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Pelican Bay #9
October 20th, 2020

The doorbell rings and I finish running down my steps hurriedly, grabbing the package off my front step before the mail truck turns around in my driveway.

Things are moving fast between Harley and me. Exposing her secret history opened up the floodgates of emotions. At first I wasn’t sure I could be with someone with her past and a connection like hers. As I relayed the information to Ridge, my boss, of what she confided in me, I’d expected judgment from him, but he only shook his head and laughed before making a comment with another one of us joining the club.

He never specified which club I’d become a member of with Harley.

Then he followed it up with a quick comment on how things were always interesting in Pelican Bay and sent me on my way. If Ridge Jefferson doesn’t see a problem with it, I’ll learn a way to work around Harley’s past. She’s worth it.

The thought of leaving Harley makes me feel sick. I have a black hole eating through my stomach. Regardless of who her family is, I can’t leave her. Not anymore. Something happened over those nights I snuck into her home and spent time in her bed. She’s worked her way past my defenses without even realizing it.

Now she’s too deep to go anywhere.

I haven’t decided how to move toward our end, but I have the first few steps of the plan figured out. They’ll be the hardest.

I need to make my home ready for her so she can get in her car and walk into the place without having to think about it. And the first step of that is getting her dog to love me. Harley treats Rocky as if he is her own child. He’s cute when you got to know him, but if I can get him to give me a ringing endorsement, I can get Harley.

I use the knife in my pocket to slip to the tape off the box and pull out the soft dog bed I ordered online.

“What the fuck?” The thing I pull out of the box resembles nothing like the red fluffy pillow I purchased online a few days ago. This bed isn’t fluffy enough to smoother him in softness.

This thing is pink and doesn’t look like it could rest a sleeping mastiff, but a princess on an escape. I’m surprised glitter doesn’t fall out of the package upon opening.

“Shit.” I can’t have this sitting around my house. Harley will think I consider Rocky a girl. I’ll never be able to make a single small dog joke around him. I can’t let a stupid pink bed mess up the points I’ve earned.

I have two hours until I’m due to pick her up at the bakery. Our meeting ran late, but I want to be here to get the package and make sure everything is perfect. Grabbing my keys off the counter I walk to my truck and slip my phone out of my pocket calling Spencer for an update.

“Hey, Spencer, we good?”

His response was quick. “Yup, the girls are gossiping away. We should be on high alert, though, Katy and Pierce are at it again.”

“Not my problem, bro.” Whoever ends up with Katy is in for one hell of a ride.

Spencer laughs. “It’s your problem if she brings Harley into their circle.”

“No, Harley won’t fall for it.” She came to Pelican Bay to stay out of trouble and get away from her past. She won’t go running into it blindly the way Katy always rolls people in to her crazy.

Fifteen minutes later, and somehow without a speeding ticket, I pull to a stop in front of the large pet department store that has a branch in every major American city. With the blue shopping cart, I trail the shelves throwing in things at random. Food, wet and dry. I didn’t know what Harley had Rocky eating at home, so I pick out a sample of each from the shelves. If it meant getting Harley to fall for me, the dog can eat whatever he wants.

I’ll buy him a damn steak.

The toy aisle is organized by size, and I grab one of each toy meant for small dogs, including a bucket to keep them. Brightly colored dishes meant for food and water sit on an end cap of the aisle. I put back the plain metal ones I grabbed earlier and select two blue from the stack, gently putting them in the cart so the ceramic doesn’t break. A reminder to Rocky and his manliness.

At only ten pounds, he needs the help.

The last part of the dog section, along the back wall is jam packed with big fluffy pillows which you could fit fifty Rockies. He’d get lost in the folds on a few of them, but in the far corner stuck between two pillows beds is the gray tent Harley has in her living room. This same dog bed Rocky crawls into and sleeps for hours when he isn’t laying on her couch or being carried around the house. I stick one on top of the cart and turn in the center aisle getting ready to check out. Then I stop, reverse my steps, and put another one in the cart beside it.

You can never be too prepared.

It’s always good to have a backup. I want a tent in the living room and the bedroom. By the time I finish with Rocky, he’ll love my house. Hell, I’ll make sure he loves it more than Harley’s place. It will force Harley to stay just to make her dog happy.

Who cares if that’s underhanded? If that’s what it takes to get that woman in my bed, I’ll do it and more. Harley will be safe from the men in her life gunning for her, she’ll wear my ring on her finger, and she’ll fall sleep between my sheets at night.

But first I need to win over her little dog.

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