I am NOT a romance writer but a few months ago this story came to me. The one magazine I subbed it to did not pick it up, so I’m sharing it with you on a lark. Enjoy!
Eve strode along the rocky path. Engrossed in her thoughts, she barely noticed the sunlight sparkling on the surface of Lake Sacajawea to her right.
“What a jerk!” she muttered to herself, stomping along.
She’d done everything for Cole – and for Barnaby. Taken Barnaby to the vet, walked him when Cole worked late, even bathed him when Cole was on a business trip. Business trip – bah! Another way of saying “visiting his other girlfriend”. When she found out, she’d held back her tears until she left Cole’s apartment – for Barnaby sake.
Barnaby was a very sensitive boxer. Her crying would have stressed him out too much. Maybe Cole knew that, and that’s why he told her the truth in front of Barnaby. But it didn’t matter now. Cole was history, and Barnaby was lost to her. His short, smooth hair. His lolling tongue. The way he tripped over his own feet when he chased the ball. Gone from Eve’s life.
She followed a sharp corner in the trail, considering the idea of getting a dog for herself. Columbia Rescue was having a “meet and greet” at Pets R Us later that day.
She stopped just short of running into the back of a tall man holding a leash with a big shaggy black dog at the end of it. The dog had just finished “doing his business” beside the path. The man started walking away.
“Hey,” Eve said.
He turned to look at her. “Is this…?” He started. Bright blue eyes gazed at her through dark-rimmed glasses.
Clark Kent. She almost said it out loud, but instead she said, “Aren’t you going to clean up after your dog?”
“It’s not my—”
“Responsibility?” Eve scoffed. “Whose do you think it is–“ Calm down, Eve, she told herself. “It’s our responsibility to—”
“That’s not…,” Superman interrupted. The dog pulled on the leash. “Sorry. Gotta go.” He smiled. Eve saw a flash of white teeth as he turned away.
“Hey!” She repeated. Just because he was perfect-looking didn’t mean he could do whatever he wanted.
Clark Kent kept walking, pulling the dog – not even calling it by name. Some pet parent. Poor dog, Eve thought.
She kicked some leaves and dirt over the offending pile before continuing.
That afternoon, Eve headed to Pets R Us, wondering if she’d find love at first sight.
The parking lot was crammed. I hope it’s worth braving these crowds, she thought. Maybe I’ll find a Barnaby of my very own. She made her way past people with writhing puppies waiting for obedience training. Someone said, “Rufus is my baby.” Eve almost laughed out loud when she saw that Rufus was a white rat on the shoulder of a sweet little granny-looking woman. To each her own, she thought.
At the back of the store she knelt in front of a cage of wiggly retriever-mix puppies. Not boxers, but still very cute.
“Fill out the application, and we’ll take it from there.”
Eve turned to see who was speaking. A tall man with wavy dark hair was talking to an attractive blond woman standing right behind her holding a kitten. Superman. He held a black lab puppy close to his chest. The blond walked away with the clipboard he handed her. Then he turned, and Eve locked on the blue eyes again. Her stomach did a flip. A flicker of recognition passed across his eyes, then a slow smile.
Eve stood up. “What’s so funny? You think pet care and proper sanitation are a joke?”
Superman put up his free hand. “If you’ll give me a chance…”
Eve looked up at the chiseled features, feeling contrite. Then she noticed a nametag hanging around his neck. “Kyle Gordon – Pet Rescue Volunteer”.
“This morning,” he continued, “I was walking in the park and came across that dog. Tags, leash, but no owner in sight. I wasn’t walking my dog, so I didn’t have bags with me. I didn’t stick around to explain because I wanted to look for its owner right away. I figured they were close by.” He grinned boyishly. “That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it.”
She felt the heat rush into her face and wondered if she looked as foolish as she felt for jumping to conclusions.
“It’s been a rough week. I’m sorry.” She turned to walk away.
“Apology accepted. I’d be happy to hear about it.”
“About your rough week. How about over coffee?” He looked at his watch. “In about 20 minutes? Kyle Gordon.” He stuck out his hand. “Oh, and this is George.”
“Yes,” she said, gazing into those striking blue eyes. “Eve Marsden. Coffee sounds great.” She smiled and stroked the puppy’s silky fur. “And hi, George.”