behind an L-shaped reception counter, but she’s not the same one who greeted me on my first visit. She smiles cheerily, glances at Bubba, then back to me. “Hi. Can I help you?”
“I don’t have an appointment, but Bubba is a patient of Dr. Schoen’s. I just got back from an extended trip, and he’s not feeling well.”
Concern etches her face as she leans up to look over her desk at him. “Poor baby boy,” she coos before settling back down. “And what seems to be the problem?”
“He was happy to see me, but not overly exuberant like he normally is. He wouldn’t eat his dinner, and he’s been pacing like he’s uncomfortable. His dog sitter said he was normal this morning and ate all his breakfast.”
The receptionist nods with an understanding smile. “Dr. Schoen’s not here, but Dr. Blackburn is. Would you like to see her?”
“Yeah, that would be great.”
The receptionist swivels to a computer and asks for my name.
She taps a few keys, takes a moment to study the screen, and smiles. “There you are. And this is Omega?”
“Yeah, but he answers to Bubba.”
“He looks more like an Omega. Bubba should be for hounds or something.”
I laugh with a nod. “You’re not the first person to say that.”
She smiles and reaches for the phone, presses a button, and says, “Dr. Blackburn… got a patient up here for you.”
I blink in surprise at how casually this is all being done. At the vet clinic in San Diego, we’d get checked in, then wait, then a vet tech would lead us into a room to do preliminaries, and then we’d wait patiently for the doctor to come in.
But a swinging door pushes open, and a young woman walks through. I have no clue if she’s the vet because she’s dressed in jeans, Converse tennis shoes, and a Rolling Stones graphic T-shirt.
And well… she’s gorgeous in a very unconventional way. Her midnight-black hair is cut very short, right to the nape of her neck. The top is a little longer and swept to the side to hang over her forehead. She has an eyebrow piercing, which only makes me focus in on her seafoam-green eyes, so bright they look like jewels.
She’s not wearing makeup other than some mascara, and her skin is a flawless ivory with naturally rosy cheeks. Hard also to miss those full lips that are devoid of any artificial coloring but have a slight shine to indicate maybe some gloss.
The woman doesn’t spare me a glance, her attention immediately on Bubba. She moves to him, no hesitation, and squats. “And who do we have here?”
“Bubba,” I say, but the receptionist talks over me.
“He’s an eight-year-old Belgian Malinois. Established with Dr. Schoen two months ago. Retired MWD, early onset arthritis. Prescribed Rimadyl to take as needed. Otherwise, no health complaints and current on all vaccinations.”
Well, damn. She apparently gleaned more from his computer file than I gave her credit for.
The woman—who I have to assume is the vet—rubs behind Bubba’s ears to make him comfortable. “And what’s wrong with you, fur ball? Your eyes are bright, but that doesn’t always tell the story for noble creatures like you.”
Bubba grins a doggy smile and licks her face. I’m surprised because I’m the only one he usually shows affection to. While he is by no means vicious, nor has he been trained to be that way, he is a well-disciplined dog that holds himself in reserve.
She laughs in delight, gives Bubba a pat on the side of his neck, and rises. Holding out a hand, she says, “I’m Abby Blackburn.”
“Nice to meet you, Dr. Blackburn.” Although she’s petite and fine-boned, her shake is strong and confident. “Kellen McCord.”
She grimaces. “Just call me Abby. I’ve never been one to insist on conventional titles.”
I laugh but feel the need to clarify. “But you are, in fact, a veterinarian?”
Abby laughs, soft and tinkling. “Yes, I am a veterinarian. Just not… conventional.”
“As long as you help Bubba, that’s all I care about.”
“A former military working dog,” she says with a tip of her head at the receptionist. “Were you his handler?”
“Yeah, we were together five years. My enlistment ended right around the time he was being retired, so I was able to adopt him.”
“Awesome,” she says with an open smile before her expression turns serious. “So, what seems to be the problem?”
I recount everything I’d already told the receptionist, adding, “I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but—”
“If you think he’s off, then I take your word for it. It could be a simple upset tummy. Could be a blockage. Better safe than sorry.”
Reaching out, she takes the leash from me. “If you want to have a seat, I’ll examine him in the back. But X-rays are really the best way to go if we suspect a blockage. I’ll have to give him a mild sedative, though, so he doesn’t move.”
“Yeah, that’s fine… run whatever tests you need,” I say without hesitation, bending over and wrapping my arms around Bubba. I press my face into his fur and whisper words of encouragement. My stomach twists, knowing that it could be serious, but I push the fear back. No sense getting worked up about something that could be an upset stomach.
Abby disappears through the swinging door and Christy follows her, leaving me with only my thoughts.
When Bubba and I were in the Marine Corps, his life was in serious danger many a day. But I was able to compartmentalize that. I couldn’t afford to have my concern affect my attention and focus. He couldn’t afford that either.
In civilian life, though, it’s not so easy to push away the worries. He’s my pet now, not my partner, and that means I can’t help but feel nervous about the possibilities. I can’t go into cool Marine mode where danger is part of the job. We’re civilians now, and I don’t want anything to happen to my dog.
I ignore the seating bolted into the wall and pace the lobby. Back and forth past displays of specialty pet foods, toys, and treats. I check my watch a dozen times. I pull out my phone once, thinking I could surf Instagram for a bit but close it right back down when I see Adriana sent another message with a more insistent request for me to call her so we can talk about “things.”
Everyone says I need to block her, and I absolutely would, except for one very complicated reason—we have a tangled financial tie that hasn’t been sorted out yet. About a year ago, I helped Adriana open a vegan health-food store and fronted her the start-up costs. As such, I have a fifty percent ownership of the business. It does well, so we decided to keep it when it looked like we were moving to Pittsburgh. Adriana would train a good manager, and we considered opening another location when we settled here.
That’s obviously not going to happen. Adriana continues to run the store, but the profit margin right now is slim. I want out of the entire thing, but Adriana doesn’t have the funds to buy me out just yet. So I’m stuck until she can get financing to buy my half of the business. Right now, we’ve agreed to a low monthly payment that she can afford, but I’d prefer she take out a loan to let me out altogether. Part of me thinks she’s dragging her feet as a means to keep me involved because she holds out hope I’ll take her back.
Which will never happen. I don’t feel anything for her other than a faint distaste, like she was a bitter drink that I can’t quite wash out of my mouth.
I return to pacing.
It seems like hours, but when I look at my watch as Abby walks through the swinging door, it’s only been about forty-five minutes.
“Is he okay?” I blurt out, amazed at how panicky I sound. I’m normally cool as a cucumber under horrible stress. I mean, for fuck’s sake… I did bomb detection work, and I just spent eight days protecting civilians traveling through a dangerous country.
Abby smiles reassuringly. “He’s fine. A little sleepy, but it does look he ingested something.”
“Like what?” I ask dumbly. Bubba’s a well-trained dog. He’s not even a chewer, much less an indiscriminate snacker.
Abby’s eyes twinkle. “Sadly, our technology isn’t that advanced yet, but it does appear to be some sort of soft material. Maybe a sock, a stuffed toy.”
“He sleeps with one. I mean… he has several, but all he does is hold them in his mouth when he sleeps. He started doing that after he retired. I thought that was him starting to show his fun-loving doggy side after spending years doing serious work.”
“But he’s never ingested them before?” she asks.
“Have there been any stressors on him?” she inquires.
I frown, wondering if there’s something I missed. I’m usually so in tune with him. “I don’t think so.”
“You said you just came back from a trip,” she prods.
“For eight days to Mexico. It’s the—” And then it hits me like a ton of bricks. “It’s the longest I’ve ever been away from him. Most trips I’ve taken since we moved to Pittsburgh have only been for a few days… three at most.”
“That could be it,” she surmises. “But let’s talk about what this means.”
I listen attentively as she explains the foreign material is in his colon, which means it’s passed almost all the way through his digestive system. “It appears to be moving okay and not creating any blockages, but that doesn’t mean it won’t.”
“Do you have to operate?”
“No,” she replies quickly, her voice calm, which calms me. “Only if it doesn’t move on its own. What we’d normally do in this situation is put him on IV fluids to sort of help lubricate things and monitor him. I’d like to keep him overnight, and hopefully by tomorrow, he’ll pass whatever it is he ate.”
“But what if he’s in distress during the night? It’s why I don’t ever board him but rather have a sitter stay at the house. I don’t like the idea of him being alone in case something happens. We’ve been through way too much together, and I can’t put him in any type of situation—”
Abby rests a hand on my forearm. It’s light, without much weight, but it immediately settles me.
“I sound like a fucking fool, don’t I?” I grumble with a sheepish grin.
She squeezes and shakes her head before her hand falls away. “Not at all. You sound like a good dog dad to me. But you don’t need to worry. I live here… an apartment above the garage of Dr. Schoen’s house, so I’ll come check on Bubba. I don’t anticipate any problems, but if there are, I’ll call you.”
The huge gust of breath—pure relief—loosens the tightness in my chest. Jesus… when did I become such a pansy where my dog was concerned? Especially since he’s done stuff that has put his life in jeopardy more times than I can count and I never felt panicked like this.
“Want to see him?” she asks.
My eyebrows jet upward. “Can I?”
“Sure,” she replies. “We don’t have any other people in, and we’re getting ready to close up for the day. Christy’s settling Bubba into one of our super large kennels, so he’ll be very comfortable.”
I follow Abby through the swinging door to find myself in a large, open space with three examining tables in the center, glass cabinets filled with supplies, and stainless-steel countertops running underneath laden with laptops, microscopes, and other medical machines that do God knows what. Through a set of double swinging doors with glass panels, I see what looks like an operating room. It’s clean and bright and looks far more sophisticated than what I would’ve anticipated for a small country vet.
My eyes fall on a massive corner cage—four Bubbas could fit inside. He’s lying on a soft bed of towels with an IV taped to his shaved right front leg. Christy kneels next to him, murmuring soft words as she hangs the bag of saline solution.
Bubba sees me and raises his head, his tail thumping weakly. His eyes are glassy, and he looks stoned.
Exiting the cage, Christy motions. “Want to sit with him for a bit?”
I look back to Abby, but she’s at one of the counters typing on a laptop, perhaps updating Bubba’s chart.
The cage is large enough for me to crawl in and sit comfortably at his side. Bubba settles his head on my lap, thumps his tail twice, and closes his eyes with a deep sigh. Within seconds, he’s snoring.
“Will he sleep all night?” I ask no one in particular, but it’s Abby who answers.
She swivels on her stool. “Yeah, but I’ll come and walk him at least twice. He’ll need to pee with all that saline running through him. Hopefully, we’ll get a big poop out, too, with what I’m guessing is a stuffed animal.”
I shake my head, still amazed he’d eat it. Was the stress of me being gone what caused this? Did Julie not take good care of him? I mean, she’s nice and all, but I just met her a few months ago. Maybe I made a mistake not boarding him.
“I can see the wheels turning in your head,” Abby says thoughtfully. “Wondering what you did wrong.”
“Obvious enough. I’d say cut yourself a break.” She hops off the stool and crosses over to a set of large wire kennels on the far wall. Christy has disappeared. I stroke Bubba’s fur as I watch Abby feed the dogs and cats housed there. I like that she doesn’t mind doing the low-level work. I’ve always been impressed with people who don’t mind doing whatever it takes to get the job done.
“How long have you worked here?” I ask as she pours out food in bowls, attaches them inside the wire cages, and refills water bottles.
Abby nods. “For two years now. She’s going to sell me the practice when she retires, which is coming sooner rather than later, I think. She’s been doing a lot of traveling lately.”
She moves with surety and efficiency, but she also has a grace about her that’s hard to describe. Amazing posture, fluidity to her movement. Like a dancer, perhaps.
I know she’s stunning. Despite being dressed in jeans and a graphic tee, she almost seems aristocratic with her delicate facial features. Not many women can pull off that haircut, but her face almost demands it.
She’s a doppelgänger for Audrey Hepburn, except her eyes are light green instead of brown, and her hair is midnight black. “Are you from here?”
Abby doesn’t pause in her work, merely shaking her head. “Kentucky.”
Fascinating, and not what I was thinking. “You don’t have a Southern accent.”
She laughs, again sweet, delicate, and tinkling, which matches her petite frame. “Oh, get a few beers in me, and the accent comes right out. But I’ve been gone almost ten years now, so I think it’s tempered a bit.”
Abby moves to a cage with a golden retriever inside who looks to be in rough shape. Her eyes are dull, hair matted, and she’s shivering. Rather than put the bowl inside, Abby leaves the kennel door open and sets the food bowl on the floor.
Stepping back, she squats low and murmurs encouragement. “Come on, sweet girl. I know you’re hungry.”
The dog wags her tail as she slinks out of the cage, looking left and right cautiously.
“Why is she walking funny?” I ask as the dog steps tentatively, picking each paw up high from the floor, as if the tile hurts in some way.
Abby grimaces, shooting me a pained look. “She was rescued from a puppy mill. She was a breeding bitch and has never walked on anything other than the cage she lived in.”
I sit up straighter. “Excuse me?”
Abby nods, but then pins her gaze back on the pathetic dog who seems to be starving and is now wolfing down the food as if she hasn’t eaten in weeks. “Her whole life has been nothing but living in a cage and giving birth to puppies. I’d estimate her to be about five years old, and I bet she’s had twelve litters so far.”
“That’s only the tip of the barbarism in these puppy mills,” Abby says with a forlorn sigh.
“What will happen to her?” My eyes are glued to the poor dog who continues to shake like a leaf as she eats, and yet her tail wags with what I think must be happiness to be out of her cage. Abby moves closer and strokes the dog’s snarled coat. She lifts her head and stares at Abby with what I swear is pure gratitude before lowering to the bowl again.
“There are some good foster parents in the area. I’ll get her healthy, and then she’ll get fostered. Hopefully, a nice family will adopt her, and she’ll be able to run and appreciate grass under her toes.”
Bubba lets out a tiny yip, and my eyes snap to him as his body jerks repetitively. Only a dream.
I rub my hand down his fur, and he settles.
When I look back up, the golden retriever is snuffling into the bowl for the last bits of kibble. When she’s done, she doesn’t even look around but scurries into her cage, huddling in the back.
Abby utters some curses under her breath, but they’re loud enough to carry across the room. Motherfucking assholes.
Can’t disagree with that sentiment if that’s how this dog was treated.
Or rather, mistreated.
Flipping through my contacts, I tap on Cecile Tambry’s number and pray she’ll hear me out.
She answers on the second ring. “What can I do for you, Abby?”
I wince because her tone is curt and standoffish. “I have a sweet girl in need of a foster home.”
“Is she tatted?”
Three words that tell me Cecile will turn me down just like the prior two ladies I talked to this morning. My circle of dog fosters shrinks with every call. “Yes, but—”
“No buts,” Cecile says with a huff. “I’m not getting involved in that. You’re bringing trouble to my doorstep, and it’s illegal.”
“No, not at all,” I rush to assure her. “She was loose, and I captured her.”
“Bullshit,” Cecile snaps. “You know damn well Levi Hellman isn’t about to let a single one of his bitches get loose. Just as I know you’ve somehow managed to steal that dog.”
I lose my temper at Cecile’s sanctimonious tone. “How can you think it’s wrong for me to liberate these—”
“Steal, Abby. You’re stealing.”
“I’m giving these dogs a chance at life,” I snap back.
“And I admire your gumption… I really do. But you asking me to foster these poor creatures that you steal from Hellman is asking me to hold stolen property, and I’m not about to get arrested for you or for any dog.”
“Then you don’t love dogs the way you claim to,” I say quietly.
I expect her to rail at me some more, attempt to make me feel guilty for my crusade, but instead she hangs up on me.
“Damn it,” I mutter and toss my phone onto the desk. I angle my head toward the kennel where the golden retriever is sleeping. She’s curled into a ball, wound tightly in a defensive position, and my heart breaks even further.
So… yeah, I didn’t find the dog running loose. I sneaked onto Levi Hellman’s property, a massive fifty-acre complex of three huge, corrugated metal buildings that hold nothing but rows and rows of stacked cages, and within those cages, fertile dogs whose sole purpose is to get pregnant and give birth. More cages hold puppies and even more cages hold the sires that “donate” their sperm. It’s not a good life for them either, because the only time they’re let out is to impregnate a female.
My crusade has turned me into a thief. I only saved the one female dog night before last, but it was at least one life. No matter how much I’ve protested, called legislators, and attempted to educate people to put boots on the ground to close these puppy mills, I’ve not made any real headway. I did get arrested once—apparently, peaceful protesting is called disorderly conduct in this state and carries a hefty fine.
But as I stare at the broken golden dog in the kennel, I’d get arrested a hundred times over just to save one of these sweet creatures.
“Abby.” I jolt and swivel on my chair toward the door where Christy’s head peeks through. “Mr. McCord is here for Bubba.”
“Oh, okay.” I rise from the stool.
Christy steps all the way through the door and lets it shut. Fanning herself, she whispers, “You are not going to believe how hot he looks today.”
I smirk at her. She thought he looked unbelievably hot yesterday when he brought Bubba in.
And she wasn’t wrong about that.
The man is walking sin and temptation all rolled together. Tall, broad shoulders, and muscles. Strong jaw, beautiful blue eyes, and capable hands.
Yes, I noticed his hands and the way they held Bubba’s leash and stroked his fur.
Kellen McCord has scorching sex appeal.
“Why don’t you let him come on back here, and I’ll go over the discharge instructions with him.”
“Sure thing,” Christy says. She turns for the door, takes a deep breath, and smooths her scrub shirt. Tossing her ponytail back, she lets the air out of her lungs and heads into the lobby. I hope to God she doesn’t solicit the man for a date as that would be totally unprofessional and something Dr. Schoen would have a fit about if she heard.
Not that I’d tell, but if she offends Mr. McCord in any way, it could get back to Dr. Schoen.
As I move to Bubba’s cage, I smile at the gorgeous and perfectly mannered Belgian Malinois. I removed his IV about two hours ago, and he’s bright-eyed with good energy.
The swinging door opens, and Bubba’s owner sticks his head through and locks eyes with me. “I was told to come back.”
“Hi, Mr. McCord,” I say as I unlatch Bubba’s kennel door. “Your boy is as good as new.”
“Kellen,” he says with a smile as Bubba flies out toward his dad. I watch with a satisfied smile as the man squats and envelops the dog in a big hug. He glances up at me as Bubba wiggles with excitement. “I take it he’s okay?”
“Oh yeah.” I laugh as I move to them, squatting to pet the dog. “He had a major poop at about six a.m., and I confirmed that, sadly, he murdered what appeared to be a stuffed bunny.”
“Hugo,” Kellen says with a shake of his head. “That was Hugo.”
I burst out laughing. “His stuffed animal had a name?”
“Animals,” he corrects me. “As in plural. He has at least seven.”
“Does he know them all by name?”
“He does,” Kellen says, a proud smile in place. “But now I’m wondering if I need to take them away.”
“I definitely wouldn’t let him have one unsupervised. This could have been a onetime event, or he could have developed a fondness for them in his belly.”
“God, I hope not.”
“It could’ve been the stress of you leaving,” I surmise. “Next trip, you might want to have your sitter pay a little closer attention.”
“She’s not with him all the time. Mostly she stays the nights, and then he’s let out a few times during the day.”
“Maybe you should board him, then. Just to be safe,” I suggest.
Kellen grimaces. “Yeah… I know. I just hate it.”
A surge of fondness wells within me. This is a man who has an extreme love for his dog. Someone who probably would break the law for Bubba’s welfare.
Without even realizing it, the words slip out freely. “I don’t mind watching him when you’re gone. He’s so well behaved, he can stay here in the clinic during the day. We’ll put a bed out there with Christy, and he can stay at my place at night.”
Kellen blinks at me in surprise, his mouth curving in a smile. “I’ll take you up on that. I’d pay you, of course.”
I wave a hand. “You don’t need to. Maybe buy me a drink sometime.”
“Dinner,” he says with a grin. “I’ll take you out to dinner.”
Wait! Would that be a date? Because I wasn’t soliciting for one. At least I don’t think I was when I mentioned a drink.
Shaking my head, I rise and motion toward the counter. “I’ve got his discharge instructions over here that I can go over with you.”
Kellen stands straight, and I hadn’t realized just how tall he is until he’s standing right beside me. I’m on the short side at five two, but he towers more than a foot over me.
And yes… Christy is right. He looks somehow hotter today than yesterday, but I’m thinking that’s because yesterday, he was in jeans and a short-sleeved T-shirt, and today he’s in workout shorts and a tank top, which showcases his muscular arms and legs as well as sexy tattoos on his chest and biceps and one on his calf.
I’m partial to tattoos—except the ones horribly etched inside dog ears to indicate ownership by a particular puppy mill. The golden retriever has a crude one on the soft underside of her ear—HK.
It should just be called Hell Kennels because the living conditions are akin to that.
The lobby door swings in, and Christy comes through, her expression pale. “Levi Hellman is out there with two other guys, and they have a gun.”
“What?” I exclaim.
“Well, he’s wearing his sidearm on his belt,” Christy clarifies. “He’s demanding you give him back his dog.”
“Shit,” I mutter, turning to Kellen. I press a hand to his chest and give a short command. “Stay here.”
His head drops, looks at my hand on his sternum, and then his eyes come back to mine. Such a pretty blue I could get lost if I didn’t have something more pressing.
“I’ll be right back,” I say before spinning away from Kellen and rushing through the door into the lobby, Christy on my heels.
Levi Hellman stands on the other side of the reception counter, and I recognize his two teenage sons, Levi Jr. and Abel. They’re both in their teens and I hate that their father brought them to witness what’s going to be a confrontation, but I suspect he considers this part of their training on how to be assholes.
Levi is in his late thirties, tall and thin with a protruding Adam’s apple. His face is plain, hair a sandy blond, his eyes a dull brown. He considers himself a legitimate businessman and drives a brand-new Mercedes. Today he’s wearing a pair of jeans and a nice button-down shirt, which doesn’t fit with the gun holstered on his hip.
There’s always a bland smile plastered on his smug face that’s completely disingenuous.
“Dr. Blackburn,” he says, clasping his hands before him. The gun is threatening enough, he doesn’t need to call attention to it. I see it. “I’d like my bitch back.”
“No clue what you’re talking about,” I reply, standing directly opposite him with the desk counter between us.
His lip curls in a sneer. “Don’t play stupid with me. I have you on video.”
“If you had me on video, you’d have the sheriff here arresting me.” That was a big gamble. I knew he had cameras, and I did my best to skirt around them, but I was mostly banking on him being too damn cheap to actually keep them in good working order. The fact he’s here and not law enforcement tells me the gamble paid off.
“How about we just go into your back room and let me take a look around?” he says, taking a step to the right.
Before I can protest or move an inch, a deep voice sounds behind me. “This is private property, and you’re not allowed in the back.”
I angle toward Kellen, who somehow came through the door so quietly, no one saw or heard him. He stands with his hands tucked casually in his pockets, acting like he doesn’t have a care in the world. But his bulging muscles are probably enough to let Hellman know they’re going to have to go through him if they want into the back.
If Kellen didn’t dissuade him, the hundred-and-twenty-pound Belgian Malinois standing at attention probably did. I’d learned that Bubba was an explosives detection dog and probably wasn’t trained to attack, but he sure looks like he could rip out a throat or two.
“Who’s that?” Levi demands, cutting to Kellen and Bubba.
“Just the owner of a patient,” I reply, garnering his attention back on me. “But he makes a good point. This is private property, and I’d like you to leave.”
“You got my fucking bitch, bitch, and I mean to get her back.”
My eyes slide to his sons, neither one yet an adult, and they’re grinning like Cheshire cats. Yup. Assholes in the making.
“Those your boys?” Kellen asks, and my head snaps his way.
Levi’s eyes narrow. “What’s it to you?”
“Stay,” Kellen says to Bubba whose butt hits the tile floor. He then heads toward Levi. “You might want to ask your boys to step outside, because I’m getting ready to beat your ass for calling Dr. Blackburn a bitch.”
I gasp, Christy chokes, and the Hellman boys look at each other in shock. Levi takes the threat seriously, though, and backpedals toward the door, holding out his hands. “Now you just wait a minute… You can’t—”
My mouth gapes as Levi’s back slams into the door, stopping his progress. But Kellen keeps moving right toward him.
Fear hikes Levi’s voice by a few octaves. “You stay back from me. Don’t make me shoot you.”
My stomach pitches at the threat, but rather than reach for his gun, Levi makes a push against the door with his backside and stumbles out. His boys bolt after him.
Kellen doesn’t stop, so I scramble from around the desk and rush that way. I have no need to worry because all Kellen does is hold the door open so that the Hellmans can hear him. “Consider this your official notice. You are not allowed back on this property. Next time one of you even slows your vehicle going by, the police will be called. Understood?”
None of them respond but instead jump into Levi’s Mercedes and peel out of the gravel parking lot.
I press my hand against my chest, trying to quell the hammering of my heart. That was intense.
Kellen turns to face me, one eyebrow raising. “Did you steal that man’s dog?”
“What?” I try my best to sound offended, but it comes off as guilty. “No. No way. Why would I do something—”
Before I know what’s happening, Kellen takes my elbow and turns me around and marches me into the back clinic area. Christy’s eyes go round as she watches him manhandle me.
Through the swinging door, Bubba on our heels, Kellen escorts me through and lets go as soon as the door shuts.
He moves right to the kennel with the golden retriever and squats before it. Bubba moves to his side and sniffs at the door latch while the other dog watches with curious eyes.
Head twisting, Kellen looks over his shoulder at me. “I never would’ve pegged you as a criminal.”
“Levi Hellman’s the criminal,” I retort, stomping over and pointing at the cage. “That poor creature is only one of about four hundred dogs he’s exploiting.”
“So you could only grab one?” he asks.
And though I hear his subtle teasing, I launch into a diatribe. “He has warehouses full of dogs. Wire cages, barely big enough for dogs to stand in, stacked on top of each other three high. The dogs are not let out of the cages, so all feces and urine from the top cages fall on the dogs below. It coats their fur, gets in their food and water, and makes them sick. They have festering wounds, eye infections, and their toenails grow so long and curved, they can’t walk when they’re let out. That’s why this sweet girl walks funny, because she doesn’t know how to. They breed the females over and over again, giving them no time to recuperate. They don’t give them proper nutrition, so they’re sick and starved. The puppies are jerked away from their mothers at four weeks, far too young to be fully weaned, and are shipped off to pet stores to sell, the store owners knowing full well the atrocities going on to get those puppies. And when dogs outgrow their use or a puppy is born with imperfections, they take a hammer to the head because why waste money on bullets, or they drown the dogs. So yeah… I stole this dog, and I’ll steal others. I would have taken more, but I heard someone coming, so I had to make do with saving just one this time.”
Kellen blinks as he stares up at me. “Wow.”
I huff a frustrated breath, brushing my bangs to the side. “Yeah… wow.”
I straighten my shoulders and wish he had not seen all this.
“I’m sorry you had to witness that. And yes, I did something legally wrong but what I feel is morally right. I appreciate your help in running Levi Hellman out of here, but that only puts you in his sights. He has friends in high places.”
Kellen rises, once again towering over me. “I’m not worried about Levi. I’m a bit more concerned he’s going to come after you. If I hadn’t been here, I bet he would have barreled through this door and found this dog.”
He points down at the cage, and I heave a sigh. “I’m trying to find a foster, but the ones I know don’t want anything to do with one of Hellman’s dogs. They’re scared of him and of getting in trouble.”
“But you’re not.” Simple statement, and not a question.
“Yes, I’m scared. Not for me, but for these dogs.”
“Quite the crusader, aren’t you?” he murmurs.
My eyes narrow at the words, choosing to ignore his soft tone. “Don’t make fun of me.”
Kellen’s eyebrows shoot up in surprise, and he holds out his hands. “Not making fun of you at all. I admire a good crusade. Just don’t like people getting hurt while on them.”
“I won’t get hurt.”
“That man had a gun. I’m guessing that you’re messing with his profits. There are people who will harm and even kill when you mess with their money.”
I can’t argue with that. Most people wouldn’t kill, but Levi is cold and heartless. Maybe he would, but I have to believe he loves his money and fancy cars more than he loves prison.
“He’ll probably come back,” Kellen says.
I frown at the surety in his voice as he glances down at the golden retriever. “I’ll take her to my apartment above the garage.”
“I’ll take her,” Kellen says, eyes sliding back to mine.
“I’ll take her until you can find someone to adopt her,” he says easily. “She seems sweet but a little shy. Bubba’s a good boy and will give her companionship. I don’t think it’s a good idea for her to stay on this property at all.”
“Is she in heat?” Kellen asks. “Because Bubba-boy isn’t neutered.”
“No, and her last litter was probably only four to six weeks ago. Her mammary glands are still expressing milk and her belly skin is pretty loose.”
“Isn’t that too young to be taking puppies from their mother?”
“Physically, the puppies can survive. They start to wean around three to four weeks and are usually on solid food by five to six weeks. Socially, it’s too young, but you have pet stores buying up these puppies as fast as they can to make a profit, so they’re shipped out as soon as they can pull them from the mothers.”
Kellen grimaces and shakes his head. “Just tell me how to care for her until you can get her adopted, finish up Bubba’s discharge papers, and I’ll take her with me.”
“I couldn’t possibly impose—”
“Not imposing,” he cuts me off. “I’m insisting.”
“But… it’s illegal,” she says, leaning in to whisper.
Kellen grins, leans right back toward me. “I doubt the dogs will rat us out.”
Wow. This close and his eyes are mesmerizing. His smile is gorgeous and whatever he showered with this morning smells delicious. I try not to inhale too strongly and even step back because his presence alone is overpowering.
Not giving me a chance to argue, he unlatches the kennel door and beckons the golden retriever to come out. She needs a little encouragement, but it’s her interest in Bubba that eventually draws her. She does her high step as the tile floor feels weird under her paws and freshly cut toenails, but she should be better with this in a day or two.
“I bathed her last night,” I say as Kellen gives a command to Bubba to hold still to let the other dog sniff him. Her tail wags tentatively. “But some of her hair is so matted, I’m going to need to shave her. It will let me also make sure her skin looks okay. I was going to do it after you picked up Bubba.”
“Well, let’s get it done,” Kellen says, as if he’s officially a member of the “let’s destroy all the puppy mills” team. He squats again, this time calling softly, not to the golden but to Bubba.
I watch in amazement as Bubba comes to Kellen and the golden follows along, still curious about the big black and brown boy. Kellen uses the opportunity when the golden approaches to stroke her back gently. She jolts slightly as she turns to look at him. He talks in a low murmur, praising her beauty and sweet eyes, and within seconds, her tail is wagging hard, and she pushes in closer to him. I can’t help but laugh when she turns, positioning his hand so it scratches right at her lower spine, and whines in ecstasy. It’s probably the first time someone has shown her genuine affection for no other reason than to please her.
“What’s her name?” Kellen asks, glancing up at me.
“Number two seven one,” I reply bitterly. “At least, that’s the number tattooed on her ear.”
Kellen’s hazel eyes flash with ire as he looks back to the sweet dog soaking up his ministrations. “How about Princess? Because she’s going to be treated like one from here on out.”
My heart absolutely melts over his proclamation, and I actually get a little choked up. I cough to clear my throat. “That sounds perfect.”
He grins bigger and brighter, and holy hell, my knees almost buckle. He’s got a perfect dimple on each side of that smile.
A hot former Marine with hypnotizing eyes, muscles, tattoos, and dimples, who is a crusader for dogs?
I better be careful, or I might just fall in love.
Code Name: Omega (Jameson Force Security, Book #10) is a standalone romantic suspense within The Jameson Force Security series. See the full details and get your copy HERE.