Skip to main content

Year of the Dog serial novel, chapter 7

I’m posting a Humorous Christian Romantic Suspense serial novel here on my blog! Year of the Dog is a (second) prequel to my Warubozu Spa Chronicles series.

Year of the Dog serial novel

by Camy Tang

Marisol Mutou, a professional dog trainer, is having a bad year.

While renovating her new dog kenneling and training facility, she needs to move in with her disapproving family, who have always made her feel inadequate—according to them, a job requiring her to be covered in dog hair and slobber is an embarrassment to the family. She convinces her ex-boyfriend to take her dog for a few months … but discovers that his brother is the irate security expert whose car she accidentally rear-ended a few weeks earlier.

Ashwin Keitou has enough problems. His aunt has just shown up on his doorstep, expecting to move in with him, and he can’t say no because he owes her everything—after his mother walked out on them, Aunt Nell took in Ashwin and his brother and raised them in a loving Christian home. What’s more, his brother Dusty also needs a place to stay after being kicked out of his apartment—with a dog in tow. And guess who the dog’s owner is?

But then Ashwin gets a request from an old friend, Edytha Guerrero, a private investigator who also runs a day spa on O’ahu’s north shore. A strange bit of “vandalism” at Marisol's facility had led her to find a purse belonging to Edytha’s sister—who had disappeared three years ago. Worried that Marisol might be in danger, and finding out that security expert Ashwin already knows her, Edytha asks him to covertly keep an eye on the busy young woman

Ashwin is reluctantly attracted to the lively, easy-going dog trainer. She reminds him too much of his happy-go-lucky mother, whose betrayal had caused him to keep people at a distance. Marisol sees past Ashwin’s cold exterior to a man who is loyal to his family, unlike her own mother and sister, who only criticize her career choice.

In the midst of Marisol’s disjointed family and Ashwin’s disruptive home, danger begins to circle around them from people who want the past to remain there. Can they shed light on the secrets moving in the shadows?

All the posted parts are listed here.

***

Chapter Seven: Red Zone

Three months later

Pepper barked as if an ax-murderer bore down on Marisol.

In actuality, it was a rather frightened looking engineer-type walking his Pomeranian clear on the other side of the park.

“Pepper, come on.” Marisol pulled her black Labrador-mix dog away in the opposite direction with a firm tug to his leash. It took a couple tugs before Pepper’s fixation on the man broke, but once it did, Marisol got his full attention with a piece of liver. She kept it in her closed fist while Pepper licked at her hand, tantalized by the smell, his attention fully on Marisol and the treat.

Ugh. The liver smelled like cat yack up, but it was also one of the tastiest dog treats, and with the way Pepper had been so resistant to rehabilitation, Marisol had needed to break out the big guns—or in this case, the smelly guns.

Another try. She turned Pepper around, watching to see the moment her dog spied the distant man. Before Pepper’s state roused further, she distracted him with another liver treat.

This time, her timing was better. While Pepper eyed the man with a side gaze, his mouth and nose were busy licking at Marisol’s fist, while she doled out crumbs of liver to keep him interested.

“Good, Pepper. Yes, man in the distance means yummy treats. Good dog.” After a few minutes, maybe she could move Pepper a little closer to the man.

Her cell phone rang. While keeping Pepper occupied with one hand, she answered her phone with the other. “Hi, Mom.”

“Don’t sign those papers today.”

“I’m good, how are you? I’m out training my dog, Pepper—your granddoggy.” She knew the granddoggy part would annoy her, but their relationship had become more of a Cold War since the night of the Slap Heard Round the World.

Pepper’s licking paused, and his nose moved a couple inches away from Marisol’s hand, his eyes focused on the man. She shoved her fist in his face again to get his attention back onto the food.

Her mother ignored the granddoggy jab. “It was bad enough when you were doing that dog stuff part time, but going full time? What will people say? You can’t do this. You’ll be an embarrassment.”

Marisol’s shoulders tensed. Pepper picked up on her frustration. His nose pulled away from her hand and his hackles rose as his eyes focused on the man.

While cradling the mobile phone awkwardly between her ear and shoulder, Marisol grabbed the leash with one hand and waved her open hand in front of his nose, letting him both see and smell the liver. This time, she let him eat all of it while simultaneously tugging him away from the man. Whew. She shouldn’t have let herself get upset—or at least not let Pepper sense it.

“You have to stop barking at all men,” she told him as she grabbed her phone off her shoulder.

“What did you say to me?”

Mom’s irate voice in her ear brought her back to the conversation. “Sorry, Mom, I was talking to Pepper.”

She should have said, You have to stop barking at your daughter. At the very least, her mother might have been silent with apoplectic fury.

“Just go back to your boss and ask for your job back.”

“Mom, I quit two months ago—it’s a tad late.”

“Then find another job. Don’t sign those papers to buy that abandoned school. I don’t want you to do this.”

Marisol shook her head silently. Mom had given up her right to want anything from Marisol the night William left Jenessa. It had been the straw to break the camel’s back. Or maybe, the dog’s back. That was more appropriate. Marisol giggled to herself.

“Are you laughing at me?”

“No, ma’am.”

Mom paused, probably wondering if Marisol were being facetious or not. “Well, whatever you do, don’t sign those papers today. Think about your family instead of yourself for once in your life.”

The accusation ripped into her flesh like a dog’s teeth. How dare she accuse her of something like that when Mari had tried so hard to be a good daughter? “What do you mean? Practically everything I do is for you or Jenessa. I take you grocery shopping or to Japantown whenever you don’t want to drive. I watch Jenessa’s kids for her whenever she asks me to, even at a moment’s notice. I have done everything I can to help Jenessa through this divorce—”

“Which you caused.”

“No, which William caused. I did not make him cheat on his wife and leave his family.” She stopped to catch her breath, but a tugging at the leash made her look down. Pepper danced around, reacting to her anger.

She breathed long and slow through her nose. She had to relax. She couldn’t let this ruin Pepper’s training.

“How in the world am I going to face my friends when they find out that my daughter has left a well-paying job to work full time with animals, like any uneducated person who works at PetShart?”

“At least I’m not working at PetShart.”

“Don’t you talk back to me …”

A figure in the distance waved wildly at her. Lana. Thank goodness. “Gotta go, Mom, my client has arrived. Bye.”

“I’m not fini—”

She ended the call and dropped her phone back in her pocket. “Hey, Lan—”

“You can’t sign those papers today.”

Marisol stared at her for a moment. “Have you been talking to my mother?”

“What? Why would I talk to her? She thinks I’m a bad influence on you.” Lana put her hand on her hip. “Look, you can’t do this. It’s just too risky.”

Pepper let out a series of wild barks.

Male human at nine o’clock. Rats, she hadn’t been paying attention.

“Come on, Pepper.” She turned him in the opposite direction while digging for another liver piece.

Lana stuck to her side. “You’re still trying to cure him of his aggression against men?”

“It’s not aggression yet—he’s only barking at this point. And yes, I’m still trying to rehabilitate him.”

“It’s been three months—”

“And during those months, I’ve quit my job, sold my house, and bought an abandoned school. Not much time for Pepper-curing.” Ew, that sounded more like she was turning her dog into charcuterie.

“You would have had time if you hadn’t been doing all that other stuff.” Lana was like a pit bull with a rib bone.

“I would have had time if I hadn’t had to keep arguing with you about this for three months.” She regretted her snappish tone as soon as it came out, but really, Lana hadn’t let up all this time.

“I only have your best interests at heart,” Lana said defensively.

“Why aren’t you happy I’m pursuing my dream?”

Something passed across Lana’s face—so fleeting, Marisol wasn’t sure she’d seen anything, and even then, she wasn’t sure what emotion that had been.

Movement at the corner of her eye—just a mother and her two kids. Good. Pepper was fine with women and children. His ears perked up at seeing them, but he continued heeling at her side as she walked.

“Think about it,” Lana said. “You quit your job with Global Dynamics and now you’re jumping into your dog training with a huge financial splash. There are safer ways to ease into a full time business.”

“I wouldn’t have been able to ‘ease’ into buying my own facility.”

“You could have gradually built up your client list some more—”

“No, I couldn’t. I was already maxed out on my time outside of work in giving classes and running the dogs. The only way I could have taken more clients would have been if I stopped sleeping.”

“But quitting—”

“Since I’ve quit, I’ve been able to start some daytime classes and pick up private clients I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to help because of my work hours.”

Uh, oh. Barely ten yards in front of them, a man had just entered the park. A very large man. Pepper’s behavior tended to be in direct proportion to the man’s height and closeness to him. This guy had lots of both.

Calm, stay calm. She couldn’t let her anger at Lana and nervousness about the man travel down the leash. She dug for a liver treat, but Pepper spotted the man too quickly.

Barking and pulling, he lunged.

Marisol kept a firm grip on the leash and pulled in the opposite direction. She tried wafting smelly liver in front of Pepper’s nose, but the dog had already escalated to the red zone. No distracting him except with distance.

Lana stalked next to her, oblivious to her struggles with her dog. “This is a bad idea. You’ll lose all the money you got from selling your house, you’ll lose all your savings, you’ll reneg on that small business loan.”

Pepper tugged sharply, causing a shooting pain in Mari's shoulder. She had to get Pepper further away, but Lana’s tirade was upsetting both Marisol and her dog.

She exhaled sharply and glared at Lana. “Why are you being like this? I’d have expected my best friend to be, oh, I don’t know—supportive?”

Lana’s mouth pinched closed while her nostrils flared.

Marisol only got a glimpse before she had to turn her attention back to Pepper. She finally got his attention with a piece of liver and made him sit at her side.

When she looked up, Lana was stalking away.

***

Comments

Popular Posts

Merry Christmas! Enjoy The Spinster's Christmas

As a Merry Christmas gift to all my blog readers, I’m going to be posting my Christian Regency romantic suspense, The Spinster’s Christmas , for free on my blog! I’ll be posting the book in 1000-1500 word segments every Tuesday and Friday. (When I do the calculations, it’ll finish around the end of May.) Why am I posting a Christmas story when it won’t be Christmas in a week? Because I can! :) The Spinster’s Christmas is the prequel volume to my Lady Wynwood’s Spies series . Right now I’m editing volume 1 of Lady Wynwood’s Spies, and it’s on track to release in 2020. (If you’re on my Camille Elliot newsletter , you’ll be sure to hear when it’s available for preorder.) I anticipate that the Lady Wynwood’s Spies series to be about ten volumes. I think the series story will be a lot of fun to tell, and I’m looking forward to writing up a storm! Below, I’ll be listing the links to the parts of The Spinster’s Christmas as I post them. (I created the html links by hand so please l

Lady Wynwood's Spies, volume 4: Betrayer is here!

The latest volume in my Christian Regency epic serial novel is released! Here’s the back cover description of Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 4: Betrayer : A Christian Historical Adventure set in Regency England with romance and a supernatural twist Part four in an epic-length serial novel Beleaguered spies Lady Wynwood’s team of spies are trying to heal from the physical and mental wounds recently dealt to them. However, their investigation into Apothecary Jack’s mysterious group has turned up only a few strange, disjointed clues, and the dangerous Root elixir continues to circulate in the London underbelly. It is only a matter of time before the Root is sold to Napoleon, which would give him overwhelming dominance in the war. Sudden threats Then Laura, Lady Wynwood, is unexpectedly attacked by a man she had trusted. Although Phoebe and her household staff manage to protect her, her life is now in danger and she must go into hiding. Dangerous mysteries Laura uncovers more

Tabi socks, part deux

Captain's Log, Stardate 07.25.2008 (If you're on Ravelry, friend me! I'm camytang.) I made tabi socks again! (At the bottom of the pattern is the calculation for the toe split if you're not using the same weight yarn that I did for this pattern (fingering). I also give an example from when I used worsted weight yarn with this pattern.) I used Opal yarn, Petticoat colorway. It’s a finer yarn than my last pair of tabi socks, so I altered the pattern a bit. Okay, so here’s my first foray into giving a knitting pattern. Camy’s top-down Tabi Socks I’m assuming you already know the basics of knitting socks. If you’re a beginner, here are some great tutorials: Socks 101 How to Knit Socks The Sock Knitter’s Companion A video of turning the heel Sock Knitting Tips Yarn: I have used both fingering weight and worsted weight yarn with this pattern. You just change the number of cast on stitches according to your gauge and the circumference of your ankle. Th

How can I pray for you?

Photo credit: lalalime.blogspot.com 日本語訳は下をご覧ください。 I hope you had a good Thanksgiving, taking time to be still and remember God’s grace. My IBS has gotten a little better, but I’m still not entirely in control of my symptoms. There are simply too many things I don’t know if I can eat or not, and when I try things, if they affect my IBS, then I’m out for about a week at a time. My writing has slowed down more than I’d like. Please pray for God to heal my IBS, and for me to learn what God wants me to learn by allowing these struggles. Just as I’m struggling, if you are too, remember that God is with us and has a reason for everything that happens to us. Lord, thank You that You are always with us and have control over everything that happens to us. Help us to surrender to You and do Your will, no matter what is going on in our lives. Amen How can I pray for you today? Please leave me your prayer requests! Prayer requests can sometimes be private things, so to keep your

ひとり寿司第25章パート2

「ひとり寿司」をブログに連載します! ひとり寿司 寿司シリーズの第一作 キャミー・タング 西島美幸 訳 スポーツ狂のレックス・坂井 —— いとこのマリコが数ヶ月後に結婚することにより、「いとこの中で一番年上の独身女性」という内輪の肩書を「勝ち取る」ことについては、あまり気にしていない。コントロールフリークの祖母を無視するのは容易だ —— しかし、祖母は最終通告を出した —— マリコの結婚式までにデート相手を見つけなければ、無慈悲な祖母は、レックスがコーチをしている女子バレーボールチームへの資金供給を切ると言う。 ダグアウトにいる選手全員とデートに出かけるほど絶望的なわけではない。レックスは、バイブルスタディで読んだ「エペソの手紙」をもとに「最高の男性」の条件の厳しいリストを作った。バレーボールではいつも勝つ —— ゲームを有利に進めれば、必ず成功するはずだ。 そのとき兄は、クリスチャンではなく、アスリートでもなく、一見何の魅力もないエイデンを彼女に引き合わせる。 エイデンは、クリスチャンではないという理由で離れていったトリッシュという女の子から受けた痛手から立ち直ろうとしている。そして、レックスが(1)彼に全く興味がないこと、(2)クリスチャンであること、(3)トリッシュのいとこであることを知る。あの狂った家族とまた付き合うのはごめんだ。まして、偽善的なクリスチャンの女の子など、お断り。彼はマゾヒストじゃない。 レックスは時間がなくなってきた。いくら頑張っても、いい人は現れない。それに、どこへ行ってもエイデンに遭遇する。あのリストはどんどん長くなっていくばかり —— 過去に掲載済みのストーリーのリンクはこちらです。 *** ビーナスはベンの視界をさえぎった。「ここは大丈夫だから、もう帰っていいわよ」 「でも——」 ビーナスは、また彼の目の前でドアを閉めた。 「何——」 ビーナスはレックスの言葉をさえぎり、ドアの隣の窓から外をのぞいた。「よかったわ、レックス、エイデンが来てくれて。あなたの巻き爪を全部切ってくれるわよ」ビーナスの声が小さい部屋に響き渡った。 どうやって礼儀正しく答えようかと決めかねているように、エイデンの表情は少し硬くなった。多分、(そうなの?)とか(それはおもしろいね)とでも言う

Camy Tang's November newsletter

My Camy Tang (Christian Contemporary Romantic Suspense) newsletter went out this week, but in case you missed it, the link is below. In my newsletter this month, there’s an update on my personal life and publishing schedule, and I also linked to a blog post about what the TV show Supernatural has to do with GONE MISSING, the 6th book in my Sonoma series Click here to read my Camy Tang newsletter for November. I also forgot to post the link for the October newsletter, so you can click here to read it.

No Cold Bums toilet seat cover

Captain's Log, Stardate 08.22.2008 I actually wrote out my pattern! I was getting a lot of hits on my infamous toilet seat cover , and I wanted to make a new one with “improvements,” so I paid attention and wrote things down as I made the new one. This was originally based off the Potty Mouth toilet cover , but I altered it to fit over the seat instead of the lid. Yarn: any worsted weight yarn, about 120 yards (this is a really tight number, I used exactly 118 yards. My suggestion is to make sure you have about 130 yards.) I suggest using acrylic yarn because you’re going to be washing this often. Needle: I used US 8, but you can use whatever needle size is recommended by the yarn you’re using. Gauge: Not that important. Mine was 4 sts/1 inch in garter stitch. 6 buttons (I used some leftover shell buttons I had in my stash) tapestry needle Crochet hook (optional) Cover: Using a provisional cast on, cast on 12 stitches. Work in garter st until liner measures

Grace Livingston Hill romances free to read online

I wanted to update my old post on Grace Livingston Hill romances because now there are tons more options for you to be able to read her books for free online! I’m a huge Grace Livingston Hill fan. Granted, not all her books resonate with me, but there are a few that I absolutely love, like The Enchanted Barn and Crimson Roses . And the best part is that she wrote over 100 books and I haven’t yet read them all! When I have time, I like to dive into a new GLH novel. I like the fact that most of them are romances, and I especially appreciate that they all have strong Christian themes. Occasionally the Christian content is a little heavy-handed for my taste, but it’s so interesting to see what the Christian faith was like in the early part of the 20th century. These books are often Cinderella-type stories or A Little Princess (Frances Hodgson Burnett) type stories, which I love. And the best part is that they’re all set in the early 1900s, so the time period is absolutely fasci

One-Skein Pyrenees Scarf knitting pattern

I got into using antique patterns when I was making the scarf my hero wears in my Regency romance, The Spinster’s Christmas . I wanted to do another pattern which I think was in use in the Regency period, the Pyrenees Knit Scarf on pages 36-38 of The Lady's Assistant for Executing Useful and Fancy Designs in Knitting, Netting, and Crochet Work, volume 1, by Jane Gaugain, published in 1840. She is thought to be the first person to use knitting abbreviations, at least in a published book, although they are not the same abbreviations used today (our modern abbreviations were standardized by Weldon’s Practical Needlework in 1906). Since the book is out of copyright, you can download a free PDF copy of the book at Archive.org. I found this to be a fascinating look at knitting around the time of Jane Austen’s later years. Although the book was published in 1840, many of the patterns were in use and passed down by word of mouth many years before that, so it’s possible these are p