Perils of a Papillon (Fuzzy Love #3) - Tara Lain Page 0,1

hand and wrapped the leash in his right an extra time around. He might lose his fingers, but at least Harry wouldn’t get loose and take out the neighborhood. His sister Molly was distracted by a shop window. Toby said, “Yes, Mrs. Hamilton, I’d be delighted.” Whew, he couldn’t catch his breath.

“Wonderful, Toby. Only our most promising faculty members are invited, and it will give you an excellent opportunity to spend time with the state and county administrators.”

“Thank you, ma’am.”

“Please call me Emily.”

“Thank you, Emily.”

“Woof!” Harry saw the vet clinic ahead and started pulling to get to it. Harry loved the vet. “Woof, woof!”

“What’s that?”

“My dog. Sorry. I’m on my way to the vet.” Molly finally turned around, and he waggled the leash at her. She grabbed it, but clearly Harry wanted to get going and tiny Molly couldn’t hold him, so Toby maintained his grip. At least Molly took a little of the strain off.

Emily said, “I hope there’s nothing wrong with your puppy.”

He wanted to laugh. Harry might have been called a puppy fifty-five pounds ago. “No, he’s fine. My sister and I are just on our way to a pet fair at the vet’s office.”

“How lovely. Now about the party next Saturday, feel free to bring your plus one, Toby. A significant other is always a happy addition to our gatherings. You know how we love marriage.” She chortled. Definitely a chortle. “I know I speak for a number of members of the staff when I say we can’t wait to meet your boyfriend.”

“Uh, thank you, uh, Emily. I’ll see if, uh, that’s possible.”

“Well, I certainly hope so. See you Monday at school. If you have any questions on directions or any other details, just call my admin, Tiffany, okay? Bye bye.”


Toby clicked off and stared at his phone. Whew.

Molly asked with wide eyes, “Was that your boss?”

He nodded.

“On a Saturday? Was it bad news?” Bad news for him was bad news for both of them, since they lived together and shared everything.

“No. Not exactly.”

“Toby, what does that even mean?”

He looked at her, so like him—wide blue eyes, slight in stature, and fair hair, although his was blonder. “I was invited to the party at Emily Hamilton’s house next Saturday.”

“But that’s good, right? Doesn’t it mean you’re probably being considered for the full-time position?”

He nodded.

“So?” She spread her hands in exasperation, which released her hold on Harry and the big pit bull lurched forward, pulling Toby toward the vet clinic.

He let the momentum carry him because he didn’t quite want to spill the whole story to Molly yet. “We better get in there, or we’re going to be too late and they’ll close the place.”

Molly jogged to catch up. “But what’s bad? I don’t get the bad?”

“It’s not bad. Like I said, I’m invited, so it’s good.” Which would have been true, if only.

Harry literally dragged him to the door of the clinic where another pet owner was walking in with a fuzzy dog of some kind.

Harry woofed, and the woman grabbed up her dog in protection. At eighty pounds, Harry tipped the scale at the very top of the pit bull range and had the massive head and jaws so characteristic of the breed, so he did look vicious. In truth, he was only viciously enthusiastic and violently friendly. Toby shortened up his leash and brought Harry to heel. “Good boy.”

Inside, what was usually the waiting room of the clinic was packed with pet owners and their dogs. At the front, a table was set up and three people including Dr. Emerson Fairweather, the owner and principal vet of the clinic, were seated, chatting and looking over notes.

Weirdly, few of the dogs were barking. Maybe they’d all gotten it out of their systems. Unfortunately, sitting like the princess she was on Emerson Fairweather’s lap was Champion Rosewell’s Marisol of Treadwell, aka Batshit, the intrepid Papillon Em’s husband had found on the street one wild night. The reason this was unfortunate was that Batshit was the love of Harry’s life.

“Woof!” Harry greeted his paramour.

“Woof, woof, woof.” Bat’s piercing tenor greeted him.

Molly’s gasp behind him signaled her grabbing Harry’s leash, but with Batshit in view, Toby and Molly together weren’t up to the task. Harry lunged forward, pulling them both off-balance. Bat leaped off Em’s lap before he could grab her, and the two dogs met in a cacophony of barking and licking at the front of the room.

Em stood and said, “Bat, quiet! Come.”

Like the perfectly trained