Second Chance

Welcome to Gully’s Fall, a quaint little town in a farming district in Australia.
Now meet the cop, ambo, firies, inspector and vet, who will all find their perfect matches amidst laughter, friends, loyalty, passion, misbehaving pets and a little mystery!

Meet Grant, the vet

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scroll down for excerpt              Book 6 of the Gully’s Fall series

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Second Chance600900The terror of his year 4 schooldays was in town, and his
knee-jerk reaction had not made a good impression. Drawn
to this spirited rubenesque beauty, can Grant convince her to
give him another chance?
After a less than warm welcome, Tam is suspicious of the
handsome vet’s motives. Already burned twice, she isn’t ready
for another round.
Then there’s Gully’s Fall’s own mystery…the Stealth Thief…

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The loud crash came from the reception area.
Holding the sheet of paper that Elissa had just given to him, Grant looked towards the door of the consult room. “What the-”
Another crash, a scream, shouting, and a whole lot of barking.
“Stop it! Back! Heel!” came a frantic shout.
Was there a fight in his consult room? An accident? What the hell…?
Grant bolted for the door, Elissa on his heels. Yanking it open, he stepped out into the reception area to find a scene he’d rather not see in his reception.
Yvonne was frantically trying to shield her dog with her body. Her prize Golden Retriever bitch was quivering with excitement and whimpering, her gaze on the dog straining to get at her.
Grant’s eyes shot to the other dog. Wonderful. Mr Haddell’s Great Dane was yanking on his leash, eager eyes fastened on the Golden Retriever, his tongue lolling out as he lunged. Grant would bet his bottom dollar that the bitch was on heat and the dog was intent on having himself some afternoon delight.
“Tiny! Stop!” The woman holding the Great Dane’s leash was straining to keep a good grip, hauling back as hard as she could. “Damn it, you over-sexed mongrel! Heel!”
Tiny reared up, paws raking the air before shooting forward, dragging the woman along.
The Golden Retriever, who went by the name of Morganna, stood up, her tail wagging.
“No! No no no!” Yvonne held out a hand to Tiny as if she could really stop him by that action alone. “No!” Then she screamed, “Help!”
“Good grief.” Elissa started forward.
“Whoa.” Grant hauled her back. “Leave this to me.” Striding forward, he bellowed, “Quiet!”
Everyone froze, even Tiny. Every head swung towards him, relief on both Yvonne’s and the strange woman’s faces, sweet obedience on Morganna’s, and befuddlement on Tiny’s. Morganna wagged her tail and Tiny’s attention snapped back to her.
“Not happening.” Grant grabbed the leash from the woman’s hands. “Follow me.” He strode into the consult room dragging a reluctant Tiny behind him. Turning to speak, he found nothing but an empty doorway. He looked down at the dog, Tiny looked back up at him. “Stay,” Grant ordered him sternly.
Obediently, Tiny sat, though his gaze kept sliding longingly to the open door.
Stepping around him, Grant stuck his head out the doorway to find the woman attempting to explain to an irate Yvonne, while Elissa tried to smooth ruffled feathers. Namely Yvonne’s ruffled feathers.
Loudly, he cleared his throat. “Miss?”
All three women looked at him. Make that four, because Morganna gave him a sweet peek as well, which would normally have melted his heart. But he had to sort this fiasco out, so he ignored Morganna and gestured to the woman. “You, too.”
“Me too, what?” she queried.
“Follow me.”
“Oh, I thought you were talking to Tiny.” Smiling widely, she strode in his direction.
That smile caught his attention. There was something so beguiling about it, so familiar. As he stepped back to allow her to pass him, she looked up at him, that smile widening, bright jade green eyes sparkling with humour.
Damn, so very familiar. Had he met her before? No, he was sure he’d remember…
“You idiot, Tiny.” The woman stroked the Great Dane’s head. “That female is out of your league.”
Grant closed the door.
“And so is her dog.”
He almost choked. Had she really just…?
Straightening, the woman flashed him another big smile. “So, hi.”
“Hi.” Gathering his wits, which normally didn’t desert him, Grant looked down at Tiny. “What are you doing with him?”
“Trying to stop him shagging that cute bitch out there.”
Now he did choke. Coughing, he stepped back.
“I tell you, when he spotted those big brown eyes he went gonzo. Never seen a dog do that before. A man, yes, but a dog? No.”
Recovering his breath, Grant moved behind the consult table. “The dog, Miss…?”
“Tam,” she replied. “Just call me Tam.”
“Tam.” Huh, that sounded familiar, too.
“And you obviously already know Tiny.” She looked down at the dog.
He took the opportunity to study her. A wealth of thick brown/gold hair was piled up on her head in some kind of loose, messy bun, several gold strands of hair curling down to brush apple cheeks. Jade green eyes that sparkled with humour, soft pink lips that smiled so readily, a determined little chin. She was no slim little nymph, not with all those generous curves. Her blouse strained across a pair of rounded breasts that were way more than a handful, a wide belt encircled a surprisingly smaller waist, and the flowered skirt skimmed down over lush hips.
Tam patted the dog’s head fondly, giving Grant a glimpse of pale pink nail polish, several rings, and a neat little gold-banded wrist-watch. When she bent forwards, he got a good eyeful down the front of her blouse, which was unbuttoned just the right amount to allow a peek at the beginnings of the generous globes. That was also nice. Very nice.
Not professional to look. But nice.
“Up here.”
Startled, Grant’s gaze shot upwards. Seeing the amusement in those bright eyes, a blush rose in his cheeks. Shit, he’d been caught staring. No, admiring. Just admiring that lush figure. Okay, those big breasts. “Sorry, my thoughts were elsewhere.” Admit nothing. Cripes, what is wrong with me?
“You haven’t changed,” she said.
“What?” Confused, he frowned. “Have we met?”
For several long seconds she studied him before flashing a small smile. “I’m here about Tiny.”
“Tiny?”
“The dog.”
Giving himself a mental head slap – the woman must think he was a right drongo – Grant folded his arms while transferring his attention to Tiny, who was looking happily up at Tam. “What are you doing with Mr Haddell’s dog?”
“He’s due his vaccination.” Fishing in the small bag that was slung over her shoulder, Tam brought forth a card and placed it on the table. “Your reminder. Remember?” Her eyes danced with merriment.
“Cute.” That merriment was so infectious he couldn’t help but return the smile. If he could just figure out why she was so familiar, not to forget that she’d said something about he hadn’t changed. “I’m sorry, do I know you?”
“Crikey Moses, you really don’t remember me, Grant, do you?”
He studied her face. So damned familiar. But… “I have to admit, I don’t.”
Bracing both hands on the consult table, she leaned forward a little, looking up at him with that seemingly constant smile hovering around her lips. “Give it a few seconds, it’ll come to you.” When he just continued to study her in bewilderment, she added, “Or a couple of minutes.”
How humiliating.
“Maybe an hour or two.”
Trying to think of a way to let her down gently – poor thing must have confused him with someone else – Grant managed lamely, “Look, I’m sorry, but I really don’t remember you.”
“Always had your head stuck in a book, the world going right by your nose without you having a clue.”
“I met you at uni?” Surely he’d remember that.
“Try again.”
“High school?”
“Bit further back.”
“Kindergarten?” Cripes, she remembered him from kindergarten?
“Forward a bit.”
This was getting ridiculous. “Look, Miss-”
“Tam.” That happy gaze twinkled. “Tamara Banner.”
Tamara Banner. Yeah, that was ringing a bell in the distant past. Rubbing his jaw, Grant tilted his head as he studied her anew.
“Would it help if I reminded you that you wore blue undies with a soccer ball print all over them?” she suggested.
Blue undies? Soccer balls? The ringing bell was getting louder.
Tam laughed a sudden, soft, throaty laugh that skittered warmly up his spine, spiking his interest, making his gaze drop to those lush lips. “Come on, Grant. How could you forget the girl who yanked your pants down?”
That warm skitter was dashed by a cold swamp.
Shit a brick! Tamara Banner. Tam. The terror of his year four class at school. It flashed through his mind like it was just yesterday.
There he’d been, minding his own business as usual, head in a book, when along came someone behind him, little fingers had hooked into his shorts waistband and next thing he knew his pants were around his ankles and his blue undies covered in orange soccer balls was glaringly evident for all the school kids to laugh and point at. One of the most humiliating times of his young life.
Also the reason he was nicknamed ‘Little Balls’ by the older kids, the nickname that had haunted him through that whole year until his parents had shifted to another town, thereby ending that bloody nickname.
Tamara Banner, terror of the year four class.
Looking at those sparkling eyes, that golden/brown hair, those apple cheeks, complete recognition came flooding back. Okay, that wealth of hair had been confined in a long plait, but now he could see the little terror in this pretty, grown-up face.
“Tam.” He had the sudden insane desire to grab hold of the waistband of his pants before commonsense prevailed. Instead, he smiled coolly. “Well, small world.”

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copyright 2015 Angela Verdenius