Saturday, October 6, 2012
A HAPPY ENDING FOR SOLSTICE
Anyone who has been around me quickly discovers I love dogs, and pets of some kind usually find their way into the pages of my books. In CHASING THE LEGACY, a stray dog adopts the heroine, and Layla names her Solstice.
A gutteral growl drew Layla's attention. She turned, meeting the eyes of a tattered brown dog slunk low to the ground and watching her warily.
"I know how you feel." Layla spoke softly and turned her attention back toward the water. A pair of ducks drifted by with several babies following in their wake. She felt no fear of the dog; simply compassion for another creature struggling to find a way into someone's heart.
Layla sat for long moments without moving, until she sensed the dog settle beside her.
Not close enough to be touched, but not far enough away to be forgotten either.
Casually, Layla glanced around. A smile lit her face as she spotted a restaurant a short distance away.
"Do you prefer burgers or chicken?" she asked the dog.
The dog lifted one ear in response.
Layla rose slowly and walked toward the little café. Not making eye contact with the dog, but moving at a speed she was sure the canine would follow.
A woman in a white apron stood at the back door, smoking a cigarette. "Chased that mutt away from here earlier today. She yours?"
"I'll pay for a couple burgers for her."
The woman snubbed out her cigarette. "You feed her and you'll never get rid of her. She's been hanging around about a week now. Looks like she had pups not too long ago."
The dog looked at Layla with sorrowful eyes. Maybe she misses her babies too.
"Hold the onions, please."
The woman snorted. "Don't say I didn't warn you."
A few minutes later, the woman returned and held out a bag. "Looks like you could use a good meal yourself."
To her chagrin, Layla's belly rumbled as the salty warm smell of burgers and fries swirled out of the bag.
Yet when Layla held out a bill to pay for the food, the woman shook her head. "Just don't dump her somewhere. Make sure she has a good home."
Layla's gaze connected with the woman's. Her eyes held the same sad wisdom Layla felt in her heart. A longing. Yet a fear too. Of wanting too much, and watching it be snatched away again. "Thank you."
The dog's tail wagged in a ragged plume as drool dripped from her mouth. "Come on, girl, let's go home."
**Excerpt from CHASING THE LEGACY, copyright by Genene Valleau, writing as Genie Gabriel.