Page 20

Not that he'd admit this to anyone, especially Zoe since it would give her a hold over him, but he really looked forward to their nightly ritual. It was so much better than watching television where he usually just vegged out until he could barely keep his eyes open. Listening to Zoe read was relaxing and enjoyable. He found himself hanging on her every word, ready for more and at the end of the night he usually had to stop himself from begging her to read just one more chapter and surprisingly it had very little to do with the book, although he did enjoy parts of it.

"I think he has to go out again," Zoe said, walking over to the coffee table and picking up a-

"Why the hell are you putting a hot pink leash on him?" Trevor demanded, outraged on behalf of the poor dog.

Zoe frowned up at him as if he were the crazy one. "It's just a leash. Besides it was the last one the pound had to give out," she said, shrugging like it was no big deal.

"You can't put a male dog on a hot pink leash, woman."

"Why not?"

"Because he's a man," Trevor said, exasperated. "What's next? A pink sweater?"

She shrugged sheepishly. "I think he looks cute in pink."

The dog whimpered near the door, drawing their attention. "Alright, I'm coming," she said, walking over to the dog and clipping the leash onto a really cheap thin collar that wouldn't do.

"Do you know if the convenient store on Washburn sells dog food?" she asked, looking over her shoulder at him.

"He doesn't have any food?" Trevor asked, wondering why she took the damn thing when she clearly didn't know what the hell she was doing.

"I gave him the baggie of food they sent home, but I don't think that was enough," she said, frowning as she stumbled over the dog and opened the door.

She really didn't have a clue, he decided. "You don't want to feed him any of that shit they sell at convenient stores. I'll look and see what I can find here, but you're going to have to run out tomorrow and get him some proper supplies."

"Proper supplies," she repeated with a look that said she had no idea what the hell she wasn't supposed to get.

Praying for patience, he gestured for her to move her ass before the dog took a leak on his floor. "I'll go with you to the pet store tomorrow, but after that you're on your own," he said.

"Thank-eek!" she let out another adorable squeak as the dog yanked her to the front door. "Toby!" she cried and Trevor shook his head in disgust, a sissy name on top of a pink collar. Poor bastard, he thought as he headed for Zoe's kitchen.

A quick search through the mostly bare cabinets had him scowling and the search through her practically empty refrigerator had him fuming. He knew she hadn't forgotten to shop or didn't have enough money to buy food. One look at the insane price tag on the box of twigs some sick bastard had the nerve to call food let him know that money wasn't the issue.

She had no meat, no cheese, condiments, juice, milk or anything with flavor. Instead, one entire shelf in her refrigerator was stocked with bottles of spring water and one drawer held a large bag of salad mix and half a cucumber. The only real food in the fridge was the stuff she used to make up his lunches and that only took up half a shelf and he didn't need to look to know that she wasn't eating any of it.

He shut the door with more force than necessary and leaned back against it. She was starving herself and he had absolutely no idea what the hell he should do about it. After a minute of stressing out about it he decided that it wasn't his place to do jack shit about it. She was a grown woman with a level head on her shoulders. If she was hungry she'd eat. Shoving his opinion on her would only cause problems that he didn't need at the moment so for now he would let it go.

Chapter 11

"But that one's pretty!" Zoe pointed out as Trevor simply sighed as he grabbed the pretty pink princess dog toy out of the carriage and returned it to the shelf.

"He's a male, Zoe. He needs man toys," he stressed, picking up a dull brown rope and tossing it into the carriage along with a few, in her opinion at least, boring looking chew toys.

She gestured to the pink princess chew toy. "Couldn't we just get that and see if he likes-"

"No way in hell," he said, giving her a quick swat on the ass to get her moving.

"Stop doing that," she hissed at him even as she started moving before he could do it again, and she knew he would. He simply shrugged as if it was no big deal and it probably wasn't for him, but it was seriously screwing with her hormones.

It was just another reason for her to get her butt in gear and do something about it and she would. Right after she bought that really cute flowery pink bowl set for Toby.

"Don't even think about it," Trevor warned before she even got into grabbing distance. He reached past her and grabbed two large metal dog bowls and placed them in the carriage with the rest of the stuff that he picked out since every one of her suggestions was met with an exasperated sigh and a few muttered choice words.

"Fine," she said, making a mental note to swing back this way after she finished with her other shopping. The same shopping she was actually pretty nervous about. She'd put it off as long as possible, but if she wanted to make some changes in her life and meet a guy and hopefully have sex again before she was eighty then she'd have to suck it up and do it.

"What's wrong?"

"Nothing. Why?" she asked, stepping past him and that gaze of his that made her feel like he knew what she was thinking. What she had planned tonight was bad enough. She didn't need him finding out about it and embarrassing her about it.

Jumping back into sex by having a one night stand wasn't exactly something she wanted to share, especially with Trevor, who would never understand. It wasn't as if she'd ever done it before or even planned to make it a habit, but it was something that she needed to do. Not just because she really missed and needed sex again or that she was sure she would die if she didn't have any soon, which she was, but because she didn't think her self-esteem could take the hit if she ended up dating a guy only to have him run the hell the other way when he saw her na**d for the first time.

Her self esteem wouldn't be able to handle a rejection of that level. Tonight was the tester. She was going to find a man that she was relatively attracted to and take a chance. If he took one look at her na**d body and made a run for it then she'd know that she had some more work to do before she pursued any relationship. If on the other hand the man wasn't repulsed and they had sex then she'd feel more confident about moving forward with her life and her plans.

"Hey," Trevor said, lightly tapping her on the nose.

"What?" she asked, slightly startled.

"I asked if you saw the dog treats anywhere. I think we went past the aisle," he said, craning his neck to look around.

"They're probably back near the food," she said, already pushing the carriage that way. As she moved down the aisle her eyes landed on a bottle of strawberry scented dog shampoo.

Trevor muttered something as he reached past her and grabbed a bottle of unscented green dog shampoo and Zoe added another item to her ever growing list of items to pick up later. She didn't know how long she'd have Toby for, but she planned on making him feel special and loved until he went to live with his new family.