Tag Archives: dog adoption

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:

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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 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.

Furbaby Friday with JM Stewart!


Welcome JM Stewart ! I’m very glad to have you here to share your furbaby and contemporary romance, Luc.

JM: Hey everybody! So glad to be here with you all. Thanks to Beth for having me. I currently have two dogs, Misty and Tiger. We adopted both from shelters when they were puppies when we were living in Seattle. Have had them for seven years now, and they’re spoiled rotten. Thought I’d share how we ended up with Misty.

Misty
After our German Shepherd, Ruby, died, we weren’t sure we wanted another dog. We’d had her for ten years, so her death left a big hole in our hearts. Six months later, though, hubs and I got the yearning to fill that space again, so I started looking on Petfinder.com. One particular pup grabbed me. A local shelter had a litter of nine puppies, Lab and Shepherd mix. The pup they chose for the pic ended up being Misty. I fell in love with her little face. She had a lot of German Shepherd in her; a black muzzle and ears, and big stripe down her back.

Fast forward a couple of weeks, we finally got the call the pups had reached ten weeks and were ready to be picked up. They sponsored them at the local Petsmart that weekend, so the youngest and I went down. The woman who ran the shelter had a first come, first serve rule. Meaning, applicants who applied first got first choice. So by the time our turn came, four were left, two girls and two boys.

Misty was in a cage with her sister, sleeping. There was chaos all around. Hopeful parents waiting with their kids to pick up their pups. People coming into the store who stopped to peek at the puppies. Misty had no interest in any of it. She just wanted to sleep (a trait she’s never grown out of; she doesn’t want to be bothered when she’s sleeping). lol But when I held her, she curled up in my lap, a little confused at the fuss going on around her but just happy to have a lap. The woman who’d been fostering the pups told me she was content to simply sit beside you on the couch (another trait she’s never grown out of). I fell in love.

Puppy Misty

Labs have a lot of energy, did you know that? I do now. lol Boy howdy was she a handful. Big chewer and more energy than any of us knew what to do with. You could walk her an hour twice a day, and she’d still be raring to go. Just a bundle of energy.
She’s so smart, though. Easily trainable and highly motivated by praise. Got the gist of potty training in a week, learned to sit in one day. If you’re a stranger coming up to my house, she has a deep, scary bark. Good for scaring away unwanted solicitors. 😉 But she wouldn’t hurt a fly. The biggest love bug you’ve ever seen. Once she knows you, she’ll be your friend for life.

She had surgery on her knee about six months ago. She gets the “zoomies” and unfortunately tore one of the ligaments in her left knee. So she’s slowed down a bit, but still happiest when surrounded by her family.

And, to keep with Beth’s furbaby theme, I’m sharing an excerpt from my contemporary romance, Luc. The heroine, Liz, has a golden retriever she rescued from a shelter.

Excerpt:

Cover for LucInstead of stepping back and inviting her inside, Sam drew her bottom lip into her mouth and gnashed it between her teeth. Suspicion skittered up Liz’s spine. She knew that look. Knew it well. Combined with her overenthusiastic greeting, that look suggested Sam had something up her sleeve.

She pinned Sam with a narrow-eyed stare. “There’s something you aren’t telling me, isn’t there?”

“No! I’m just so glad you came. You shouldn’t be alone today.” Sam straightened her shoulders, her expression suddenly bright and jovial. She waved a hand at Liz. When Bruce whined again, Sam looked down at him and nodded in the direction of the hallway behind her. “Well, go on. Go get him. He’s in the kitchen.”

Bruce leapt into the house, tail wagging. His nails clipped the hardwood floors as he trotted down the long hallway left of the living room.

Sam stepped aside, pulled the door open wider, and ushered Liz in with a wave of her hand. As Liz crossed the threshold, masculine laughter drifted down the hallway, halting her on the welcome mat. Joe’s hearty belly laugh she recognized, but along with it came a second, unfamiliar voice. A low, masculine rumble kind of laugh. The quiet hush of conversation followed. That second voice meant Sam had company.

It was only supposed to be the four of them. Her, Sam, Joe, and Bruce. Like always.

“I have a surprise for you.” Sam let out that nervous laugh again as she closed the door and stopped beside Liz on the welcome mat.

Liz jerked her gaze to her best friend. “What did you do?”

Sam clasped her hands together and flashed a thousand-watt smile. “Do you remember that barbeque Mom and Dad threw right before Danny left for his last tour? He pulled me aside while you helped Mom clean the kitchen. He told me, ‘If I die out there, don’t let her grieve forever. Make her get up, Sammy.’ Every time he left for a tour, he made me promise the same thing.”

Daniel was Sam’s older brother. If anybody knew what today meant, it was her. Of all days for Sam to bring this up.

“I remember. He always made me promise him something similar.” Liz gave a bare nod as grief kicked her hard in the chest. She’d known the risks, what being an Air Force wife to an active duty airman meant. She’d known every time he left for deployment he might not come back. Yet somehow, she’d never expected the worst to actually happen to her. It always happened to someone else.

She’d spent the last two years trying to pick up the pieces, to somehow learn to live without him. She hadn’t gotten far. Oh, she’d left the base in California to return home to Angel Bay, but she flat out didn’t know how to move on with her life. The need was there. To get out from beneath the grief. To feel the sun again. Joy. It was the “leaving Daniel behind” part she was having trouble with.

“So, I’m making you get up.” Sam gave a firm nod, mouth pursed in stubborn determination, and grabbed Liz’s hand, tugging her up the hallway.

Blurb:

After her husband’s death two years ago, erotic romance author Liz Anderson moved home to small-town Angel Bay to heal her broken heart. So when her best friend fixes her up with a single father ten years her junior, she doesn’t expect much. But this hot young chef is igniting her long-dormant passion.

With a three-year-old daughter to raise and a restaurant to run, the last thing Luc Rossi’s life has room for is love. After his fiancée’s betrayal, he isn’t sure he believes in it anyway. His colleague’s matchmaking attempt is awkward at best, but what can he do except play the gentleman? Liz ends up being smart, charming, and sexy, and he can’t resist her.

An offer to teach her to cook leads to a steamy fling, but this gorgeous older woman makes Luc wonder if it’s time to open his heart again. Can he convince Liz that giving their relationship a chance beyond the bedroom wouldn’t be a betrayal of the past she holds dear?

Buy links:

Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo | Google

Author Bio:

Joanne StewartJ.M. Stewart is a coffee and chocolate addict who, along with her husband, two sons and two very spoiled dogs, has been recently transplanted to Texas. She’s a hopeless romantic who believes everybody should have their happily ever after and has been devouring romance novels for as long as she can remember. Writing them has become her obsession.
For more about JM or her books visit: Website | Facebook

Thanks for stopping by! Please leave JM a comment.

Furbaby Friday with Brenda Whiteside!


I’m glad to have fellow Wild Rose Press Author Brenda Whiteside with us to share her wonderful dog memories and western romance, The Deep Well of Love and Murder (The Love and Murder Series Book 5).

Brenda: I’ve been lucky to share the life of a host of cats and dogs over my lifetime. The luckiest period of time was a ten year stretch when Rusty lived with us. He was by far the best animal friend FDW and I ever had. The day we walked into PetSmart for cat food and walked out with a rescue puppy, was a surprise and a great day. That puppy looked at me with big eyes rimmed in deep brown, and I fell in love.

Rusty came from the Navajo Indian Reservation in Northern Arizona. His mama was a Red Heeler cattle dog and his daddy was a stranger passing through the res. Judging from Rusty’s long fur, streaks of gold, and personality traits, we’re pretty certain that stranger was a Golden Retriever.

Not only was Rusty an affectionate doggie, but he was also the “smartest dog in the world.” He helped me unload groceries from the car carrying in packages of paper goods and other sundries. Then, I would stand on a stool, and he would hand me rolls of paper towels and toilet paper to store on the shelves. When he saw me carrying dirty clothes from the hampers to the laundry room, he’d chomp some pieces and follow me. Every morning, he’d wait at the door to go out for the newspaper. He was FDW’s favorite fishing buddy. He’d jump with excitement whenever my husband had a fish on the line. But he’d also scold him when he went too long in between catches.

He’s been gone for three years and we still miss him.

Rusty has a role in my latest release, The Deep Well of Love and Murder, series book five. He was the inspiration for Perro, a Red Heeler mix and the best friend of Randy Silva. Perro was born unable to utter any sound and his hearing is limited to Randy’s high-pitched whistle, but his other senses are heightened. He warns Randy of danger more than once. I had fun including Rusty/Perro in this story.

Blurb:
After an abusive childhood and bad marriage, Laura Katz has finally found a home, stability…and possibly love. But her blissful refuge as nanny on the Meadowlark Ranch, miles from Flagstaff, shatters when her ex is released from prison, determined to reclaim her.

Randy Silva, the Argentine foreman, has plans for his own ranch, but a nasty land grab is underway. While the battle escalates, Laura steals his heart, but there are outsiders who stand in their way. He’s in a fight for his land, and the woman he wants by his side.

Stakes are high, as the attacks on Randy and his ranch draw blood. While the vengeful ex-husband stalks Laura, a mob-backed land developer teams with a desperate gambler. Randy can’t be sure where the next attack will come from—or who will be caught in the crossfire.

Excerpt:
“You let me be the judge of what messes I choose in my life.” His hands twitched at his sides, longing to hold her and stifle her anger. He narrowed his eyes and stared deeper into hers instead. “Taking care of your ex is a mess I look forward to.”
“This is my mess, not yours.” Her tone grew more combative. “I’ve handled what I’ve been dealt, and I’ll continue handling whatever gets thrown at me.”
“I don’t see it that way.” He kept his voice level, but hard edged. His own emotions, convincing her while fear of losing her, hammered his self-control. “You’re locking me out. Why? Because you think you aren’t allowed to be happy?”
Her mouth pinched in a tight line, and she glared at him. “Randy—”
“I think it’s about damned time you stopped blaming your mother, your ex, or whoever for your unhappiness.”
She whirled away, ready to flee, but he couldn’t stop now. He needed her and had to make her see how much she needed him. “Don’t be afraid of me, Laura Jane.” He shuffled a half-step closer.
“I’m not afraid.” She faced him again. “But I don’t need you to tell me how to run my life, if that’s what you think you can do.”
Perro jumped and planted his paws on Randy’s hip, panting heavily. “For Pete’s sake, Perro—”
Laura’s brow furrowed. “Do you smell that?”
“What?” As soon as he’d asked, the hot, smoky scent assaulted his senses.
Fire.

Buy Links:
https://www.amazon.com/Deep-Well-Love-Murder-Book-ebook/dp/B07CLRX7Y8

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-deep-well-of-love-and-murder-brenda-whiteside/1129082442?ean=2940162047827

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-deep-well-of-love-and-murder/id1376415644?mt=11

https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/all-titles/5877-the-deep-well-of-love-and-murder.html

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-deep-well-of-love-and-murder

https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Brenda_Whiteside_The_Deep_Well_of_Love_and_Murder?id=vKFfDwAAQBAJ

Bio:
Brenda and her husband are gypsies at heart having lived in six states and two countries. Currently, they split their time between the Lake Roosevelt basin in Central Arizona and the pines in the north. Wherever Brenda opens her laptop, she spends most of her time writing stories of discovery and love entangled with suspense.

Visit Brenda at www.brendawhiteside.com
Or on FaceBook: www.facebook.com/BrendaWhitesideAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/brendawhitesid2
She blogs on the 9th and 24th of every month: http://rosesofprose.blogspot.com
She blogs about life’s latest adventure and has fun guests on her personal blog: https://brendawhiteside.blogspot.com/
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003V15WF8
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3972045.Brenda_Whiteside
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/brenda-whiteside
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brendawhitesideauthor/

Thanks for stopping by! Please leave Brenda a comment!

Furbaby Friday With Patti Sherry-Crews


I’m happy to have Patti Sherry-Crews here to share her wonderful furbabies and her Western historical romance, Margarita and the Hired Gun.

Lucille “Lucy” Bell

Patti: Growing up we always had dogs. Back-to-back dogs without gaps in between. Because my firefighter father sometimes hunted for sport, the dogs we had were bird dogs. My childhood was peppered with springer spaniels and English setters, and once, the odd Dalmatian. When we got a new dog it went like this: Contact a breeder, anxiously await birth of the litter, and then a long car ride to pick up our new puppy.

As an adult I switched over to Team Cat. I discovered cats are not only good company but they fit in easily with a busy lifestyle.
When I got married and started my own family, it made sense to stick with the lower maintenance pet cat, and so one Thanksgiving week we put our two kids in the car and drove to Orphans of the Storm Animal Shelter. There were rooms of cats and kittens waiting for a home. We walked in with a wish list, and on that list was one calico kitten. We walked out with a tabby cat. How did that happen?
As we went from room to room looking at calico kitties, a volunteer followed us around thrusting a cat at us saying, “Trust me. This is the one you want.” I looked at the common grey tabby, who was not a kitten, and politely said no, and moved on.

“Watch this,” he persisted. He flopped the cat on her back so she rested in his arms paws up, quite comfortable with the arrangement. “See how she lets me do this. It’s very unusual for a cat to let you handle them this way. She’s really relaxed and trusting.”
He went on to demonstrate with other cats, who sure enough, squirmed their way out of being held in this position. He convinced us the grey tabby cat was for us. I mean, if a person who volunteers in a place with hundreds of cat has a favorite, I’m going to listen.


Lucille “Lucy” Bell has been and remains the best pet we’ve ever owned for the last thirteen years. Hands down. The best. Other than regularly destroying house plants and annually plundering the miniature Christmas village, she doesn’t have a bad habit. On top of that, she has magical healing powers and a routine you can set a clock by. And despite not speaking English, she has a way of communicating her needs and feelings in ingenious ways.
Flash forward a few years and the kids are petitioning hard for a dog. It seems the cat was merely a gateway pet. My husband and I resisted because we felt it would be too much work. But eventually we broke down, despite knowing that the contract the kids wrote up detailing how they were going to take care of the dog between them was empty chatter (we were right about that, by the way). We decided to get a puppy rather than a dog because we wanted to bring it up ourselves.
Then came a frustrating period where we couldn’t find a puppy. Every time I’d see an available puppy on a site covering shelters in the Chicago area, we’d pile in the car and head straight to the shelters, and each time the puppy had been given a home before we got there.
One day I looked at the site to see a litter of puppies from southern Illinois had just been brought in to a shelter not far from us. The puppies were said to be a mix of pug, beagle, and golden retriever (The mind boggles at the thought of a pug and/or beagle being “romanced” by a golden retriever—particularly in rural downstate Illinois).

Gracie May

Off we went! By the time we got there all the puppies had already been taken except for one. She was so cute, we almost died of sweetness overload. Plus, the fact that her sisters and brothers were gone and she was alone, did tug at the heartstrings. The volunteer at the shelter vouched for her, saying “she doesn’t have a bad bone in her body”. After a brief get to know you session, we took her home (I can still remember the smell of her puppy breath!).
She was so little! We watched her grow, taking bets on what sort of dog we’d end up with. We all hoped the retriever in her would lead to large dog. My husband hoped she’d be a dog with a downward hanging tail, which sounds strange, but if you’ve ever walked behind a dog, you can see his point.
So, what dog did we end up with? If there is a trace of golden in our dog she hides it well. I’ve even come to suspect the shelter threw in the golden retriever for broader appeal (but, really shelter, you had us at pug and beagle). Our Frankendog, Gracie May, grew into a small, russet dog who walks with her tail held high.

What do you get when you cross a pug with a beagle? A Puggle! Puggles, combining the best of both breeds, have come on to their own. The Scrabble Dictionary even added the word “puggle” to their list of new words this year. Puggles can run a gamut of tan to black, curly or straight tailed, short snout to longer, beagle-like face. But whatever mixture of pug and beagle they possess, once you know a puggle, they are instantly recognizable to you. When puggle owners run into each other on the street, we have to stop and talk about our dogs.
Another expectation that got left at the wayside was that we weren’t going to let the dog on the furniture. That idea lasted about a day. Good thing too, because pugs are bred to be lap dogs, and there is no place she’d rather be. Even when I take her to the dog park, she’d rather try and climb into the laps of the dog owners than socialize with the other dogs. I like to plop down on the couch after a long day and call out “where is my couch buddy!” and she comes running and settles across my lap. When she’s not in a lap, she’s usually stretched out on her back on the couch with her sock monkey doll.
Our cat-who-is-not-a-calico-kitten and our What’s-it-going-to-be-dog are the best additions to our family. I may be projecting, but I sense rescue animals know they were saved and are eternally grateful.

Bio: Patti Sherry-Crews lives where she grew up in Evanston, IL, where she can frequently be seen walking behind a little dog. She writes contemporary romance, women’s fiction, historical western and medieval romances.

Her first historical western romance, Margarita and the Hired Gun has been recently re-release in the collection Under a Western Sky, which features six full-length Prairie Rose Publications novels.

Blurb for Margarita and the Hired Gun:

Pampered Margarita McIntosh is not used to being forced to do things she doesn’t want to do—but when her father, Jock, sends her away for her own safety, she has no choice. The long journey from Flagstaff to Durango tests her personal strength of will as never before, and the secret she carries in her saddlebag could be the death of her.
A rough Irish gunman, known to her only as “Rafferty”, is entrusted with getting her to her destination “safe and intact”—something he fully intends to do to claim the reward he’s been promised by Jock McIntosh. With a price on his head, the promised money is Rafferty’s ticket to a new life, and he’s not going to jeopardize that for anything—not even love.
But there are steamy nights and dangers all along the arduous trail for MARGARITA AND THE HIRED GUN, with deadly secrets between them that passion cannot erase. With her father’s enemies after her and the secret she conceals, will Rafferty’s protection be enough to save their lives? And will the heat of their passionate love be enough to seal their future together—if they do survive?

Speaking of leaving your expectations at the door and falling in love, here is an excerpt: This is the scene when Margarita first meets “Rafferty”, the man who is to accompany her to safety. He has a massive hangover and unbeknownst to her, they are in a brothel.

“The saloon must serve as a hotel,” she said.
Homer gave her an odd look as he stood up. “Something like that. I’m going to go find Rafferty.”
Now, she waited uncomfortably, alone at a table, while Homer went
up the stairs at the far end of the room. With relief, she saw him
returning, just one of the cowboys at the nearby table
half rose out of his seat as if about to approach her. Homer nodded to
them as he walked by, a warning in his face directed at the cowboy, who
sat back down.
Homer pulled out a chair next to her. “He’ll be down directly.”
The girl who had been sweeping minutes earlier, put down a pot of
strong smelling coffee and two chipped enamelware mugs at their table.
“Make that three mugs. A guest will be joining us. Can we get
something to eat?” Homer asked.
“Biscuits, eggs, and bacon.” The young woman headed off
without waiting for a reply.
Margarita’s attention was drawn to the stairs again. A man in a fancy
brocade waistcoat under a black jacket was making his way down the
stairs. He had long, silver hair, and a mustache curled up at each end,
defying gravity with the aid of mustache wax. Catching her eye, he
tipped his hat to her.
“He’s older than I expected,” she whispered to Homer, who turned to
look over his shoulder.
“That ain’t him,” he said, as the gentleman joined the card game in
progress.
After a beat, another man appeared at the railing overlooking the
saloon.
The tall man with black hair leaned on the railing. With his
arms stretched out at full span he took in the room below with a
predatory gaze. He was powerfully built with broad shoulders and long
limbs. Like a bird of prey, he held his head still while his eyes shifted
around the room. Margarita felt like he was deciding which one of them
he would swoop down to pick off first.
Although nobody moved, the room changed. It felt like
the very air grew hot and dry in his presence, charged with a heaviness
that wasn’t there a minute ago.
When he saw Homer, the man’s gaze came to rest for a second. Then
his stare shifted, and met with hers. He lifted his eyebrows in surprise,
fixing her with such an intense stare that Margarita leaned back in her
seat.
“Rafferty,” said Homer, nodding his head in the direction of the man,
who now moved toward the stairs, eyes still on Margarita.
He walked slowly, swinging one long leg after another, a slight
swagger in his shoulders. Unable to bear up under his direct gaze any
longer, Margarita looked down at her coffee. Her throat constricted in anticipation, but still,
he moved down the stairs and across the room at an unnervingly slow pace.
When he arrived on the scene, the women at the table stopped talking and looked
expectantly at him. He didn’t register their presence as he walked past
them—to their apparent disappointment.
The men playing poker watched him with wary eyes. One of them
touched the gun in his holster, nervously.
The cowboys stopped talking and drew closer together.
Without a word or invitation, the tall man pulled out the chair across
from Margarita. The gun sticking out of his waistband put a lump of fear
in her stomach.
He jerked his head in her direction, looking at Homer. “Why is she
here?” he asked in a deep voice, speaking in the same slow pace as he
walked. He had an Irish accent, she noted.
Homer poured out a cup of the thick, dark liquid for him. “Rafferty.
This is Margarita McIntosh, Jock’s daughter.”
“And she’s here for what reason?” he asked in a brusque tone.
Margarita looked up, her face burning with indignation. She was met
with quite a sight. The man across from her had a few days’ growth of
black whiskers covering the lower part of his face. Jet-black hair stood in
loose curls around his head in an uncombed mass in need of a wash.
He was without a jacket, and his long john’s undershirt was
pushed up at the elbows, showing long, muscular forearms. Worse, the
top buttons of his shirt were unbuttoned, exposing the patch of black hair
on his chest. The tight, sweat-stained garment showed every bulge and
indent in his lean torso, including his nipples. He was as good as naked.
Margarita tried to hide her shock at this unseemly display. She’d never
seen so much of a man’s body before, up close.
His eyes bored into her. They were steely eyes the color of indigo set
in bloodshot orbs. Her discomfort seemed to amuse him. He narrowed
his eyes, and a smirk twisted his lips as he observed her watching
him. Other than his lips and eyes, he was as still as if he’d been carved in
stone. Very economical in his movements.
“Well, here’s the thing. She’s the job. Jock wants his daughter
delivered to his sister in Durango. He wants you to make sure she gets
there. Safe—and intact,” Homer said, in a way which made her redden.
The man called Rafferty grinned rakishly, displaying surprisingly
even, white teeth. “If it’s safety he’s after, there’s better ways to
transport his precious cargo, I would think.”
“He wants her movements to go undetected.”
Rafferty leaned over the table. She could smell him now. He smelled
like sour sweat, whiskey—and cheap perfume. There was some other
odor Margarita couldn’t identify, but it repelled her.
She raised her handkerchief to her nose to breathe through its
lavender-scented folds. Catching her gesture, the dark man glowered at
her briefly before the smirk returned to his lips.
“I’m a hired gun. Why does he need me to accompany her? She can’t
take a stagecoach or train? I have to wonder what’s going on that my
particular skills are required.”
Homer raked his hand through his hair, clearly wrestling with how to
answer the question. “Jock is on the run. He got involved in a dispute.
He’s afraid the men that are after him will grab his daughter to lure him
back. That’s all you need to know.”
He jerked a thumb in her direction. “I’m not interested in this job,” he said, starting to stand up.

Get Margarita and the Hired Gun in Kindle at:  https://www.amazon.com/Margarita-Hired-Gun-Patti-Sherry-Crews-ebook/dp/B01EAS7F50

Follow Patti at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Patti-Sherry-Crews/e/B01C7L8QUU/

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