My dog Lou is a pug/terrier cross and she’s almost sixteen and a half years old. She came into our lives fifteen years ago when she was about a year and half old, but even at that young age our vet was sure she’d already had at least one litter of puppies. When we got her, she looked a little rough. Patches of fur were missing from her tail, and she smelled terrible. We were told she lived mostly outside, which is horrifying to me considering the kind of winters we have in Manitoba. But with love and good food, which she didn’t have to hoard anymore, her coat grew sleek and she gained weight. Boy, did she gain weight!
In those early years, she was a bundle of energy. She loved to walk or even run, so we went out every day, in all kinds of weather. She was affectionate and funny.
These days, in her elderly state, she’s still affectionate, but she doesn’t have much energy. We still go outside together in all kinds of weather, though our walks are very slow and don’t cover much distance. At this point we don’t know how much longer we’ll have her. All we can do in the time we have left with her is love her and care for her.
I didn’t know how much I loved dogs until we got Lou. I had dogs on the farm as a kid, but they were outside dogs that lived in the barn; my mom didn’t believe dogs and cats should live in the house. For years before we got Lou we had cats, and I loved them, but hands-down, Lou is my favorite pet ever.
Lou has inspired me to include dogs as characters in some of my books. In my latest release, CHILD OF MINE, Brady is Cole’s Golden Retriever. He’s even on the cover of the book, which makes me very happy. When Cole and Lauren marry and she moves in, Brady falls head over heels in love with Lauren and is her constant companion.
Another dog that ended up on one of my covers, albeit in cartoon form, is Spike in CHILL OUT. Spike is a Mastiff rescued by the hero of the story. He was inspired by my friend Michelle’s dog Indy, also a rescued Mastiff. When Michelle worked in my office, she regularly brought Indy to work with her and I got to know this gentle giant. In real life, Indy (a girl, by the way), wasn’t as big as I made Spike in the book. Like Brady, Spike totally falls for the heroine. Both dogs have very good taste!
The fictional dog most inspired by Lou is Stanley in TAKE A CHANCE ON ME. This book may have my favorite cover of all my books because it features Stanley in all his adorableness. There are definite differences between Stanley and Lou; for starters, Stanley is a male dog. He’s also a pure-bred pug and Lou is a cross. But in attitude, and in shedding prowess, Stanley is all Lou. When Lou is gone, I’ll look at that cover and fondly remember my little buddy.
Do you have a pet? Do you like to read about fictional pets in romance novels?
Child of Mine
Is Lauren’s love for Cole stronger than her fear of scandal in her hometown?
Lauren didn’t intend to sleep with her brother-in-law Cole on the day of her husband’s funeral. But now that she is pregnant, she’s not sorry. Cole’s given her a baby, a long-wished-for miracle. He’s been her friend forever, though she never told him or anyone else how unhappy her marriage to his cheating brother was. And she’s afraid to tell the small town that considered her husband a hero that the baby isn’t his.
Cole’s been in love with Lauren since he was sixteen. It kills him that everyone believes the baby is his dead brother’s. All he wants is to claim the baby, and Lauren, as his own. Though she marries him, will Lauren’s heart ever be his?
Lauren must tell the truth or risk losing Cole. Is her newly-discovered love for him greater than her fear of scandal in her hometown?
The Wild Rose Press: https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/all-titles/6519-child-of-mine.html
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Child-Mine-Masonville-Book-1-ebook/dp/B07MBVK9LY
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/child-of-mine-jana-richards/1130197427?ean=2940161413616
Cole wrapped her in his arms. He held her securely, whispering reassurances. “It’s all right, Lauren. Don’t cry. It’s going to be okay, sweetheart.”
She clung to him, her face buried against his neck. How wonderful to be held, to be touched. It had been so long—
What was she doing? This was Cole, her friend. She pulled away from him. “I’m sorry.”
“You don’t have anything to apologize for.”
She turned away and tried to wipe the tears from her face. After she got her tears under control, she made herself smile at him. “Do you remember the homecoming dance? The time I tripped in my new high heels and sprained my ankle?”
“Of course I do. You couldn’t walk, so I carried you from the school gym to Billy’s car, and he drove you home. I remember you were a lot heavier than you looked.”
She swatted his shoulder, hiccupping laughter mixing with her tears. “Very funny. I was trying to make a point.”
He wiped the tears from her cheek with the pad of his thumb, his dark eyes full of tenderness. “So what was your point?”
“You’re a good friend. You’ve always been there every time I’ve needed you, and here you are again. Thank you.” He stared into her eyes, but said nothing. She couldn’t look away. He continued to stroke her cheek with his thumb, the tiny caress acting like a balm to her battered heart. She placed her hand on his cheek.
They reached for each other in mutual need. He pulled her against his chest, his mouth descending on hers in a hungry, urgent kiss. She sighed against his mouth, and he brought her closer. He wants me. It had been so long since someone had wanted her. Only her.
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About the Author
When Jana Richards read her first romance novel, she immediately knew two things: she had to commit the stories running through her head to paper, and they had to end with a happily ever after. She also knew she’d found what she was meant to do. Since then she’s never met a romance genre she didn’t like. She writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and historical romance set in World War Two, in lengths ranging from short story to full length novel. Just for fun, she throws in generous helpings of humor, and the occasional dash of the paranormal. Her paranormal romantic suspense “Seeing Things” was a 2008 EPPIE finalist.
In her life away from writing, Jana is an accountant/admin assistant, a mother to two grown daughters, and a wife to her husband Warren. She enjoys golf, yoga, movies, concerts, travel and reading, not necessarily in that order. She and her husband live in Winnipeg, Canada with an elderly Pug/Terrier named cross Lou. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at www.janarichards.com
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