Authors: J. Haney and S.I. Hayes
Release Date: September 21
Genre: Contemporary Romance/ RomCom/Quarantine/ Forced Proximity RomanceFour years ago tragedy hit and now Bennett Reynor sits in his mansion, alone. He gets everything he could want delivered straight to his door. His business partner Stanley would like to see him move on and live his life but Bennett is content in his solitude often letting his disdainful words drive everyone away.
When Clover Prescott’s husky Mia takes off, setting her on a muddy and cold pursuit she finds herself in the yard of a grand estate while her pup is being accosted by an albino Doberman. Little does she know she’s about to come face to face with the ornery owner.
Heated words are gonna fly when these two let loose their mouths with hilarious results.
And they call it Puppy Love...
February first and there’s more snow. In Condor Washington, it’s barely ever sunny. So, we’re used to rain and snow. I’ve got work in about two hours, so I need to take my one-year-old husky, Mia for her morning walk. I stomp the ground to get her attention. See, Mia is deaf, and I’ve had to teach her tricks. Certain signs mean certain things. She understands them. We’ve been working on them since she was six weeks old. I make the sign for a walk. It’s my pointer, and middle finger pointed down and looks like they’re walking. She barks, even as pitiful as it might sound she tries. Grabbing her leash. I hook her up, and off we go. We always walk at least three times a day because while I’m at work, she stays penned in our little apartment. We don’t live in a bad neighborhood. We’re surrounded by decent-sized houses. With my apartment building being one of two. It’s nothing like where I grew up. Where you weren’t sure if you were going to eat tomorrow or not. I went hungry more often than not.
I’m checking my schedule this morning. It’s usually what our morning walk consists of. Schedules. That’s what happens when you have to work to keep a roof over your head.
Mia’s leash slips from my hand, and she’s gone. Damnit! I’d yell, but it would fall on deaf ears. Pushing my phone into my pocket, I take off running. I hate running. Who am I kidding? I hate all exercise. It’s why my ass is a little flabby, and I’ve got a small pudge on the front.
The tip of my boot hits a dip in the snow. Down I go knee and face-first into it. Son of a bitch! It takes me a minute to get off the ground, and I’m gone again. I hear dogs. Are they mating? You’ve got to be kidding me! Please be another Husky. Coming upon them, that is no Husky. No. Of course not! There goes breeding her for money.
“Marius! Heel!” I look up as I hear a man’s voice. Dark hair, scruffy face. He’s coming down the stairs.
I take a step toward the dogs, and the Doberman that has my poor Mia mounted turns on me. “Easy puppy. I’m not trying to hurt you.” I stop moving and speak calmly.
“Marius! Damnit! Get a life!” The man hollers, and this white devil trots off like he wasn’t just about to eat me! The man reaches the bottom of the stairs and just looks at me, all out of breath, clutching his right knee.
I move to Mia, squatting on the ground next to her. I hold my hand up for her to stay then turn my palm up for her to sit, and she does. I look up at the guy just watching me. “I’m incredibly sorry. She got away from me.”
“Obviously. You know if you can’t control her, maybe a harness would be better than that cheap-ass collar?”
“Her collar is just fine. I could have stopped her had she been able to see me.” I stand from the snow.
“You appear to be bleeding.” He turns back toward the stairs. “It should be looked at.”
“I’m sure I’ll be fine. I need to get Mia home before your dog attacks her again.”
“If it comes into our yard, it belongs to us. We have the gates and the hedges for a reason.”
“That’s delusional! Who are you some crazy who thinks you have all the rights in the world because you have the money to blow on a big fucking house? Get a life.”
Suddenly I’m being knocked to the ground, and that fucking dog is on me! Jesus Christ! “Get off!” I cover my face as the dog licks and kisses me. He’s lifted off, and I'm pulled to my feet. This guy has got to have ten inches on me!
“You are asking for it, aren’t you?” He gripes. “I just told him to go, and you call him back?” He huffs, looking me over. He grabs my head. “You need medical attention. I have a first aid kit. Come inside, that pup needs water look at her panting.”
“What do you expect? Your dog mounted her!” I want to scream but don’t.
“I’m sure she’s fine, I don’t think he had time to finish.” He takes my hand, pulling me, that’s when I notice the cane.
“Stop for a second.” He stops, and I turn back to Mia, giving her the hand gesture for come, and she walks along beside me.
“Up.” He commands the dog, and up the stairs, he goes. It takes a moment to get up with him and the cane, but once we do, he hands me a towel. “For her paws and coat.”
“Thank you.” I take it and turn, giving Mia the sign for heel, which is my hand on my hip. I wipe her down. He does the same for his, and then opens a set of doors.
“Marius, get food.” The dog takes off into the house, and he closes the doors, crossing me to a second set. “We’re going in here, best to keep them apart, I assume.”
“I would think so.” I walk into and shut the door.
It’s as he hobbles off that I get a look around. We’re in his room. He goes into another room. My eyes are darting around. Mia has seemed to find water and food. Why did he bring me in here? Then it dawns on me what he said. If it comes into our yard, it belongs to us. Dear God, please don’t let him try to attack me. I’d never be able to make him stop. Nothing is red or black, so maybe he’s not into kinky shit. Instead, it’s a white carpet with cream walls—a wooden bed with gold bedding. I’m rooted to a spot. I can’t seem to make myself move.
“Are you okay?” His voice emerges from the room ahead before him. He’s carrying a small white box with a big red cross on it. “Sit over there.” He points with a finger toward a chaise lounge in the room. “The light is better.”
“I’m not having intercourse with you,” I state boldly.
He furrows his brow confusedly, “Um good, I should hope you don’t go around having intercourse with random strangers. Unless you're being paid to, of course.”
“God, no!” I feel my cheeks heat. “You’re not going to try to attack me, right? Like your dog did to Mia.”
“I assure you there will be no mounting occurring in this room today.” He smiles sheepishly. “Now come sit, I won’t bite.”
My face heats up more as I slowly walk across the room to a chaise lounge. Sitting, I wince as bending my knee all the way appears to hurt. He grabs my face, and standing over me, he brushes the hair out of my face. He huffs.
“You’ve got gravel in here, we need to rinse it, you’ll have to come into the bathroom. Follow me.” He sounds so thrilled. I get up and am now limping just like him. Great, he’s gonna think I’m making fun.
S.I. (Shannon) Hayes and J. (Jess) Haney have been writing together since 2016. They have a country/city relationship. Shannon is a New Englander Transplanted in Ohio, whereas Jess is a Kentucky Girl through and through. Their dynamics are something to be seen that's for sure! Come hang and bring a fresh pair of panties... You know, just in case.
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