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An excerpt from Ink, Red, Dead, newly revised and expanded, by Joanna Campbell Slan. (Grab it before the price goes up to $9.99! Go to http://tinyurl.com/inkred )

 
“You
need a Diet Dr Pepper?” asked Dodie as she set one at my elbow.

          “You read my mind,” I said.

          “Whatever it is that’s bothering you,
Sunshine, you’ll feel better about it when you’ve gotten more rest. Things
always look their worst when you’re tired.” Her large hand patted my shoulder
as she scooted a cold aluminum can my way. I took the cold Diet Dr Pepper and
then realized, this behavior was totally out of character for Dodie.

          “Sheila called you.”

          “Yes, she did.” My boss didn’t even
have the good grace to look embarrassed.

          “That’s not fair!”

          “She was worried about you.”

          “I bet.”

          “You ran over her neighbor’s mailbox,”
said Dodie. “And you kept on going.”

          “I wondered what that
bumpity-bump-bump-bump noise was.”

          “Now you know. That was the sound of a
once sturdy four-by-four being dragged along a city street. In Ladue.”

          “Argh,” I groaned and rested my
forehead on my arms again. “That’ll be an expensive fix.”

          “Not really. Robbie and the neighbor
discussed the damage. Seems that the neighbor has wanted to put up a brick
mailbox stand for years. Robbie offered to help. You’re in the clear,
Sunshine.”

          “Argh,” I groaned again, but the Diet
Dr Pepper was definitely lifting my spirits. “Dodie, do you think there’s only
one person in the world for each of us? A soul mate? Just one?”

          She fiddled with her Coke can. “That’s
what I tell Horace. That he’s my one and only.”

          “So you do believe it.”

          “No, but I’m a good liar. Especially
when it counts. There’s no reason for Horace to think he’s replaceable. He’s
not. And I’m not about to go looking. But do I really believe there’s only one
person for each of us? No. There are millions upon millions of people in this
world. I think you could love and live with at least a handful.”

          I wiped my eyes and took a big drink
of my Dr Pepper. “A handful.”

          “At least. Now get to work. I’m not
paying you to sit around and wax philosophical.”

          She’d almost made it back to the stock
room when I called out, “Dodie? Thank you.”

          “It’s okay, Sunshine. My therapist’s
license never came through. The advice I gave you is worth exactly what you
paid for it.”