Authors: Nicole Peeler
THE HOUND OF BAR HARBORVILLE
A Jane True Story
Copyright © 2014 by Nicole Peeler.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the publisher, addressed “Attention: Permissions Coordinator,” at the address below.
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Publisher’s Note: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are a product of the author’s imagination. Locales and public names are sometimes used for atmospheric purposes. Any resemblance to actual people, living or dead, or to businesses, companies, events, institutions, or locales is completely coincidental.
Editor: Heather Osborn www.heatherosbornedits.com
Copy Editor: Mackenzie Walton www.mackenziewalton.com
Cover Artist: Mark Henry www.markhenry.us
Book Layout ©2014 BookDesignTemplates.com
The Hound of Bar Harborville/ Nicole Peeler -- 1st ed.
Dedication: To all of you who asked for more. Thank you.
The Hound of Bar Harborville
Jane leaned over the backseat, waving toward where her dad stood holding the twins and flopping their chubby arms at us. My own lips spread in a smile at the sight of Jane’s dark, sleek head in the rearview, our sweet little girls on the horizon.
Not least because we were speeding away from them.
When we were out of sight, Jane twisted back around to sit normally, absentmindedly putting on her seatbelt when the car started to ding at her. She may have saved the world once or twice, but not even Jane True, Champion, was free from the tyranny of modern safety protocols.
“You okay?” I asked, pitching my voice low and soothing. I really needed her to be okay.
Her lip trembled for a minute, tears gathering in her eyes. Then she laughed, dashing them away and turning to me.
“You bet I’m okay. And I am going to be even more okay when we get to that hotel and finally have some privacy…”
I wasn’t sure if it was sadness at leaving our twins alone for the first time since they’d been born or if it was lust, but something was making her voice throaty and throbby, and I decided to go with lust. A quick maneuver of the steering wheel and gear shift and the car was pulled to the side of the road and Jane was in my arms, and she was kissing me as fiercely as I was kissing her and she was so small and sweet and soft and her breasts, oh gods her breasts, and there was that evil little hand, reaching down and…
“Get a room!” yelled an adolescent male’s voice. A beat-up Toyota Corolla careened past us on the road and we pulled back from each other, startled. I snarled, and Jane laughed, removing her hand from the very nice place it had been resting on to pat my arm through my flannel shirt.
“Easy, puppy. There’s more where that came from. And I thought the whole point of this weekend was privacy?” With a slight thrust of her chin, she indicated the road in front of us where, not too far ahead, we could see old Mr. Flutie walking in our direction on his morning stroll.
I growled again, not bothering with human words. In dog I spoke fluently of my not giving a flying fluffernutter about Mr. Flutie, and how if she didn’t get that hand back where it belonged right now, I may just explode. But Jane didn’t speak dog, and she only laughed and pointed forward.
“Bar Harbor or bust!” she called. And then she leaned toward me in the cab of our truck and her breath was hot on my ear. “And then I’ll give you something to growl about, you big puppy, you.”
Bar Harbor or bust, indeed.
“Oh, this is nice,” Jane said as we entered the small boutique hotel that I’d scoured the Internet to find. Her hand reached for mine and squeezed, and I resisted the urge to prance like a show pony.
The hotel had originally been a mansion a few minutes’ walk off Main Street. The outside was classically Georgian, but the inside was funky, with lots of bold wallpaper and interesting furniture.
Classy on the outside, but bent as hell on the inside. Just like my girl, I thought, squeezing her hand right back.
“I know you like stuff like this,” I said, and she gave me the kind of sweet smile that made me want to motorboat her.
It was inappropriate, but that was our relationship in a nutshell. Wickedly, deliciously inappropriate.
“I do. Is the bed big?”
“I got us a king.”
“Good. And the bathroom?”
“A bath large enough for two adults. Or four midgets. Or two adults and one midget…”
“Excellent,” she interrupted “Any other features I should know about?”
“There’s a chaise with a nice, high back that looks like it’ll go just about to your waist, a fireplace with a thick, shaggy rug in front of it, and what looks in the pictures to be a chandelier sturdy enough to hang from.”
Her eyes narrowed at me with lewd intent. “Well, that should do us. At least for tonight. Tomorrow we’ll have to get creative.”
I raised my eyes to the heavens in a silent prayer of thanks to whatever power had brought this woman into my life. She may have nearly been the death of me roughly seventeen times, and there was the whole getting-turned-into-a-dragon thing, but anything was worth it for Jane.
We approached the mirror-paneled desk, which sat between the swooping construction of the grand double staircase. No one was behind it, so we rang the bell that sat in on the old-fashioned register. A few seconds later, a lovely older woman wearing a pink and black suit came in from an invisible door set in the wood paneling behind the desk.
“Bonjour,” she said, in a sultry, French-accented voice that spoke of a lifetime of black tobacco and champagne. “Welcome to Chateau Bar Harbor.” A long-fingered hand reached toward us and Jane shook first, then I did, careful of the woman’s talon-like red nails.
“I am your hostess, Edith Dupont,” she said, her accent perfectly pitched to be entirely understandable yet completely adorable. She pronounced her name with no “H” and like it had an exclamation point at the end—Edeet!
Jane, always a sucker for an accent, actually cooed.
“It’s very nice to meet you, Edeet!” she said, attempting the woman’s French accent for herself on her name. They both looked pleased at the results.
“Yes, very nice to meet you,” I said, wanting to get things moving. And by get things moving, I mean get Jane naked.
Having twins was hell on our sex life.
“We’re the Barghests,” I said, pointing at the small laptop that sat on the desk. “We’re staying the weekend.”
“Of course,” she said. “But I am so sorry! Your reservation said you’d be here later. I’m afraid you’re room isn’t ready. Although it will be very shortly, I promise.” The last was said hastily, except for the drawn out, very French “promeeeese” after she saw the look on my face.
I sighed. We had gotten here hours earlier than planned, after the woman Jane’s dad was seeing had canceled their usual breakfast date to help a friend with a minor emergency. At loose ends, Jane’s dad had showed up at eight in the morning instead of eleven, and we’d launched ourselves out the door at his arrival.
“Really, it will only be a few minutes,” the woman said, walking from behind the desk to grasp our elbows. “Leave your things right where they are sitting and come with me. I will get you une boisson, and you may explore the house. C’est bien?”
Minutes later, Edeet! had led us to a snug little library and left us with insanely delicate champagne flutes, filled to the brim. Jane eyed the delicate stem precariously clutched in my paw with trepidation.
We toasted. “To sexy getaways,” she said, and I said, “When they finally get to the sexy part,” mournfully.
“Poor puppy,” Jane said, and I gave her a Look that said “you’re not getting any either, so I don’t know why you’re so chipper.”
I also leaned down and claimed her mouth in mine. She melted against me, and I felt a hot stir of lust in my soul and another stirring, more corporeal, in my jeans.
We heard the sound of a door slamming somewhere in the hotel and Jane jumped, pulling away. I growled and reached for her again, but she shook her head, patting my arm in consolation. “Later. We’ll be interrupted. Let’s explore.”
I sighed with the deep regret of the truly martyred, but I nodded. “Sure.”
We took the side door out of the library, which led into a spacious parlor, full of comfortable seating set up to give groups places to sit, couples a nook to canoodle, and the odd chaise or comfy chair for any individuals who wanted to set up camp and read or whatever. The decor was less modish and more rustic than the rest of the house, with walls in both warm cream and sage that made me want to nestle in something.
Preferably between Jane’s thighs, but that wasn’t happening till we got our keys.
Another door led off to a room that would be next to the small library. The door was shut, however, but that didn’t stop Jane. She’d been given the go-ahead to explore, and explore she would. Her fingers were just reaching for the glass doorknob when the door flung open and a teenaged girl appeared, her expression snarled with emotion underneath her cap of tightly woven braids.
I pulled Jane out of the girl’s way, but she didn’t acknowledge us, ducking her head to trot straight toward the lobby. She wore what looked like a uniform of khakis and a white T-shirt, an impression proven right when she paused in the other doorway to look back past us with tear-filled eyes
“And don’t you ever pull that shit again,” hissed an angry male voice from inside the room as the door started to close and we caught a glimpse of a large man, who subsequently caught sight of us.
He immediately pulled himself together, smoothing out his features and then transforming them into a welcoming smile. “Bonjour! Welcome to Le Chateau Bar Harbor,” he said, his accent suddenly French like Edeet!’s, but his was clearly affected, since he’d been yelling in American English a second ago.
Also, quite frankly, he sounded like the French soldiers in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, shouting, “I fart in your general direction!”
“I am Jacques Dupont, and I am the owner here.” The man was probably the same age as his wife, with the face of a screen actor from the fifties. He sported a thick coif of silver and ash and a chin like an enormous butt. Grabbing Jane’s hand, he kissed it with relish, much to her obvious amusement. “Are you here to ask about the hotel?”
“It’s very nice to meet you, Mr. Dupont. We’re the Barghests. We’re checking in, but we’re early.”
“Oh, I am so sorry!” His “sorry” sounded like “sariiiiiiiiii” and I realized I was giving him a slow headshake of shame after Jane shot me a look.
“Anyan,” I said, accepting his handshake. It was aggressively crushing. At probably six feet, he wasn’t used to being dwarfed and was trying to remind me he was very, very manly.
Since I was half-dog, as Jane liked to point out when I ticked her off, such symbolic pissing contests were all a bit lost on me…although actual pissing contests were fine.
“Please, call me Jacques,” he said, and Jane shot me a look. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I should go make sure your room is being prepared.”
He slunk off and Jane turned to watch that he’d gone. “Jacques my ass. If he wasn’t born ‘Jack’ somewhere in New Jersey, I’m a man.”
“And you are definitely not a man,” I said, squeezing her butt.
“What do you think they were arguing about?” she asked, ignoring me.
“Could be anything,” I said. “And it was probably nothing.”
“Jane, nothing untoward is going on. Employers yell at employees all the time. Maybe she was late for work.”
“Hmmm,” she repeated, still gazing toward the door. I knew that look only too well. It was my dear Jane’s “do I need to rescue somebody?” look, and it chilled me to the bone.
“The girl’s fine,” I said. “She doesn’t need you to save her from anything. The only person who needs saving here is me.”
That got Jane’s attention, and she turned to me. “What on earth do you need saved from?”
I gave her my best puppy dog eyes. “From the loneliness I feel, deep in my soul, for my one true love.”
Jane snorted. So much for romance.
“Deep in your soul?” she asked. “I think you mean deep in your pants. But you’re right. She was probably just late or something. C’mon, let’s go see the rest of the house.”