Page 4 of Puppy Madness

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I lie on the couch, on my back, and then sleep takes me.

This is something else I took from overseas, the ability to lie down and sleep anywhere and wake just as quickly.

It’s for the best, anyway.

It means Shelby won’t wake in a panic when he finds me gone.

“Oh, sorry.”

My eyes snap open.

I sit up and gaze instinctively, going to the makeshift dog bed. When I see Shelby sitting, trembling, staring over the couch at a figure above me, I turn and find the owner of the voice.

I stare, as my world pulses, as my ideas about never feeling deeply about a woman melt away.

Whoever she is, she’s got my heart thudding. She’s making me want to stand, walk over, and take her in my arms as though it’s the most natural thing in the world.

I wonder if Elizabeth had more than one friend over last night.

This woman isn’t Danni. She can’t be.

I remember a girl with braces on her teeth, always staring at the floor, her cheeks red. Shy in the extreme, but it never mattered to me much since I only ever said a friendly hello and then went on with my business.

But this woman….

Her hair is brown and wild in a cute way as it falls to her shoulders. She looks at me with wide eyes, her cheeks a little red, but it’s more like vivaciousness than nerves. She’s wearing a pink T-shirt, hugging close to her body, letting me drink in the sight of her full and curvy tits.

As I stand, I take in the rest of her. Her thick thighs, bare in her shorts, threatened to send me leaping to my feet.

I’d kiss her slightly parted lips, my hands magnetizing to her juicy legs, massaging as she moans through the kiss, as her hands claw over my back….

“I didn’t mean to wake you,” she says. “I think I must still be jet-lagged. I could’ve sworn this was the way to the bathroom.”

“I wake easily. Don’t worry about it.” I reach over to the bed and pick Shelby up, placing him next to me. “This is Shelby, by the way. Are you one of Elizabeth’s friends?”

It would be wrong to feel this way about any of my daughter’s friends.

But it would be a nuclear bomb of wrongness if this woman were Danni. Her best friend, the one who’s been there for her ever since she was little.

I can see some similarities, but I’m hoping she’s somebody else. Maybe a friend of a friend, somebody Elizabeth isn’t close with at all.

Then I can act on this hunger, this need I never dreamed I’d feel.

Her expression drops as though all the happiness has drained from her. It makes me want to wrap her in my arms and softly kiss the top of her head.

It makes me want to push away the animalistic parts she provokes in me, just for a little bit, and hold her gently.

“I’ll never hurt you,” I’d whisper, even as my voice gets husky with desire. “You never have to be sad, not with me. Or, if you are sad, if it can’t be helped, I’ll be there to make it better. Or to just sit in the sadness with you.”

The thought hits me hard.

It’s so unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before, this primal compulsion to be both savage and loving, to cradle her gently and then take her like the beast she’s making me.

“I’m Danni,” she says after a pause. “Didn’t Lizzy tell you I was staying?”


Shelby hops down from the couch, walking around it and sniffing around Danni’s feet. She kneels down, talking gently to him, giving me a chance to think about how I will handle this.

I can’t do what I want.

I can’t grab her, kiss her, tell her she’s going to be mine.

Mine alone.




The dog’s ear and short legs make my chest tight, not that it’s difficult. My whole body was taut the second I wandered in here to find Dominic on the couch, his silver hair messy from sleep, his eyes alert instantly.

I shouldn’t be surprised he looked pissed that I woke him.

Or that he doesn’t recognize me.

Even if I spent a lot of time with Lizzy growing up, it’s not like I was her only friend. And it’s not like Dominic, and I spoke often. Or ever, really, beyond being friendly.

“What’s his name?” I ask, keeping my eyes fixed on the dog.

Then I remember. He’s already told me. It’s hard to think properly with Dominic around.


“That’s right,” Dominic says, standing over me so close I’m sure I can smell his manly musk.

It provokes absurd feelings in me, as though his body is silently screaming at mine to do something about it. About this, the thing between us.

But there isn’t a thing, not as far as he knows.

“One of my employees named him after her cat, who recently passed.”