By Jennifer Crusie
Part basset, half beagle, all Cupid . . .
For Nina Askew, turning 40 ability freedom -- from the ex-husband, freedom from their stuffy suburban domestic, freedom to target what she wishes for a transformation. And what she wishes is anything her ex consistently vetoed -- a dog. A bouncy, cute dog. as a substitute she will get . . . Fred.
Overweight, middle-aged, a piece stinky and clearly depressed, Fred is light-years from perky. yet he does be capable of positioned Nina within the direction of Alex Moore, her stunning, younger-by-a-decade neighbor.
Alex turns out excellent -- he is a lovely, likely sane, strangely unmarried E.R. health professional -- however the age hole convinces Nina that anyone yet Alex will be greater courting fabric. yet with each silver-haired stiff she dates, the extra she suspects it is the younger, dog-loving document she desires to take a seat and stay.
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Nina sighed. “Make your self at domestic. ” She received within the Civic and glued the major within the ignition. Fred placed his paws at the window ledge and smeared his nostril better. Nina concept longingly of the pups. ”You’re making me unwell. ” She leaned throughout him and commenced to roll down the window midway. “Don’t leap out. issues simply acquired larger for you. ” Fred grew to become on the sound of her voice, and as she stretched over him nonetheless cranking the window, he appeared deep into her eyes. Nina stopped rolling and stared again into the nice and cozy brown depths. He fairly used to be a candy puppy. after all he wasn’t being peppy. In his scenario, she’d be careful, too. He didn’t recognize whatever approximately her. She didn’t be aware of something approximately the place he’d been. perhaps his previ- Jennifer Crusie 17 ous humans have been suggest to him. It didn’t subject. What mattered was once that he wanted love. all people wanted love. Even she wanted love. And now she had Fred. Fred. Nina closed her eyes. superb. She had Fred. Even her ally was once going to imagine she used to be nuts. “You acquired a what? ” Charity used to be going to claim, after which while she observed Fred, middle-aged, broken-down and drained, she used to be going to—Nina appeared into Fred’s sufferer brown eyes back and felt ashamed. “It’s ok, Fred. ” She stroked the head of his head. “You’re my puppy now. It’s ok. ” Fred met her eyes, squared his shoulders, and lunged at her, licking her from chin to brow with one sweeping slurp. “Oh, Fred. ” Nina burst into tears and wrapped her fingers round him. His physique used to be fats and hot and wriggly, and Nina hugged him tighter, so completely happy to have an individual alive in her lifestyles back and so relieved to ultimately have the capacity to cry out the disappointment and loneliness that she didn’t even care the somebody had 4 legs and smelled like rank dogs. “We’re going to be so chuffed, Fred,” she instructed him, 18 someone yet You sobbing. “We quite are. We’re going to be fabulous jointly. ” Fred sighed and started to lick the tears from her face, which made Nina cry even more durable. It used to be the simplest she’d felt in weeks. She gave one ultimate sniff and allow pass of Fred to place the automobile in equipment so she may possibly express him his new domestic and make contact with his aunt Charity to come back meet him. “You have family members now, Fred,” she informed him. “You’re going domestic. ” ALEX MOORE used to be stretched out on a mattress in an empty interpreting room within the Riverbend basic ER, attempting to overlook his relations and get a few sleep ahead of one other emergency erupted whilst his older brother got here in and dropped a brown paper bag with a six-pack of beer in it on his belly. “Hey! ” Alex curled to take in the blow after which observed it was once Max and stretched again out back. discomfort together with his family members used to be not anything new. “I’m drowsing. depart. And take that rattling beer with you ahead of someone sees it. ” Max pulled the beer out of the sack and peeled Jennifer Crusie 19 off a can. He popped the tab and left the 5 last beers on Alex’s belly as he collapsed into an orange plastic chair. The chair scraped and screeched at the flooring, and Max’s pink silk blouse clashed opposed to the fairway wall.