Excerpts from Stella Gale: A Rare Breed

Excerpt from Chapter 12 - First National ABC Show Preparations
It was Thursday, late afternoon, at the Holiday Inn in Ridgemont, New Jersey. After two days of show preparation with a few club board members and a handful of volunteers, Margaret Appleman was finally free to take her first long breather, though she hardly considered it that because she could barely breathe at all as she walked quickly and deliberately back to her room. In truth, she hadn’t taken much of a breath since she’d said good-bye to Frank and climbed into her Gremlin three days earlier. The breadth and depth of her anticipatory anxiety and excitement regarding this show, was something she desperately needed to keep private. Were she to take a large or even medium breath, all could break loose in front of God knows who, and the consequences would be catastrophic. Four years of the grueling work of ‘making nice’ to anyone and everyone, which included bearing abuse the likes of which she had known her entire life—all of it could go up in smoke should anyone catch even a glimmer of what was going on inside
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Excerpt from Chapter 22 - The Show
While Charlene was screeching, Stella roused Oz and together they strolled over to Pedro who was still holding the microphone. She gently peeled his fingers from their tight grip and took it into her possession.
    Stella held the mike right next to her mouth and hissed into it low and loud, “CHARLENE!”
    The screeching ceased.
    Stella pulled the mike back a bit and continued in a more official tone, “You need to stop right now! You are diggin’ a hole deeper than I ever saw. I mean I have heard of diggin’ a hole clean through to China but I ain’t never seen a hole that deep till now.
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Excerpt from Chapter 24 - Ivan Runs Free
Whatever had been keeping her from falling into that hole let go. She didn’t flail or cry or scream, she just froze and dropped like a stone. As she dropped, she felt a sudden warmth brush across the top of her head and thought this must be the way it was meant to be, she was supposed to give in to the inevitable and drop into nothing.
    Then, suddenly, something grabbed hold of one of her feet and she lifted her head. Ivan’s giant warm muzzle was right there, inches from her face.
    He moved in closer as she looked at him. The hold on her foot grew tighter. She glanced down. He had inadvertently planted one of his front paws squarely on top of her boot. His whiskers tickled across her face as he sniffed her eyes, ears, nose, cheeks and chin, all the while warm air pumped rhythmically in and out of his nostrils. She tried to look into his amber eyes, but they were so close they were a blur. She waited.
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