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Authors: Mark Mills

Waiting for Doggo

BOOK: Waiting for Doggo
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Copyright © 2014 Mark Mills


The right of Mark Mills to be identified as the Author of the Work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.


Apart from any use permitted under UK copyright law, this publication may only be reproduced, stored, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means, with prior permission in writing of the publishers or, in the case of reprographic production, in accordance with the terms of licences issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency.


First published in Great Britain as an Ebook by Headline Publishing Group in 2014


All characters in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.


Cataloguing in Publication Data is available from the British Library


eISBN: 978 1 4722 1836 0



An Hachette UK Company

338 Euston Road

London NW1 3BH



Title Page

Copyright Page


About Mark B. Mills

Also by Mark B. Mills

Praise for Mark B. Mills




Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Seven


No-one ever called Dan a pushover. But then no-one ever called him fast-track either. He likes driving slowly, playing Sudoku on his iPhone, swapping one scruffy jumper for another. He’s been with Clara for four years and he’s been perfectly happy; but now she’s left him, leaving nothing but a long letter filled with incriminations and a small, white, almost hairless dog, named Doggo. So now Dan is single, a man without any kind of partner whether in work or love. He’s just one reluctant dog owner. Find a new home for the hound, that’s the plan; but first, he has to come to the office, just for a day …


Come on, everyone knows the old adage about the best laid plans and besides, Doggo is one special kind of a four-legged friend … and an inspiration.


Enchanting, witty and deliciously romantic, WAITING FOR DOGGO is an endearing fable of love, family and friendships sure to appeal to readers of MARLEY AND ME and ONE DAY, and fans of IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE.

About Mark B. Mills

Mark B. Mills has lived in both Italy and France, and has written for the screen. Under the name Mark Mills, his debut novel, THE WHALEBOAT HOUSE, won the 2004 CWA award for Best Novel by a debut author. His second, THE SAVAGE GARDEN, was a Richard and Judy Summer Read and a No. 1 bestseller. His most recent novel, THE LONG SHADOW, was published in 2013 to critical acclaim. He lives near Oxford with his wife and two children.

Also by Mark B. Mills

The Whaleboat House

The Savage Garden

The Information Officer

House Of The Hanged

The Long Shadow


Waiting For Doggo

Praise for Mark B. Mills

‘I wolfed it down … please say there’s a sequel’ Jill Mansell


‘A sweet, funny tale of love and friendship’


‘A wonderful, life-affirming, classic-in-waiting’ Sophie Hannah


‘Clever, original, subtle and stylish’


‘A master storyteller’ Val McDermid

For Benny

Sing like no one’s listening, love like you’ve never been hurt, dance like nobody’s watching, and live like it’s heaven on earth.

Mark Twain (1875)

Chapter One


God, that sounds so formal. I don’t mean it like that, or maybe I do. As with a lot of things, I’m not sure any more/anymore (which one is it? I know you’d know). Shit, I’d start this letter again, but I’ve done that three times already and I’m late for my flight.

I’m going away, a long way away. I can’t tell you where. Part of me wants to but there’s no point because I don’t know how long I’ll be there. Anyway, it’s better like this. That’s crap, of course. What I mean is it’s better for me like this, not for you, although I know you’ll cope because you’re strong and sensible and slightly cold-hearted.

We’ll talk properly soon, when I’m feeling up to it, which I’m not right now, obviously, or I wouldn’t be running away to Austral— Oops! (Joke. You see, I haven’t lost my sense of humour like you told me the other night.) Okay, not funny under the circumstances. I can see you standing at the table reading this. I’m sorry, my dear darling Daniel. I’m a coward. At least I’ve learned that about myself. And I’m sorry about Doggo. That’s totally my fault. God knows what I was thinking. What
I thinking? That he would make a difference, even heal us. You’ll hate that word, like you hate it when I talk about journeys and energies and, yes, angels.

The thing is, I DO believe in them. And you don’t. Is that what this is really about? Maybe. I used to love your polite tolerance, the sceptical smile in your eyes, but now it pisses me off. It looks cynical and superior to me now, like you think you have all the answers. Well, you don’t. Who does? Maybe that’s what you have to learn about yourself, like I’ve learned that I’m a coward. Maybe I can only be with a man who believes in angels. Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean I’ve run away with Brendon. Brendon’s a prick. I’d take you over him any day (and if that’s not a compliment, what is, right!?). No, I’m on my own, travelling light, following my nose. There’s no one else, just me and you
know-who – the ‘One Who Must Not Be Named’, as you jokingly call him. I know you think he’s a figment of my warped imagination, but I believe he’s here with me right now, watching over me, and you can’t deny that that feeling is real (even if you are right about angels, which you aren’t!).

Take Doggo back. Something tells me you’re going to get this job and you can’t leave him shut up in the flat all day. It wouldn’t be fair on him, and it’s not like the two of you have hit it off. Is he there right now, peering up at you with those weird eyes of his? I swear he looked at me with a kind of contempt when I was packing my suitcase before, like he knew what I was doing. Of course he didn’t, he’s just a dog, a small, ugly dog. No, not exactly ugly, but you know what I mean – not overloaded with good looks, poor thing. I think I must have felt sorry for him when I first saw him. I feel bad about messing with his life, but at least he’s had a change of scene, a short holiday. I would have taken him back myself but there wasn’t time. You see, I haven’t been planning this thing, it just came to me very suddenly. I saw what I had to do and I’m doing it.

Am I making the biggest mistake of my life? I don’t think so. I think we got to a place where we were about to make a decision that would have been wrong for us, definitely wrong for me, and probably for you too. Don’t hate me, Daniel. You’ll feel humiliated, of course, but it could be worse. It’s not like I’m leaving you standing at that altar, plus everyone will damn me as a bitch, which will make it easier for you. Please don’t try and find me, and there’s no point in calling me now because I’ll be in the air by the time you read this.

Love and light



PS I’ve just read this through and I realise I haven’t made myself clear. It’s over between us, at least for now, which I suspect means for ever, but who knows? Never say never, right? I need to feel open to other opportunities (yes, okay, other men). I can’t stop you doing what you want to do, but if you sleep with Polly I’ll kill you. She’s young, vulnerable and in awe of you, but she’s also my baby sister, so ‘non toccare’, as they say in Italy (reminds me of that gift shop in Lucca where you bought me a horrid china figurine of the Virgin Mary because you thought it looked like my father in drag). X


I lay the letter carefully on the table with a trembling hand. Cold-hearted? Really? Cynical and superior?

I never felt superior. It was our little game. We worked out the rules together. Astrology, past lives, guardian angels, whatever it was, Clara fell hard and I applied the brakes. We agreed to differ and we laughed along together because what we had was bigger than any of it. What we had was love. We agreed on that. She can’t just change the rules and get on a plane and disappear after four years. It’s my life too.

I want to be angry but it won’t come. Stung by the accusations levelled against me, I’m also numbed by a cold, creeping sensation that I may in fact be guilty as charged.

BOOK: Waiting for Doggo
4.79Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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