Excerpt from Rub My Pumpkin

"Man, if this ainít a dog town, nothing is! Donít you think so, Rick?"

It rarely happened, but Rick had to admit that this time maybe Booey was right. Toppers Cove didnít appear to be any different than any other small New England town theyíd passed through on their way here. Like most coastal settlements, it was a small fishing village, but its one saving grace was that it also boasted a large processing plant. It was at that plant where he and his friend had snagged job.

Welcome to Toppers Cove. Established 1640.

Rick stared at the sign as they passed it. It was quaint looking and framed in one of those gingerbread-type braces, but freshly re-painted, as if the local chamber of commerce had made it a high-priority item of their list of town improvements.

A hard punch to the arm got his attention. He cast an irritated look at the driver. "What?"

"Listen up when Iím talking to you," Booey griped.

"Booey, you never shut up."

"Thatís Ďcause everything I say is important. Donít you agree this is a dog town? I bet their idea of excitement is counting the patterns on the wallpaper."

"What were you expecting?" Rick asked his childhood friend. "Not every place can be like Chicago."

Booey made a face. "I bet they even put anchovies on their pizza here."

Rick was about to remark on the fact that he could request no anchovies, when a dark-haired woman stepped out a building and onto the boardwalk that lined both sides of the two-lane street. She glanced their way as she checked for traffic, and he was immediately struck by her beauty. That, and the long black hair flowing over her shoulders.

He remained riveted on her face as they drove by, turning his head to follow her. For the briefest moment their eyes met, and he thought he saw pain in their dark depths. One instant, and it was gone. Quickly, he turned around in his seat to try and see which way she went. Unfortunately, Booey turned down a side street, and the woman in the pale blue patterned dress who had remained standing on the boardwalk, watching them go by, was lost to sight. Irritated, Rick snorted.

"What?"

"Nothing," he responded curtly.

Booey tisked. "Mustíve been a female for you to act like that. Was she pretty?"

"Gorgeous."

"Blonde?"

"Black hair."

Booey gave him a wide-eyed look of disbelief. "Black hair? No kidding?"

"No kidding." Rick gave the rearview mirror another glance, on the off chance he might spot the woman again, but it wasnít to be.

"Huh." The man scratched his two-day-old growth. "That has to be a new one for your books. I donít think youíve ever shown interest in a raven-haired beauty before. Did she have a rack?"

"I donít know. I wasnít concentrating on that area."

Booey gave a little hoot. "You didnít notice her rack? Boy, she mustíve been a stunner. Oops. Heads up. Weíre here."