Love On A High Wire

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Marcie's attraction to Ivan sparked the very moment they met. But they lived in totally different worlds. She was a local high school student leading an everyday life and working after school for the local veterinarian. He was a dashing trapeze artist traveling with his circus family, and he would soon be back on tour. Was it only a fleeting romance? A romance that would vanish the moment Ivan left town? Had he fallen for her, or would he always remain an elusive dream? 

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Publié par
Date de parution 09 juillet 2015
Nombre de visites sur la page 3
EAN13 9781772996968
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0032 €. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

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Love on a High Wire
By Sydell Voeller
Digital ISBNs: EPUB 9781772996968 Kindle 9781772996975 WEB 9781772996982 Print ISBN 9781772996999 Amazon Print 9781772997002
Second Edition Copyright 2015 by Sydell Voeller Cover art Michelle Lee 2015 All rights reserved. Without limited the rights und er copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electron ic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the publisher of this book.
Chapter One
“Marcie, you’re fifteen minutes late!” Doc Hanslowe called as I hurried through the back door of the veterinarian clinic. My cheeks, flushed with the sting of the icy Decemb er rainfall outside, became even more so with embarrassment. For some reason the med icinal odors seemed more overpowering than usual. “I’m sorry,” I replied, still breathing heavily fro m my trek to the clinic. I lowered my gaze for a moment and then looked up a t him. I realized I didn’t have a good excuse for my tardiness. Doc’s steely gray eyes softened beneath his heavy b rows. I knew him too well to think his irritation would last more than a minute. “Well, never mind,” he replied. “Come on in. You kn ow you almost missed your chance...” “My chance for what?” “To drive with me to the south end of town where th e Bafario Brothers Circus sets up winter quarters every year.” “Oh, I know the place,” I answered, following behin d him. “But what’s going on?” We walked to the bright orange van parked in the ba ck lot, the rain pattering against my navy blue jacket. “An Arabian was injured during the afternoon rehearsal,” he said. “The horse in front of her lit out with its hind feet for no apparent reas on. The Arabian’s bleeding from a gash on her head.” Doc Hanslowe steered the van left onto the main art erial past a succession of used-car lots and fast-food franchises while I listened to him ramble on. He spoke as if being called to assist the circus performers was an every day occurrence. But I knew better. Working with large animals, even an ordinary horse, was a thrill for him, a welcome departure from his small animal practice here in ou r city of Lahoma, Washington. Doc and I shared a common bond: our love for animal s. I’d been hanging around his clinic ever since I was twelve. Finally through the work-study program at school, he’d hired me as his assistant. My thoughts swung back to the rising excitement in his voice. “The trainer, Alois Sebarian, phoned me. One of the clowns was working with the Arabian when the accident happened.” We sped through the wet streets. Minutes later the highway funneled into a one-way bypass that snaked its way through a sparsely popul ated residential area past the Southcrest Mall. “Was the accident in the indoor arena or the outdoo r one?” I asked. I’d toured the grounds with my biology class last May. It had been raining then, too, and not even the thick layers of sawdust on the outdoor arena floor had absorbed the puddles and slippery mud.
Doc’s fingers drummed over the steering wheel while we waited briefly at a light. I noticed him smiling faintly. “Mr. Sebarian didn’t say. No matter, though. If you ’re going to work with animals, Marcie, you’ll have to get used to treating them un der all conditions.” Soon we pulled into a big open lot fronting several acres bordered by a high cyclone fence. Doc brought the van to a halt outside the ar ena, grabbed his emergency kit off the seat, got out and slammed the door. The double gate was already ajar. A man dressed in a beige denim jacket and jeans waved his arms and motioned us inside. I scanned the interior of the indoor arena: three b ig rings in the center, surrounded by long, high rows of bleachers around the outer edges . Every year in Lahoma during November, just after th e Bafario Brothers arrive back in winter quarters following their annual tour, they’d give a huge performance here in the arena. I’d never seen any of their shows. My family just wasn’t the circus type. “There he is now!” I heard someone shout from the c orner of the auditorium. My gaze fell on a stunning white Arabian standing i n the far ring. A group of performers was clustered around it. Drawing closer, I realized the speaker was a girl i n her early twenties, I guessed, with straight blond hair hanging in silky strands past h er waist. She wore a black leotard and tights. Next to her was a really gorgeous guy with a head of thick black curls tumbling across his forehead. I decided he was about eightee n, a year older than myself. He had stooped over the horse and was pressing a wadded-up towel against the Arabian’s wound. Bloodstains streaked the surrounding concret e floor, and the horse was trembling. An older man who looked a lot like the g orgeous guy stroked the Arabian’s mane and murmured in soothing tones. The man looked up. “She’s been bleeding pretty bad, Doc. And she’s spooked from the smell of the blood.” He rose and extended his h and to Doc Hanslowe and then nodded to me. “Oh, by the way, I’m Alois Sebarian, the trainer who phoned you.” Doc quickly acknowledged his greeting. With firm, g entle strokes, he patted the Arabian’s side and spoke softly. Then he pulled bac k her eyelid. “Her color’s good, so she probably hasn’t lost as much blood as it appear s. Keep talking to her real easy like,” he muttered to Mr. Sebarian. I watched, fascinated, as Doc opened his bag. Filli ng a syringe with medication, he injected the sedative through the horse’s neck vein . Soon the Arabian’s head began to droop. “Marcie, please hand me a sponge,” he instructed, n odding toward his bag. I pulled out a package of sterile gauze, opened it and passe d it to Doc. Next he proceeded to scrub the wound with iodine, s have the hair and inject the local anesthetic. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the gorgeous guy move closer, briefly brushing my shoulder. “What’s your name?” he asked. “Marcie. But don’t bother me now. I need to help ta ke care of this poor creature.” Apparently Doc had noticed our brief exchange. “Mar cie, are you paying attention? Open those sutures in the gray package. I’ll need them in another minute.”
I followed Doc’s instructions step-by-step until th e cut had been sewn up and the Arabian had been given the antibiotic injection. Wh en we were finished, I heaved a sigh of relief. Doc and I had done a good job, and I cou ld see the horse was going to be fine. I looked around for the dark-haired guy, but he had vanished. “She might be a little woozy from the sedative,” Do c Hanslowe told the trainer. He nodded, a look of gratitude filling his dark eye s. “I’ll stay with Bombay as long as necessary. I see she’s beginning to perk up already . Thanks for coming, Doctor Hanslowe.” “Glad to help out anytime. It’s not often I get cal led to the circus grounds. Oh, by the way, Mr. Sebarian, this is Marcie Reynolds, a stude nt from the local high school.” “Pleased to meet you, Marcie,” the trainer said, sm iling. “But just call me Alois. Say, would you folks like a tour of the winter quarters? I’d be glad to have my son, Ivan, show you around.” Doc glanced down at his watch. “All right, thank yo u. My office is closed now, so we can take the time.” He turned again to me. “What do you say, Marcie? Think your folks would mind if you’re a little late tonight?” “Of course not!” I replied. Being late didn’t matte r if I had another chance to see some of the circus animals. Besides, I was always late. I managed to avoid his question about my parents. Although Mom was happy I’d found an aft er-school job, she couldn’t understand why I’d ever want to hang around the cli nic past quitting time, cleaning cages and feeding animals. The trainer motioned to a man in a black T-shirt an d faded blue jeans. “Benny, go find Ivan and send him out here.” Mr. Sebarian’s gaze settled back on Doc Hanslowe an d then shifted to me. “Benny’s one of our best cage boys, but he’s busy feeding th e cats right now. My son, Ivan, will be glad to show you around.” A minute later the trainer’s son appeared from the back entrance. My hunch had been right! He was the same guy who’d asked me my name w hen I’d been assisting Doc. His brown eyes rested on me while his father made t he introductions. A slow smile spread across his face. “Marcie and I’ve already me t... Well, sort of...” A warm flush swept over me. With a wave of his hand, Ivan began leading us out of the arena into the back lot. A row of motor homes, trailers, trucks and cages line d the pavement. The rain stopped, and a late-afternoon sun had brok en through scattered gray clouds to the west. I watched it sink behind the snowy tip s of the Olympic Mountains. “Most of us live in these trailers and motor homes, ” Ivan explained. “A few of our members stay in regular homes nearby and commute to winter quarters each day while we’re here in Lahoma. But it’s the only time of the year they can enjoy that luxury.” “I suppose you people do a lot of practicing while you’re here,” I heard Doc say. Ivan laughed. “Yes, we certainly do. During our six to eight weeks here every winter, we put in about nine or ten hours a day, practicing . But it still seems like a vacation compared to our schedule during the rest of the yea r.”
“You call nine hours a day a vacation?” Doc asked w ith obvious amusement. “I thought only doctors kept long hours!” Ivan nodded. “Well, there are always the animals to feed, exercise and groom after practices. And we also take advantage of the time t o repair equipment and redo our costumes. But we’re not as busy as when we’re on th e road, performing two or three shows a day.” Past the trailers and trucks, we came to the first section of animal buildings. “This is the monkey house,” Ivan continued. “And be yond this point are the cat barns and the upper corral. We’ll get to those later. We’ re careful to keep the monkeys well under cover in order to protect them from the damp climate. And when we’re traveling, they stay in glass cages, too.” I looked at a couple of dozen chimps swinging from overhead perches and grooming their companions. A few of them gaped back at us th rough the glass with curious bright eyes, grinning through bared teeth. “Don’t let those grins fool you,” Ivan said, as if he were reading my thoughts. “That type of facial expression is really a sign of defia nce. Chimps can be nasty. We once had a trainer who said he’d rather work with a Beng al tiger any day than a chimp.” I was just about to ask him another question about the chimps when I heard someone shouting from behind. All three of us turned around to see the cage boy running toward us. “Doc Hanslowe!” he called. “I’ve got an important m essage. Your receptionist called and wants you to hurry back to the office. Someone’ s Irish setter has gone into labor and seems to be getting into trouble. She says the owner’s rushing the dog right in to meet you there.” “Thanks,” Dr. Hanslowe replied. “And thank you, too , Ivan,” he added. “Sorry we can’t finish the tour, but I’m afraid it’s my turn to be on call tonight.” As Doc Hanslow and I strode back to the van, I turn ed to steal one final glance toward the monkey house. Ivan, leaning against the outside entrance, his arms crossed over his broad chest, was watching us leave.