And I’m back. Where have I been all week? Have I been off in the wilds on jungle safari? Shooting through dangerous rapids in a water raft? Scaling mountains? Parachuting? Backpacking across Europe? Unfortunately, no. I’ve actually been here the whole time.

I’ve just been working at home because my travelling partner, Stacy, went on vacation. She was supposed to come back Wednesday and I thought I’d be back in the office by Thursday. But I haven’t heard from her. So, I guess she decided to take an extended holiday. Good for her! She certainly deserves a break. But hello! Couldn’t anyone send me an email to let me know?! Yeah, I know, I’m just jealous because I didn’t get to go anywhere too.

So, the reason for telling you all this is because I’ve been putting off the blog on account of my dial-up connection at home.

It seems particularly tortuous this week for some reason. I think it’s because I have so many pictures to share with you, and the idea of uploading them from home causes me excruciating pain. I’ve been working on the Bread ‘n Molasses site, uploading some new games for the Games Room. And it’s taking forever! So, that’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.

Well, as promised, the next chapter in our scintillating novel appears today on The Collaboration page.

Woo-wee! Looks like love might be in the air at the Laughing Bear Lodge! Thank you, Lois, for playing the game so well and contributing Chapter Two!

Andrea is going to take it from here. Look for Chapter Three to appear within the next week.

If you want to get in on the action, it’s never too late. Send me an email and I’ll add your name to the rotation.

Chapter 2

Posted by Lois Friday September 12, 2003

Sitting alone at the back of the bus, Dallan thought about the reason he was here. It was not his idea of a great summer vacation, but his parents had insisted.

The spoiled child of rich parents in Alberta, Dallan never had to work a day in his life. His parents felt if they sent him to Miramichi and made him look for a job to earn his keep, he would learn a valuable lesson in life, so they booked him a room at the Lodge and paid for the first week only. With his return ticket dated three months away, he would have to work for his stay.

“Well, I will show them,” he thought as he climbed off the bus. “I will put in my time here and go back home and tell everyone about this little hick town and the people here.”

He noticed the doctors from Toronto and thought to himself that they were his kind of people and he would try to hang out with them. He sidled up to their group and to his amazement they were looking to hire a young lad to cook and clean fish for them on their trips.

Dallan thought this was great and eagerly accepted the job. He had seen fish in Alberta. All he had to do was open the box and put it in a pan, he could do that.

“Easy money,” he thought.

The plans were set; he would leave for his first fishing trip in the morning.

As he entered the Lodge, he thought about getting the time in, and paying his own way so he could go back to Alberta and prove to his parents how responsible he was and how wrong they were about him. He was so deep in his thoughts he hardly heard the whisper of his name.

Annie spoke his name again and startled, he looked at her.

“Yes, I’m Dallan Bowden,” he stammered, looking into Annie’s eyes.

They were the most beautiful eyes he had ever seen. He could not believe how beautiful this woman was, he knew he had to get to know her.

Annie felt flattered by the boy’s stare but she wished it came from someone else. Her eyes roamed over the other guests in the hall searching for Trey.

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