Blog Tour | Beyond Circumstances by Gloria Joynt-Lang
Excerpt from Chapter Five
He knew what would occur before it happened. Abby would be at his side. When she first trotted over, she went unnoticed. Zak was too lost in the whirlwind of emotions to react. Eventually, thanks to Abby’s persistent nudging, he had no choice but to reach out. When a hundred-pound canine tries to become a lap dog, it’s impossible to ignore.
He gently pushed her front paws off his lap while he scratched her behind the ears, “Hey, I’ll be fine, girl.”
He wasn’t convincing Abby, he didn’t even believe the words himself. She refused to leave his side and finally, he got up and did what he normally did in this situation. He got changed, taking Abby with him for a long run.
Although it was a winter day, and the temperatures were still quite frigid, both Zak and Abby were accustomed to the frosty air. When he felt anxious, any sort of distraction, even the bitter cold wind could help. He started running on the pavement, turning onto a gravel road fifteen minutes later. The roads had recently been plowed, making it easier for him and Abby to stay dry, unlike his last run. A Komondor coat, when long, would easily mat and stay wet for hours. To minimize the wet-mop look, he kept Abby’s coat trimmed. She would still get soaked from the snow and slush, but at least she wouldn’t be a cluster of mud.
He ran for half an hour before the edginess dissipated. He continued for another ten minutes before turning around and heading back. Returning to the treed property where his house sat, Zak noticed a mid-size silver SUV parked in the gravel driveway. The vehicle seemed somewhat familiar, but he couldn’t place it. Besides, a silver SUV was as common as an elm tree. When he reached the vehicle, he looked inside. It was clean and empty. No used coffee cup, no loose change, not even a layer of dust on the console. It was totally immaculate. Any urge to open the driver’s door vanished. The vehicle might be rigged. Paranoia? Perhaps, but paranoia had saved his life a few times. Knowing Abby’s instinct to bark and call attention to the potential intruder, he signaled for the dog to be quiet. With her quietly by his side, he crept toward the front porch. Reaching the steps, he noticed the front door ajar. Whoever the intruder was, they had gone into his house. A house he had locked. Zak reached for his Glock from the shoulder holster he had under his running jacket. He carefully motioned for Abby to stay by the front steps as he quietly pushed open the door. Slowly, and softly as a man his size could manage, he walked forward, careful not to make the floorboards creak. Rounding the corner of the hallway, he saw the silhouette in the dimly lit kitchen. He steadily drew the pistol upward, aiming it at the back of the intruder.
“Don’t move. I’ve got no problem fracturing your skull with a bullet,” he said, his voice as steady as steel.
Moving closer, he noticed the intruder, who was now trembling, stood less than five feet tall. The notion that it was some local teen, trying to steal his laptop for drug money, jumped into his mind. Some stupid pubescent kid who had no idea who Zak was, and what he was capable of.