Needing a change of scene, Griffin Burke moves from Brisbane to Coolum Beach to start a new job. The beautiful white sand, aqua-coloured ocean, blue skies, and summer breezes are everything he longs for. What he finds is a mud-covered dog, lost and hungry, with a nametag and a phone number.
Dane Hughes is stuck in Surfers Paradise at a week-long work conference when he gets a phone call from his distraught mother. His dog, his fur baby, Wicket, has run away. Unable to leave and feeling helpless and miserable, he gets a text from a guy. “I think I found your dog…”
Griffin and Dane start talking, and Griffin agrees to look after Wicket until Dane can collect him. With a few days left before his new job starts, Griffin takes Wicket on some coastal adventures and sends Dane photos of their fun, and so the start of something new and kind of wonderful begins.
Griffin might have moved to Coolum in search of a new life, but what he finds is so much more. What he gets to keep just might take some four-legged help.
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A small brownish dog came over to me and sat in front of me. He was cute and had a happy face. His pink tongue lolled out of his mouth, and he just sat there and stared. I looked around the car park, but no one seemed to be paying attention.
“Hey there,” I said to him.
I’m sure he smiled.
“Where’re your parents?” I asked, then realised I was talking to a dog like he was some lost kid.
He just sat there, smiling, tongue lolling.
I took a long drink of my last water bottle, and the dog edged a little closer and licked his lips. “You thirsty?” I asked.
I looked around the car park again and figured no one would be mad if I gave their dog a drink of water. So I cupped one hand in front of his face and poured what was left of my water into it, and the dog lapped at it eagerly until the bottle was drained.
Poor little guy was thirsty.
I looked around again, this time concerned. I mean, it was hot. It was summer. He shouldn’t have been left without water. Maybe someone wouldn’t be mad at me for giving their dog water, but I could be pissed at his owner for neglecting to do the same.
But there was no one there.
“Where’s your mum or dad?” I asked him again, giving his forehead a pat.
He just smiled at me.
“You’re a cute little thing, aren’t you.”
His smile widened.
I wanted to go hit the beach to let my muscles soak in saltwater for a bit, so I collected my bag and walked to my car. The dog followed. Again, I looked around the carpark. I couldn’t see any people, but there were cars and maybe his owners were hiking. Maybe they’d be back any minute.
Convincing myself that was the case, I said goodbye to my new four-legged friend and got in my car. I cranked up the air conditioning and reversed out, and when I looked up, I saw he’d sat down, watching me with a sad face as I drove away.
I frowned all the way to the beach. But as soon as those aqua-coloured waves came into view, I forgot about the dog and walked into the ocean. I swam for a bit and the cool water soothed my body and cleared my mind. There sure was something medicinal about saltwater.
I dried off and went home, starving hungry, and didn’t give that dog one more thought until the next day when I was hoping to do the hike again. It had rained during the night and the path to the top of Mount Coolum was closed. Impassable from wet-weather the sign said, and I remembered reading online that after rain, the trail was closed. I sat in my car wondering if I should find another hiking trail or just go straight to the beach when I saw him.
The little brownish dog was now a whole lot more brown, straggly and wet. He sat near the picnic table where I’d given him a drink of water the day before, just watching me.
I opened the door and got out. Not really knowing what I was going to do with him, but I sure as hell wasn’t leaving him here. He’d clearly spent the night in the rain, alone, with no food, and most likely scared as hell. I thought he was going to bolt, so I crouched down near my open car door and patted my knee. “Here, boy,” I said, trying not to sound or look threatening.
He took off all right, but not away from me. He ran straight toward me, darted around my legs, and jumped into my car.
“Hey,” I said, standing up. He wasn’t sitting on my driver’s seat. He’d perched himself in the passenger seat, just sitting up like he’d been waiting for me to give him a lift. “You right there?”
His pink tongue lolled out of his dirty face. He obviously wasn’t dangerous, and he sure didn’t look like he was going anywhere. I sat in my seat and closed the door and looked at my new passenger.
“You look like an Ewok.”
I’m certain he smiled.
And then I noticed his collar had a name tag. I reached out slowly, gauging his response, but he licked my finger so I assumed we were good. I lifted his name tag and had to rub the mud away so I could read it.
His name was Wicket.
It took me a second, but I got it. Wicket was indeed an Ewok from Star Wars. The cute little curious one that meets Princess Leia. “Well, Wicket, I bet someone misses you.”
He grinned at me some more.
I turned the name tag over and found a mobile phone number. Thank God. I took out my phone and dialed.
N.R. Walker’s Bio
N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance. She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn’t have it any other way.
She is many things; a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who live in her head, who don’t let her sleep at night unless she gives them life with words.
She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things…but likes it even more when they fall in love.
She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal.
She’s been writing ever since…