Good Guys Love Dogs

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Authors: Inglath Cooper
Tags: Humor, Romance, Adult
the sound of it, Phoebe Walker
    was in a lot of trouble with her
friend. Strangely enough,
    he hadn't minded the evening, setup
or not. The Walkers
    were nice people. “If
it makes you feel any better, I won't be
    pestering you. I knew as soon as I
saw your face tonight
    that you had nothing to do with it.
    â€œI didn't mean to
be rude, she said quickly. “Now
    I'm embarrassed.
    â€œThere's no
reason to be, he said, glancing at her with
    another unexpected jolt of
appreciation. She was undeniably
    pretty. He started to tel her about
his engagement. The
    moment felt right, but the words
somehow wouldn't
    come, and he couldn't say why.
Except that he didn't
    remember ever meeting a woman quite
like Colby Williams.
    76
    GOOD GUYS LOVE DOGS
    And he was intrigued. “It
was a nice dinner. And I'm glad
    to have the chance to get to know my
neighbors better.
    Silence lingered between them for a
few moments, and
    then she said, “What
made you move here from New
    York?
    â€œMy son needed a
change of pace. We'll just be here
    for his senior year, he said, not
wanting to elaborate
    further. The last thing he wanted to
do was put a black
    mark on the boy in the eyes of the
community before he'd
    had a chance to prove himself.
    â€œOh, she said.
“My daughter mentioned him. He's
    made quite an impression on the
girls at Jefferson High.
    Glad to hear that maybe things
weren't as awful as
    Luke wanted him to believe, Ian
said, “How old is your
    daughter?
    â€œFifteen going on
thirty.
    Ian smiled.
    â€œShe's a
sophomore, but young for her class. It seems
    like yesterday that she just learned
how to walk and—
    She stopped, her expression
troubled.
    Wondering if her relationship with
her daughter might
    have problems of its own, he said,
“It's a tough age. They
    grow up before we know it.
    â€œYes, they do,
she said, sounding resigned. “I'm just
    not ready to admit it.
    He drove for a few minutes, then
flipped on his signal
    light when she directed him to take
the next left-hand
    turnoff. “Go on
down to the barn. The lights should be
    on.
    77
    INGLATH COOPER
    He stopped just outside the open
door. A man in overalls
    and a red-checkered flannel shirt
trotted out to greet them.
    â€œHurry, Doc.
She's having a lot of trouble.
    Colby got out of the car, grabbed
her bag and ran after
    the man who had disappeared inside
the barn. Ian sat there
    for a minute, thinking about her. He
found her easy to talk
    to, intelligent. And apparently able
to handle with grace and
    good humor what turned out to be an
uncomfortable
    situation for both of them.
    He'd nearly slammed her arm in the
trunk. That would
    have topped the evening off nicely.
He thought about those
    few moments when his fingers
encircled her wrist. The
    contact shocked him every bit as
much as it apparently had
    her. He recalled now that she had
very smal wrists and
    hands. She was petite, probably not
more than five-three.
    But somehow he hadn't noticed it
initial y. Something about
    her exuded strength and
self-sufficiency.
    He got out of the Mercedes and made
his way toward
    the barn. A single light hung above
the door, making it hard
    to see where he stepped. Farm smel s
permeated the air, a
    combination of hay and manure and a
fresh country
    breeze. Cows mooed in the fields. A
stretch of mud lay
    between the gravel-covered driveway
and the entrance to
    the barn. With no way to go around
it, he waded through,
    his leather shoes squishing in the
mire. He knew then how
    the city mouse must have felt
visiting the country mouse.
    Inside, he stopped outside the stal
. A black-and-white
    cow lay stretched out on the
straw-covered floor, straining
    78
    GOOD GUYS LOVE DOGS
    heavily. Her eyes looked wild and
pained. Sympathy for her
    plight stabbed through him.
    Colby looked up at him, pul ing
supplies from her bag.
    â€œIan, this is
Harry Pasley. Harry, Ian McKinley. He's new in
    town. My truck broke down, so

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