A companion novella to Groomed for Murder Going to the Dogs, #2. Your reading enjoyment would be enhanced if you’ve already read Groomed for Murder.
Brooke and Drew are getting married and Brooke is happy juggling all her responsibilities with her wonderful fiancé, Drew and her playful Bulldog, Boxer. She’s in her element running both Pawlish, her doggie grooming spa and Bone Appétit, her dog treat franchise.
But, even though Drew hasn’t been demanding, he’s unhappy. Whenever he brings up slowing down, she reassures him she can handle everything. But the reality is that she isn’t and their relationship is suffering. It isn’t until the honeymoon that things come to a head. Brooke is spending more time putting out fires with her businesses than she is quenching her new husband’s fire.
Will her need to handle everything cause her to lose…the only thing that matters?
Andrew “Drew” Hudson looked at his watch
For the umpteenth time.
Brooke was late.
The waiter came over to his table. It was bad form to hold a table in this posh restaurant. The glares from people standing at the bar were potent.
He gave the waiter an apologetic look and a wan smile. “She’s running late. She should be here any moment.”
“Yes, sir,” the waiter responded, giving him a look full of pity. Sitting back in his chair, his throat suddenly constricted, Drew loosened his tie and the first button of his dress shirt. He was aware Brooke worked hard. Brooke always worked hard. But with the addition of Bone Appétit it seemed that she was gone more than she was home. This was supposed to have been an impromptu dinner, one she’d initiated since he was going out of town the next day for business and the rest of the week was going to be hectic with their wedding coming up on Saturday.
He didn’t want to act like a girl about this, but truth be told he was feeling neglected. Had been for some time, but every time he tried to bring up the subject with Brooke, she would dismiss it. Tell him that she was handling everything and he needn’t worry.
But the bottom line was that she wasn’t handling everything.
Their wedding was four days away.
He understood that took up a lot of time. Hell, he’d even pitched in to help as much as he could. They had overcome so much in their relationship, and he needed to think carefully and make sure he wasn’t being…selfish.
“Drew? What is such a handsome man doing sitting here all alone?”
Drew snapped out of his thoughts at the sound of Jessica Farland’s voice. He looked up. She smiled at him the way a woman smiles when she wants a man, no matter what the circumstances. He worked with her at JMW Associates and, in fact, she would be on this business trip with him.
“Hi, Jessica. I’m waiting for my fiancée.”
“If I had a man like you in my life, I’d never make you wait,” she purred.
He smiled to avoid rolling his eyes. Okay, he was a man, and he was feeling ignored, so that comment made him feel good. Then he immediately felt guilty and shifted in his seat. People were still glaring and the waiter gave him periodic you-ready-yet? looks.
“She should be here any minute, but thanks for stopping by and saying hi.”
Jessica looked momentarily surprised, as if she’d expected him to offer her a chair, but her overt come-ons actually annoyed him more than anything else. He’d be the first to acknowledge that she was gorgeous, with her long, auburn hair, thickly fringed green eyes, and tall, willowy form. But he loved Brooke’s curves, her full hips, he loved running his fingers through her long, dark hair, and his heart clutched at the way she wore all her feelings on her face and in her eyes. He didn’t simply appreciate her beauty. Her beauty took his breath away.
Jessica just stared at him as if she had heard wrong. His cell phone rang. He pulled it out of his breast pocket, knowing it was Brooke because of the Who Let the Dogs Out ring tone.
“There she is now,” he said, dismissing Jessica again.
She huffed under her breath and marched away from the table.
With a spurt of annoyance, he answered, “Where are you? I’ve been sitting here for fifteen minutes. The people at the bar look like they’re looking for a rope to lynch me.”
“Drew…,” was all she said, then she sobbed.
“Brooke! What’s wrong? What happened?”