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Previously in Heaven Bent: Heaven isn't anything like movie star Stag Lincoln expected. What kind of Heaven would have guns and bombs and a rebellion in progress? After helping a mysterious masked man free prisoners from a dark citadel, Stag finally gets some answers: the Heaven he's in might not be Heaven at all, and the masked man is his idol, the hip-shaking King of Rock 'n' Roll, initials E.P. But danger soon rears its head, as a six-foot-tall mutant pit bull attacks the rebel camp...

Powerful muscles rippled under the mottled gray and black fur of the giant pit bull. Teeth bared, ears peeled back, it crouched on the other side of the campfire, growling like a motorcycle getting ready to spring into action.

It was going to leap right through the campfire--no doubt about it. The creature's dark eyes were locked on us, its body aimed in our direction. Not that we'd have much chance of escape if we split up and ran; I could just imagine those long legs churning as the beast picked us off in quick succession.

Now I knew how it felt to be an antelope at the watering hole.

Staring at the giant dog, I froze. As good a fighter as I am thanks to my Hollywood martial arts training, I can be slow to react sometimes. Call it movie star lag syndrome: I keep waiting for the director to yell "Action."

At least my rebel friends didn't have that problem. Flashing forward, M.J. snatched a flaming branch from the fire and waved it at the animal. Meanwhile, E.P. jammed two fingers in his mouth and whistled, long and loud.

As M.J. shook the fiery branch, the pit bull flinched and let loose a fierce, snarling bark. The dog's eyes darted from the branch to M.J. to the rest of us and back, taking in everything, assessing the moment. It wouldn't be long until it made a move--a move toward the weaker flank, I was guessing. A move against me.

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