Man's Best Friend

Cyndi Day

Catherine still could not figure out how Joe had pulled this one over on her. She, the sophisticated socialite, dog-sitting for a brute of a dog that was now pulling her through the tunnels below!

Who was she kidding? She knew exactly what had happened. Joe had told her that if the dog went into the shelter, he would likely never come out. One look in those big, soft brown eyes and she was a goner (the dog's eyes, not Joe's)! Joe had promised it would just be for a few hours. He had an emergency meeting tonight, but he promised he would pick the dog up at 10:00. Then Joe would take him to his uncle's farm upstate to live out his life chasing rabbits.

But after he left, he had called to say he wouldn't be able to pick up the animal until the morning. And since she was expected Below....

Right now she had to slow this beast down. Brutus - the name suited him well - was a retired bloodhound and was now enthusiastically searching the tunnels and dragging Catherine along for the ride. What, she thought, would Father say when the pair came barrelling into his chamber for the council meeting?!

Vincent was sitting with Father preparing for their council meeting when he sensed Catherine's arrival in the outer tunnels. Through the bond he could sense she was anxious, and he could feel her anxiety growing.

"Catherine!"

Before Father could say a word, Vincent grabbed his cloak and was off and running to meet his love.

She was almost there, just one more turn....

All of a sudden Catherine slammed right into Vincent's arms as he turned the corner in a rush to her aid. The dog then ran circles around them, wrapping his leash around their legs!

"Oh!" she cried out and immediately flushed with embarrassment. "I'm so sorry!"

Of all the things to happen! She was pinned to him, her palms against his chest. She had to lean her head back in order to look up and see his face. Oh, what a handsome face it was, too! Dangerously handsome. A face that at the moment was grinning down at her.

"Good dog!"

She could feel the vibration of his voice under her fingertips. A shock ran through her, like the shock you got when you walk across a carpet in winter and then touch the doorknob. Snap!

"Stop laughing. This is not funny!" she cried.

"Oh, but it is, Catherine! This is the nicest thing to happen to me all day," he murmured in reply.

Her fingers tingled as again she felt the vibration of his laughter under her fingers. Suddenly she realized the advantages of being so intimately bound to the man she loved. Catherine looked down at the dog, now calmly lying at their feet and, echoing her love's sentiment, smiled and said, "Good dog!"