Novel Name : Hot Revenge Box Set 2

Chapter 35

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And I keep talking. “What a nice lot of boys and girls. All these doggies... What a lot of lovely
doggies…” Nonsense words. Not meaning anything. Just a vehicle for a calm voice. Intended to
soothe. Designed to disarm.

I keep speaking and the stranger brushes by, trying to introduce himself to Scruffy, ignoring me. As he
comes close, I let my hand trail over his fur. “Blackie. What a nice boy. What a good boy Blackie is.”

His ears are pricking us, and he brushes by again, now exchanging sniffs with Emma. Archie grumbles
low and Blackie cows, dropping to his stomach. Archie prances up, fur bristling, tail upright and Blackie
whines then sits by me. His eyes softening by the moment, he pants heavily.

Still moving carefully, I take off my belt then make a loop of the end. Holding it loosely in my hand, I let
it dangle, very casually, then trail the other hand over his fur. “What a nice boy. What a good boy
Blackie is. Blackie’s far too nice to be nasty.”

He relaxes completely. And as I show him the belt, doesn’t react at all. Moving carefully, I loop it over
his head and then slowly stand. “Heel.”

And he curves around behind me to stand by my right side.

“So,” says Klempner, from his spot a few yards away, “What now?”

“I just want to check something.”

He follows silently as, Blackie on his ‘lead’, I skirt the thicket he was sheltering in. “There…” I point.


“Pawprints running both ways. Lots of them. He’s been dashing up and down trying to find someone.
He’s been dumped. Some bastard’s just left him here and he’s been trying to find them. How does a
dog understand that the people he loves would just abandon him?”

Klempner looks down at Blackie, his expression thoughtful.


Heads swivel as we walk in.

James, Michael and Richard exchange looks. “I’m almost certain…” says Richard… “… that you left
here with five dogs.”

“And I’ve come back with six. Yes, I know. I couldn’t leave him. Someone’s dumped him.”

Michael looks him over. “He’s a good-looking animal. You think he’s been abandoned?”

“Happens all the time. He looks about a year old to me. He’s big, but he’s still a bit gangly. Not grown
into his paws yet. He was probably thrown out to make way for the Christmas puppy.”

Charlotte’s voice hisses from the lounge door. “Bastards!”

“Yup,” I reply. “There’s a special place in Hell for them. I hope they rot.”

“Where d’you want this lot?” asks Larry, wincing away from where a holly branch prickles at his chin.

James thumbs him through to the dining room. “In there.”

He marches through then without ceremony, dumps his load of holly on the tiles. Standing with his back
to the fire, “Is there anything hot to drink? I’m fucking freezing.”

James offers up a whiskey bottle. “Coffee with a splash?”



Cradling glasses of Irish coffee, Larry and I sit by the hearth. Ryan pulls up a chair. His earlier tension
looks to have dissolved, replaced by a kind of softness in his eye. He kisses my cheek. “Good for you.
But what on earth are you going to do with him?”

“Blowed if I know.”

The pack are squirming for position on the rug. Blackie circles a bit then sits close, leaning against my

Larry regards him, lips pursed. “That was an interesting performance. You’ve done this before? Picked
up a strange dog?”

“Oh, yes.”

He sips at coffee through a thick layer of floating cream. “That’s a dangerous hobby.”

I sip at my drink too, then recoil at the burn of the brandy coming through the cream. “Not so much as
you might think. You just have to put yourself inside their heads. You see it a lot with mistreated dogs.
They’ve had their trust shattered. They don’t know who they can rely on. They certainly don’t
understand why the people who should have loved them treated them that way…”

Meg comes barrelling in, all authority and bluster. Blackie drops and whines. Klempner stares. “That
dog could swallow her in two bites.”

I shrug. “Size is almost irrelevant with dogs. It’s all about dominance and the pecking order. And
democracy is a human concept. Not a canine one.”

I sip more of my coffee, more carefully this time. Caffeine and alcohol sizzle a trail down my throat and
my earlobes begin to glow… “… When they’ve been mistreated, they're scared stupid and they don't
know how to cope. So, they lash out at whoever's near. That’s how you create a really dangerous
animal. But if you make them feel safe… Wanted... Loved... It turns them around. They become what
nature always intended them to be. A warm, willing, friendly animal. Part of their group. Fulfilled and

I gulp at my drink, then aim a finger at my Gang, jostling for position in front of the fire. “Meg there...
She was condemned as irredeemably dangerous. They had her on Death Row in the shelter. But once
she had the love and care she needed, and she knew she was safe, she changed completely. She was

Klempner sits silently regarding each dog in turn, his eyelids drooping.

James appears with a tray. “Works on people too,” he says, as though in passing. “Sandwich anyone?
Beef and horseradish.”

As the tray of sandwiches passes overhead, the Gang stir.

“There’s a lot of fatty off-cuts in the kitchen,” says James. “Can they have them?”

“Try to stop them,” I chuckle. He taps his thigh and the Gang tumble after him.

Beside me, Blackie lifts his nose, snuffling at the air. Larry casts an enquiring eye at me, half a
sandwich hovering in his hand.

“Don't go to him, “I say. “Let him come to you. Then the contact is his idea and made by his choice.”

He leans forward, as though to offer the treat.

“Don't try to make him take it from your hand,” I say. “And no... Don't toss it at him either. He may have
had things thrown at him. Just put it in the floor a little distance away from yourself.”

He nods slightly, placing the sandwich on the floor. Blackie stares at it, then belly to the carpet, he
slinks across and wolfs down the offering.

Klempner watches the performance, his face unreadable. “Poor bastard. He’s been punished for
accepting food, hasn’t he.”

“I’d say so, yes.”

He tears another chunk from his sandwich, putting it down on the floor, a little closer this time. Blackie
promptly wolfs it down, then with a groan, sits up against Klempner and lays his head on his lap.


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