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The Purrfect Pet Sitter by Carol Thomas (1)

Prologue

Prom Night

Lisa looked up into Nathan’s deep blue eyes; their mouths were just inches apart.

‘You look stunning … really stunning,’ he whispered.

‘Thank you; you look pretty amazing yourself.’ She smiled.

They had been together since the third year of secondary school; in that time they had grown up together, become best friends, and – as boyfriend and girlfriend – shared many intimate moments. But, after the excitement and desire-fuelled intensity of the limousine journey, an evening of dancing with Nathan Baker, while he was wearing a charcoal grey, Moss Bros hire suit, was causing Lisa to have all kinds of thoughts and feelings she had never experienced before.

She had been looking forward to the prom for months, not only because it marked the end of her A-levels but also because she and her best friend, Felicity, had spent hours looking round shops, discussing what to wear and how to do their hair, nails and make-up. Now Lisa’s long blonde hair had been teased into shaggy curls and pinned at the sides around a tiara, and she was wearing the spaghetti-strapped, taffeta-skirted dress of her dreams, she felt more grown up and less like herself than she ever had.

Lisa looked at the familiar faces all around her, united in their celebration of the people they had become and their anticipation of the different futures they each had yet to embark upon. Her mum was right when she had said the night was significant; everything was changing and, in the balloon arch and crepe paper festooned school gym, that change was palpable. The head teacher was posing for photographs with those he had spent the last seven years reprimanding, teachers were laughing and chatting with ex-pupils and even the Goths, who had spent their entire school career avoiding social situations, had made an appearance. Lisa caught Felicity’s eye as she took a swig from a Pepsi bottle Lisa knew she had Malibu and Coke in and smiled. Felicity winked causing Lisa to laugh. Some things will always remain the same, she thought.

Nathan leaned in to ask if Lisa was OK.

She hadn’t realised she had stopped dancing. ‘Yes, it’s just …’

Nathan lifted her chin. ‘What is it, Lisa?’

The song changed tempo, enabling her to move in close enough to speak and to begin to move in unison with him once more.

‘I was just thinking. As I left the house I asked my mum and dad if they had any last minute words of wisdom.’

‘Risky.’ Nathan laughed.

‘Ha, well, my dad said I should work in the prom business because I’d make a fortune between the months of June and July. But my mum got all deep and meaningful. She said tonight’s not about what’s ending but what’s beginning.’

‘She did?’ Nathan seemed surprised.

‘Yes, and I guess she’s right.’ Lisa thought about her mum’s parting words. ‘There’s a whole world waiting for you, Lisa Blake.’ And she knew it was true; she was on the cusp of a new beginning. The thought was exciting, scary, and a little overwhelming.

Nathan slipped his hand further round the sequin-encrusted bodice of Lisa’s lilac dress bringing her closer to him. She felt the race of his pulse as he held her and the last song of the evening, Kelly Clarkson’s ‘A Moment Like This’, started to play.

Nathan swallowed before taking a step back. ‘Here’s to new beginnings.’ He breathed.

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