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Copyright 1999 by Edie Claire

Originally published by New American Library, a division of Penguin Putnam, Inc.

Smashwords edition published 2011.

This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer's imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental.

All Rights Are Reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission from the author.


For my friends at IUMC

Chapter 1

The sounds filtered through Leigh's sleeping brain, nagging her into consciousness. She knew them all too well. First the series of short, wet, hiccups—then the muffled splat. Her cat, Mao Tse, was throwing up. Again.

Leigh groaned and pried up an eyelid just long enough to read her clock.

3:37 AM. Wonderful.

She was almost asleep again when she remembered she wasn't at home.

Get up, you ingrate. Now.

The bed was warm, the mattress comfortable. Leigh's eyes remained closed as she rationalized. The mess was probably in the kitchen on the linoleum. It wouldn't matter if she waited till morning. It wouldn't matter at all.

She lay quietly a little longer, trying to believe herself as she nestled more deeply under the covers. It didn't work. In her mind all she could see was her cousin's favorite throw pillows—liberally laced with cat vomit.

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