Back in Black (McGinnis Investigations #1) - Rhys Ford Page 0,1

in pearls and ruffled bloomers, a slit worked into the pantaloons’ seams to allow Brave Sir Baa Baa easy access to her worldly treasures.

I probably could have sneaked off without either one of them being the wiser except for one thing—well, two actually. The damned dogs.

I’d seen this movie before. Hell, I’d been a recurring guest star in that particular strain of disasters through most of my career as a private investigator. But the sheep was new, and the dogs were really damned determined to take a chunk out of my ass.

Seeing as I liked my ass where it was—and I had a husband who seemed pretty fond of it—I bolted.

Shocked the hell out of me that Lamb Chop not only had the presence of mind to grab a weapon but also had the dexterity and stamina to run in those damned hooves.

The lawn’s overgrowth made it easier to avoid the dogs, but they weren’t too far behind me. I knew the left side of the property shared a fairly solid wall with the next estate, but the original twelve-foot-tall wrought iron fence surrounding the enormous plot had fallen into such disrepair that there were gaping stretches along the back and right boundaries. It was a contentious point with the property owners, or so I’d been told. Rather than erect their own fencing, they battled and sniped about the château’s falling metal spires and left the rusting iron segments to molder instead of securing their own homes.

It was kind of ironic being chased by a man in a sheep costume after catching him in a nefarious act with a woman who had a few years on him and obviously was way out of his league, but honestly, I wasn’t all that surprised. Shit like this always seemed to happen to me. This wasn’t the first time I’d come across a couple of people having sex—make that kind of weird sex—only to have them spot me, nor the first time I had to run for my life while someone tried to blow my head off. It was kind of an occupational hazard. Private investigators usually didn’t get to pick and choose the cases that came through their front door, and since most of society’s problems revolved around sex or money, it made sense that most of our business at McGinnis Investigations dealt with spouses wanting to catch their significant others doing the nasty with someone other than themselves.

This job wasn’t supposed to be like that. I was just to go in, take a recon of the buildings, and leave. I shouldn’t be on the run, although I had some serious questions about why the woman and Lamb Chop had two Dobermans with them in the guesthouse.

“Where the fuck am I going?” It was difficult to make heads or tails of where I was. The paths through the greenery were vague at best, and the thickets were practically opaque, making it difficult to see beyond what was right in front of my face. “I don’t even know which way I’m facing.”

There was a myth about moss growing only on the north side of a tree. Since I could barely remember if the Hollywood sign was north of me at any given moment, that wasn’t going to get me out of the jungle I’d stumbled into. The hard stone paths were littered with leaves, and every once in a while, I caught the hard clop of the sheep’s hooves striking rock, but the dogs were now oddly silent.

“Where the hell are you guys?” I slowed my run down and crouched behind a stand of bushes and an oddly posed statue that could have been a woman with six arms or an aroused cuttlefish looking for a good time. Cloaked in shadows and a thick layer of tangled vines, it was difficult to tell what the carving was, but it gave me enough cover to catch my breath. “Shit, I’ve got to work on my conditioning.”

The cuttlefish exploded in front of my face, its massive weave disintegrated by whatever high-powered piece of lead Mr. Flappy Sheep had loaded in his Eagle. Needless to say, it was enough of an incentive to get me moving again.

Not knowing the grounds, I was at a severe disadvantage, and apparently I was being chased by an ex-Olympian or something. I couldn’t shake the sheep. He kept up with me pace for pace. Maybe he knew how the damned bushes and trees were laid out around the complicated multilevel