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Tracking Justice (Texas K-9 Unit Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Shirlee McCoy
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In the night, a young boy goes missing from his bedroom. Police detective Austin Black assures desperate single mother Eva Billows that he'll find her son. He has to, so he can put to rest his own harrowing memories. With his search-and-rescue bloodhound, Justice, Austin searches every inch of Sagebrush, Texas. And when Eva insists on helping, Austin can't turn her away. Eva trusts no one, especially police, but this time, Austin—and Justice—won't let her down.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Award winning, multipublished author Terri Reed discovered the wonderful world of fiction at an early age and declared she would one day write a book. Now she's fulfilling that dream by writing for Love Inspired. She is a member of both Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers. You can visit her online at or email her at or leave comments on or

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Police detective Austin Black glanced at the illuminated numbers on the dashboard clock as he raced up Oak Drive. Two in the morning. Not a good time to get a call about a missing child.

Then again, there was never a good time for that; never a good time to look in the eyes of a mother or father and see terror and worry or to follow a scent trail and know that it might lead to a joyful reunion or a sorrowful goodbye.

If it led anywhere.

Sometimes trails went cold, scents were lost and the missing were never found.

Knowing that didn't make it any easier to accept.

Austin wanted to find them all. Bring them all home safe.

Hopefully, this time, he would.

He pulled into the driveway of a small, bungalow-style house, its white porch gleaming in exterior lights that glowed on either side of the door. Just four houses down from the scene of a violent crime and the theft of a trained police dog the previous afternoon. An odd coincidence.

Or maybe not.

Two calls to the same street within nine hours? Not something that happened often in a place like Sagebrush, Texas.

Justice whined, his dark nose pressed against the grate that separated him from the SUV's backseat. A three-year-old bloodhound, he was trained in search and rescue and knew when it was time to work. Knew and was ready, even after the eight-hour search they'd been on earlier.

Austin jumped out of the vehicle and started up the driveway, filing away information as he went. Lights on in the front of the house. An old station wagon parked on the curb. Windows closed. Locked?

A woman darted out the front door, pale hair flowing behind her, a loose robe flapping in the cold night air as she ran toward him. "Thank God you got here so quickly. I don't know where he could have gone."

"You called about a missing child?"

"Yes. My son."

"The dispatcher said that you don't know how long he's been gone?" Austin had heard the call go out shortly after he'd left his captain's place. Hours of searching for Slade's stolen police dog, Rio, had turned up nothing but a deadend scent trail and mounting frustration. Austin had been exhausted and ready to go home. Now he felt wired and ready to hit the trail again.

"I thought that I heard Brady call for me, and when I walked into his room, he was gone. That was about ten minutes ago."

"Has he ever run away?"


"Ever talked about it?"

"No! Now, please, can you help me find him?" She ran back up the porch stairs, her bare feet padding on the whitewashed wood.

Austin jogged after her, stepping into a small living room. Neat as a pin except for a small pile of Legos on a light oak coffee table and a college textbook abandoned on a threadbare sofa. No sign of the woman.

"Ma'am?" he called, moving toward a narrow hallway that led toward the back of the house.

"Here." She waved from a doorway at the end of the hall. "This is my son's room."

Austin followed her into the tiny room. Blue walls. Blue bedding tangled and dripping over the side of the twin mattress. Crisp white curtains. A blanket lay on the floor near the open window, the frayed edges ruffled by the wind.

"How old is your son, Ms…?"

"Billows. Eva. He's seven."


The name sparked a memory, but Austin couldn't quite grab hold of it. "Did you and your son have an argument about something? Maybe a missed curfew or—"

"He's seven. He's not even allowed to be outside by himself." Her voice broke, but her eyes were dry, her face pale and pinched with worry. A pretty face. A young one, too. Maybe twenty-three or four. Too young, it seemed, to have a seven-year-old.

"Did you argue about homework? Grades?"

"We didn't argue about anything, Officer—?"

"Detective Austin Black. I'm with Sagebrush Police Department's Special Operations K-9 Unit."

"You have a search-and-rescue dog with you?" Her face brightened, hope gleaming in her emerald eyes. "I can give you something of his. A shirt or—"

"Hold on." He grabbed her arm as she tried to move past. "I need to get a little more information first."

"Find my son. Then I'll give you whatever information you want."

"Unfortunately, without the information, I won't know where to begin searching for your son."

"How about you start out there?" She gestured out the window.

"Was it open when you came in the room?"

"Yes. And the curtains were just like that. One hanging outside. Like, maybe…" She pressed her lips together.


"It looks like someone carried Brady out the window, and Brady grabbed the curtain to try to keep from being taken. But I don't know how anyone could have gotten into his room. The window was locked. All the doors and windows were locked."

He nodded. He could see the scenario she'd outlined playing out. The little boy woken from a sound sleep, dragged from his bed and out the window, grabbing on to whatever he could to keep from being kidnapped.

He could see it, but that didn't mean it had happened that way. Most children were abducted by family or friends, and most didn't even know they were being abducted when it happened.

"You're sure everything was locked?"

"Of course." She frowned. "I always double-check. I have ever since."


"Nothing that matters. I just need to find my son." Hiding something?

Maybe. She seemed more terrified than nervous, but that didn't mean she didn't know something about what had happened to her son.

"Everything matters when a child is missing, Eva."




The words just kept coming. Kept filling Eva's head and her heart and her lungs until she wasn't sure she could breathe.

"Do you need to sit down?" Detective Black touched her elbow, his dark blue eyes staring straight into hers.

"I need to find my son." The words stuck in her throat, caught on the roof of her mouth, and she didn't know if they even made a sound when they escaped through her lips.

"I'm going to help you do that. I promise. But I need to know if there's some reason why you were careful to keep your doors and windows locked. Someone you were afraid of." His voice was warm and smooth as honey straight from the hive, and Eva might actually believe every word he was saying if she weren't so terrified.

"My parents were killed two years ago, but it had nothing to do with me or my son."

"The killer was caught?"


"Is it possible—"

"It's not possible!" She nearly shouted, and Detective Black frowned. "I was estranged from my father when the murders occurred. There's no connection between my life now and what happened to my parents." She tried again. Tried to sound reasonable and responsible because she was afraid if she didn't, the detective would linger in Brady's room for hours instead of going to look for him.

"Is Brady's father around?" He leaned out the window without touching it, eyeing the packed earth beneath.

Did he see anything there?

She wanted to ask, wanted to beg him to get his dog and go after her son, wanted to go after Brady herself, run into the darkness and scream his name over and over again until she found him.

"No," she answered a little too sharply, and Detective Black raised a raven-black eyebrow. "You're not on good terms?"

"We're not on any terms."

"When was the last time you and Brady saw him?"

"Brady has never seen him," she retorted. "The last time I saw Rick was six months before my son was born."

"Have you spoken to him on th—"

"I haven't had any contact with him since the day I told him I was pregnant. He's not in my life. He's not in Brady's life. He didn't want to be. He was married, okay? He and his wife moved to Las Vegas two months before Brady's birth. That's it. The whole story." She'd been nineteen and foolish enough to believe every lie Rick had told. It didn't hurt like it used to, but admitting it to the detective still made her blush.

"Is there anyone else? A boyfriend? Fiance?"

"No. Just me and Brady. That's all there's ever been." She swallowed hard and turned away. Holding back tears because crying wouldn't solve her problems. Wouldn't help her son.

"When did you last see Brady?"

"I checked on him at midnight. Right before I went to bed. He was sleeping."

"You went to bed after that?"

"Yes! I went to bed. I fell asleep. I thought I heard Brady call for me, and I went to his room. He was gone. Now, will you please go find him?"

"I will. A soon as—"

The doorbell rang and Eva jumped, her heart soaring with wild hope.


Please, God, let it be him.

She shoved past Detective Black, not caring about niceties. Not caring about anything but getting to the door, opening it, seeing Brady's face. Only it wasn't him.

Her heart sank as she looked into the eyes of a uniformed officer.

"Ms. Billows? I'm Officer Desmond Cunningham. We have a report of a missing child?"

"My son. There's already a detective here."

"He's with our K-9 Unit. He'll start searching for your son while I interview you."

Thank You, God. Thank You, thank You, thank You.

She stepped back so he could enter the house, wishing she'd had time to straighten up the living room, put the sofa cover over her threadbare couch. A twenty-dollar Goodwill find that worked fine for her and Brady but wasn't great for company.

Such a silly thing to think about.

Such a stupid thing when her son was missing.

She presse...

Product Details

  • File Size: 521 KB
  • Print Length: 221 pages
  • Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense (January 1, 2013)
  • Sold by: Harlequin Digital Sales Corp.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,531 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast Paced Suspense January 6, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
When I heard about this new K9 series, I was very excited. This book didn't let me down. Tracking Justice is the first in the Texas K-9 Unit series, and in this book we follow Detective Austin Black and his bloodhound dog Justice. From the first few pages, this book drew me in. Eva is a single mom with a little boy named Brady who is kidnapped. The action doesn't stop once Brady is rescued and we move from one crisis to the next in the search for Brady's kidnappers and the larger crime ring behind it all. The author did a great job of weaving together Eva's personal story--her parents were murdered--into the current plot. The love story between Eva and Austin felt believable. And I absolutely loved the connection between Brady and Justice. I will definitely keep reading this series. Recommend for suspense and animal lovers. The faith element was spot on. Here's one of my favorite quotes: "That's a lot of fear for someone who says she has faith." He raked a hand through his hair, took a sip of coffee. "I do have faith. In God. Not in myself." McCoy, Shirlee (2013-01-01). Tracking Justice (Texas K-9 Unit) (p. 195). Love Inspired. Kindle Edition.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tracking Justice (Texas K-9 Unit) January 10, 2013
By Paula
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book drew me in from the first chapter. Eva is a single mom, that has always had to do everything herself. She is a waitress, and she is going to school. She wants a better life for her, and her 7 year old son. When her son Brady was kidnapped, She couldn't just sit by and wait, and watch. She followed the lead K-9 detective against his wishes, on the search. The action doesn't stop there. This was a heart wrenching story line, with a good ending. My only complaint was Eva's fears and her doubts were said over, and over throughout the book. It made it sound like she was whining. It was annoying to read the same thing over and over again. Austin did make a perfect and patient Hero. This book was more on an emotional level. The physical was limited to a few times Austin Kissed Eva. Eva maintained her guarded heart, and kept her doubts throughout the book, breaking free the last chapter.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shirlee McCoy rarely disappoints me. January 10, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I believe this is the beginning of another series where a variety of authors will continue with it. When I'm looking for new books to read, Shirlee McCoy is one of the authors I look for at the Kindle storefront. I haven't read many suspense novels that include a K-9 unit so this added an extra element. Good book!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Texas K-9 Unit Series Book 1 January 9, 2013
By Jutzie
Format:Kindle Edition
Tracking Justice by Shirlee McCoy
Texas K-9 Unit Series Book 1
Police Detective Austin Black and his long eared partner, Justice, have a job to do. Sometimes it ends happy but not always. They work in search and rescue and just received another call, a boy gone missing. Austin could only pray it would turn out to be one of the happy endings.

Eva Billows was taught not to trust anyone but God and herself. When her son Brady goes missing, she isn't going to trust anyone to find him without her. Especially considering the police already failed her by never finding who murdered her parents. And she definitely was not going to let her heart believe that some men were good, was she?

The first book in this new Love Inspired Suspense series definitely has me wanting to read the next five books. As in all series some of the mystery is solved in the first book and love is found but there are still some more bad guys out there to be caught. Looking forward to the next book in this series; Detection Mission by Margaret Daley.
**Received through NetGalley for review
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat unrealistic romance, but good suspense May 17, 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Every mother's nightmare comes true in the opening chapter of this Love Inspired Suspense novel: single mother Eva Billows's son, Brady, is missing. He has been taken by someone and detective Austin Black and his tracking dog, Justice, are sent to Eva's home to help find Brady. Eva is no stranger to the police: her parents were murdered two years ago, and Austin begins to believe that Brady's kidnapping might be related.

The story is part of a miniseries (Texas K9 Unit), which is written by several authors including McCoy, Sharon Dunn, Lenora Worth, Terri Reed, Valerie Hansen, and Margaret Daley. There isn't much resolution in the book, save for the romance between Eva and Austin, which is pretty unrealistic. They fall for each other in a matter of days and begin planning a wedding! Crimes are committed and bad guys are arrested, but the true conclusion will probably come in the next book in the series. It's not a bad book, but it's not the greatest, either.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent suspense story! January 20, 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book starts out with action and will keep you reading till you find out how everything comes together. From a missing boy, to gunfire in the woods, to a tracking dog there is nothing in this story that will disappoint!

I gave this book 5/5 stars. I liked the action and suspense. I thought the interaction of Austin and Eva, the two main characters, was very well written and the conversations were believable. Sometimes you can read a book and not get a feel for the characters personalities but this author did an excellent job of character development. If you like suspense mixed in with romance you will enjoy this book!

I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for the copy of this book I enjoyed reading. I gave an honest review based on my opinion of what I read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Wonderful
I loved the Story Tracking Justice by Shirlee McCoy the story was heartwarming and wonderful, I loved the little boy and Justice the dog and all the characters in the story, I... Read more
Published 3 days ago by Kindle Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars This was a good book from the beginning
This was a good book from the beginning. I did not like the end because it felt incomplete. No mention if they found the dog that was missing. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Jade Shirachi
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 28 days ago by Merilyn
5.0 out of 5 stars I love these books
I love these books. Easy to read and helps me relax. Easy to follow and I enjoyed the characters.
Published 1 month ago by Kimberly
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Can't put it down until all down reading it
Published 1 month ago by daniella
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I am never disappointed by Love Inspired Suspense.
Published 1 month ago by Boots
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 6-book Story!
This is the first of six books, all of which are like long chapters of a really long book..or like a mini-series on TV. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars on to the sequel!
I have always enjoyed novels of suspense and intrigue along with a few surprises thrown in for readers to discover. Read more
Published 2 months ago by lighthouse88
4.0 out of 5 stars Janie review
This book is very good it tells a story about murder and how two people find love in the middle of it all you will love it can't wait for the next book in the series
Published 2 months ago by Unknown
4.0 out of 5 stars Tracking Justice by Shirlee McCoy
Great book! I want to read more of her books. Faith inspired. Drones are no longer fiction, but are now a reality.
Published 3 months ago by Barbara Coberly
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