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The Lieutenant's Lost and Found Family

Written by Christy Jeffries

Chapter Six

Look.” Nolan held up his palms. “Nobody is trying to steal anything. Maybe we could just go somewhere a little less public and work out this whole misunderstanding?”

There was no way Abby was going anywhere less public with some guy she’d never met before today. Especially one whose low, sexy voice made her tummy melt into a puddle every time he spoke. However, Harper was already painfully shy as it was and having all the townspeople—along with their costumed pets—staring at them would only undermine her sister’s social progress.

“Hey, hon.” Abby knelt beside the girl she’d vowed to always protect. “I hear they’re selling dog-shaped cookies at the Sugar Falls Cookie Company today. There’s a decorating station and everything.”

Harper leaned into Abby’s side and the child’s apprehensive eyes peeked over Abby’s head toward Nolan, before she whispered, “Can we buy a cookie for Clark, too?”

“Of course we can.” Abby stood up and Nolan cleared his throat, a bit dramatically in her opinion.

“Thor probably shouldn’t have—” he started.

“Too much sugar?” Abby interrupted, eager to prove that she had a handle on her own pet’s dietary needs. “Yeah, we learned that not so pleasant lesson the first week we had him. But the cookie shop also carries specialty dog treats.”

She ignored the heat crawling up her neck at the assessing look he gave her. “Fine. Why don’t I buy you a cookie and we can go from there?”

Go where? she wanted to ask. There was no way a few cookies and a ruggedly handsome face were going to sway Abby into letting go of their dog. She would simply have to stand her ground and remind Lieutenant Murphy of that elementary school adage—Finders Keepers.

It wasn’t until she saw the small crowd inside the bakery that Abby realized this might not have been the best idea. Apparently, everyone else who’d taken part in the pet parade had the same idea, and Harper didn’t do well in confined areas with lots of people, even with the dog to distract her.

Esquire, Sam Sugarbaker’s chow chow, also didn’t appear to do well in confined areas and was barking at everyone else in line. Abby felt her young sister startle behind her.

“I don’t like it here,” Harper said shakily, peeling herself away from Abby’s backside and using the dog’s leash to guide him toward the door. Abby pulled a twenty-dollar bill out of the front pocket of her jeans and handed it to Nolan. “Why don’t you order the chocolate chip dalmatian cookies for us and I’ll wait outside with Harper and Clark?”

Instead of taking the money from her, though, Nolan’s fingers wrapped around her hand, pressing the bill back into her fist and sending a current of electricity racing through her. “How do I know that you won’t run off with my dog?”

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Christy Jeffries

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