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The Lieutenant's Lost and Found Family

Written by Christy Jeffries

Chapter Two

Harper Jordan carefully held Clark’s leash in her sweaty hand as they walked along Snowflake Boulevard during the annual Sugar Falls Pet Parade, and her older sister, Abby, had never been surer of her decision to adopt a dog.

With such a big age gap between them—Abby had been away at college when Harper was born—Abby really hadn’t had much of a chance to bond with her quiet little sister before becoming her sole guardian.

The year since their parents’ fatal car crash had been tough on them both, but watching the five-year-old enjoy her new pet made her think they were finally recovering. At least, until Clark’s ears perked up and he sniffed at something in the air. The newest member of the Jordan family stopped abruptly in the middle of the street, causing a small pileup of two corgis in matching pink feather boas, a black-and-white-spotted Great Dane in a red firefighter helmet and a Siamese cat being pushed in a baby stroller.

“Come on, Clark,” Harper told the dog as she tugged on the leash. But the animal wouldn’t budge, his body planted firmly while his face searched the people lining the sidewalk.

“Here, Harper, let me try,” Abby told her sister. But before the girl could hand over the leash, their dog took off running toward something in the crowd. Or someone.

There was a man dressed in green cargo pants and a flannel shirt with his back toward them, apparently oblivious to the parade. Clark began barking, a loud and ferocious bark Abby had never heard from the dog before now, and as she chased after him, she realized that the animal was about to attack the poor, unsuspecting man.

“Watch out,” she started to yell, just as Clark leaped into the air.

The man spun around and caught all ninety pounds of the dog midflight, stumbling back from the force of the catch. He remained standing, barely, as his arms appeared to be wrestling with Clark, probably trying to dislodge the animal.

Abby glanced behind her, hoping Harper wasn’t about to witness a bloody mauling. But instead of shutting down in fear as she usually did, the girl sprinted past on chubby legs and yelled, “No, Clark! Get down! Down, boy!”

Abby caught up to her sister, and both of them slowed down when the man finally succumbed to the dog’s weight and dropped to his knees. But he didn’t let go, or otherwise attempt to shove the dog away from him.

In fact, Clark’s tail wagged nonstop and he made a whimpering sound as he licked the man’s face earnestly. The ball cap the guy had been wearing flew off and Abby saw the dark buzz cut underneath. That was also when she saw the blindingly white smile.

Wait.

Their dog wasn’t attacking this stranger. He was greeting him.

Like a long-lost friend.

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Christy Jeffries

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