Today's Reading

CHAPTER ONE
A few minutes before 6:00 p.m. 
on the first Saturday in December 
The Brenham, Texas,
Annual Lighted Christmas Parade

When I told Mama that I was fine with whatever Christmas plans she had, I had no idea I would arrive in my hometown of Brenham, Texas, to discover I'd been named grand marshal of the annual Lighted Christmas Parade. And I certainly didn't expect I'd end up on a glow-in-the-dark float made from a flatbed trailer loaned for the occasion from Bubba's Haul-It-Fast, Inc.

But there I sat, shivering on a cold December evening and wondering how in the world a woman of my age with a long list of hit records and Miranda Lambert's personal cell number on speed dial got herself into this situation.

Of course the answer was simple. My mother had always had a way of talking me into things.And my niece Marigold Evans, known by everyone as Mari, had inherited that talent.

I glanced around at my motley crew of companions on the light-covered float—a half dozen adorable, barking mutts in elf suits—and couldn't help but smile. Every one of them was rescued by Mari and her volunteers and dressed by my mother.

Yes, my mother makes dog clothes. Trust me, I encourage this every chance I get. If I don't, I'm afraid she will go back to insisting on making my stage costumes, and nobody wants that.

It was bad enough that Mama made a Christmas vest for me complete with lights spelling the words Merry Christmas that flash on and off. It was my fault though. I told her I absolutely refused to wear an outfit she made, and I may have let her think that I was contractually obligated to wear something chosen by my manager.

I mean, it's probably written into the contract somewhere. Who reads the fine print on those things? So Mama made the vest—which she pointed out was technically not an outfit—skirting around the rules to find a loophole yet again.

In the middle of the Christmas-themed chaos, my niece sat cross-legged with a smile as big as Texas and a headband with lighted candy canes. Mari might be able to talk me into just about anything, thanks to my mama, but she got her love of animals from me and her mama.

Mari had made a career out of this by working as a vet tech at Lone Star Veterinary Clinic in Brenham. That evening, both veterinarians and the rest of the staff had lined up to greet me as I climbed aboard the float emblazoned with the words GIVE A PET A SECOND CHANCE on a lighted sign at the front and LONE STAR VET CLINIC—BRENHAM'S BEST, JUST ASK YOUR PET! on the back.

Mari's description of that hunky vet Dr. Tyler Durham was not an exaggeration. He really is that handsome. And Dr. Keller—I'm supposed to call her Kristin—is sweet as pie.

And the vet tech who follows Mari around like a lost puppy? Parker something-or-other? I'll never forget those gorgeous blue eyes or the way he looks at my niece.

And the way she returns that look.

I had met the others, but I am terrible with names. I sure hoped they'd all be wearing name tags at the clinic Christmas party after the parade.

Oh, but the fur babies? I knew all their names and would have taken every one of them home if I could have gotten away with it.

Bucky and Clementine were barking like crazy at the policemen on horseback up ahead, while Skipper, Sunshine, and Bella were alternating between exploring the confines of the picket fence wrapped in Christmas lights that held them in and rolling around playing.

They reminded me of my two, Patsy and Cline, who were cooling their heels—or rather their paws—back at home at the most exclusive and expensive doggie spa in Nashville. I felt a nudge and looked down to see that the puppy Mari called Lady had determined that my lap was where she belonged. I tried to pay no attention, but those eyes...

Any pet lover knows when a dog has decided you're the one who ought to listen to him. Or, in this case, to her.

I gathered up the persistent puppy and tucked her under the blanket I'd thrown over my legs. The little girl—all or part Springer Spaniel, I guessed—instantly captured my heart with her glossy liver-and-white coat with beach waves of fur I never could manage, even with all the money I spend on hair products.

"Let's get this show on the road," someone called from up ahead, signaling a response from the drum line of the Brenham High School Band.
...

Join the Library's Online Book Clubs and start receiving chapters from popular books in your daily email. Every day, Monday through Friday, we'll send you a portion of a book that takes only five minutes to read. Each Monday we begin a new book and by Friday you will have the chance to read 2 or 3 chapters, enough to know if it's a book you want to finish. You can read a wide variety of books including fiction, nonfiction, romance, business, teen and mystery books. Just give us your email address and five minutes a day, and we'll give you an exciting world of reading.

What our readers think...

Read Book

Today's Reading

CHAPTER ONE
A few minutes before 6:00 p.m. 
on the first Saturday in December 
The Brenham, Texas,
Annual Lighted Christmas Parade

When I told Mama that I was fine with whatever Christmas plans she had, I had no idea I would arrive in my hometown of Brenham, Texas, to discover I'd been named grand marshal of the annual Lighted Christmas Parade. And I certainly didn't expect I'd end up on a glow-in-the-dark float made from a flatbed trailer loaned for the occasion from Bubba's Haul-It-Fast, Inc.

But there I sat, shivering on a cold December evening and wondering how in the world a woman of my age with a long list of hit records and Miranda Lambert's personal cell number on speed dial got herself into this situation.

Of course the answer was simple. My mother had always had a way of talking me into things.And my niece Marigold Evans, known by everyone as Mari, had inherited that talent.

I glanced around at my motley crew of companions on the light-covered float—a half dozen adorable, barking mutts in elf suits—and couldn't help but smile. Every one of them was rescued by Mari and her volunteers and dressed by my mother.

Yes, my mother makes dog clothes. Trust me, I encourage this every chance I get. If I don't, I'm afraid she will go back to insisting on making my stage costumes, and nobody wants that.

It was bad enough that Mama made a Christmas vest for me complete with lights spelling the words Merry Christmas that flash on and off. It was my fault though. I told her I absolutely refused to wear an outfit she made, and I may have let her think that I was contractually obligated to wear something chosen by my manager.

I mean, it's probably written into the contract somewhere. Who reads the fine print on those things? So Mama made the vest—which she pointed out was technically not an outfit—skirting around the rules to find a loophole yet again.

In the middle of the Christmas-themed chaos, my niece sat cross-legged with a smile as big as Texas and a headband with lighted candy canes. Mari might be able to talk me into just about anything, thanks to my mama, but she got her love of animals from me and her mama.

Mari had made a career out of this by working as a vet tech at Lone Star Veterinary Clinic in Brenham. That evening, both veterinarians and the rest of the staff had lined up to greet me as I climbed aboard the float emblazoned with the words GIVE A PET A SECOND CHANCE on a lighted sign at the front and LONE STAR VET CLINIC—BRENHAM'S BEST, JUST ASK YOUR PET! on the back.

Mari's description of that hunky vet Dr. Tyler Durham was not an exaggeration. He really is that handsome. And Dr. Keller—I'm supposed to call her Kristin—is sweet as pie.

And the vet tech who follows Mari around like a lost puppy? Parker something-or-other? I'll never forget those gorgeous blue eyes or the way he looks at my niece.

And the way she returns that look.

I had met the others, but I am terrible with names. I sure hoped they'd all be wearing name tags at the clinic Christmas party after the parade.

Oh, but the fur babies? I knew all their names and would have taken every one of them home if I could have gotten away with it.

Bucky and Clementine were barking like crazy at the policemen on horseback up ahead, while Skipper, Sunshine, and Bella were alternating between exploring the confines of the picket fence wrapped in Christmas lights that held them in and rolling around playing.

They reminded me of my two, Patsy and Cline, who were cooling their heels—or rather their paws—back at home at the most exclusive and expensive doggie spa in Nashville. I felt a nudge and looked down to see that the puppy Mari called Lady had determined that my lap was where she belonged. I tried to pay no attention, but those eyes...

Any pet lover knows when a dog has decided you're the one who ought to listen to him. Or, in this case, to her.

I gathered up the persistent puppy and tucked her under the blanket I'd thrown over my legs. The little girl—all or part Springer Spaniel, I guessed—instantly captured my heart with her glossy liver-and-white coat with beach waves of fur I never could manage, even with all the money I spend on hair products.

"Let's get this show on the road," someone called from up ahead, signaling a response from the drum line of the Brenham High School Band.
...

Join the Library's Online Book Clubs and start receiving chapters from popular books in your daily email. Every day, Monday through Friday, we'll send you a portion of a book that takes only five minutes to read. Each Monday we begin a new book and by Friday you will have the chance to read 2 or 3 chapters, enough to know if it's a book you want to finish. You can read a wide variety of books including fiction, nonfiction, romance, business, teen and mystery books. Just give us your email address and five minutes a day, and we'll give you an exciting world of reading.

What our readers think...