Authors: Jessica Wilde
Copyright © 2013 Jessica Wilde
All rights reserved, including
the right to reproduce, distribute, or transmit in any form or by any means
without written consent from the author.
This book is a work of fiction.
Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author's
imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events,
locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.
Cover design by: Terry Wilde and
Jessica F. Wilde
loves of my life.
I woke to the sound of feet
shuffling along the carpet of my room and a small voice saying
"Mommy?". I smiled but kept my eyes shut. This was one of my favorite
types of days. When my little girl, Olivia, would come in to wake me up. How
she got out of her crib, I have no idea. She was just over 15 months old, but
apparently, very coordinated.
The little pitter patter of tiny
feet and the
of her diaper came closer. I could hear Monty,
our dog, panting behind her. He followed her everywhere, slept in her room, and
was my best friend. I had a good life. A good family. I didn't about 2 years
ago, but I do now. That's what matters.
My head was almost hanging off
the bed, a habit for some reason to sleep as far to the edge of the bed as
possible. Maybe I developed that habit with Dave, trying to stay as far away as
I could. Unfortunately for my neck, I hadn't been able to change it, yet.
Olivia was right in front of me
and her little breaths warmed my cheek. Suddenly, I felt her tiny finger on my
eye and she lifted my eyelid.
sweetie," I said with a big smile on my face. I reached out, yanked her
onto the bed, and started tickling her. Her giggles were the most incredible
sound in the world and made me grateful to be alive. Her dark curls hung in her
face and bounced around as she laughed and wriggled. She had chubby cheeks,
dark eyebrows, and the sweetest little pink lips that could melt your heart
when curled into a smile. Her eyes were gray with flecks of brown and green and
blue. I have brown eyes and so did her father. How she got the beautiful eyes
she did, I have no idea, but I wasn't complaining. She had 3 big teeth on top
and 2 tiny ones on the bottom and the cheesiest smile.
She was perfect.
Monty jumped up onto the foot of
the bed and curled into a ball. He was my nearly 3 year old husky wolf hybrid.
He was big enough for me at no more than 60 pounds, with black, white, and
brown fur that gave him very distinct markings. I bought him when I was going
through the heart ache of the worst fight of my life. He brought me comfort and
never left my side. I had trained him well and he was smarter than the average
"Good morning, boy. Did you
sleep well?" I asked.
He lifted his head, perked his
pointy ears, and looked at me with a smirk.
"Okay, okay, I won't bug you
this morning. But it wasn't
choice for you to sleep on the floor in
her room. You are always welcome to come stay on the bed. You know that."
He let out a "humph"
and curled his head into his legs as if saying
'yeah, well I do it for
I never understood how I got the dog that was actually a human with four legs,
big ears and covered in fur. I wasn't complaining. He was a good dog and always
I laughed at myself a little and
Olivia crawled over to me and kissed my cheek.
"Good morning to you too, my
love," I whispered. She was speaking so well and would have conversations
with herself all the time. The majority of it was gibberish, but you would
occasionally catch clear words here and there such as kitty, meow, Monty,
Mommy, sit, and ball to name just a few. They would kind of string together,
but it was beautiful.
"Did you sleep well,
"Mommy seep?" she
"Yes, Mommy was asleep, but
that's okay." I looked at the alarm clock on my tiny night stand, 8:04AM
blinked at me in bright neon green. I was still exhausted from the move and my
muscles ached from all the lifting I had done."It's time to get up and
have breakfast, huh?"
She raised her tiny eyebrows and
opened her mouth in fascination while gasping, "Eat?"
"Yes, baby girl. Eat. Come
on, let's go." I kissed her chubby cheek and climbed out of bed. Monty
jumped off the bed and followed as I carried Olivia down the stairs on my hip.
She was still small, but heavy enough to leave me winded by the time we got
down the stairs. I sat her in her high chair and opened the windows. May was
nearly over and the cool spring air gave me the energy I needed to start the
day. I started rummaging through the many boxes of food I still hadn't been
able to unpack. The fridge consisted of milk, string cheese, a few cups of
yogurt, butter, and jam.
"Looks like Mommy needs to
get some groceries."
Monty had already taken his
position next to Olivia's high chair, ready for anything she dropped for him.
"Looks like it will be yogurt, toast, and oatmeal, my love."
Olivia giggled and smacked her
hands on her tray. I set some bread in my ancient toaster and pushed the lever
down. It took several tries for it to stick and engage the heat coils.
of crap toaster.
Everything else was falling apart, why not the toaster?
I shook my head and willed myself
to be positive. Positive. I had my sweet little girl. That was a big positive.
My smart, partially human wolf dog. Another positive. My nice little home that
was going to keep us safe and warm. My dinky little Honda with 175 thousand
miles on it, but was still going strong, even after the long trip to Banks,
Oregon. And my health… well, at least for now. All positives. Right?
Yes. All of them.
I set an open yogurt on Olivia's
tray with one of her small plastic spoons. She would use it for a little bit
and then end up shoving her hand in the cup and scooping the yogurt out that
way. It was messy, but effective, and I loved watching her do it. She was
learning so much so fast and she wanted to do it all on her own.
The toast popped up and made me
Olivia giggled, "Mommy
"Yes, Mommy is feeling
awfully silly today," I said as I applied the butter and jam on her toast.
"How's that yogurt?"
I smiled and broke small pieces
off the toast and set them on her tray. I pulled out a packet of instant
oatmeal and poured it into a bowl. "Oatmeal?" I asked her, holding up
She just smiled and giggled like
I was absolutely hilarious.
I know that some people didn't
really believe me, but Olivia was smarter than the average kid. She had
understood me well for months and had been speaking for just as long. She was a
handful and I loved every bit of her.
After she had eaten her breakfast
and I had her cleaned up, she started throwing the ball for Monty. He wasn't a
big fan of the game of fetch and would give up after two throws, but he humored
her for a minute. I started to unpack a few food boxes, but stopped when Olivia
came running into the kitchen laughing with Monty hot on her heels. She ran
into my arms giggling and saying 'Monnee'.
"Oh my goodness, is Monty
chasing you? Not good. Let's get him."
I put her down and she took off
after him. He slipped over the floor a few times before getting his footing and
started running away. This only made her giggle more. I chased both of them up
the stairs. Olivia was moving as fast as she could, but was laughing so hard
she kept slipping. When we got to the top, Monty was waiting for us and wagging
his tail with his butt in the air and his head low to the ground. Yes, this was
all positive. And all I needed.
I woke with a start. There was
barking and giggling and pounding that felt like it was all around me. I looked
over at the clock, 8:30 AM.
I covered my head with my pillow
and groaned. I had worked all night and didn't get to bed until 7:30 this
morning. I was exhausted and angry. Last night had been one hell of a night. I
was running security at one of the clubs and couldn't count the number of
fights I had to break up. People these days were absolutely ridiculous. If you
don't want some other guy looking at your girl, keep her at home, and don't let
her dress in something that closely resembles a skimpy swimming suit. I wouldn't
have gotten home so late - or early I guess - if Megan hadn't showed up. She
figured out where I was working and decided to bring her crazy with her.
Why I was with her for as long as
I was, I'll never know. I keep chalking it up to being horny and just not
having the time to find anyone else, but I know that isn't true. I was tired of
being alone all the time and she was an easy distraction. That all ended a long
time ago and even though I was still lonely, I was glad I didn't have to spend
time with her anymore. She was an awful human being. I was very clear about not
wanting to see her anymore, but like I said, she's crazy. Or deaf.
I attracted all the crazies,
though, so I was used to it. Doesn't mean I liked it at all. Just dealt with it
until I found someone worth spending time with, which wasn't too often lately.
More barking, more pounding, more
I flung the covers off of me and
flew out of bed. I knew there was someone moving in to the townhouse connected
to mine, but I was told that it wouldn't be someone who would disturb the peace
of this quiet little subdivision. Apparently, peace has several different
I hadn't seen anyone around
lately and hadn't heard anything on the other side of my wall until now, so I
had no idea what exactly was waiting for me over there, but something in my
head said it wouldn't be who I expected.
I yanked my shorts on and a
t-shirt and stomped down the hall and down the stairs with a tight frown on my
face. I stopped at my front door and took a few deep breaths.
"Okay, Andrew. No need to
get too upset. They probably don't realize that you were up all night trying to
save your job because your psycho ex-girlfriend decided to take the opportunity
to describe how worthless you are yet still try to convince you that she needs
you." Another deep breath. "These people don't realize that you are
trying to sleep that off. So calm down."
I felt better by the time I
opened my door and walked the 20 feet to the front door of my new neighbor. The
screen was shut, but the main door was wide open and I could tell that no
progress had been made on the 'moving in'.
I knocked on the flimsy screen
door a couple times and waited. The pounding sounded again, but was getting
closer. That's when I saw the wolf bounding toward the door. I took a step
back, but caught my breath when he came closer. He was a pretty cool looking
dog. Black covered most of his body, but his face and legs had white and brown
markings. His chest was marked with white fur that shaped into a cross or
dagger and disappeared under his belly.
"Hey there… dog." God,
that sounded pathetic.
The dog sat down by the door and
started howling? Singing? I wasn't sure, but it really sounded like he was
speaking real words in a high pitched voice.
I whipped my head up and saw her.
She snapped her fingers and the dog - who apparently was named Monty - laid
down at her feet when she approached the door. She was holding a little girl
with dark brown curly hair on her hip and was breathing heavily as if she had
just run a mile.
"Can I help you?" she
asked. Her voice was hoarse and tired.
She was beautiful. Long brown
hair hung just below her shoulders and her dark brown eyes, framed by long
black lashes, focused on me like she was watching for any sudden movements. She
had a slight flush to her skin and I could tell that she was probably part of
the pounding around I had heard. She was slender and a little on the short side
at no more than 5'4", but had curves that my hands suddenly itched to