CHAPTER ONE- For Sale
Tires screeched. Bam!
Millie jerked her head up while retying Annie’s kerchief to see two cars collide in the street right in front of her. At the same time, Luke barked and wrenched his leash out of her hand, tucking his tail between his legs and taking off in a full-out run.
Millie knew the combination of loud noises and Luke was a recipe for disaster. Why didn’t I have a better grip on his leash? She bit her lip and took off chasing him while tugging Annie behind her. She thought she should be able to grab him; he couldn’t go fast dragging his leash. Besides, any other scenario was unimaginable.
“Luke, stop! Come back here!” Millie screamed. With her heart pounding, she flew after him, praying he’d be okay. What if she couldn’t catch him?
She ran on, gripping Annie’s leash as tightly as she could in her sweaty hands, her laser-like focus on Luke making her clumsy. She tripped headfirst, managing somehow to hold onto Annie’s leash when her hands hit the rough cobblestones. Crap—of all the days to be wearing wedges. Getting up hastily and not taking any time to even check herself for scrapes, she whirled around and realized she couldn’t see Luke anywhere. She couldn’t believe it.
Outside the front door of Frannie’s Flowers were two humongous clay pots filled with tall boxwoods totally blocking Millie’s line of sight. Did Luke whiz past there and past the next store, Julie’s Jewels? What if he tried to cross the street? The park sometimes had squirrels chasing each other up and down the trees. He loved to try to catch them.
Suddenly, Millie saw a flash of his tail, and off she went in hot pursuit, trying desperately not to trip or fall again.
Several pedestrians were in Luke’s path. “Help! Stop my dog—please!” she yelled.
One older man lunged for Luke’s leash, almost falling in the process, and he would have if the person walking beside him hadn’t held out his hand to steady him. Luke zigzagged around them and kept on going.
Quite unexpectedly, a thought popped into her head: Is it possible Luke is heading in a familiar direction? Praying she was correct, she chased him as he headed down the narrow brick path to the old farmhouse where Christopher’s Ice Cream and Cookie Shoppe was located. She almost laughed. Here she was, frightened to death he might get killed, and he seemed to be thinking about one of his favorite foods—yogurt.
The old white clapboard house, now the ice cream shop, was finally in sight. Sure enough, Luke was sitting on the walkway leading up to the old, faded red front door. Millie slid to an abrupt standstill. He was a glorious sight, sitting there with his sable fur glistening in the sun. Most importantly, he was in one piece. Thank goodness for that.
Rushing up to him, she plopped down and flung her arms around him, at the same time making sure to hold onto Annie’s leash. She buried her head in his soft, sweet-smelling, downy fur and erupted into deep, gut-wrenching sobs while every part of her shook.