Phony Photos

Fred and Leo are leaving for New Years in New York in 24 hours, so as he rushes off to work after kissing her and Watson goodbye, her biggest worries are what to pack … and hoping Watson will forgive her for leaving him with her mom and stepfather. He’ll surely be happy frolicking in the tie-dyed fort-a-rama Barry’s built in his living room exclusively for their enjoyment.

But when Leo doesn’t show up after sending Fred a brief evening text that he’s stopping at Delilah’s studio for a few minutes, Fred starts worrying. And it soon turns out she has good reason to do so … an intimate photo of her beloved and the Pink Panther leader pops up on Delilah’s Instagram account, and suddenly it seems Fred’s been thrown over for Estes Park’s most flamboyant sexpot.

While her stomach churns, Fred instinctively knows Leo hasn’t abandoned her, and as the Pink Panthers rescue Delilah’s beloved bassett hounds from a nearby pound, they also realize something’s seriously wrong. And just why has Jake Jazz, the most despised man in town, suddenly seized Delilah’s photo studio?

As more photos pop up and nasty gossip items appear on the front page of the Chipmunk Chronicles, Fred does what she’d sworn she wouldn’t: she opens the envelope Branson dropped off two months earlier. What she finds inside is shocking, but Fred knows Leo’s heart and soul, as does Watson … and as the snapshots continue to roll in, Leo’s fellow park ranger, Marissa, spots a landmark indicating where the photos were taken, and everyone’s off on a search and rescue mission, Fred and Watson in the lead.

Although Fred has faced down many killers, she’s never encountered one quite as psychotic or peculiar as the one she now confronts. Nor has grumpy Watson ever implemented so many strategies without a treat on offer, but he proves his mettle as he frantically scrambles in the cab of a pickup truck to save the two humans he loves most … a love that, when the dust settles, paves a path for absolution, exoneration, and love that has been well and truly earned.

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