A FIRE FLICKERED IN the stone hearth of Rhiann’s living room. Seated comfortably on the corner of the couch, Rhiann’s legs rested on the footrest of the recliner, creating a comfortable nest for Jax as the dog snuggled on her lap. Rae rested at Trisha’s feet as she sat on Gram’s rocking chair to Rhiann’s right.
“You’ve really fixed this place up nicely,” Trisha commented.
Rhiann smiled. “Thanks. Those coats of paint and my grandma’s furniture certainly spruced things up. I’m feeling more comfortable here every day.” She noticed Trish looking intently at her. “What?”
“You and Levi Butler ... the sparks were really flying today.”
Rhiann laughed. “Oh, yes, there have been sparks.”
“So, you ARE attracted to him.”
“What? No. Whatever gave you that idea? I meant we’ve exchanged some harsh words since I got to town.”
“Words or no words, there is definitely chemistry between the two of you.”
“Will you stop? I don’t have time for chemistry, romance, or whatever. Besides, we have a thousand acres of land dividing us. That may not be resolved anytime soon.”
“Maybe it will. He’s talking about a mascot for the ambulance department.”
Rhiann shook her head. “There will be no dog hostage-taking under my watch. Speaking of dogs, I think Rae has taken a shine to you.”
She nodded toward the beagle lying at Trisha’s feet.
“Yes, I do believe Rae likes me,” her friend said, raising a glass of red wine to her lips.
“I do believe you’re right,” Rhiann replied, then raised her own wine glass half-filled with the same fragrant red liquor. “You should adopt her.”
“What? I thought she was your dog. And, by the way, should you really be drinking wine already?”
“I’m having just this half-glass. I deserve it after these past several days.”
Trisha inclined her stemware toward Rhiann in salute. “That you do.”
“Rae is mine by matter of circumstance,” Rhiann responded to her friend’s previous question. “Dogs choose their owners. I think she might be choosing you.”
“You really think so?” Trisha asked, continuing to look at the beagle lying atop her feet. “I enjoyed having her at the house, both of them really.”
“You cannot have Jax,” Rhiann stated. “I’ll battle to the death over this one.”
She patted the small dog’s head. The Shih Tzu looked up, sighed, stood, and stretched. He then curled back into a ball to nap.
“Well, let’s think about it for a bit. I just may make a space in my home for this senior girl,” Trisha said. Rhiann observed her friend lean down and stroke the beagle’s head. “You’re a good girl, aren’t you, Rae?”
Rhiann saw the beagle raise her head in a request for more scratches, to which Trisha responded. Rhiann smiled at the scene.
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