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One More Dance

Northern Pines series, Volume 1

Roxanne Rustand

Published by Roxanne Rustand, 2021.

This is a work of fiction. Similarities to real people, places, or events are entirely coincidental.


First edition. March 19, 2021.

Copyright © 2021 Roxanne Rustand.

ISBN: 978-1393263265

Written by Roxanne Rustand.

Also by Roxanne Rustand

Coupled by Christmas

The Mistletoe Puppy

A Montana Christmas

An Irish Christmas Blessing

A London Christmas

A Scottish Christmas

Christmas in Paris: A clean and wholesome romance

Northern Pines series

One More Dance (Coming Soon)

Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page

Also By Roxanne Rustand


















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Also By Roxanne Rustand



One thing about starting the day with a burglary—the rest of the day just had to be better.

Dr. Kate Mathers wearily leaned over her desk to close down the computer for the night, turned to grab her purse from a file cabinet drawer and surveyed her office.

This morning it had been in shambles—window glass shattered and scattered across the carpet, papers strewn, her late grandmother’s stained glass lamp lying in rainbow shards on her desk. A small figurine of a golden retriever, broken.

Even now, the overhead lights picked out the tiny glittering fragments she’d missed. Precious fragments that brought back such memories...

At least the intruders hadn’t bothered the animals in the back rooms, thank God. The veterinary hospital’s patients and the boarders were all in roomy cages or pens, and would have been defenseless. A random act?


The sheriff had certainly supported that theory, though perhaps he had a vested interest in trying to make her believe it.

She fervently hoped he was right, because the alternative was far more frightening. If he was wrong, the threats were escalating. And one day, it wouldn’t be just intimidating phone calls and anonymous letters and property damage.

It could become something far more personal.

“You’re sure you’re okay?” Amy, her twenty-something vet tech, hovered at the door of the office and planted her hands firmly on her slender hips. “I mean, I can stay longer if you don’t want to be alone.”

An image of the pretty, waiflike blonde as her protector made Kate smile. She waved a hand toward the back door, hoping she looked more confident than she felt. “I’m fine. And I’ll be right on your heels, anyway. Casey’s plane arrives in less than an hour.”

“Cool. Tell her to call me, okay? Maybe we can hang out while she’s on break.” Hitching the shoulder strap of her purse higher, the girl glanced down the hall. “I locked the front door and checked the windows. Didn’t set the security system, though.”

“I’ll take care of it when I leave, so you can get to your softball game. Thanks again for all your help with the cleanup, by the way.”

"Any time." Amy hesitated, worrying at her lower lip with her teeth, then disappeared. A moment later, the back door creaked open and slammed shut.

Kate took a final walk through the clinic and double-checked the doors and windows, knowing that Amy had taken care of them all, but needing that reassurance. The sheriff had surveyed the damage and taken notes, though his vague promises had done little to dispel her worries.

The lab and pharmacy had been thoroughly ransacked. Dozens of pharmaceutical bottles had been stolen or broken, and the perpetrator had made off with boxes of syringes and needles. A careless thief at that—one who’d left a trail of supplies between the jimmied back door of the clinic and a vehicle waiting in the parking lot.

And now, the idiot was probably shooting up some veterinary drugs that could do him an incredible amount of harm. And if he didn’t keel over, he might well be back.

Maybe with friends.

Possibly armed, and certainly dangerous even if he wasn’t.

Then again, the perpetrator could have been someone entirely different...bent on reinforcing a warning that her husband, Jared, still refused to heed.

The thought made Kate shudder. How often did Amy stay late, working on the books? Or come in early to feed the animals and clean pens? Casey’s former high school classmate still seemed more like a second daughter than an employee, and she wouldn’t stand a chance against an intruder. Jared had promised—

With a snort, Kate strode to the back door, locked the shiny new dead bolt, and walked to her black SUV.

He’d promised to take care of a lot of things this past six months. Estimates on a new security system and steel doors for the clinic, for one thing. Help with the plans to remodel their kitchen at home. Research on hotel and air reservations for the tropical vacation they’d talked about for the past year. Those sort of tasks she usually left up to him, because as a lawyer he’d always been much more thorough at gathering and analyzing such information.

But he’d been as busy with his practice as she’d been with hers, and now that he’d also set up a Granite County free legal aid storefront, he had even less time. Late nights, working weekends. When had they last sat down together for a decent supper?

But now her clinic couldn’t wait any longer. With trouble brewing over some of the pro bono cases he’d taken on against some powerful local business owners, was this break-in part of a vendetta against Jared, or just someone after drugs? She needed the security upgrade as soon as possible.

On impulse, she tried his cell phone once more. Again, the call routed immediately into his voicemail. Answer your phone, Jared. Where are you?

A wisp of dark thoughts from the past taunted her. Of a time when rumors had flown about an affair, and whispers had followed in her wake when she walked down the street. Jared had furiously denied the accusations and had temporarily moved out, though he'd come back in less than a week.

She brushed the painful memories aside. Everything was fine. It had been fine for years, and dredging up old hurts never did anyone a bit of good. In the end, she

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