The Magic of Christmas & Romance

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Thanks for dropping in. Please enjoy an excerpt from this holiday romance novella. It's a steal at $0.99. Amazon link.

Toni shot me a desperate look that made me want to reassure her everything would be okay, but I also didn’t want to disappoint her child.

"Jade," I said, "Remember I told you I was going to put something on the radio to try and find Ridley’s owner?"

She nodded, but her smile faded a little. "Did anybody come?"

"They might not have heard the announcement yet. We have to be patient."

She slid a look at her mother before facing me. "Can Ridley come home with us meantime?"

"No, hon, you know we don’t have room for a dog."

"Yes we do," Jade said, turning to eyeball Toni. "He can sleep on the back verandah."

"And what are we going to feed him?" Toni asked, passing a hand through the hair at the back of her neck.
"The same thing we eat."

She pulled Jade to her side. "Hon, we can’t just take somebody’s dog."

"But you almost killed it."

The expression on Toni’s face was priceless. Her eyes popped wide and her mouth fell open.

I banished my smile when her gaze found mine.

Toni sighed and rolled her eyes. "The dog ran in front of the car."

"Good thing we stopped because he needed a new home and we have space."

"Hon, I already told you—"

"Mommy, we can’t just leave Ridley here." Jade spun to confront me, hands on her hips. "Since this is a dog hospital, you need the space, right Dr. … "
"Laing."

Toni rubbed her forehead and closed her eyes as if arguing exhausted her.

"Maybe there’s a way I can help."

Toni’s eyes opened and she looked at me as if I had the answer to all of life’s problems. At best, what I could provide was a stop gap. "I can let you have a bag of dog chow, which should last until we find Ridley’s owner."

My solution didn’t seem to impress Toni, who stared at me as if what I said didn’t make sense.

Jade threw her fists in the air. "Yeah!"

"Not so fast," Toni said. "Could you keep the dog one more night just in case the owner turns up early tomorrow?"

Jade’s mouth drooped and she frowned at Toni. "But, Mommy—"

Toni stopped Jade's words with one tilt of the eyebrow.

"Sure," I said, "it won’t be a problem."

I hadn’t had much of a chance to say anything to Toni, but I had plenty on my mind. I hadn’t seen Toni in more years than I cared to remember and was beyond curious about her marriage, among other things. Her comment about being unable to take care of the dog hinted that she was stretched financially, but by looking at her, I couldn’t tell.
Amazon

Her clothes were tailored and even though I didn’t study that kind of thing, I knew enough—from the women I went out with—to recognize quality leather when I saw it. Her shoes and handbag came from matching leather and her work suit was cut from high-quality linen.

Our eyes met then and I hoped she wouldn’t figure out what I was thinking, but the worry in her eyes distracted me and I brought my attention back to our immediate problem.

"Let me keep Ridley tonight," I said, raising a hand to stop Jade’s protest. "Just to make sure his leg is going to be okay."

Jade looked at Toni and then back at me as if she suspected we were in cahoots. "Okay, just for tonight."

Toni shook her head and closed her eyes while I struggled not to smile. "Jade, can I talk to your mom alone for a minute?"

"Sure, I’ll go check on Ridley again and tell him bye-bye."  She gave her mother what I considered a warning look before leaving the office and closing the door.

Toni rubbed the bridge of her nose and sighed. "I don’t want her to get attached to that dog and I definitely don’t want to be responsible for any animal."

"If we don’t hear from the owners, we’ll probably have to send it to the JSPCA to see if they can find a home for it." I waited another few seconds before continuing, "Will it be that much of a bad thing for you to keep Ridley if we don’t find the owner? I mean, Jade seems to have a love affair going on already."

She shook her head. "We just can’t. What am I gonna do with Rid—the dog when I’m off at work?"

"You could—"

Holding up one hand, she said, "Don’t even go there. I just can’t."

I didn’t say anything more, but I sensed Jade wouldn’t be a pushover and all I’d been trying to tell Toni was that I could arrange for a friend of mine with a dog-sitting business to keep the dog until she found a regular schedule.

I got up and went to the other side of the desk where I called Melanie and told her we’d be keeping the dog another night. When I hung up the phone, Toni took her eyes off me.

Good. I hoped she hadn’t had her fill, because I was a long way from being satisfied with looking at her. Toni had matured into the striking woman I knew she’d become.

Amazon link.

13 comments:

  1. Pets can make a holiday really special. I miss mine at this time of year.

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  2. Christmas is always fun with pets. The tree must be redecorated daily! Merry Christmas.

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    1. I don't know how people manage pets and Xmas trees in the same space.

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  3. Mmm. I've been reading a Christmas pet collection, and it's been so much fun. I feel like I'm in the zone.

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  4. I can't tell you how many pets we've had that came to us this way. Great excerpt, Joy. I keep forgetting to tell how beautiful your blog is. Whenever the subject of discuss stunning blogs comes up, I always bring up yours to illustrate.

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    1. Joylene, thanks. Happy you like the blog. I'm chuffed. :)

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  5. awww! i wonder what happens next!
    i love doggies, they're the best!
    merry christmas!

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    1. They are indeed, Tara. Thanks for stopping in.

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