As if he sensed her worry, the Yorkie wiggled around in her arms and licked her cheek again. She draped him over her shoulder, a position she knew from experience that he enjoyed, and nuzzled her cheek against him.
Something behind Kaylee caught Ruthie’s attention. A silly grin twisted her mouth as she threw her hand up in an exaggerated wave. Unless this Carter person was a complete moron, they were pretty hard to miss, since they were the only people in that part of the park.
“Carter, over here!” Ruthie stood and flapped her arms even more.
OMG. Either Pam’s personal assistant had finally lost it after years of dealing with her perfectionist boss or there must be a celebrity walking up behind them. Kaylee was afraid to look. She racked her brain for any movie stars named Carter but couldn’t come up with a single one. From the blush on the other woman’s face, she was pretty sure Carter was a man, and if not a famous one, he must be drop dead gorgeous.
Valentino’s tail wagged in Kaylee’s face as he barked his hello and squirmed against her shoulder. A masculine laugh sounded before Carter greeted them. “Good morning, Ruthie.”
Kaylee ran her hand through her hair and pushed a section of bobbed blonde locks behind her ear before she turned around to meet him.
Sunglasses hid his eyes, but she could definitely understand why the PA was acting like a teenage girl backstage at a One Direction concert. Carter was smoking hot.
“Hey, dog, you glad to see me, boy?” His voice was even handsome, in a whiskey smooth kind of way. “May I?”
“Sure,” Kaylee answered, and let him hold the pooch that was squirming to get to him.
Then Carter took off his shades.
It couldn’t be, and she hoped to high heaven it wasn’t who she thought. But it was. When he smirked at her, it erased any lingering doubt.
About the Author
About the Author
Sydney Aaliyah Michelle is a Contemporary Romance writer, a voracious reader and movie fanatic who hails from Texas.
After surviving 5 1/2 years living in China, she had the courage to finally pursue her passion and become a writer.
Sydney has been blogging at sydneyaaliyah.com for three years, where she interviews people about their tattoos, discusses her favorite movie quotes, and journals about her writing and editing process.
Sydney’s novels tackle that dramatic world that is college and professional football and she writes heroines that love their men and the sport that they play.
“She can go home now,” Mary says, trying to elicit a happier response.
Leah pets the cat and finally looks at her for the first time. “You hear that?” she says to the cat. “We’re going home.”
Mary puts Fur Elise back in the kennel.
“Ev—Dr. Grady said I should make a follow-up appointment?”
“You can do that at the front desk with Stacy.”
“See you up front.”
Leah rummages through her handbag for keys, but her attention is almost magnetically drawn back to the flowers.
She pads over and sneaks a peek at the card.
It reads, Forgive me. Love, Tess.
There’s a sinking in Leah’s chest. She takes the kennel handle and lifts Fur Elise out of the room and back to the lobby.
Mary hands paperwork to Stacy. “If you have any questions,” Mary says to Leah, “be sure to give us a call.”
Leah nods. It’s all she can manage.
Stacy reads from the sheet. “Says we should see you back here in one month.”
She clicks in the computer. “We’re looking at February 14th. How sweet! Valentine’s Day.”
“You know,” Leah says, “I don’t have my calendar with me. I’ll just call and schedule it later.”
Leah picks up the cat carrier, ready to leave and find herself another veterinarian. But then the door flies inward, and Everitt walks through. His jacket collar is pushed up and his hair is a mop from the wind. The gusty weather keeps the door wide open, and Everitt fights to close it.
He prepares to move straight to the back exam rooms, but stops when his eyes meet Leah’s.
“Hi,” he says, brushing back his bangs.
About the Author
Former fireman Larry Davison covers his burn scars well, by working at an elementary school as a custodian where he finds a lost hound dog behind the dumpster. Fashion designer Jenna Hart is in town to do a charity fashion show when she loses her top model, Little Treat.When Larry turns up with the puppy, she asks him to be in the show and bachelor auction. Larry’s not sure he belongs in a fashion show and balks at being her good deed. Can Jenna convince Larry beauty is never skin deep and love’s arrow strikes not only the beautiful, but the bold?
Something moved near the dumpster, darting behind it. Probably a rat. He should set traps, but not tonight. The wind whined and howled as he opened the door.
About the Author
Rachelle Ayala is a bestselling author of contemporary romance and romantic suspense. Her foremost goal is to take readers on a shared emotional journey with her characters as they grow and become more true to themselves. Rachelle believes in the power of love to overcome obstacles and feels that everyone should find love as often as possible, especially if it’s within the pages of a book. Her book, Knowing Vera, won the 2015 Angie Ovation Award, and A Father for Christmas garnered a 2015 Readers’ Favorite Gold Award.
“Well, don’t you two make the cutest couple?”
“We do, don’t we?” Dylan said, wrapping his arm around Mel’s shoulder, grinning as if he’d won the lottery. With one eyebrow up, Mel glanced at his hand and then brushed it off. “Uh, no, no. We’re best friends.” “Oh, I get it. Friends with benefits.” She winked.
“No, no. Just buddies.”
“Well, if he’s not with you”—she reached between her ample bosom and pulled out a business card—“he can give me a call. I get off in an hour.”
“Uh, ma’am, we’d just like to check in, please. Any additional rooms available?”
She pursed her lips and gave Mel every bit of her attitude. “Afraid not. We’re all booked up until Monday. Super Bowl.”
Mel handed the woman her credit card, then waited for her to process it for incidentals and pass her the keycards. “Room 315. Up the elevator to the third floor; your room is on the left at the end of the hall.” As Mel dragged her suitcase and Mack toward the elevator, his carrier handle started to cut into her finger so she swapped him for one of Dylan’s bags. Then they pressed ahead through the pristine, marble lobby to catch a ride to their room.
“Mel, why do you keep doing that?” Dylan asked as they waited for the elevator to alert its arrival.
“Telling everyone we’re not together as if I’m a leper or something.”
“If my memory serves me correctly, denying that we’re a couple used to be your role. How many times have you told your potential prey that I’m your little sister?” Mel responded, giving him the side eye. “Guess you taught me well, Obi-Wan.”
He grimaced as the elevator doors opened, motioned her inside, and pressed “3.”
“Listen, I’ve wanted to talk to you about Gizelle. She didn’t cancel. I did…and there’s a reason, something I didn’t realize until recently.”
“How many times did I tell you Gizelle was all wrong for you?”
“About a thousand, but that’s not what I’m—”
She let out a long exasperated sigh. “Dylan, while I just love hearing about your sexual exploits and break- ups,” she said facetiously, “how about you hold that thought until after I’m out of a hot shower and into some pajamas.”
“But you don’t understand. What I’m trying to say is—”
Just then the doors opened and Mel stepped off the elevator. It was too late when she heard someone yell, “Go deep!”
An object collided against her temple, causing a dull aching pain to stretch across her skull and into her neck. Dylan’s voice screamed, “Watch out!” before all light and sound faded and the hall went black.
About the Author
She discovered a love for reading and writing at the age of three, by her mother’s accounts. Through the years, she has maintained diaries and journals, but the journals she wrote as an adult provided the inspiration for The Bum Magnet.
Brady is a native Washingtonian (D.C.), lifelong Washington football fan, and professed nerd-girl who loves all things Star Trek, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Big Bang Theory. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, the Maryland Writers Association, and Sisters in Crime and lives to write novels, especially those involving hilarious quirky characters looking for love. She is hard at work on her next several projects including the sequels to HER PERFECT CATCH (part of the Valentine’s Pets and Kisses box set) because girls love football, too!
Lexie is so distraught after long-time boyfriend, Josh, dumps her, she takes a leave of absence from her teaching job. Josh leaves behind the puppy he bought for her just before things fell apart even though she’s not a dog person. Lexie contemplates giving it away but decides keep the little mischief-maker and get her some training.
While at puppy obedience school, Lexie meets Tommy, the happy-go-lucky type she could give her heart to if only she was ready. But Lexie gives Tommy the brush off and they lose touch. However, a series of events, some unfortunate, bring them together again.
She bent down to open the door to the crate. Bardot already had her little pushed-in snout against the grill of the door, stubby tail wagging furiously. When she opened it, Bardot bounded out and jumped up to kiss her. Even though still just a pup, she was strong and her boxy little skull connected with Lexi’s nose. Blood gushed. Lexi stifled it with a hand while trying to keep the puppy at bay with the other, but Bardot was persistent, jumping and jumping until she knocked her mistress backward onto her butt.
Lexi let her head fall into her hands and cried; a small pool of blood and tears spilled onto the front of her T-shirt. She looked up in time to see Bardot squatting on the rug.
About the Author
Come visit her website www.jeannebannon.com
Jade still had the kitten in her lap and was talking to Ridley.
” … treat him nice, okay boy?”
Ridley’s head was tipped to one side as if he understood what she was saying.
When she patted him on the forehead, I was sure he smiled, which forced me to bite my lip.
Every time he did that thing that looked like a smile, I gave thanks for my daughter. She was the only person I knew who got that reaction from both people and animals.
Matthias was sitting on the sofa, and I put the glass into his hand and sat adjacent to him. “So, the cat will be all right?”
“Yeah, from what Jade told me, Ridley was just playing with him.” He drank from the glass and then put it on the table. “He could easily have done him more harm.”
“How old is it anyway?”
“Around three or four weeks old.”
“I’m glad I won’t have to explain to anybody that our dog killed their cat.”
“Just like you nearly killed Ridley,” Jade said.
When I rolled my eyes, Matthias laughed and I didn’t bother to correct Jade. Instead, I said, “It’s a good thing we stopped and checked him out. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have a pet.”
“And now we might have another one,” she said.
I shot a desperate look at Matthias, who only smiled and picked up the glass for another sip.
About the Author
Her novels include the Island Adventure Romance series, which currently has five exciting, stand-alone stories and features feisty women and determined men. Campbell’s mission is to write stories that entertain and educate readers. She also writes under the pen name Jayda McTyson.
She is a certified editor, who also writes non-fiction.
Feel free to join her mailing list for news and updates http://eepurl.com/n29ZH or her Facebook readers’ group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/iarreaderssuite/
Visit her on the web at http://www.joylcampbell.com
Pain blossomed in more than one spot as my elbows and palms hit the cement and my head whacked into the decorative stone edging that lined the grass. Thor yelped as my dead weight kept him from getting any farther, then doubled back to see what was wrong and stomped all over me at least three times before settling on my head. By the time my senses cleared, I was so tangled in leash and puppy I couldn’t even figure out where to start. My head and arms throbbing didn’t help at all.
“Thor, get off,” a firm voice said.
I thought I wanted to die when I got gum in my hair, or soda ice down my shirt, or an ice cream pedicure. Those were nothing compared to having to be rescued from an over-enthusiastic puppy by Roman Carpenter while covered in dirt, grass, and blood. It was a miracle I didn’t give up right then and just start crying. I loved my nephews, but I was never going to be able to show my face in this neighborhood again.
The heavy weight of the squirming—and rather large—puppy was finally removed from my face. I heard Roman ask one of the boys to hold the leash, but I kept my eyes closed out of pure shame. Not until a pair of hands pressed against my face did I even dare to breathe. Even then, it was a gasp at the urgency behind the touch.
“Greenly, are you okay?” Roman demanded.
The hint of worry in his voice forced me to peel my eyelids apart. I peeked up at him through half-opened eyes and was startled not to find him laughing at me again. There was real, honest fear in his expression and it left me speechless.
“Are you okay?” he repeated.
Breathe, Greenly. “Yeah, uh huh. Yep.”
He just stared at me for a moment. Probably because I sounded ridiculous. “Are you sure?” he asked.
I tried to sit up in order to prove I was just fine. The sting of putting my hands on the ground made me hiss and I felt a little woozy when I tried to move.
“Whoa, whoa,” Roman said, which made me feel a little like a horse. “Don’t move. Let me help you.”
Great, just great. I tried again to sit up on my own. “Really, I’m fine.”
“No, you’re not,” Roman said as his arms slid beneath my arms and legs.
I experienced an irrational moment of panic, not because the idea of Roman carrying me off somewhere was frightening, but because being this close to him would expose everything about me I hadn’t already managed to bare. He lifted me easily and my breath caught as he adjusted his arms and I felt momentarily unsupported. Then his grip rolled me against his chest, to a place of absolute security. I don’t think I took a single breath as he walked up to the house.
About the Author
Native to New Mexico, DelSheree and her husband spent several years in Colorado for college and work before moving back home to be near family again. Their two children love having their seventeen cousins close by. When not writing, you can find DelSheree reading, painting, sewing and trying not to get bitten by small children in her work as a dental hygienist.
Violet wondered if she should tell him that Cookie couldn’t hear him. She and Bob had found out days after they rescued her from the local animal shelter that she was hearing impaired. Her previous owners had probably abandoned her because of it. Violet had often wondered how they could have rejected such a precious animal. Cookie was nothing but love and affection. But then again, if they hadn’t given her up, she never would have come into their lives. What would Violet have done if Cookie hadn’t been there after Bob was gone? And now that Sydney was away, having Cookie there made the loneliness less burdensome. “Her name is Cookie.”
“Hi, there, Cookie.” The man reached under her chin and brushed her soft fur.
Cookie’s tail wagged faster, and her mouth dropped open in a smile.
“I hate to tear my dog away like this,” said Violet. “She really loves to be petted, but I have to go. I have an appointment, and I’m running late.”
“I’m sorry.” The man rose to his feet.
His tall, lean body and handsome face had caught Violet’s attention since the first time she had seen him. She had often found herself watching him without wanting to. Standing there now, the sunlight bathed his sandy blond hair, causing its natural highlights to shine like gold.
He wasn’t the youngest of men. His face had been weathered by time, but he still had a youthful appearance.
About the Author
My name is Cindy Flores Martinez and I’m from a suburb of Los Angeles. I write sweet romantic comedy and inspirational romance. My debut novel, Mail-Order Groom, started out as a screenplay and movie project. I spent years shopping it around Hollywood, New York, and other parts of the world and had two well-known actors: an Academy Award nominated actor and a blockbuster film actress, interested in portraying the lead character’s parents. After not finding the success I wanted, I officially canceled my film production company, Mail-Order Groom LLC, in November of 2009 and embarked on the journey of turning my screenplay into a novel. I have an MFA in Creative Writing with an emphasis in Screenwriting. I have been a screenwriting instructor, screenplay consultant, script reader, and screenplay collaborator.