BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY
As a teenager, Faith Perry couldn't wait to escape her small Montana town. Now, after eleven complicated years away, she was back, determined to figure out where she truly belonged. And it certainly wasn't with the hard-muscled cowboy with a soft spot for wounded animals.
...OR A PLACE TO CALL HOME?
Boone Pratt couldn't believe his high school crush was back! And when Faith asked him to treat her ailing dog, the still-smitten vet felt the old feelings stir. But he knew Faith's heart was in the big city. Unless he could get her to realize that their hometown was the ideal place for settling down--together.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
January 31, 2008
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from The Doctor Next Door by Victoria Pade
What do you have all over your face, Charlie? Did you get into something out there?"
Faith Perry didn't expect an answer from her schnauzer as she let her dog in from the backyard, but the silver-gray purebred responded with a whimper anyway.
"Come here, let me see," Faith urged, bending over to take a look.
But what was soaking the animal's beard and had dribbled onto Charlie's chest and front legs wasn't mud or muck from a yard damp from an early April rain. It was blood. "Oh! Charlie! Did you kill something?"
Charlie whimpered again and looked at Faith with big, beseeching black eyes that finally caused her to register that the mischievous dog might be hurt.
Faith picked up the fifteen-pound pooch she'd owned for about a year, carried her through the kitchen into the living room and sat down with Charlie in her lap.
On closer inspection, Faith could see that the blood was coming from inside Charlie's mouth.
With some worry that she was going to find a dead bird or part of a squirrel inside, Faith grimaced and pried her pet's jaws apart.
There was more blood in Charlie's mouth but there wasn't anything else. Except for a very broken tooth.
"What did you do?" Faith lamented sympathetically.
It was four o'clock on a Sunday afternoon in her small hometown of Northbridge, Montana. Faith had been in town less than twenty-four hours and she had no idea if the local veterinarian--who had been ancient when she'd left Northbridge eleven years ago--was still in practice. Or if there was another vet or if Northbridge might have joined the twenty-first century and gained an animal hospital.
She did know that she had to get her dog to someone, though. Right away. "You poor baby," she muttered to Charlie, taking her back into the kitchen.
She set the animal gingerly on the tile floor, gave her a loving stroke and said, "Just sit and let me figure this out."
To Faith's surprise, Charlie minded her.
"Oh, you must be in bad shape," Faith said of her pet's unusual compliance.
Until the day before, the house had not been Faith's primary residence. It had only been a place for her and her former husband to stay when they were in town. Because of that, it wasn't well-equipped with things like a current telephone directory. Hoping that she had even an outdated one, she hurried to the laundry room off the kitchen.
"Keep your fingers crossed," she said to the companion who had no fingers to cross.
Still, she counted herself lucky to find the mail-order-catalog-sized phone book in a cupboard and she quickly returned to the kitchen to search the two-year-old listings.
"No, no more old Doc Chapman," she said when she couldn't find the old veterinarian's name listed.
"Boone Pratt--he's the vet now," she told Charlie. "I knew that. My sister married his brother--and an emergency call about an animal was the reason he wasn't at the wedding. I should have remembered."
But in the time since Faith had left Northbridge she hadn't put much effort into keeping up with anyone in the small town other than her family. And even when the information had been shared with her recently, she hadn't retained a lot of it. Her life had been too much of a mess lately for her to have grasped much beyond her own problems and immediate family matters.
Her cell phone was on the counter and she used it to dial the number for the veterinarian's office. Maybe someone was on duty this weekend.
No such luck. On the second ring the other end of the line was answered by a recorded female voice.
Office hours were given before an in-case-of-emergency number.
Cursing her own stupidity for not being prepared with pen and paper, Faith repeated the number out loud, over and over again as she ended the call and dialed it.
"Come on, come on, come on," she said impatiently to each unanswered ring. "You're the only vet in town, what am I going to do if you don't pick up--"
"Is this Boone Pratt?" Faith asked.
"Yeah. Who's this?"
Faith reminded herself that she was in North-bridge. Things were much more casual here.
"This is Faith Perry--"
"Faith," he repeated, obviously needing no further explanation. Of course, it was Northbridge. They had grown up together, been in the same grade all through school. And her cousin Jared was marrying his sister, Mara, next Sunday. It wasn't as if she were a complete stranger even though, to Faith's knowledge, she hadn't set eyes on the man since high school graduation.
"I'm sorry to bother you," she continued, "but I just got to town, my dog seems to have broken a tooth and I guess you're the vet."
"No guessing about it. I am. The only one in town."
He'd gone from the laid-back, friendly yo to a much more curt tone of voice. But then they'd never been friendly, so maybe this was his version of professionalism.
"How bad's the tooth?" he demanded.
"Bad enough for me to see that it's broken and for there to be blood all over."
"I'll have to meet you at my office. Do you know where that is?"
Because the directory was still open she was able to read out the address that put him just off of Main Street and only a few blocks from Faith's house.