I Heart Boston Terriers" as part of Amber Allure's pet-themed Heavy Petting PAX collection of romances.
I'm doubly excited because the cover model for this story is my very own Boston terrier, Lily. Although she'll never know it, the story is also dedicated to her.
Here's what "I Heart Boston Terriers" is about:
Love at first sight can work for dogs as well as humans.
When Aaron finds Mavis, an emaciated and timid Boston terrier, at a pet adoption fair, his heart goes out to her--irrevocably.
When Christian, who is manning the adoption fair for the Humane Society that fateful autumn Saturday, finds Aaron, his heart goes out to him--irrevocably.
I Heart Boston Terriers is all about embracing love, whether it's for someone who walks on four legs, or someone who walks on two. The Boston terrier Mavis' journey back to wholeness and finding her forever home runs parallel to the story of two men discovering one another at just that perfect moment--a moment that defies logic, propriety, and common sense.
But then when do the dictates of love follow a rational course?
Come along for a journey about a man and his dog and see how that journey teaches him the truth about love and making a caring connection that just might last a lifetime.
And here's a little taste:
...Christian returned to Mavis. "I want to see you make this your forever home, Mavis. It's a place where you can feel safer and safer with every passing day."
Aaron loved what he was telling the dog, whether she understood or not. Aaron believed any creature could pick up on the caring in Christian's voice; he certainly could. But he worried about Becca. She hadn't left the door open for second chances or a "forever home" and Aaron was doubtful this one visit from Christian could change things so much that she would allow Mavis to stay after all.
One of the last things she had said, before leaving for her Internet date, was, "I was going to wear those Jimmy Choos today, too. Damn it. Those shoes were mantraps, I tell you." She had laughed, but Aaron could hear the regret and longing in her voice. He would never understand how someone, his sister especially, could allow a pair of shoes to take precedence over a living thing.
Christian held Mavis up and out to Aaron. "Here. You try."
Awkwardly, as if he were taking a newborn from Christian, he took Mavis into his arms, cradling her and letting one arm support her along her soft and warm belly.
"Just talk to her," Christian said. "Just like I did--let her know you care, but make sure she understands you're in charge."
Aaron met Christian's expectant gaze.
"Go on," Christian encouraged.
Aaron didn't know if he was doing the right thing, continuing to build a bond with a dog his sister had insisted go back to the pound. But Mavis was looking up at him with appellate eyes, as if she too were waiting for him to make his move. Aaron doubted anyone could resist those eyes; they were perfectly round, a rich deep brown, and stared out of a face that was, all at once, wise, soulful, and a little melancholy.
He kind of let himself drift into the dog's deep gaze and almost forgot Christian was there. He certainly forgot about Becca's wishes as he began to speak, gently stroking Mavis' head all the while.
"You and me, kid. We're two of a kind. Alone. A bit unwanted, yes." He massaged her neck. "But you and me, we both have a lot to offer, don't we? So we're not gonna feel sorry for ourselves, are we? We're both survivors, too, and we're not gonna let this temporary setback get us down permanently. We're going to remember that life is a series of sunshine and rainy days--and no one escapes either. That's the thing we have to bear in mind: that the rain does stop falling, the sun does come out again. It happens for all of us.
"It's happening for you, little stinker. Right now. You've found someone who's decided to give you a home, someone who's made the most important decision a person can make--to love." He let himself feel the solidity of Mavis' compact body against his own and knew, right then, that come hell or high water, sisters or shoes, nothing was going to come between this man and his dog.
"And while you may not love me yet, I think you will. If you get no other sense from my words than this, remember: I am not going to let anything bad happen to you, ever. Not if I can help it."
He released Mavis, setting her gently down at his feet, where she promptly curled up, calmer than he had ever seen her.
Gradually, he came back to reality and realized he'd probably just made an ass of himself in front of Christian. What he had said to the dog was heartfelt, but what if Christian had seen them as nothing more than Hallmark platitudes? He was lifting his head to give the guy one of his patented sheepish grins, when he noticed Christian looking at him.
If he didn't know better, he would say the guy was touched. And not "touched in the head" either, although he might be that as well, but touched as in something really got through to him.
Christian slowly shook his head. He didn't say anything for a long while and then what he said next wasn't at all what Aaron expected.
"Can I kiss you?..."
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