As he struggles to get back on his feet after the horrors of service as a medic in the Middle East war, Roy Dunham tends bar in a quiet club. The sudden entrance of K-9 Officer Samson, a Belgian Malinois, and his handsome "human" partner Craig Rommel startles Roy, and the cop's attitude puts him off.
Roy's opinion soon changes, however, after Sam and Craig save him from drug-driven violence. He returns the favor by tending their gunshot wounds, and before long, Roy finds himself hoping the policeman and the dog will become permanent parts of his life.
Can Sam be the key to winning Roy's way into Craig Rommel's well-protected heart?
The officer's dog crouched, tail tip twitching with suppressed energy, his fight drive building to an explosive level. The cop hissed another quick command. The dog leaped. Simultaneously, Roy felt the jolt. Then the fiery heat as gunpowder exploded scant inches from his ear. The sound deafened him for a moment. He saw tan fur scatter and scarlet drops spray but the dog kept coming.
Another shot. This time the policeman stumbled, halted. Within instants, a dark patch bloomed on the left leg of his navy blue trousers. He steadied himself and drew his gun. At that moment the dog hit on the apex of a running leap. The animal grabbed the dark man's gun arm, teeth crunching in a steel-trap snap on the bare, brown forearm. The impact spun both the gunman and Roy around. The pistol went flying as the man screamed. His hold on Roy slacked abruptly.
Roy staggered a couple of steps, sinking onto the nearest bar stool. Sweet Jesus. It's a wonder I didn't piss my pants.
Limping, the cop advanced. At another command, the dog released the strange man's arm, now bleeding profusely. He was clutching at the torn flesh, cursing and whimpering. The policeman fumbled for his handcuffs. He snapped them on the man's unbitten arm first. Then he hesitated as if not quite sure what to do next. With a muffled whine, the dog abruptly sank to the floor, suddenly deflated, all fight gone.
When he looked down in surprise at the sound, Roy saw gouts of blood, not just from the bitten man but more, draining from the long furrow along the dog's left side. Whoa, this pooch just saved my ass and prob'ly the cop's, too. I need to help him.
If there was one thing Roy knew, it was treating gunshot wounds. Been there and done that. He reached behind the bar and came back with a handful of clean towels. Kneeling on the floor, he pressed two of them in a wad into the dog's wound to staunch the blood. He wasn't sure how deep or serious it was, but it was bleeding heavily. Slowing that flow was the most urgent need. After a moment, he tied three more towels together and bound them around the dog's body to hold the makeshift compress in place, easing the improvised tie under the animal's heaving ribs as gently as he could.
By then, the policeman had handcuffed the suspect to the rail along the edge of the bar, leaving his bleeding arm free. After that, the officer sat down heavily on a nearby stool. With an expression of disbelief, he stared down at the hole in his dark trousers, at the growing patch darker still, where blood welled to stain the fabric. Roy could see the shock in the man's face then, paleness and tension that dimmed his masculine beauty.
"Hey, you're shot, too." Roy grabbed some more towels and made a second hasty compress. The wound was high in the other man's thigh, to the inside. The bullet had probably missed the bone but apparently it had clipped at least one artery because the blood was coming in spurts. Roy jammed the wad of towels against the cop's leg, bearing down hard.
The officer drew a sharp breath that hissed between his clenched teeth.
"I know, it hurts like hell, but I need to slow the blood. Have you got back-up coming?"
The officer nodded. "I called before we came in. They should be here any minute. How's Samson?"
"My dog. I saw he was hit. Is it bad?"