Category Archives: Furbaby Friday

Furbaby Friday with CJ Zahner!


A warm welcome to CJ, who joins us to share her beloved dog and her paranormal suspense, Dream Wide Awake.

CJ: First, let me clarify. Furgy is my dog. My son, Zak, thinks she’s his, but she’s mine until the end of time. I’ve never lived without a dog for more than a few weeks. Rayberg, Lucky, Daisy, Tasha, Cody, Maggie, and Molly all hold places in my heart. Furgy owns my heart.

She came to us thirteen and a half years ago when my children still lived at home. Since then, she’s kept me company as I watched my son and two daughters pack their belongings and hustle off to college and then lives of their own.  I live in a small town where jobs are scarce. So, each child ventured off to chase their dreams in bigger cities—Raleigh, Philadelphia, Los Angeles—while my hubby, Furgy, and I stayed behind. Three years ago, when I retired from my full-time job to chase my own dream of novel writing, Furgy sat at my feet and encouraged me. In fact, she’s here now. Positioned two feet away, sprawled out on cool tiles, hoping for a breeze from beneath the front door.

Last month we nearly lost her, but miraculously, she rebounded. When she was sick, I told my husband he might have to bury me in the back yard beside her, because Furgy isn’t just my dog. She’s a part of me. A faithful companion who loves me unconditionally. Her entire world revolves around waiting for a pat on the head. A scratch under the chin. The toss of a potato chip. (Don’t tell Zak.)
We used to run together on dark mornings before work, but her arthritis is too bad now. When she has a good day, we venture out for a half-mile walk around the block. Sometimes her eyes twinkle and she runs a few steps, looks over her shoulder as if to say, “Remember?”

I remember.
I remember a crowded back yard, and Furgy jumping off a deck into a four-foot pool packed with kids. I remember her climbing into Zak’s or the girls’ beds with toys in her mouth to play, chasing sticks they threw into the lake on hot summer days, sneaking treats off the table at birthday parties, trudging through rocks and streams to get to swimming holes. I remember her sitting in the shade and watching soccer games and t-ball, and towing kids through snowy backyards on sleds. Catching snowballs with her teeth, playing tug of war with Zak, stealing the girls’ stuffed animals, running on the beach with relentless energy.

We’re a little slower, calmer, smarter, now. We’re definitely more patient with each other, and we sort of grew into a language of our own. I know when she sits straight up beside me, she needs a scratch on the head, and she knows when I am teary eyed that I am missing my kids and need her snuggled by my feet. And as long as I can look down and see those loyal eyes gazing up at me, all’s right in the world.

Furgy will be our last dog. We travel to see our children too much these days for another. But God in his infinite wisdom, saved the best for last.
Yep, Furgy is my dog until the end of time.

My novel, Dream Wide Awake, was inspired many years ago on a night I met fright. I was sleeping in the attic of my grandparent’s home—just like the little girl in chapter three.

Blurb:
Mikala Daly has visions.
Three boys are missing. Six-year-old Mikala Daly can see the spirit of one of those boys. She knows she can find and save the other two. Will her father let her?

One of the best detectives in town, Mikala’s father, Jack Daly, searches frantically for the abducted boys. Years before, Jack married into a family rumored to see people on the other side. Jack didn’t believe in their psychic abilities until that gift¬¬—curse—befell his daughter.

Now Mikala relays her dreams to him, and he struggles to keep her visions secret. Is he risking her life? He works to find the boys before the kidnapper locates Mikala or American government officials force her into their secret remote-viewing program—Project Dream of Area 51.

Excerpt from Dream Wide Awake, Chapter 1, Jack:

She was quiet, still, her expression soft. Lip relaxed against lip. Then her eyes opened.
“He can see me.”
At first, because of her casualness, he thought he’d surely heard her wrong. “Who can see you?”
“The bad man.”
His calmness faded to confusion. He tightened his eyebrows. Premonitions, they called these episodes. His wife experienced them, now his daughter. But they were never interactive.
“What do you mean he can see you?”
“He said my name. He has a guide.”
“A guide?”
“You know, Daddy, someone who shows him movies. He knows who I am.”
“No, Mikala, the bad man does not know who you are.”
“Yes, he does, Daddy.” For the first time, he heard panic in her voice. “That’s the reason he is at Danny’s house.”
A creak in the floor behind him grabbed his attention, and he turned his head. Lisa darted from the bedroom, ripped Mikala from his arms, and handed him something in her place.
“I told you not to allow this. I said you were playing with fire.”
“Lisa, she’s wrong. He can’t see her.”
“Yes, he can, Daddy.”
“No, he can’t, Mikala.” He lowered his voice to sound stern.
“Yes—yes he can. He’s with Danny right now. Run Daddy. Get Danny!”
“Go.” Lisa screamed so loud one of the boys in the next room woke crying.

Jack looked down at his lap—at the ratty sneakers Lisa had placed there. For the moment it took him to put them on, he wondered if he should run or drive the block and a half to his sister’s house. He decided, descended the stairs, and bounded out the front door bare-chested, leaving Lisa behind switching on lights and talking into the scanner. She would call for a cruiser to go to Janice’s house, to her own house. But Mikala was wrong about Danny. She had to be. He was going to be in a heap of trouble with the chief later.

He ran down the driveway and disappeared into the black night within seconds. His legs turned over like an Olympic sprinter’s, his breath labored, and sweat beaded on his upper lip. He rounded Third Street and nearly slipped in the wet grass on Nevada Drive but caught himself. He saw her house in the distance. Janice, four months separated from her husband, was alone there with her son. Alone like the others. Three single mothers of three abducted little boys.
His mind raced. The police would be at his house in two minutes. At Janice’s in three. They protected each other’s families.

When he was four houses away, he began screaming his sister’s name. Trying to scare anyone off. Make the bad man drop the child? Leave without the child? He didn’t know why he screamed. By the time his feet hit her driveway her light had turned on. The front bedroom window opened.

“Jack?” Janice’s voice slithered through the screen.
He passed her window and ran toward the back of the house, toward Danny’s room. He could see broken glass on the ground shimmering with the reflection of a street light. Dear God, no, he thought. It couldn’t be. These abductions could not have hit his family.
“Danny,” he yelled.
When he reached his nephew’s window, the whites of Danny’s two little eyes glowed in the dark room. He was there. Standing. Looking out the bare, open window back at him. Waiting.
“Hi, Uncle Jack,” Danny said, his little face peeking over the window ledge, his stuffed bear, Tony, nudged under his chin.
Jack leaned hands on house and huffed, trying to catch his breath. Trying to decipher Danny was okay. Alive. Mikala was wrong.
“Thank God, thank God,” he uttered out loud. When he caught his breath, he gazed up at his nephew.
That’s when horror seized him. Above Danny’s little face, secured on the broken glass, a scribbling on Christian stationary paralyzed him. It was the abductor’s fourth message, but the first to make Jack’s blood circulate like an electrical current. The words he read flowed over his lips in a whisper, expelled with terrifying breath.
“One mulligan for Mikala.”

Author Links:
Author website www.cjzahner.com
Dream Wide Awake by CJ Zahner, Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Dream-Wide-Awake-born-curse-ebook/dp/B07HDTJXY7
Dream Wide Awake by CJ Zahner, Barnes & Noble http://bit.ly/BNDWA
Dream Wide Awake by CJ Zahner /, Kobo http://bit.ly/CZDWAk
Follow CJ on goodreads at http://bit.ly/gCJZahner
Follow CJ on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/cjzahner/?hl=en
Follow CJ on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/authorcjzahner/
Follow CJ on Twitter at https://twitter.com/TweetyZ

Author Bio:

CJ Zahner is a digital-book hoarder, lover of can’t-put-down books, and the author of Dream Wide Awake and The Suicide Gene. She has three more novels pending, Project Dream, Within the Setting Sun, and The Dream Snatchers. Writing novels since 2015, that year her only sibling was diagnosed with early-onset dementia, and Zahner walked away from her full-time grant writing and part-time freelance writing job to follow her dream of becoming a novelist. She hopes to read, write, and run happily ever after…

Thanks for stopping by. Please leave CJ a comment.

Furbaby Friday with Christina Lambert!


A warm welcome to Christina, here to share her wonderful  Great Pyrenees and her shifter romance, Wolf’s Challenge.

Christina: Over the years, I’ve been blessed to have some amazing furbabies come into my life. Pets are such a blessing because they love us at our best, our worst, and every stage in between. I love walking through the front door and having my dog, Yuki, greet me with tail wags and licks to my hands. Making room in my home for my sweet, gentle, giant dog was one of the best decisions I could have made.

Yuki came to my family as a stray almost two years ago. He’s a great Pyrenees, who barks at every possible noise, sheds giant tumbleweeds of hair, steals pizza crust from unsuspecting humans, and enjoys playing outside, especially when it snows. He loves kids and waits faithfully by the window every weekday at 3:30 for my daughters to get off the school bus. He keeps me company in my home office while I work and insists on sleeping on the bed at night.

My cat, Leo, passed away not long ago but she had a long, healthy life. She loved to wake me up in the middle of the night by jumping up on my stomach. During the day, she alternated between sleeping peacefully and finding things to destroy. She was an excellent spider stalker and occasionally, she was nice to the dog.

Wolf’s Challenge is the first story in the Stranger Creatures series and features Derrick and Sydney’s story. When temptingly handsome, powerful shape shifter Derrick dares shy, single mom Sydney to take a chance with him, will she rise to the challenge or will she run for safety, leaving him in the dust?

Book Description:
Nothing is as it seems in the town of Great Oaks, Virginia. Derrick has a few secrets but he’s not shy about letting elusive, single mom Sydney know he wants to leave the friend zone she’s boxed him into. Sydney has trust issues, and with good reason. Will Sydney and Derrick find their happily ever after or will the unhinged woman stalking them destroy their chance?

Excerpt:
Sydney sat in the conference room at Brass Cat Advertising, sipping her coffee and wishing the caramel latte could take her to an alternate reality. One where Derrick Porter wasn’t sitting in front of her. His presence had caught her off guard. She took another sip of her coffee and tried not to stare stupidly, but holy chocolate-covered cherries, the man was hot.

Dark hair and eyebrows made a striking contrast against his strong bone structure and fair skin. His lips, good grief. They looked so soft. His long, lean body fit nicely in a suit. The material stretched over his broad shoulders and came in at the waist. He probably had amazing six-pack abs.

When they’d met Saturday in running group, it hadn’t merely been the fog coupled with Sydney’s exhaustion and two-year streak of celibacy that made Derrick appear so handsome. Even under the bright lights of the conference room, he was gorgeous. What rotten luck that she couldn’t seem to get away from him.

Buy Links for Wolf’s Challenge:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Wolfs-Challenge-Christina-Lynn-Lambert-ebook/dp/B07JCSLVBJ
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wolfs-challenge-christina-lambert/1124676509
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/wolf-s-challenge-1

Author Links:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/christinalynnlambert
Wordpress: https://christinalynnlambertwordpress.com
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/chris4lamb
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15900423.Christina_Lynn_Lambert
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Christina-Lynn-Lambert/e/B01MCYK0K7
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/christinalynnlambert

Author Bio:
A few years ago, I read my first romance novel and I was hooked, so much so that I decided to give the idea of writing a story a chance. My style is more gritty than sweet and I look forward to writing many more stories with strong heroines and imperfect but determined characters. Love, courage, hope, and second chances are a few of my favorite themes. When I’m not writing, I enjoy spending time outside and finding ways to avoid cooking. I live in beautiful Virginia with my husband, two daughters, and a sweet, hairy monster of a dog.

Thanks for stopping by. Please leave Christina a comment.

Furbaby Friday with Valerie Ullmer!


A warm welcome to Valerie and her dear furbaby, Maddie. Valerie joins us to share Maddie’s story and her Christmas romance, You for Christmas.

Valerie: Our dog, Maddie is now ten years old, but years ago when she was 10 weeks old, we adopted her and have loved every moment with her in our lives.

My husband and I had been searching for a dog to adopt for over two years at the time we adopted Maddie.  We fostered a Yorkie (too small), a Husky (way, way too much energy), and tried to adopt a Scottie (the foster mother decided to keep him) before my husband found Maddie on Craigslist.

She had been rescued from a kill shelter in Western Colorado and brought to Denver.  She was the smallest of the litter and the last one to be adopted, but when we met her we thought she was precious.

My husband met the woman who rescued her near her car, excited to meet Maddie, who was called Baby then.  As I watched on, he held her cradled to his shoulder and even without meeting her, I knew she was ours.  When Maddie was brought inside, she sniffed around for a while not really interested in me or our cat, took a large drink of water, and proceeded to pee on the carpet before falling asleep next to the arm of the couch.  It was then, with assurance, that we both fell in love with her.

Her first year was difficult.  She refused to walk on a leash and spent most of her first six months stubbornly trying to get her way.  But that was child’s play compared to the variety of health issues she went through, from bronchitis to giardia and because she is a black Labrador and Rottweiler mix, she’s prone to shoulder issues because of so much of her weight is up front.  During that time, we learned that she couldn’t run because she would tear her shoulder muscles to the point she was bedridden for weeks.  It took us a few months to find a routine fit for her.  Mainly taking short walks, several times a day, but even Maddie became bored with the same routine.

Because of the shoulder injuries, we discovered water therapy and acupuncture when she was two and a half, and now she goes swimming at a dog clinic specializing in rehab three times a week and has many dog friends.

Swimming is low-impact exercise and only thirty minutes in the pool will tire her out and keep her happy.

On the days she doesn’t swim, she enjoys walking around the neighborhood and meeting dogs.  She’s also on a specialized diet to keep the weight off her shoulder and hips and because of the amount of exercise she gets, we are hoping she’ll live a long and healthy life.

It may seem as if we spoil Maddie, which we do, we totally do, there is so many things we get in return.  When my husband goes to work, Maddie keeps me company as I write.  I sometimes run ideas by her, but she looks at me with one eyebrow raised (I’m pretty sure she’s expressing her absolute disagreement with my idea) before she sighs and goes back to sleep.

Also, if it wasn’t for Maddie, I wouldn’t be as active as I am, taking longer walks because she has to smell everywhere and meet every dog along the way.  And I use that time to plot books or relax if I’m worried about anything going on in my life, but mainly, I enjoy being outside with my girl.

I never truly understood the responsibility of having a dog until Maddie came into our lives.  But I have to admit, our lives are richer, more relaxed, and genuinely happier because of Maddie.

Beth: Wonderful story about Maddie!

You for Christmas (FREE)

Genre:  Contemporary M/M Romance

BLURB

Hiding his feelings for his best friend has become second nature to Parker Hunt.  Throughout his years of friendship with Jonah Lee, he’d hoped for more, but he’d never been able to tell Jonah how he felt or what he wanted.  When Jonah’s plans fall through for holiday break, Parker is determined to spend their last Christmas together and this time, be brave enough to tell Jonah exactly how he feels.

Jonah Lee has always been in awe of his friend, Parker.  His energy, enthusiasm, and honesty had drawn Jonah to him from the first time they met.  And while he’s always been an open book with Jonah, lately, Parker had been holding something back.  On top of that, Jonah has realized that his feelings for Parker has grown and for the first time in his life, he’s curious about what Parker’s lips would feel like under his and what his definite male body would feel against his.

Will the holidays bring everything both men want, or will they let this opportunity pass them by?

You For Christmas is FREE at these sites:

Amazon

Apple

B&N

Kobo

Google Play

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Valerie writes paranormal and contemporary romances with strong alpha males and brilliant, beautiful heroines. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her wonderfully supportive husband and their funny and wise black lab. She’s addicted to coffee, crime shows, and reading and writing character driven romances.

SOCIAL MEDIA: FACEBOOK ~ TWITTER ~ PINTEREST ~ INSTAGRAM ~ GOODREADS ~ AMAZON

Thanks for stopping by. Please leave Valerie a comment.

Furbaby Friday with Christine Grabowski!


A warm welcome to fellow Wild Rose Press Author  Christine Grabowski. She’s joining us to share memories of her beloved dog, Rylie, and her Young Adult contemporary fantasy, Dickensen Academy.

Christine: Although I’d lived with a couple dogs growing up, Rylie was the first dog I could call my own. (Okay, maybe my husband Rich called her his.) Rylie was a Welsh terrier. We always joked she had dual citizenship because she was born in Canada before she moved to Virginia where we were living.

Rich and I didn’t have children at the time, so she was our only baby, and we spent lots of quality time with her in those early years. We completed training class after training class culminating in agility training. We had doggy birthday parties and visited dog parks. And we were fortunate Old Town Alexandria was extremely dog friendly, so we were able to take her to doggy happy hour at a local bar and trick-or-treating where a town full of costume-clad pooches walked from merchant to merchant gathering dog treats.

Rylie even brought an important family into our lives when she began barking like crazy at our picture window—a glance out showed a man racing in circles trying to catch his pup, so we ran out to help. Well, his fox terrier, Darcy, became Rylie’s best friend, and her family became one of our closest. Eventually Darcy’s human mom became our daughter’s godmother, and Darcy’s human-sister became our goddaughter. When we moved from Virginia, I still clearly remember Darcy staring sadly out the window as if sensing she’d never see Rylie again.

Fast forward many years and Rylie adjusted to life in Washington State. Although she had to drop out of agility, she happily made way for her own human sister and brother and couldn’t be a better best friend to us all. She kept her puppy antics well into her second decade of life—everyone always telling me that our daily three-mile runs kept her young and healthy.

When I began writing four years ago, Rylie was my constant companion, and I realized how special a mature dog could be. When the house grew quiet after my husband left for work and the kids left for school, Rylie would curl up in our favorite chair while I’d write. She literally fell asleep on my keyboard many times.

Last year, Rylie left us just shy of her 16th birthday. Coincidentally (or maybe not, depending on your beliefs), I received my first writing contract four days after her death. To say that was the most emotional week of my life was an understatement. Getting some of the best news of my life on top of some of the worst is something I don’t necessarily wish for anybody. But looking back, maybe it was for the best because shifting gears to become a published author kept me too busy to dwell on my sadness.

I’m happy to say Rylie lives on in Dickensen Academy as Zoey, Autumn’s Welsh terrier, and as the name of her dormitory (O’Reilly). Although many characters are based on real life people, Zoey is the only one based 100% on one individual.

My furbabies are so important to me, and I expect all my future books will feature my dogs. Stay tuned for a future fairy tale retelling featuring a Max and Ruby.

Dickensen Academy by Christine Grabowski

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Fantasy

Dickensen Academy is a young YA contemporary fantasy that bridges the gap between MG and YA. It is about a teen girl named Autumn, who is invited to a fine arts boarding school in the secluded mountains of the Pacific Northwest. However, she soon realizes the faculty is secretly teaching dream telepathy.

Although the premise is considered a paranormal or a fantasy, the focus of the book is as much about Autumn’s relationships with her friends and family and her struggles in school and for independence—something many teens can relate to.

Excerpt:

“I feel like there’s something big we don’t know about. Something those students were protecting. I mean, really, why are we here?”

I thought it was just me who was confused. “Well…the recruiters said we’re creative and focused.”

“Yeah, that’s what Principal Locke said too.”

“And we have the right personality.”

Ben looked up at the sky, sighed then turned toward the forest. “What did he say…something about how it will soon become clear why we’re here, and there’s some ultimate purpose for our creativity?”

“I know. That whole creativity part was a bit bizarre.”

He shrugged. “It seems everyone is going with the flow. But I have so many questions.” Then he touched my arm to stop me, so I turned toward him. “I’m thinking they’re isolating us for some special reason,” he admitted in an embarrassed tone.

I tried not to laugh—he was acting paranoid. But I didn’t know Ben well. Maybe he was joking, trying to freak me out. Or was he hitting on me? The flutter in my chest moved to my stomach. I was already anxious about being away from home and whether or not I could hack the academics. I didn’t need to obsess about anything else. But I still had to know about Ben’s dream.

“So…I also had a dream about Dickensen before I accepted the offer.”

Ben’s head snapped toward me. “You did?”

Look for Christine and Dickensen Academy at:

 Website: 

https://christinegrabowski.com

Book Trailer:  

https://youtu.be/sgjRes7zPLQ

Amazon: 

https://www.amazon.com/dickensen-academy-map-success/dp/B07G71747S

Barnes & Noble (Paperback)  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dickensen-academy-christine-grabowski/1129315140?ean=9781509221233

Facebook: http://facebook.com/christinegrabowskiauthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/christinegrabo/

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/christinegrabo

Goodreads Profile:   https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18276822.Christine_Grabowski

 Bookbub Profile: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/christine-grabowski

Thanks for stopping by! Please leave Christine a comment.

Furbaby Friday with T. Strange!


A warm welcome to T. Strange who joins us to share her touching dog adoption and her light New Adult romance,  My Zombie Boyfriend.

T. Strange: Let me start by saying—I’m not a dog person. I am a happily catted cat person. That being said, here’s the story of how a dog got me.

My wife and I both struggle with depression, and three years ago she had a major mental health crisis and she’s still fighting to find her way back to having more good days than bad. For a while she was extremely agoraphobic on top of the depression and anxiety, but she really wanted to move past that and be able to go out on her own. She suggested that we try fostering dogs, because the dog would need to go out for walks every day and give her something to do. I’ll admit, I was reluctant (see above re: cat person) but I could definitely see this helping her so of course I wanted to be supportive.

We received our first dog. And then three dogs at once (we almost kept one of those, but he wasn’t quite right. But we still dog-sit for him sometimes!). And more and more dogs until they all blended together. And they did help! Just as my wife had suspected, the dogs helped her get outside, without me, and able to start being more independent again.

I was already in bed when our eventual foster fail arrived. It was after midnight, and my wife brought him home and put him in bed next to me. He immediately curled up against my side, and I’ll admit, I was touched. Most of them weren’t that cuddly right away. Sometimes ever.  Ok, we thought. Friendly dog.

The next day we took Friendly Dog for a walk, and it quickly became apparent that no, he was actually Scaredy Dog. He was terrified of everything and everyone, and we were so confused—where was the cuddly, trusting dog we’d met at home? As soon as we got home, there was Friendly Dog again. Houston, we have a problem. This dog has bonded with us.

Even then, I think all three of us knew it was inevitable, but the two humans tried to be in denial. We weren’t looking for a permanent dog. We were only keeping him until he got adopted. Which became, if he’s not adopted in a month…it’s fate and we’re keeping him.

It didn’t help that he was the perfect dog for our home. Low-energy, cat-avoiding, affectionate. Pleasantly dumb. Food motivated and eager to please. He fit right in.

We were still waffling when I got a text at work from my wife.

I’m at a street festival. An old man saw the dog and said he looked just like his old dog. I told him the dog is adoptable, but he just looked me in the eye and said, No. You’re going to keep this dog.

I had goosebumps. I wasn’t foolish enough to ignore a message that clear. I guess we have a dog, I texted back.

(PS: After a long, long hunt for the right name, my wife came up with Ouija. His collar tag is a planchette)

About My Zombie Boyfriend (The Undead Canadian Series): Reverting to my true nature—and because I began the series before there were any dogs in my life—My Zombie Boyfriend is dog-free, but has two cats, Boo and Winston. Boo is, as the blurb mentioned, Edward’s cat and the first zombie he ever reanimated. He’s…pretty gross, but Edward loves him with all his heart. (Kit secretly feels the same). Edward buys Winston for Kit for Christmas. Everyone loves Winston—but not as much as Kit. Winston is a blue British Shorthair and just the sweetest little dumpling of a kitten.

Blurb for My Zombie Boyfriend

Edward Grey is a medical student by day, necromancer by night. He lives alone with the first zombie he ever raised, his childhood cat, Boo. Edward’s life is simple: studying medicine, training his necromantic powers with his mentor, Mariel, and having weekly dinners with his parents. When he finds a very attractive corpse in a park and brings it home to reanimate, he creates a sassy, free-willed zombie who believes Edward is the one who murdered him.

With no memory of his former life, Edward names the zombie Kit and tries to win his trust. Kit slowly adjusts to his new un-life with Edward’s help, though he’s still suspicious of Edward’s role in his death and is convinced that Edward is hiding his former identity. Edward is very attracted to Kit, but understands why Kit doesn’t trust him. As they become closer to one another, Kit turns to Edward for comfort and love. The fragile trust they’ve built together will be tested when Kit unexpectedly regains his memory and seeks revenge on his murderers.

Excerpt:

I started wearing more Kit-like clothes, and recombining the clothes I usually wore in new, Kit-like ways. Our clothing wasn’t all that different, though Kit’s tended to be tighter, more colourful, and patterned. And with designer labels, of course.

I wanted him to notice me.

I wanted him to know that I cared about him, about what he thought, even if I couldn’t actually say it out loud.

“Kit? I need to shower. Like, now.” One of the ‘patients’ I had done a practice diagnosis on had been doing some very realistic coughing and I felt…germy. I had called out for Kit as I got in, but only Winston and Boo greeted me. Boo had taken up residence at the very top of the absurdly tall cat tree. His eyes would catch the light at the creepiest possible moments, and he startled everyone in the house, including me. Kit had taken to telling Winston scary bedtime stories about the fiend-cat who dwelled in the mountain cave. These stories invariably left innocent Winston purring and me frowning. I’m very protective of Boo’s feelings.

Boo was in his cave now, and he stuck his head out of the little shelter, giving one of his idiosyncratic yowls.

Winston was perched, as usual, on the lowest platform, curled into a snug little dumpling.

I felt a little guilty for only scratching the kitten and not Boo, but I told Boo I couldn’t reach him. And I didn’t trust him not to bite or scratch me. He seemed to be in one of those moods.

Winston purred at me briefly, then yawned and stretched. It’s ridiculous how cute he is.

There was still no sign of Kit, and I thought that he must be out or working or something. I could never keep track of his schedule, even on the rare occasions he remembered to give it to me.

I was heartily enjoying my decontaminating shower when I heard the bathroom door open.

“Boo, one of these days I’m going to figure out how you do that and I’m going to stop you.” I didn’t bother turning around. I hadn’t heard the massive, wall-rattling thud that signalled Boo crashing down from his lair—he eschewed using the intervening platforms, apparently deciding they were for mere mortal cats. Instead, he performed a death-defying leap straight to the floor, a nearly nine-foot drop—but then, I hadn’t been paying particular attention and might easily have missed the sound with the shower running.

It wasn’t until the shower stall door opened that I revised my theory. I’ve needed to give Boo enough rinses over the years for him to know exactly what goes on in the shower, and how little he wants to do with it. Now that he didn’t need to drink, he had achieved that perfect state of catdom: he could completely avoid water in all its forms, at all times, unless I intervened. I could think of no reason for him to want in the shower, even if he could open the door, especially with the water running.

I was still turning to see what was going on, almost afraid to look after countless horror movie shower scenes, when I felt chilly hands on my waist.

I shrieked and grabbed the nearest available weapon, which happened to be a bottle of shampoo, and, half-blinded by the steam and water, I brandished it at the intruder. Unfortunately, I had upset my shower caddy when I removed the shampoo, and a bottle of liquid soap landed on my toe, making me slightly less threatening than your ordinary wet, naked man clutching a bottle of anti-dandruff shampoo.

It was Kit, of course.

“I’m cold,” he said, and I felt a shiver run down my spine. I had already been thinking of scary movies, and that line had certainly been in enough of them.

“You are cold!” He was naked, and I forgot to ask why he’d joined my shower instead of having his own. “Do you feel it?”

He shook his head, looking a little forlorn. “No, I was out walking and I forgot my coat. The cold didn’t bother me—it’s snowing, by the way—but people started giving me strange looks. The snow wasn’t melting on me.”

Oh. That would be unsettling. Kit could feel sensation, he assured me, but he said that everything felt strangely distant, as though he’d been sitting still too long and his whole body had fallen asleep. He also tended to be around ambient temperature, though he seemed to hold heat and cold a little longer than an inanimate object of his relative size, shape and density. He had, by the way, flatly refused to experiment, but those were my observations.

About the Author: Strange didn’t want to learn how to read, but literacy prevailed and she hasn’t stopped reading—or writing—since. She’s been published since 2013, and she writes M/M romance in multiple genres, including paranormal and BDSM. T.’s other interests include cross stitching, gardening, watching terrible horror movies, playing video games, and finding injured pigeons to rescue. Originally from White Rock, BC, she lives on the Canadian prairies, where she shares her home with her wife, cats, guinea pigs and other creatures of all shapes and sizes. She’s very easy to bribe with free food and drinks—especially wine.

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Furbaby Friday with Kelley Heckart!


A warm welcome to Kelley Heckart. I’m glad to have Kelley here to share her special furbaby and contemporary paranormal romance, Awakening.

Kelley Heckart: Loki

I’ve loved a few dogs in my life, and each one was special. Loki came to me a little late in his life, age seven, unlike my other dogs that I raised from puppies. He also came to me a bit damaged. I knew about him because he belonged to my niece. He was the “problem” and “high maintenance” dog in the family. I didn’t believe it. He was so small and cute. How could he have such a bad reputation?

The first time he stayed with me and my husband he marked almost the entire house. I’m not kidding. I won’t lie, I was ready to send him back to his home. Something happened, though. Despite his “marking” issue, he was a great dog—mellow for a Chihuahua, and he got along with my old chi-weenie, Hercules, now deceased, a dog that hated all other dogs.

So, when my niece asked me to watch Loki again, I agreed. This time, his “marking” issue was better, and the little guy was growing on me. I can’t explain it, but I saw something in him. He fit into our household routine, he seemed happy at our home, and, most importantly, he respected my older dog’s place in the family.

My niece didn’t come and pick Loki up after she returned from her trip. A week passed, and then another. She knew he was in good hands, and I think she was waiting for me to bring him home, but I decided that if she didn’t come get him, it was a sign he was supposed to stay with us. Being a single mother with a full-time job, she really didn’t have time to care for Loki. If you ask her, my niece will probably say I stole him. Ha ha. Seriously though, he needs to be in a house without children and with someone who is home most of the time, which I am.

The longer he stayed with us, the better behaved he became. I’m able to give him the extra attention he requires. All it took was some love, perseverance, and patience to break his “marking” habit.

He had a different name when I officially adopted him, but I wanted to change it to give him a new start. It took me a while to think of a good name. One day, I set the kitchen trash bag by the back door. A couple of hours later, I picked it up to take outside, and there was a tiny chew hole in the bottom. One of my dogs had done it, and I knew it wasn’t my old chi-weenie. That’s how Loki was named after a Norse trickster god. My husband says he also “tricked” me into adopting him.

He’s been with us for four years now, and he’s turned into a great dog. Sure, he’s a little stubborn and very vocal and adamant when it’s time to go for a walk or eat, but he keeps me on a schedule and forces me to exercise.

He’s got some funny quirks.

He’s afraid of Facebook and cell phone notification sounds, and he’s also afraid of Alexa, but a leaf blower or a super loud phone ring doesn’t frighten him.

He doesn’t like to snuggle, but he always must be able to see me. When my husband and I took him on a trip once, Loki freaked out when I got out of the car to use the restroom. He made a sound like a stuck pig. There was a black lab sitting nearby, and he gave Loki the strangest look. My husband quickly shut the car door so as not to attract too much attention.

Loki gets annoyed when I force him to take selfies, which I do all the time.

True to his Chihuahua nature, he is a little neurotic. He especially gets upset when I go off schedule and leave the house at a time that isn’t part of my regular routine.

He hates children, but children love him, and he’s surprisingly tolerant.

Regardless of his weird quirks, I wouldn’t part from him for anything.

Things he loves:

Cheese. He can hear a cheese wrapper being opened behind a closed door.

He loves to lay outside and warm himself in the sun and watch the birds.

He loves to terrorize the chipmunks.

He loves going for walks every morning. Very early, of course. LOL

Dogs enrich our lives in so many ways. They keep us company, give us unconditional love, force us to get up and go for walks, and they entertain us, too. I’m much healthier in mind and body by having a dog by my side. Despite a rough start with Loki, I’m glad I didn’t give up on him.

My latest release, a contemporary paranormal romance, is inspired by my time as a rock-and-roll bassist. The first book is Kate’s story.

Supernatural meets Rock Star in this exciting new series. More than passion ignites when Kate, rock star/scriptwriter, is trapped in a haunted cabin with the hot Scottish actor playing her hero.

Series blurb:

The five young women of Hecate’s Fury are more than rock stars.

They are Shadow-walkers, chosen to help the supernatural world.

There’s just one problem—no one trained them.

Buy links: Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07H1P9242

https://www.kelleyheckart.com/shadowwalkers.html

Excerpt:

Normally, I didn’t eat much in the morning, but the blueberry muffins tempted me. I even found some hot cocoa. Once I’d prepared my breakfast, I sat at the oak table near the kitchen window, chose the seat facing the view, and became entranced by the beautiful forest scene outside. The rising sun cast golden hues across dew-kissed pines that sparkled among the amber oak leaves. The serene atmosphere embraced me, and I closed my eyes, savoring my hot cocoa.

“Bloody hell. Why is the coffee maker empty?”

I flung my eyes open and jumped at the deep male voice, dribbling hot cocoa down my chin. After twisting in my seat, I widened my gaze.

Kane Devlin stood in the kitchen. His tousled brown hair framed his handsome face and curled in perfect, delectable collar-grazing waves. His designer clothes were unwrinkled and also perfect. He looked like he’d showered and dressed for a photo shoot and not just woke up or crawled in after a night of little sleep.

And he was glaring at me. “Did you hear me?”

His slight Scottish burr had taken me aback. Usually he affected an American accent in his movies.

I slowly nodded, very aware I must look like a mess and swiped a napkin over my hot cocoa-streaked chin. “I, uh, what about the coffee maker?”

“I expect coffee in the morning. Britany knows this. My P.A. should know this. That’s you, right?”

“P.A.?”

He leaned on the granite island, his thick muscles straining beneath his long-sleeved shirt. “Are you daft, lass? You are the P.A. Britany sent to fill in for David, right?”

“No.”

“No, you’re not daft or not the P.A.?” One side of his gorgeous mouth twisted into an amused grin.

I hardened my gaze. Okay, hot or not, he was being an ass. “No to both.”

He tilted his head. “Who are you then?”

“Kaitlyn Storm.”

“The author?” He lifted his brows, curiosity lighting his blue-green eyes.

“Yes.” I suddenly wished I had showered and dressed before coming down to the kitchen. Or at least combed my hair.

His keen, assessing gaze roamed my face and body. “Hmm. You look different from your picture.”

Heat crept up my cheeks, and I wanted to crawl under the table. Yeah, I just rolled out of bed.

“Old photo,” I mumbled.

He slanted his head, brow furrowed. “You are much too pretty to be a writer, and that picture doesn’t do you justice.”

My cheeks grew even hotter.

He pointed to the coffee maker. “So, why is it empty?”

I frowned. “Because I don’t drink coffee.”

Studying the coffee maker, he scratched his stubbly chin. “Well, maybe you know how this thing works.”

“It can’t be that difficult.” I pushed my chair back, stood, brushed past him, retrieved a measuring cup and then filled the coffee maker reservoir with water. Ignoring his presence as best I could, I found the coffee and filters in one of the pantries.

From behind me, he said, “You should be a P.A.” His words were tinged with mirth.

“And you should try not to be such an ass.” I turned and pursed my lips.

Amused laughter rumbled from him. “I like you, Katie.”

I bristled. No one ever called me that. In fact I hated that nickname, but it did sound pleasing the way Kane said it with his slight Scottish accent.

 

Kelley Heckart

Otherworldly tales steeped in myth, magic & romance.

http://twitter.com/CelticChick

https://www.facebook.com/kelleyheckartauthor

http://www.goodreads.com/kheckart

www.amazon.com/author/kelleyheckart

Multi-published author Kelley Heckart lives in Arizona with her musician husband, dog, and a number of backyard “pets.” Her stories reflect her passion for ancient and medieval time periods, storytelling and the supernatural. Inspired by the ancient Celts, her tales are filled with fierce warriors, bold women, otherworldly creatures, magic, and romance. When not writing, she works as a freelance editor, practices target archery, and writes and records music with her husband. She can be found online at http://www.kelleyheckart.com/

***Thanks for stopping by. Please leave Kelley a message.

Furbaby Friday with Rachel Brimble!


I’m happy to welcome Rachel Brimble here to share her wonderful labs and historical romance, The Mistress of Pennington’s.

Rachel: Tyler The Dog

Being a writer/novelist can, at times, be a lonely existence and I think that’s why so many of us have pets. For me, a canine companion is vital to my physical and mental wellbeing, not to mention the emotional.

When I lost my beloved black Lab, Max in February 2015, I fell head first into a dark abyss that I had no wish to revisit by getting another dog. For months, I wandered around feeling as though my life would never be the same again. Max was my constant companion, friend and champion. Never a day went by when he wouldn’t make me laugh or comfort me in some way.

It wasn’t until the end of the following May that someone on Facebook asked me if I’d had a look at the Borrow My Doggy website. What on earth? I’d never heard of it. Anyway, long story short, this is a site where dog owners ‘loan’ out their pets for walks, weekends or holidays.

The first picture I saw was of a six-month old chocolate Labrador whose owner had just been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and needed a helping hand. The rest, as they say, is history. By the following January, I had adopted Tyler and he came to live with us. His original owner still regularly sees him, and the arrangement is perfect for us both.

Nowadays, Tyler is no less of a companion or beloved to me than Max. He is constantly at my feet, making me laugh and getting up to mischief as only a Labrador can! Of course, I know there will come a day when my heart will be broken again, but the years of love, devotion and laughter make the pain worth it. Dogs are amazing and will undoubtedly remain a part of my life for as long as I am capable of caring for them.
Here’s to dogs and all they give their hoomans!

Rachel is an author of over 20 contemporary romances, romantic suspense and historical romance novels. Here latest release is THE MISTRESS OF PENNINGTON’S, which is the first book in her new Edwardian series. Book 2, A REBEL AT PENNINGTON’S will release in February 2019.

Blurb and buy links for The Mistress of Pennington’s:

1910 – A compelling tale of female empowerment in Bath’s leading department store. Perfect for the fans of the TV series Mr Selfridge and The Paradise.

Elizabeth Pennington should be the rightful heir of Bath’s premier department store through her enterprising schemes and dogged hard work. Her father, Edward Pennington, believes his daughter lacks the business acumen to run his empire and is resolute a man will succeed him.

Determined to break from her father’s iron-clad hold and prove she is worthy of inheriting the store, Elizabeth forms an unlikely alliance with ambitious and charismatic master glove-maker Joseph Carter. United they forge forward to bring Pennington’s into a new decade, embracing woman’s equality and progression whilst trying not to mix business and pleasure.

Can this dream team thwart Edward Pennington’s plans for the store? Or will Edward prove himself an unshakeable force who will ultimately ruin both Elizabeth and Joseph?

Buy Links:
Amazon UK: http://amzn.eu/2SvRcqp
Amazon US: http://a.co/3OFh9JK
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-mistress-of-penningtons-rachel-brimble/1128920728?ean=9781788546508
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/the-mistress-of-pennington-s
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Rachel_Brimble_The_Mistress_of_Pennington_s?id=dIFSDwAAQBAJ
Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-mistress-of-penningtons/id1362129705?mt=11

Bio & Links:
Rachel lives with her husband and their two daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. Since 2007, she has had several novels published by small US presses, eight books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and four Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical.

In January 2018, she signed a four-book deal with Aria Fiction for a new Edwardian series set in Bath’s finest department store. The first book, The Mistress of Pennington’s released July 2018.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.
She likes nothing more than connecting and chatting with her readers and fellow romance writers. Rachel would love to hear from you!

Links:
Website
Blog
Twitter
Facebook
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rachelbrimbleauthor/?hl=en
Amazon Author Page:
https://www.amazon.com/Rachel-Brimble/e/B007829ZRM/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1490948101&sr=8-1
Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1806411.Rachel_Brimble
Bookbub:
https://www.bookbub.com/authors/rachel-brimble

Thanks for stopping by. Please leave Rachel a comment.