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From A Witch Called Wanda
A pang of guilt shot through Maeve’s chest as she watched
Wanda put her tail between her legs and let out a loud,
unadulterated whine. The evening before had been really pleasant
with the dog’s company, but Maeve couldn’t shake the feeling that
perhaps someone was looking for the dog. And, even if she didn’t have
an owner, Maeve hadn’t cleared having a dog with the landlord, and
the last thing she needed right now was for the dog to make a mess of
her rental home. So, despite her moral compass screaming at her to
do otherwise, she was dropping Wanda off at the local pound.
The dog cried and yelped at Maeve when she handed the leash to
the woman behind the desk. “I think she likes you,” the woman said,
making Maeve feel even worse. “You’re Gracie’s friend Maeve, right?
She told me you might be by here. My name’s Katie. I run this sad
excuse for a pound.”
“Yeah, that’s me. Jeez, the dog sure isn’t making this easy,” Maeve
said, kneeling down to give Wanda some farewell hugs and kisses.
Wanda pressed her nose into Maeve’s cheek, and Maybe suddenly
clutched the fur around Wanda’s neck.
How did I get so attached to this dog in only one evening? Maeve
“I feel so guilty, but it’s not even my dog, you know?” she said to
Katie. “I’m sure someone will come and claim her.”
“I don’t know,” Katie says. “We’re kind of full at the moment, and
Wanda looks to be an older dog. I’ve got to be honest with you, if
someone doesn’t claim her within the next month or so, we’ll prob‐
ably have to put her down.”
Maeve’s gut tensed, as Wanda let out a frightened yelp.
“It’s like she understood that,” Maeve said, scratching the back of
the dog’s ears.
“Are you sure you want to drop her off?” Katie asked, giving the
leash a slight tug to pull Wanda towards her.
“I have to. She’s not my dog, and I don’t even know if my landlord
would let me … but, you know what … if it comes down to it, could
you take my contact information? I don’t want you to have to put her
“I think I can swing that,” Katie said with a relieved smile. She
rubbed Wanda on top of her head and then dragged her to the back
room to place her in a kennel.
Maeve’s palms started to sweat, as she listened to Wanda barking
and yelping the entire time. She reminded herself that someone
would very likely show up to claim the dog and that Wanda wasn’t her
responsibility, but the reminder did nothing to soften the blow.
Katie returned moments later, rubbing the back of her neck as
though it were sore. “Poor girl doesn’t want you to leave. I haven’t had
a dog fight me like that in a while.”
“Aw, now you’re making me feel worse!” Maeve said.
After swapping contact information, Maeve headed out the door
and back home. When she turned onto her street, she was surprised to
see Gracie’s pickup truck parked in her driveway.
Maeve smiled and waved, as she climbed out of her car.
Upon seeing her, Gracie piled out of the pickup. She was dressed
in white shorts, a stylish blue tank top, and sunglasses. Gracie studied
Maeve for a moment, in her torn jeans and plain t-shirt and said, “You
forgot, didn’t you?”
“Forgot?” Maeve had been so wrapped up in getting Wanda to the
pound, that she honestly had no idea what Gracie was talking about.
But as she stood in front of her and took in the summery outfit, the
thought suddenly hit her.
“Lunch on the Lawn!” Both women said together.
Gracie removed her sunglasses and gave Maeve a serious look. “I
thought you wanted the space for the café? You need to make a good
impression on my sister Lil, if you—”
Maeve held up a hand. “Don’t say another word! Let me run inside
Maeve dashed into her house and rummaged through her closet.
She hadn’t had a chance yet to properly sort her clothes, and being in
a rush flustered her.
She dug through several drawers before she found anything suit‐
able. She finally settled on a pair of flowery shorts and matching pink
and green silk top. She slipped some strappy gold sandals on her feet
and quickly pinned her strawberry blonde hair with a tortoise shell
Ready in record time!
When she ran out of the house, Gracie smiled. “Well, that’s more
like it,” she said. “Now hop in the Chevy, Maeve, because I need me
some lunch. How about you? You hungry?”
“You know what? I am. I dropped Wanda at the pound and missed
breakfast,” she said climbing into Gracie’s truck.
Gracie made a little sad face at the mention of the pound, but said
nothing while she revved the engine.
They wound through Wisteria Pines, and Maeve enjoyed the
scenery of the small town. There was a train station that offered
themed rides to tourists and locals, a quaint gold shop, and a small
town square with a statue in need of renovation. She rolled down the
window and let the mountain breeze ruffle her hair.
After a bit of drive, Gracie pulled into Wisteria Park. Maeve’s
breath caught as she saw that the little lunch event she’d been
expecting was instead, quite an extravaganza. There were vendors set
up selling homemade items such as quilts, dolls and wind chimes. A
few booths were selling desserts, ice cream, and artisanal jams and
honey. A local restaurant had set up their own tent with enough food
to feed an army.
Close to the park was a small stream with children running
around, splashing in the water. Some were wearing bathing suits;
others had merely abandoned their shoes. Near the stream was a
small stage, where a local band was setting up.
“Whoa,” Maeve said, as she and Gracie jumped out of the truck.
“This little party is a lot more than I expected. Is every person in town
Gracie shrugs. “Probably. You’re going to love it.” She pulled
Maeve through the crowd toward the food tents.
Together, they dodged children running around and playing in the
grass, teenagers tossing a football, and adults crowding around a tent
selling locally brewed beer. They stopped at a tent selling pulled pork
sandwiches and waited in the short line.
Suddenly, Gracie’s arm shot into the air, and she shouted across
the crowd. “Joseph! Hey, Joseph!”
Maeve’s face turned bright red.
A man in an officer’s uniform made his way over to them. Maeve
nudged Gracie in the side. “I told you I’m not interested in dating
right now,” she said.
“Shut up,” Gracie said through gritted teeth.
As the man came closer, Maeve’s shoulders hiked up in antic‐
He was tall, well built, his eyes were a sparkling blue, and his
chestnut brown hair was neatly combed.
“Gracie,” Joseph said with a smile that showed off his perfectly
Maeve swooned and realized with a twinge of regret, that Joseph
really was as handsome as Gracie had made him out to be.
“Joseph, this is Maeve. She’s new to Wisteria Pines,” Gracie said.
Joseph studied Maeve for a moment, then asked, “Why does your
name sound familiar?”
“Because she’s famous,” Gracie said.
“I am not,” Maeve said, embarrassment washing over her.
“You are too,” Gracie insisted. “She’s a big-time song writer from
LA. She’s written, Die! You Cheating Dog, and Choke on That Lie, and I’ll
Never Get Over You.”
Joseph’s eyes grew wide. “I love those songs. Man, you’ve had some
huge names sing your tunes. I never thought I’d actually meet a
celebrity out here in Wisteria Pines.”
Maeve laughed, an unintentionally loud, nervous laugh. “Oh, I
wouldn’t call myself a celebrity.”
The radio on Joseph’s shoulder holster beeped and a voice said,
“Hey, Mont, it’s that Donnie kid again …” Joseph’s hand clamped
down on the radio, and he mouthed, “talk to you later,” as he turned to
listen to the message.
“Donnie, I swear, that boy is going to wind up in prison,” Gracie
grumbled, as they reached the front of the food line.
“Local bad boy?” Maeve asked.
“Not exactly. He just thinks he’s a bad boy. He’s actually a real
sweetheart.” Gracie pulled out her wallet and ordered two
Maeve tried to stop her from paying, but Gracie said, “Save your
money, you can buy Lil a glass of wine when we see her and that will
get you into her good graces.”
They took the warm sandwiches over to a picnic table and sat
down. Gracie pointed toward the crowd, and Maeve saw two
teenagers—a boy dressed in all black and a cute blonde girl in all pink
–an odd-looking pair, though it was fairly obvious they were a couple.
The two of them were talking to Officer Joseph Mont.
“Donnie got into trouble for robbing a convenience store a while
back. His parents went through a rough divorce, and he’s been acting
out. The all black thing is new, but I’m pretty sure it’s a phase,” Gracie
“Who’s the girl?” Maeve asked.
“His girlfriend Julie. Sweet girl. If his parents won’t bother trying
to turn him around, she will,” Gracie said.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”I couldn’t stop reading!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Fast-paced and fun. I love these mysteires!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Diana Orgain is my new favorite author!”
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