There’s more trouble in store for the Stephensons!
Darren’s best friend, Marcus, is hiding a big secret. What will happen when Anna finds out, but promises she won’t tell? And where is Dad again, just when you need him?
If Anna’s going to put things right this time, she’ll need Rocky’s help more than ever!
Rocky, the former champion greyhound, and all your favourite characters return for another captivating story.
Read an extract below.
AND ROCKY TOO.
I was in the kitchen talking to Mum after school on Monday, when Darren flung open the back door. Rocky, our greyhound, had been waiting patiently for Darren to come home. He started wagging his tail round and round in circles and doing those funny bouncing-about steps that look like he’s dancing.
Darren completely ignored Rocky. He threw his bag in the corner, stomped over to the fridge, pulled out the milk and started drinking straight out the carton.
‘And hello to you, too,’ said Mum.
‘Get a glass, Darren,’ I told him, ‘we don’t all want your germs!’
Darren slammed the carton down on the draining board so hard a fountain of milk shot out the top. ‘Shut up, stupid!’ he yelled at me, his face like thunder.
He turned to go storming off, like he always does when he’s in a strop, but he didn’t notice Rocky standing behind him, waiting to be stroked. Instead of making a dignified exit, Darren stumbled over the dog and nearly went flying.
‘Move out the way!’ Darren shouted at Rocky. Then he saw me laughing, ‘And you can shut your face!’
I couldn’t care less about Darren having a go at me, but he wasn’t getting away with being horrible to Rocky.
‘Don’t you dare treat Rocky like that! He hasn’t done anything to you!’ I yelled back at him.
‘Stop it both of you, NOW!’ Mum broke in. ‘Darren, don’t speak to anyone like that in this house. And Anna, leave your brother alone, please – you’re old enough to know better!’
That’s typical, isn’t it? Just because I’m eleven and the eldest I’m supposed to behave responsibly all the time. I was going to tell Mum what I thought of that, when Rocky started whining. He was standing by the door, trying to push it open with his nose. I guessed right away what was bothering him: Rocky was expecting somebody else, but he hadn’t arrived.
‘Where’s Marcus?’ I asked Darren.
‘Yes, where’s Marcus? He always comes back after school with you,’ Mum asked as well.
Since we’d had Rocky, Marcus Harding had become Darren’s new best friend and he was round our house all the time. He was in Darren’s class and used to be the biggest troublemaker in the school. But Rocky had showed us there was another side to Marcus and that he was all right really, if you only gave him a chance.
‘Well, he’s not coming today!’ snapped Darren.
‘Not coming?’ repeated Mum. ‘Why? What’s wrong?’
‘Shut up about it, will you?’ he shouted back.
‘That’s quite enough, Darren, I’m not telling you again!’ Mum told him in that special voice she uses, which nobody ever argues with.
Darren went quiet and I could see he was trying not to cry. Then he mumbled, ‘I waited for him like I always do and he pushed past me and ran off!’
So that was what this was all about! Just because Marcus Harding had gone off on his own for once, Darren was acting like the sky had fallen in.
‘Never mind, love, perhaps Marcus is busy today,’ said Mum. I wanted her to tell Darren he was making a fuss about nothing and instead she was feeling sorry for him!
‘I don’t care! He can stop away for ever; doesn’t bother me!’ Darren stepped over Rocky and walked off, trying to act like it didn’t matter.
For children aged 8 and above – and dog lovers of all ages!