You can find earlier excerpts from The Reunion here
Jen sighed with relief as she finally pulled into the driveway of what had been her parents’ house until they’d moved to always-sunny Phoenix, if only to get out of the car and stretch. She and her sister, Pam, both had keys to the little white farmhouse where they’d grown up and Pam and her family lived close enough to check on it occasionally. And, of course, her mom and dad stayed there whenever they came back to Iowa for a visit. As Jen unloaded her bags from the back and put them on the front porch, she breathed in the beautiful clean night air. And sneezed. And sneezed again. Damn goldenrod. She’d have to dig out her antihistamine tonight.
Jack was yipping away and running circles in his little crate, just in case she might have forgotten about him. “Come on, sweetie, let’s get you out of there,” Jen crooned. Boy, he really had to pee –and he wasn’t the only one. Hustling Jack and all their baggage into the house, Jen flipped on the downstairs light and quickly locked the front door behind her. Unpacking would wait until morning. She needed the bathroom, a quick shower and then some yoga stretches before bed to work out some of the kinks from the drive.
The downstairs bedroom that used to be her parents was definitely beckoning Jen as it had a lovely, queen sized bed. She pulled her suitcases in, with Jack trailing behind her, sniffing his way along the hall. New smells were doggy heaven for sure. He’d been asleep in the crate most of the evening and, even though he was definitely a snuggler and cuddler, Jack needed his play time every night.
Jen dug through one of the bags and found some stuffed dog toys that he liked to chase after and threw one down the hallway. His little feet found purchase on the carpet and he was off like a shot, back in less than a minute, prancing into the bedroom proudly with his stuffed duck hanging out of his mouth. They played a gentle game of tug and he took off again after the duck, but this time she heard him racing up the staircase and down before he came back into the bedroom and deposited the duck in front of her.
Before she could even throw it again, he took off running down the hallway and up the stairs, making more noise than a 20 pound dog should be able to make. It was his wild time of the evening, just running off some of the energy until he’d eventually come back down, sniff out his little padded bed and settle in for the night. Jen headed into the bathroom to brush her teeth and take her hair down, rubbing her scalp from having had her hair gathered up for so long.
She changed into a soft tee and sleep pants, wanting to be comfortable and cozy tonight. She spread out her yoga mat next to the bed and lay down to begin some simple stretches. She’d progressed to downward dog, hands and feet on the mat, her body bent in two, when it occurred to her that Jack hadn’t come back to the bedroom. She peered between her legs at the doorway and spotted a quick flash of brown and white fur.
Ahh, here came Jack now. Jen waited for the inevitable dance as he came into the room, but this time it wasn’t a duck in his mouth. It looked like – men’s boxer shorts?? And close behind him, as she struggled to stand up, ending up in a heap on the mat instead, were a big pair of masculine feet. Naked. Jen briefly debated whether she could pretend she’d hit her head and just stay down on the floor, then decided it was probably too late for that. Crap. Pushing down flurries of panic — this was Brim, Iowa, for goodness sake, not some big city with big city crime, she turned and faced the intruder head on.
Her gaze quickly travelled up long hairy legs to a white towel wrapped around a trim waist, a broad bare chest and finally jerked up to meet amused hazel eyes under dark brows raised in question. “I’m guessing the little dust mop belongs to you?”