The Obsession Page 50

She moved on, stopped at the odd jut of a room she’d decided could be a little library. Maybe she didn’t often find or take the time to curl up with an actual book, but she’d imagined doing so there on a rainy day—or in the dead of winter with the fire sparking.

Now Kevin and the buxom Macie set the first of the flanking built-ins in place to the right of the hearth.

“Oh, Kevin.”

He glanced back, grinned as he shoved up the bill of his cap. “Go ahead and say it. You were right; I was wrong.”

“I didn’t know you’d finished them.”

“We figured we’d surprise you. You were right. I didn’t see it, little room like this. Take out that wall, I told you, and you’d have some space. But you stuck, and you had the eye. What you’ve got is cozy, and good light, and—what do you say, Macie?”

“Charm. It’s gonna have charm, especially when we put up the crown molding.”

“It’s beautiful wood—the cherry—and beautiful work.”

“That’s what we do, right, Mace?”

“Damn right.”

“You were right about straight open, floor to ceiling, too. Gives it dimension, makes the room seem bigger.”

“I’m going to have to send for my books. I usually read on my tablet, but I’ve got a couple boxes of books back home.”

“If you need more you can tap Xander.”


“He’s got books everywhere,” Macie told her.

“Oh yeah.” Kevin took a small level out of his tool belt, laid it on a shelf. “Every now and then he’ll box some up, donate them, but mostly he hoards them. If you need to fill some of these shelves, you should tap him about it.”

“I’ll see what—” She jumped when her phone signaled, snatched it out of her pocket. “It’s the vet. Yes, this is Naomi. Okay. Okay. Really?” As relief washed over her like a warm wave, she rubbed her hand over her face. “That’s great. I’ll come now. No, I’ll be there in a few minutes. Thanks.”

Blowing out a breath, she shoved the phone away again. “The dog—he’s out of recovery or whatever. Ready to come home. I’ll be back.”

“Oh, in case I don’t see you—you made the papers.”

“The what?” She stopped dead.

“The papers,” Kevin repeated. “I got a copy in the kitchen.”

She kept her voice even. “What happened?”

“The Cove Chronicle. It comes out once a month. Just a few pages, local news and such. It’s a nice story about the house, fixing it up.”


Local little paper. Nothing to worry about. Nobody but the locals would see it.

“I’ll leave you the copy. Jenny’s got more at home, as I got some ink, too.”

“I’ll read it when I get back. Thanks. I better go get the dog.”

She’d put off the reporter, editor, publisher—she thought the woman who’d wanted to talk to her wore all three hats. But it didn’t matter. Naomi took every precaution to keep her name out of print, to keep her whereabouts out of print.

Nobody beyond Sunrise Cove, or certainly no one outside the county, would read the article. And nobody would connect her with Thomas David Bowes.

And she had more important things to worry about right at the moment.

She dashed into the vet’s, muttered a thanks when the receptionist gestured her to go back. She found Alice fitting the dog with a cone.

He looked a little dazed and confused, but he let out a short, happy bark, and his tail wagged madly when he saw Naomi.

“He’s okay?”

“Came through like a champ. He has meds, and you have instructions. The cone’s to keep him from worrying the site, the stitches. He’ll probably sleep more than anything else. He may be a little sore and not want to walk much for a day or two.”

“Okay. That’s okay.” She got down, stroked his ears inside the cone. “You’re okay.”

She took the meds, the instructions, paid the bill, gave him a boost into the car.

He didn’t sleep. He had to sniff at everything in the front yard—though he walked a little stiffly. He had to sniff and wag at the crew. He and Molly had to sniff and wag at each other.

And he bumped into everything. Walls, tools, her.

She helped him upstairs, gave him the stuffed cat—a mistake, she noted as the cone got in the way.

One of the crew called up with a question. She went down, and in the fifteen minutes she was gone, he’d managed to get out of the cone and was licking away where his balls had once been.

“How the hell did you get out of that?”

Pleased, he thumped his tail.

“You can’t do that anymore. Those days are over.” She fitted the cone back on him—an ordeal, as he seemed to hate it more than the leash.

She got it back in place, gave him a rawhide, and considered the matter settled.

It wasn’t.

Xander figured he’d given it some time—and he had the excuse of paying her for half the ball snipping. Maybe, if he played it right, he could get another dinner out of it. And with that, maybe he could get her a few more steps closer to that big, beautiful bed.

It was worth the drive out.

He pulled up on his motorcycle, with the dog barking and wagging in greeting. The dog would’ve rushed over to finish the hello, but Naomi sat on the porch steps, and had the dog in a death grip.

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