Snow Pups by Mimi Barbour

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Chapter One

So far, Deputy Shawna Mallory had searched everywhere kids tended to hang out in town and without any luck. The runaway, twelve-year-old Billy McCrae was nowhere to be found. Frustrated, she stopped driving and pulled the car into the lot closest to the park where the town’s families spent a good deal of their spare time.

The tennis courts were closed due to the unusual snowfall. Normally they were full and had been until last night when the previous good weather had taken a turn for the worse. The soccer and football fields were empty too and even the lake looked deserted, whereas on normal days, there were always people running, walking, kayaking… Heck, you name it; the people of Carlton Grove did it.

Deciding to stretch her legs, Shawna circled the far side of the lake, keeping her eyes open in case she lucked out and saw Billy McCrae wandering around. She’d been looking for the youngster since early morning when his foster mother had called in that he’d gone missing.

Whipping out her cellphone, she let the precinct know where she was and about her plans to explore the park just in case the boy had hidden there. She’d already been to see his teacher, only to find out that the kid hadn’t shown up yesterday either and had a tendency to use the school as a place to sleep rather than learn. After questioning the rest of the kids, she’d found that he had no friends and that unfortunate situation was solely his decision. He pushed everyone away who tried to get close.

Striding, long legs eating up the yards, she kept moving, her eyes searching, listening. Circling around some bushes, a yapping puppy obviously in a snit about something ran towards her. It was the cutest thing she’d ever seen. Fluffy silvery-white fur puffed out, which made its little black eyes and snout seem oddly abnormal against the white furry background. The mutt tried hard to converse, get her attention, rotating, then running over to a snow pile and back again. She chuckled at his antics.

“Hey, cutie? You look like a snowball yourself. Are you lost? Come and see Shawna.” She held out her hand, knelt down and coaxed. “Come, Snow Pup. Come here.”

Frantic, the dog ignored her hand and plowed into her knees, jumping to her face, nudging her and then running back to the snow mound that suddenly looked suspicious. Not waiting for her to explore, the pup began digging at the pile and suddenly a plaid blanket came into view.

Holy Moly, there was a body under there.

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