The Trouble With Cupid

Fitzhenry & Whiteside -

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All Erin has to do is train the school mascot to perform on cue, and she will be a hero. But none of her dog training experience has prepared Erin for Cupid, the laziest, most unlovable dog that ever woofed!

What People Are Saying

Middle grade girls will enjoy this ‘feel good’ story for its humor.
– Voya
Langston has skillfully woven some very interesting themes into this novel – popularity, animal welfare and media responsibility.
– Resource Links


“Zach has an Irish setter. Ask him about them,” Rachel suggested. “Or tell him you have a friend who wants to buy one.”

“That’s a lie,” Erin said.

“Not really.” She waited while Erin paid for her lunch. “Make her imaginary. Give her a name. Say, Lola.”


“Sure.” Rachel led the way across the cafeteria to Zach’s table. “Tell him Lola lives on the island. Near your grandma. And that she loooooves Irish setters.” Zach looked up as they approached. “Who loves Irish setters?”

Erin was amazed he could hear anything over the noise. There was his best friend, Steve. Plus Nathan and Eric. Madison and Suze. All the popular kids from Grade Nine.

“Erin’s friend, Lola.” Rachel took the seat across from him. That left one seat beside Zach.

Erin didn’t want to sit down. She wanted to run. Maybe to Siberia. Or the Australian outback. She didn’t want to talk to Zach Cameron in front of everybody.

You want him to notice you, you’ve got to make the effort, Rachel had said. You want a guy bad enough, you have to fight for him.

Erin sat down.

“Lola lives on Vancouver Island,” Rachel said. “Near Erin’s grandma. Right, Erin?”

“Right.” Erin heard the quiver in her voice. Had anyone else noticed?

Zach looked at her. “Does Lola have an Irish setter?”

She glanced sideways. His eyes were gold-flecked, rimmed with chocolate-brown lashes. Almost too pretty to be real. “No.”

Her tongue twisted into a pretzel. Then she realized everybody was talking about fund raising for the spring dance. They weren’t paying attention to her. “But she’s talking about getting one.”

Rachel gave her a secret thumbs-up signal.

Zach leaned close. He had a tiny scar at the corner of his mouth. Who would have known? “Does she want a male or a female?”

The red flush started at the back of Erin’s neck. What had she gotten herself into. “I . . .uh . . . a female.”

“She wants to breed them,” Rachel added helpfully.

“Really?” Zach raised an eyebrow. “And she’s never owned one?”

Erin knew that made no sense at all. Most breeders lived with a certain kind of dog for years before breeding them. But Rachel didn’t know that. “Oh, Lola knows a lot about dogs,” Rachel continued. “She’s trained with them for years, right Erin?”

“Right,” Erin lied reluctantly.

“Lola helped Erin train Blue for the dog ring,” Rachel said cheerfully. “She taught her a pile of tricks about working with dogs, didn’t she, Erin?”

“A few I guess.” Praying Zach wouldn’t ask her to explain, Erin steered the conversation to safer ground. “But Lola . . . ” Her tongue tripped over the name. “Lola really likes setters.” Getting the lie out was harder than squeezing toothpaste out of an empty tube.

“She has good taste.” Zach took another bite of chili.

“Of course she does!” Rachel appeared determined to keep the conversation going. “Tell Zach why Lola likes setters so much, Erin.” She picked up a chicken leg, bit into it.

Erin wanted to kill Rachel. And the minute they were alone, she would. “Setters are her favorite breed because . . . uh . . . ” She searched desperately for something special to say about setters. “Because . . . uh . . . red’s her favorite color.”

Lame, lame, lame.

But Zach was looking at her, paying attention to her.

“And Lola likes the fact that setters are lively but good-natured. And she loves grooming so the feathered coat won’t be a problem either.” Erin was amazed at how easily the lies unfolded, one on top of another, on top of another. Maybe because she was talking about dogs, one of her favorite subjects. “Except . . . well . . . she’s having a hard time finding one so it’ll probably be a year or two before she gets one. Right now, she’s happy to just talk about Irish setters. To you.” Erin blushed. “I mean, to me. To me from you. If you tell me stuff, I’ll tell her, I mean.” Shut up, shut up, shut up! Erin stuffed her peanut butter sandwich in her mouth. She just couldn’t lie.

“Hey, talk about timing!” Zach pulled a scrap of paper out of his pocket and scribbled down some numbers. “Lucille’s having pups this summer. We’re looking for good homes. Tell Lola to give me a call. I’d like to talk to her. See what she’s looking for.”

Rachel gave her a panicked look. The prickle at the back of Erin’s neck spread across her shoulders, down her back. “That . . . uh . . . might be tough. For her to call, I mean.”

Zach frowned. “Why?”

Why? Why? “Well, uh . . . Lola’s . . . um . . . mute!” Erin blurted. About as mute as you could get. “She doesn’t . . . um . . . talk to anybody she doesn’t know well.”

Rachel tittered. “You mean, anybody at all, right Erin? Being that she’s mute and stuff.”

“Right.” Oh man, let me die now!

Perplexed, Zach glanced from Rachel to Erin. “How do you talk to her then?”

How did she talk to her? Erin’s stomach took a queasy drop. She didn’t talk to her. Because Lola didn’t exist!

“They talk on the computer.” Rachel came to her rescue. “Right, Erin?”

Erin managed a half smile. “Right.”

“And when they’re together, it’s not so hard because Erin knows sign language,” Rachel added.

Sign language?

“Whoa, cool!” Zach looked impressed. “My mom taught sign language for years.”