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Puppy Love

Written by Victoria Pade

When Zelda McAffry moved to Denver two weeks ago, the first thing she noticed was how sexy her new neighbor looks when he’s doing his prejog stretching. Not knowing anyone in her new hometown, she’s just working up the courage to ask the hunk for a favor when her energetic Jack Russell terrier, Charlie, gets her into a jam that forces the introduction at the worst possible moment.

Max Greer couldn’t help but notice the pretty woman that’s moved into the house behind his. He also couldn’t help but notice her noisy little dog. It’s too bad that he’s had it up to here with pets and their owners, or he might have asked her out…. 

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Chapter one

“It’s 7:30, Charlie,” Zelda McAffry said to her Jack Russell terrier as she hurried to the kitchen.

Charlie followed on her heels, taking his position at the sliding glass door. Zelda landed at the sink, and trained her eyes through the window above it onto the back door of the house directly behind hers.

Like clockwork, the man who lived there came outside as he had every morning of the two weeks Zelda had lived there so far.

He was tall, he had short dark hair, Adonis good looks, and the best buns she’d ever seen. Pure eye candy dressed in running shorts that exposed thick thigh muscles and a T-shirt that clung to impressive pectorals and bulging biceps.

Charlie started barking his head off just as he did every day. Zelda ignored him, feasting on the sight of magnificent male pulchritude as her neighbor did his pre-run warm-ups on his back porch.

“Wow,” she muttered on a sigh when the man finished and went through the gate to the side of his redbrick house.

“Okay, now you can go out,” Zelda told Charlie, moving to the sliding door to open it so the terrier could charge into the glorious June day.

Charlie wasn’t out there more than a minute, though, when he spotted a squirrel on the other side of the four-foot chain-link fence that separated their two yards. He took off to bounce on his hind legs in addition to his frenzied barking.

Zelda opened the sliding door again and yelled, “Charlie! Stop!”

But Charlie didn’t stop. Instead, he jumped high enough to actually catch his front paws on the top rail of the fence and pull himself over it.

“Oh, no!” Zelda ran out after the dog, shouting Charlie’s name as she did.

Charlie didn’t pay any attention to her. Instead, once the terrier realized he was in new territory he lost interest in the squirrel and made a beeline for the house, where he disappeared through the doggy door as if it were meant for him.

“Charlie! Come!” Zelda called firmly.

But Charlie didn’t reappear.

Zelda didn’t know what else to do but follow the same path through the doggy door. She got down on her hands and knees and poked her head through the flap.

And there was Charlie all right, watching for her as if he’d been expecting her to do just that.

“Come out here,” Zelda said in no uncertain terms.

Charlie backed up a few feet and sat down.

“I mean it! Get over here!” Zelda said, pushing forward and forcing her arms through so she could try to grab her dog and make a getaway before her neighbor ever knew she’d been there.

But Charlie just moved farther away, cocking his head to one side as he did.

And that was when Zelda made a tactical error.

She lunged for the dog.

And got stuck but good.

“Oh, great,” she wailed.

Just then she heard a deep, rich voice from outside say, “What the hell is going on?”

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Victoria Pade

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