Here it is!!
Reese Dante has done it again... It's gorgeous, and really captures Isaac and Brady. It couldn't be any more perfect. I just adore it. :)
And an excerpt to celebrate the amazing cover:
“So, Carter,” Hannah said, smiling at me when I finally drew my eyes off her brother. “How’s the patient?” she asked, looking to the dog between my legs.
I looked Brady over, feeling his spine, his hips, ribs, legs and fetlocks. I looked at his eyes, his gums, his teeth, though I really didn’t need to. He was a picture of health. But before I could say so, Dr Fields answered. “Brady’s what? Nearly three years old now?”
It was a little odd. He wasn’t giving any kind of diagnosis. He was steering the conversation. I looked at him quizzically, but he gave a quick but subtle shake of his head and I knew not to question him. But I had to say something. If I wanted Isaac to trust my professional opinion on anything in the future, I had to ask something. So, instead, I asked, “Isaac, how’s his appetite?”
It wasn’t an invasive question, more of a general observation.
Isaac, who was now again sitting next to Dr Fields, seemed surprised at my question. “He would eat until he exploded if you let him.”
I chuckled. Most Labradors, even well-trained guide dogs, would eat until they exploded if you let them, but I didn’t say this out loud. “And how many days per week on average does he work?” I wasn’t an expert on guide dogs but I knew some. I knew when they were harnessed with their human half of the team, it was called working.
Isaac was still, no expression, no movement, and I wondered if I’d asked a wrong question. But then he answered, “That depends. Sometimes five, sometimes seven days a week.” He opened his mouth to say something else, but then obviously thought better of it. He cocked his head in my general direction. “Why?”
“Just getting to know the patient,” I answered, hoping he’d hear the nonchalance in my tone. “That’s all. I’m sure Dr Fields will fill me in on any particulars if needed.”
Dr Fields, my boss for the next two weeks, jumped in on the conversation. “Dr Reece, could you go out to the car and grab the bag of dried dog food? There’s a five pound bag in the trunk. I forgot to bring it in.”
I could read my cues. He wanted some alone time with Isaac. “Sure.”
And as I stood to leave, Hannah joined me. “I’ll walk you out.”
As we walked out into the warm summer sun, she sighed. “Isaac can be difficult,” she said softly. “So don’t feel bad. He and Max have known each other a lot of years.”
I popped the trunk, collected the bag of dog food and closed the station wagon’s rear door. I looked at her and smiled. “I can see that.”
She smiled back at me. “You can see which one? That Isaac can be difficult, or that he’s good friends with Max?”
I wisely chose not to answer, which was in itself an answer.
Hannah smiled and nodded. “Just don’t let him bother you too much. He loves Brady, he does. It’s just some days are better than others…”
Before I could ask her what she meant, she looked to the bag in my arms and she brightened. “Come on, I’ll show you where you can put that.”
We walked back into the house, through the living room where Isaac and Dr Fields were still talking, and into the kitchen. I sat the bag of Brady’s dry food on the counter and not a second later, the two men in the living room stood, their conversation drawing to a close.
When we were saying goodbye, Dr Fields had taken Isaac’s hand, patting it the way a grandfather would his grandson’s. “It’s not goodbye. I’ll call in and see how you’re doing from time to time.”
Isaac snorted. “If you can drag yourself off the golf course.”
Dr Fields laughed. “Well, there’s that.” But then he was serious and patted the younger man’s hand. “You can expect the same service from Dr Reece, Isaac. He’ll look after you.”
Isaac had nodded but not said anything, and when we’d driven out onto the road, heading back to the clinic, Dr Fields sighed. “Isaac doesn’t take change very well,” he explained. “He never has.”
I thought about that, and what certain changes would mean to a blind man. He’s familiar with Dr Fields, he trusts him. Not just in his treatment of his guide dog, but trusts his judgment and also, more importantly, trusts him in his house. His safe haven. Any kind of significant change must be an ordeal. I looked at the older man and agreed with a nod. “No, I don’t suppose he would.”
I had questions about Isaac Brannigan, but figured the older man had just basically said goodbye to an old friend, so I decided it could wait another day. We made the rest of the drive back to the clinic in silence and went straight back to appointments. It wasn’t until later that evening the questions I had couldn’t wait.
I’d finished my daily appointments and was catching up on paperwork when I’d opened the Brannigan file. So I knocked lightly on Dr Fields’ office door, and when he looked up, I held up the thick file so he’d know who I was referring to and asked, “Is there any reason why we run every imaginable test on a healthy dog? Just what exactly are we trying to find wrong with this dog?”
Dr Fields put down his pen and closed the folder in front of him. He took off his reading glasses, rubbed his thumb and index finger into his eyes and sighed loudly. “Come in and sit down, Carter,” he said, resigned. “Let me tell you about Isaac Brannigan.”
* * * *
Blind Faith is available January 26th. I'll post links when I have them. :)