Spotlight on SUSANNE BELLAMY's story
In the throes of beginning my short story for this year’s Christmas anthology, I had written about three thousand words of a story that began at the Mackay Airport and featured a hero named Jax and a daytime soap star who had been friends when they were younger, before life and ambition drew them along separate paths. Partly inspired by the song, ‘Where Do You Go To, My Lovely?’, the story was travelling along at the pace of the tropical cyclone bearing down on the Central Queensland coast when, over Queen’s Birthday long weekend, our beautiful German Shepherd, Anna, passed away suddenly. She was almost 13 years of age, old for her breed, and her passing devastated us. So much so that I stopped writing for several weeks.
And when I set fingers to keyboard again, Jax and the cyclone were blown away by a need to remember Anna and her winsome ways, the conversations we’d had, and her beautiful nature. Anna in my story is the younger version of our lovely girl. I hope you enjoy her story, and that of her mistress, Julie, whose Jack owns a Shepherd remarkably like our Ricky of many years ago.
In loving memory of Anna and Ricky
The opening scene of The Wish List:
Julie Aster sat in the middle of the oval in Toowoomba’s main park and leaned back on her elbows. Turning her face to the sun, she closed her eyes and let her thoughts drift back to last night’s dream. Fantasy man ticked all her boxes of course, but his face was frustratingly unclear. “If only you hadn’t woken me before I got to see his face.” She stretched out a hand to pat her German Shepherd and met empty air.
“Anna? Where have you got to, girl?” Champion novice dog at puppy training school, Anna simply did not wander far from her mistress. Flutters of concern stirred in Julie’s belly and she put her fingers to her mouth and whistled. Queen’s Park off-leash area was a sea of red, gold and every shade in between. Two streaks, one golden and the other, black, raced out of dense shade at the edge of the park, sending a flurry of autumn leaves flying in their wake.
A huge black Shepherd, the biggest Julie had seen, followed Anna across the lush green grass. Anna came straight to her and sat on her left, smiling to show she was very pleased with her discovery, or so Julie interpreted.
“Found a friend, did you? Where’s your owner, boy?” Julie presented her closed hand for the dog to smell then hunkered down to pat both Anna and her new friend. “He’s a handsome fellow, isn’t he, Anna? Seems like this park is doggie-dating heaven.”
A shadow fell across them and a deep voice rumbled above their heads. “Bear’s been making friends, I see, and with the best-looking females in the city.”
Tingles of awareness ran down Julie’s spine at the whiskey-smooth voice. Anticipation throbbed at the image it created. Silly, you know you’ll be disappointed. Wanting to hold onto the image a moment longer, she fiddled with Anna’s collar and patted her blonde head. Gentle chocolate-brown eyes looked up, and a pink tongue flicked her nose as she waited, body quivering with anticipation.
“Bear? Suits him.” Steeling herself against inevitable disappointment, her gaze lifted, up a pair of denim-clad legs and Jimmy Barnes T-shirt that showed off a toned and muscled torso, and into the face of Bear’s owner. Unshaven and with light brown hair pulled back into a ponytail, his smile charmed as cinnamon-brown eyes crinkled at the corners.
The belly flutters that had subsided with Anna’s reappearance returned as full-sized butterflies swarming around their favourite plants. Ruggedly handsome in an outdoorsy way, Bear’s owner had a killer smile, and a German Shepherd. And despite the cheesy pick-up line, entries two and three on her wish list stood before her rolled into one very tall . . . and attractive package.
Add the sexy voice and she was probably drooling as much as Anna.
Julie’s hand tightened on Anna’s collar as she struggled to come up with a witty comment. Her mouth opened and closed while Bear’s owner hunkered down and wrapped an arm over his dog and stroked Anna’s head.
“Your dog is lovely. No wonder Bear was—interested.” His eyebrow rose cheekily as he stood and held out one hand. “Jack Schulz.”
She shook his hand, surprised to find him towering above her. At five-feet-nine, she usually looked guys directly in the eye. “I’m Julie Aster and this is Anna.”
“So, Julie and Anna Aster, can Bear and I interest you in a coffee?
About the Author
Her heroes have to be pretty special to live up to her real life hero. He saved her life then married her.
Susanne is a member of the RWA and was a finalist in their 2011 Emerald Award. She placed third in the 2015 Pan Macmillan short story competition with Chez Romeo. Mentoring aspiring writers, and working as a freelance editor keeps her off the street! She loves connecting with readers and fellow writers.
You can find her at the following:
iBooks - https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/second-chance-cafe/id1055312419?mt=11
Barnes & Noble - http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/second-chance-cafe-susanne-bellamy/1122908100?ean=2940152444353
Smashwords - https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/588802
Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/dp/B017Z7V4SC/