Spinster House Book 1 Chapter 1
The woman’s scream is what got his attention.
Kade Johnson stopped what he was doing and listened. He wiped his hand across his forehead with his gloved hand, and started down the ladder where he’d been scraping paint off the window sill. If someone was screaming for trouble, the least he could do is see what it was all about. He walked across the grass and, as he stepped onto the street, came into direct contact with said trouble.
A bundle of energy and black fur slammed into Kade's legs and fell away. The energetic dog’s tongue hung out the side of his mouth, his ear flipped over the top of his head, and his eyes shone bright with mischief. Kade couldn't help but return the happy look to the dog whose tail was thumping madly and settled down on his own haunches to scratch the dog behind his flipped ear.
"Trouble! I swear I am going to…" A woman stopped dead in her tracks to stare at Kade and the still-vibrating-but-no-longer-running dog. Kade moved his attention from the dog and went to speak.
Nothing came out.
The woman standing before him was clad only in a towel. Her light brown hair dripped down around her shoulders and her feet were ensconced in plastic gardening shoes. She looked wet as a drowned cat and mad as a trapped badger. Apart from that, she was tall and pretty cute. Kade smiled in way of greeting. "This," he said gesturing to the black ball of energy, "would be yours?"
The woman began to look embarrassed. A red flush crept up her cheeks as she considered the situation. She was standing in a towel in front of a stranger. The woman stared at Kade mouth open and took the sight in. Kade knew what she saw. He was well over 6 feet tall, solidly built, wearing jeans with a worn tool belt slung across his hips. He was also looking up at her from his squat as he scratched her dog while she wore only a towel. Flustered, she grabbed at the towel where it was joined above her breast and said the only thing she could in the situation.
"Trouble, I am going to shoot you."
Kade smothered a quick smirk and looked down at the dog. "He’s been causing some problems, I hear? At least, I assume he is the trouble you’re looking for."
The woman’s face softened at the comment and shook her head. "Yeah, he’s my trouble -- in name and in behaviour. I heard him escape the house as I was getting out of the shower. If I don’t catch him before he gets too far, he is tough to find and tougher to clean off. Thanks for catching him. I should get him home."
She leaned down to grab Trouble’s collar. At that moment, Trouble chose to jump up and give her kisses. He hooked one paw into her towel and another onto the side of her face. Trouble licked her face from one side to the other and dropped back to the ground, trying to take the towel with him. She shrieked, Trouble barked, and Kade laughed out loud.
"How about I bring him home for you?"
"Thanks. I think that’s a better idea. I live one block over."
Kade hooked Trouble around the middle and hauled him under one arm. Trouble weighed about 18 pounds but wiggled like he weighed 40. Kade readjusted his grip and stood up. "I’ll follow you."
The woman turned and headed up the block with Kade following and Trouble’s tail beating fast against his side. "Now, I seem to know Trouble’s name, but not yours. Considering I’m carrying your dog, we should likely amend that. I’m Kade."
"I’m Anna. Anna Ross." She swiped the wet hair off of her face and turned her green eyes to Kade. "I just moved into the neighbourhood yesterday. You’re the first person I've… met."
She led him up to a house on the corner and gestured. "This is my place. My sisters and I inherited it." Kade's eyes followed her direction to a simple cottage house. It had painted siding, a stone path, and little shrubs under the windows. It showed well the care it had received in its lifetime, but also was starting to look a bit weathered.
"You moved into Ms. Hope’s old place. I heard she had passed away last year. Didn't know who was going to move in. It’s a great little house."
"Thanks, I have always loved it. I didn't get a lot of chance to visit, but it holds good memories. It was owned by my aunts – my father’s sisters. The last of them, Aunt Hope, died early last Spring and they left the house to me and my sisters." Anna walked up the path to the house and opened the door. She motioned for Kade to put Trouble inside. He dropped Trouble on the step and ushered him through the door gently with his boot.
"There. Safe and Sound."
Anna brought the door almost to a close and they both watched as Trouble instead nosed his way through the curtains to look out at them longingly.
"For now. Until the next time he figures his way out. I love him, but he makes life interesting sometimes. Thanks for your help." Anna stuck a hand out to Kade. He took it in his and appreciated her grasp was solid and warm. Just like he thought she would be.
"Not a problem."
She entered the house and turned to close the door when Kade said to himself, "I always wondered who would be the ones to move into the Spinster House."
Her look of surprise told him she heard his mumble. In her bewilderment, she lost grip on both the door and her towel. Suddenly, it was Kade's turn to be startled.
Next: Chapter 2