Author

The Eyes Of A Fetch 441-460

The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 460) Enveloping

Once dressed, Lyla pulls the covers of the bed up and arranges the pillows neatly in front of the headboard. Just as she tosses the last throw pillow in its place, Crispin comes up from behind sliding his arms around her into an enveloping and tender hug. She welcomes this embrace by holding his arms and leaning back slightly as she looks up at him. Wrapped in his arms she slowly turns to face him.

“Hello,” she says as she drapes her arms over his shoulders and gives him a quick kiss.

“I take it you slept well?” he asks with a smile.

“Yes, I did except right before I woke up I had a bad dream.” She looks down.

“Do you want to talk about it? He questions.

“No.” she looks up at him and shakes her head. “The worst part of it all was when I woke up,” she pauses. “You weren’t there.

Excerpt 460

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 459) No Trace

Lyla reaches down to the foot of the bed and grabs the bathrobe she laid there last night. Slipping it on, she cinches it at her waist and slowly walks across the room and opens the door. Dashing out ahead, Smokey runs down the short hall and rounds the corner into the main room. Lyla can still hear the heavy thuds of all four paws as the hefty cat runs across the room.

There is no trace of smoke or any strange mists as she searches for Crispin and this is a relief. The main room is void of anyone but herself and still pleasantly scented by the bouquets of flowers Crispin arranged last night. Stepping into the kitchen she  finds Smokey alone, nibbling on dry food from a small bowl on the floor.

Looking out the windows the sun is high in the mid afternoon sky. She does not see Crispin anywhere but the car is still in the drive, so she believes he cannot be too far away. Going back to the bedroom, she digs through the bag of clothes Crispin gathered and slips on a pair of pants and a shirt.

Excerpt 459

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 458) Mind Racing

Looking around the room, Lyla thinks about the dream she just had. Could it be foretelling as to what may happen in the future? After all, the lantern appeared in her dreams, and then became a reality that was used against her. Where is Marnie in all of this? She wonders if they have found her yet.

“Okay, stop with the mind racing, Lyla. You’re driving yourself nuts.” She says as she looks over at the night table and notices a small piece of folded paper. Leaning over, she picks it up and unfolds it.

“Pulse of my heart, song of my soul, light of my night.” She reads aloud. A wide smile forms on her face as she thinks of Crispin and his knack for poetry. When she lays the note down, she realizes the stained glass lamp on the nightstand is the one she wanted to purchase while in Madrid. It may not be the exact lamp, but it is a close second. This makes Lyla grin as well.

“Well you sneaky devil.” She says softly. “Come on Smokey, we need to find the man of the house.”

Excerpt 458

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 457) Should She

Smokey still has an ashy smell to her fur from the fire, but she looks better than she did a few hours ago. The poor cat must have been grooming herself all night. Lyla leans back and holds her hands up in front of her astonished at how badly they are trembling from the frightening nightmare.

“I don’t ever want to have a dream like that again.” She says to herself as she lies on the pillows and closes her eyes. This is her attempt at giving herself time to relax and ease into this new day. Immediately she thinks about Crispin and all the things that have happened in such a short time. She knows she is madly in love with him, how can she possibly help it, but should she be? Should she trust him so blindly?

“Oh stop it, Lyla.” She says to herself as she looks up at the ceiling. Closing her eyes again, she smiles as she sees Crispin’s face and thinks of their closeness. In addition, it is wonderful how happy Marcus and Destry are because of Crispin’s decision about the vineyard. “I knew he’d do the right thing.” She whispers to herself as she sits up.

Excerpt 457a

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 456) In Bed

“No!” Lyla yells as she sits up in bed. Her heart is pounding violently as she hears it throbbing in her head like a dull drum. Slowly and hesitantly she looks around at the dim lighting of the room and then down at her shaking hands. She is alone in the bed and she wonders where Crispin might be.

This dream was so real, she could smell the smoke, feel the pain in her throat as she tried to breathe, and then there was Crispin. Was he dead?

Smokey jumps up on the bed and immediately starts purring as she walks over to Lyla and lays down in a submissive way. She tips her head back as if pleading for a brushing. With a single loud meow, she finds her mistress is not reacting to her plea fast enough.

“Oh Smokey, thank god you’re okay little girl.” Lyla laughs as she runs her hands along her cat’s belly.

Excerpt 456

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 455) Screams Out

As Lyla steps away from the open window, she begins to hear laughter. It is a loud overbearing sound from nearby, but she does not see anyone. Turning around she trips over something causing her to fall to the floor. Looking back at what caught her footing, she finds that Crispin is lying on his back covered in blood and lifeless.

She gasps for air as she turns to help him but the smoke begins to overtake her; she cannot breath and begins to feel sick to her stomach. With one final push of air, she screams out for help and someone steps up beside her.

Looking up, she finds Marnie standing over her laughing in a wicked and hysterical manner as the fire engulfs her. It starts at her feet and covers her clothing then ignites her shirt. The smell of singed hair is strong as Marnie’s entire head bursts into flames.

Excerpt 455

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 454) Engulfed

“Smokey, hey little girl.” The fluffy cat does not respond. “Smokeums, are you hungry?” Again, no response, “Smokey?” Lyla says as she nudges her cat but instead of a warm welcome, she realizes Smokey is stiff and cold. She is dead. “Oh no.” Says Lyla as she covers her mouth from the shock. “What happened?” sitting there for a few minutes she again calls out to Crispin. “Crispin, are you here?” Now she begins to cough as she realizes the fog in the house is actually clouds of smoke in the air. It is causing a burning sensation to attack her throat.

“Oh god, oh no.” Lyla says to herself as she stands up. “Crispin!” she yells fearing he has succumbed to the toxic air. Lyla cannot catch her breath as she makes her way to the door. Trying without success to turn the lock, she soon realizes it is jammed and will not budge. Stepping over to the window, she pulls back the shades and pushes the shutters open to find the entire area, the fields and nearby trees, engulfed in massive flames. So much so that she cannot see the driveway or the tree lined drive.

Excerpt 454

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 453) Hint Of Light

With a hint of light creeping in through a crack in the curtains, Lyla looks around the room. She smiles as she glances over at the pink rose in the vase on the night table. The clear water has a sparkle to it and bubbles have collected on the green stem. The delicate rose is almost transparent and has opened slightly from the tight bud it was just hours ago.

Crispin is not in the room and the door is closed. Sliding out from the sheets, Lyla grabs the robe that she left at the foot of the bed and slips it on, tying it snugly around her thin waist. Walking out into the hall the cottage feels cold and not as welcoming as before.

“Crispin?” she calls out hoping to find him very soon.

She turns to look behind her for she feels as if someone is there. As she looks back, she notices a low fog or mist in the air that has settled near the floor. This confuses her because she has never witnessed such a sight inside a dwelling before.

Being extremely cautious, she peeks around the wall to the main room of the cottage. There too she finds the same low misty fog hovering just inches above the floor. Curled up on the sofa is Smokey and Lyla goes over to her while calling her name.

Excerpt 453

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 452) Plane To Catch

“Lyla is with Crispin, isn’t she?” asks Destry. “Yes, but. . .” starts Marcus.

“But nothing, I’m sure they are fine.” She smiles when she says this.

“What’s so funny?” Marcus asks as he stops what he is doing.

“They are in love. Did you not see how they acted around each other? Crispin won’t let anything or anyone harm her.” Says Destry confidently.

“That’s not all I’m worried about.” says Marcus. “I fear he hasn’t really changed and we have all been fooled by him.” Marcus looks up at the clock on the wall. It reads seven. He glances over at Destry and she is just standing there staring at him with a slightly strange look on her face.

“What?” he asks.

“Do you really think that?” she questions. Marcus looks at her for a moment wondering why she seems worried. He then realizes how stupid his statement was. If he is concerned that Crispin is fooling them, then there is a chance the vineyard is not at all under her control and this is a vicious trick to get them out of the way.

“Oh, no. . . that came out wrong.” Says Marcus as he walks over to the love of his life. “Just ignore me, I’m a suspicious idiot. Everything is fine. I really do believe he is sincere, which has really surprised me, and you are right about his feelings. I think he is and has been in love with Lyla for a long time.” Marcus puts his arms around Destry and hugs her. “Let’s finish packing, we have a plane to catch.”

Excerpt 452

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 451) Hate To Leave

As far as anyone knows, Marnie is still missing after she fled the scene of the fire last night. Police have been patrolling the streets and checking in with several leads, but so far, all have come up empty-handed. Until they apprehend her, the police chief fears she will go after Lyla again.

“How are you coming with your bags?” Destry asks as she passes by where Marcus is standing.

“Not too shabby, and yourself?” he replies as he watches her walk by. Stopping quickly, she turns and leans up against him.

“My part is done, so let’s get you caught up.” She whispers in his ear in a teasing way. He leans over and gives her a quick kiss on the nose.

“I’m worried about Lyla.” He confesses.

“Have you tried to call her?” Destry asks as she picks up the list and checks off two more items.

“No, I thought it was too early, but I hate to leave town without knowing her whereabouts.” He says.

Excerpt 451

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 450) Good Note

As if peeking over the horizon to spy on the small town, the sun begins to rise. Marcus and Destry are already up to greet the day and continue with the task they started the night before. On the table is a list with a pen nearby and they have marked off the majority of the items. With the wonderful news from Crispin still fresh and exciting, they plan to return to Spain to surprise the staff at the vineyard, especially Severo.

One thing that keeps crossing Marcus’ mind is the wellbeing of Lyla. He knows she and Crispin have grown very close and worked through many of the mysteries that surrounded their first encounter. Yet he cannot help but worry if she is safe and if Crispin’s intentions are as true as they seem.

To his surprise, he must admit he is very impressed by Crispin’s actions of late, especially toward himself and Destry with the relinquishing of the vineyard. In no way did he expect the situation to end on such a good note.

Excerpt 450

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 449) Don’t Leave

As Lyla covers up in the cool sheets she lies back on the soft pillows, it is all she can do to stay awake. From down the hall the music has now stopped and soon she hears Crispin quietly walk into the room. Opening her eyes, she smiles up at him.

“Are you comfortable?” he questions as he stands at the foot of the bed. Lyla reaches out to him and he walks over taking her hand in his as he sits next to her on the bed. “You are safe here.” He says softly. She sits up as he pulls her into an embrace. With her head pressed to his chest, she feels the warmth of his body and his arms across her bare back. His shirt smells fresh and is soft to the touch and at this very moment, she feels a security she has never experienced before.

With extreme tiredness setting in, she wants nothing more than to drift away and dream, but not alone. She does not want Crispin to leave. Still held in his strong arms, she looks up at him as he leans in for a kiss pulling her even closer. With her arms wrapped lovingly around his neck, she draws him to her.

“Don’t leave.” She whispers as their eyes meet.

Lifting the sheets, she invites him to lie down next to her. As he does, she gently caresses the side of his face starting near his ear and following his hairline, while he slides his hand along her waist and up her back. Laying there in a tight embrace, he kisses her softly on the neck as they respond to one another, as they never have before.

Excerpt 449

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 448) Her Bare Skin

“You should be comfortable in here.” Crispin says has he stands at the doorway allowing Lyla to walk into the room alone. She glances around at the various pieces of antique furnishings and the linens that remind her of a fine hotel. “After I put the candles out and stop the music, I’ll be back to see if you need anything. Make yourself comfortable.” He says as he winks and smiles at her. “Your things are in that bag on the dresser.”

Without another word, Crispin turns, pulls the door shut, and walks into the shadows of the hallway. All layers of the linens are folded back, much as they would be in an upscale hotel, and thick fluffy pillows are stacked near the headboard in a mound. It is as if the bed is inviting a guest to partake in a long luxurious slumber and Lyla is more than ready to do so.

Sitting on the table near the lamp is a glass of ice water and a small vase supporting a single pink rose. She steps over to the dresser and looks in the bag. It contains several articles of clothing but she leaves them where they are. Turning, she slips out of her robe and drapes it across the foot of the bed before sliding between the sheets in her bare skin.

Excerpt 448

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 447) Shallow Lives

“Why do you suppose Marnie snapped like that?” Lyla asks as she sits back on the sofa holding her teacup with both hands.

“Marnie has emotional issues that she never dealt with properly is my guess. She then lived in an imaginary world that she began to perceive as reality.” Crispin says as he looks directly at Lyla. “It is almost as if she realized this and was willing to do anything to make that world come true.”

“She was focused on you.” says Lyla. “Apparently she has been from the first day you arrived.”

“If that is true, then it is only because I was new to town and have wealth.” Replies Crispin as he leans toward her. “Shallow people live shallow lives.” He tips his cup back drinking down the rest of his tea. “Anyone with common sense can tell you are the only one that has captured my heart.” Lyla smiles at him over her cup.

“Well, you’re Grandmother certainly knew her stuff, I could fall asleep right here.” She says as Crispin quickly responds and takes her cup.

“Here, I’ll show you to your room.” He stands up and pulls her up by the hand then leads her back down the hallway to a spacious bedroom with deep colored furniture and thick layers of bedding. A small stained glass lamp is sitting on the night table emitting just enough light to cast a creamy glow over the room.

Excerpt 447

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 446) Drink Up

“I apologize, it’s a little chilly in here, but I did not feel a fire would be appropriate,” Crispin states carefully as he continues to look at Lyla. She takes a sip of the tea he prepared and coughs slightly as she swallows.

“So, I take it your Grandmother’s secret ingredient is whiskey.” Lyla says as she coughs again and then laughs.

“Ah, what butter and whiskey won’t cure, there is no cure for.” He says with a laugh but then they both grow silent for several seconds. “It has all caught up with you, hasn’t it?” he asks. Lyla nods yes in response as she looks down and thinks of the events from the past few days. “Drink up and I’ll show you to your room.”

Crispin pours a cup of tea  for himself and they sit together quietly as the music plays softly. Even though the conversation is slow, they are both content and comfortable as they sip their drink.

Excerpt 446

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 445) Fresh Soap

Music is coming from the main room of the cottage and as Lyla rounds the corner from the hallway; she sees several bouquets of flowers sitting in various areas. They have sweetened the place with full fragrance and color. Small candles flicker throughout the room and she sees Crispin backing out of the kitchen with a tray in his hands.

“Ah, you didn’t drown after all.” He says with a gentle voice as he nudges the kitchen door forcing it to close behind him. “I was getting ready to check on you.” He says as he walks across the room. He is neatly groomed and wearing blue plaid pajama bottoms with a deep gray cotton t-shirt. Lyla is so used to seeing him in a suit that this relaxed look seems odd to her, but quite nice at the same time. His stature is well-defined and he smells like fresh soap. “I made you some tea to help you sleep. It is my Grandmother’s recipe.” He sets the tray on the table near the sofa and motions for Lyla to take a seat as he sits down next to her.

“Do you always have fresh flowers sitting around?” she asks as she looks at the arrangement on the table.

“No, they are just here for you.” He says as he pours her a cup of tea. “I wanted to surprise you but this wasn’t exactly how I planned it to happen. None the less though, here we are.” He watches her closely.

“They are lovely and smell fantastic.” She says as she takes the cup from his hand and curls up on the sofa tucking her legs and feet under the robe.

Excerpt 445

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 444) In Search Of

How much time has passed since they arrived at the cottage, Lyla is not sure of. It was well past midnight when they left her house and she feels it must now be nearly three o’clock in the morning. Her soak in the bathtub has lasted long enough for the water to start cooling down and she pulls the plug allowing the water to begin its swirling sounds as it drains out.

Stepping onto the thick bath rug, she wraps a towel around her wet skin and with another towel, squeezes the moisture from her hair. Slipping into the robe that was hanging on the back of the door, she neatly drapes the towels across the edge of the tub to dry and runs her fingers through her hair like a comb.

Slow calming music continues to play off in the distance. Lyla opens the door and steps into the short hallway that connects the bedrooms to the main living space of the cottage. Her bare feet feel cool on the wood floor as she slowly walks down the hall in search of Crispin.

Excerpt 444

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 443) Floating Away

Lyla walks over to the mirror and looks at herself. She has a gray smear on her right cheek and what looks like ash in her hair. As she lifts her hand to push her hair back, she sees the dirt under her fingernails and between her fingers. It is all she can do not to cry about this frightful evening.

“What happened to you, Marnie? How did you possibly slip so far?” Lyla says to her own reflection.

She turns and undresses, tossing her dirty clothes into a pile, then steps into the warm tub. Bath oils and soaps are setting on a little ledge and she adds some to the running water then lies back allowing the bath to fill just inches from the top.

Once she turns the water off, she hears the faint sound of music playing softly from down the hall. Closing her eyes, she smiles as she listens to the relaxing sounds. It is as if she can feel the stress of the day lifting off her body and floating away.

Excerpt 443

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 442) Take Your Time

Clicking the light switch on in the bathroom, he sets one bag on the counter and walks over to an old white antique porcelain bathtub. It is bright and shiny as the light reflects off its pristine coating. Turning the faucets, both knobs squeak slightly as he opens them fully. Once the water is warm and starts to steam, he plugs the drain and turns toward Lyla. He smiles at her then looks down at his dusty soiled clothing and wipes a blotch of ash from his sleeve. Opening a cabinet, he lays out a couple of towels and a washcloth

“Take your time, relax, and let me know if you need anything. I’ll be down the hall; I need to clean up as well.” He looks at his dingy clothing, grins, and then steps out into the hall pulling the door shut. Quickly he reopens the door sticking his head in to speak. “The robe hanging on the door is new if you wish to use it.” He then closes the door again leaving her alone in the spacious yet cozy room.

Excerpt 442

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 441) Follow Me

Crispin looks into Lyla’s eyes as he cups her face in his hands. Gently he slides the fingers of his right hand along her cheek as he moves a few loose strands of hair away from her eyes. “Are you alright?” he asks.

“I was afraid I lost you.” She replies, as they stand exceptionally close.

“All of this will work out, I promise.” He stares at her with strong intensity. She has no reason to doubt him.“Alright,” she replies as her voice cracks slightly.

Lyla waits until Crispin shuts the door to let Smokey out of her crate. Immediately, the pudgy cat meows and hides under an end table near the sofa and Lyla knows to leave her be until she feels comfortable in her surroundings.  Flipping on another lamp the area brightens slightly and it makes the essence of the space even more inviting. The handle of the door makes a clinking sound as Crispin opens it and this causes Lyla to jump a little. However, she does a good job of hiding her nervousness from him.

“This is it.” He says as he quickly closes the door behind him. With one bag over his shoulder and two in his hand, he says, “Follow me, I’ll run you a bath so you can get the soot and smoke washed off, it’s back this way.” He walks through the room to a short dark hallway.

Excerpt 441

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