Click on these links to read SNEAK PEEK #1 and SNEAK PEEK #2.
Sneaking around in the middle of the night is a really dumb idea.
Andi gasped and sat up in bed, heart pounding. Sweat beaded her forehead. What a horrible dream! Fear clutched her throat. Shasta and Sunny . . . gone! She shivered, pulled her legs up, and wrapped her arms around her knees. “I just had a dream that scared me silly,” she whispered to the lump sleeping next to her. “Rustlers made off with my colts and I never saw them again.” Her eyes smarted with unshed tears. “It was so real.”
The lump didn’t answer.
“Macy?” A half-moon peeked through the glass balcony doors, casting a pale, silvery light into the room. The bundle of blankets beside her lay motionless. “Hey, wake up.” She reached out to shake what she thought was Macy’s shoulder, but her hand felt only softness. “What in the world?”
Andi snatched the covers and yanked them aside. No Macy. Instead, a pile of pillows marked the place where her friend had curled up only a short while ago. Andi reached a hand under the pillows. The spot was still warm. “Macy?” She turned up the lamp on her night table. Light spilled into the room, making her blink. “Are you here?”
No answer. Perhaps she’d gone to the washroom.
Andi left her bed and tiptoed down the hall. The washroom stood dark and empty. Chewing on her lip, she returned to her room stumped. Had her new friend gone downstairs for a midnight snack without asking? She might not know about guest etiquette. Macy had compared her manners to that of a weasel. Does a weasel ask permission to snatch a bite to eat from the henhouse?
Andi bit back a chuckle at the analogy. The remnants of her nightmare faded, replaced by uneasiness at Macy’s disappearance. She stuffed her bare feet into her riding boots and pulled a lounging robe over her white cotton nightgown. Tossing her hair out of her face, she headed for the narrow steps that led down to the kitchen. She couldn’t go back to sleep until she found Macy.
Andi hurried down the back stairs and paused to listen. All was quiet except for the faint ticking coming from the grandfather clock in the hallway. She cracked the stairwell door open and peeked into the kitchen. Moonlight glimmered through the windows. It gave enough light for Andi to pass through without banging into the cook stove or tripping over the cat. She sighed, disappointed. The kitchen was deserted.
She opened the back door and glanced around outside. A soft thumping sound drew her attention to the barn. Her breath caught. “Macy?” A small, dark shadow darted from tree to tree, avoiding the moonlight. Andi watched the figure disappear into the barn.
“It’s got to be Macy.” Andi closed the kitchen door and tiptoed down the porch steps. Then she cut across the yard toward the barn. A sudden clunk and the sound of footsteps sent Andi ducking behind a tree, just like the shadowy figure she was following had done.
When Andi reached the barn, she slipped through the narrow opening between the double doors. “Macy?” she called. Her voice cracked. “Are you in here?” She crept down the aisle then yelped when she tripped over a bucket. It clattered like a gunshot in the still night.
From behind, a hand clamped over Andi’s mouth.
Sorry for leaving you off right there, dear reader. You will have to wait and find out what's going on when Thick as Thieves comes out the end of February.