UPDATE: The winner is…Denise Z!
I suspect most of us have pets, right? For those who know me well, I have a Border Collie (Maggie) who’ll be twelve in May and a Parti Yorkie (Henry) who is about 18 months old. So, I know and love dogs.
A few months back, I was asked to participate in a rescue dog anthology, and I thought, “How fun!” Each of the ten participating authors is contributing a new, original book to the collection. These books aren’t linked except by the fact each of them has a rescued dog as a character.
My book is Hot Assets. It’s the story of how my heroine (Andrea Carmichael) agrees to dog-sit her neighbor’s dog while the neighbor is in the hospital, only to have someone kidnap the dog! Why would anyone want to kidnap a rescued mutt dog? Andi has to enlist the help of the cop (Seth Noles) who lives across the street to find the dog and get to the bottom of the mystery. As the mystery heats up, so does Andi and Seth’s relationship.
Now, before I get to the excerpt, this collection is on a PREORDER SPECIAL PRICE OF ONLY $0.99!! The price will go up to $3.99 after release.
Also, the royalties from sales on May 17 and 18 will be donated to a Florida Rescue Animal Organization.
Here is an UNEDITED snippet of the opening…
I sat up, unsure what woke me. Darkness swaddled me, my bedroom so quiet I heard my heartbeat in my ears. Grabbing my cellphone, I checked the time. Two a.m. Then, before I could replace the phone on the bedside table and settle back down for three more hours, the blasted thing began to ring. I sighed. Everyone knows only bad news comes at this hour.
When I look at the screen, I see I’ve missed a previous call, mostly likely what jarred me awake originally. My elderly next door neighbor’s name is flashing on my screen.
“Lillian,” I croaked into the phone. “What’s wrong?”
“I fell and I can’t move.” Her voice is reedy and thin, barely audible. “Help me.”
“Of course,” I said as I slid from my warm sheets. “I’ll be right there.”
I slipped on the jeans and the long-sleeve T-shirt I’d been wearing before bed, unconcerned that the shirt bore a definite stain of spaghetti sauce from last night’s dinner. In the foyer, I thrust my feet into shoes and grabbed Lillian’s housekey from the drawer in my entry hall table. Until recently, Lillian Branson had been a healthy, active senior citizen. She’d given me her housekey so I could water her plants when she was one of her trips, as she’d been last month. She’d returned ten days ago with what she called a bad cold, insisting she didn’t need to see a doctor.
Now, as I rushed out of my house and across our lawns, I feel guilty that I hadn’t pushed her harder. Shoot, my sister’s an ER doctor. I could have—should have—asked Brooke to drop by and take a look at Lillian. That probably would have made Lillian mad, but her only family is a grandson whom I’ve never seen or met in the three years we’ve been neighbors.
I let myself in and deactivate the house alarm. “Lillian?” I called out.
“In here,” she said, followed by a bark from Baxter, her mixed-breed rescue dog. Baxter, who weighed about eight pounds, but believed himself to be closer to eighty pounds, was always at Lillian’s side. Baxter traveled everywhere with Lillian. If Baxter wasn’t invited, Lillian wasn’t going.
I followed the faint voice to the kitchen where I found Lillian sprawled on the floor, a small gash dripping fresh blood down the side of her head. Baxter’s head rested on Lillian’s chest. When I knelt beside her, Baxter’s head lifted.
“Oh, I feel like such a ninny. I was coughing and came downstairs to get a glass of water. I fell as I was reaching for a glass.”
I could hear my sister in my head warning me to not try to get Lillian up. “You have a small cut on your head. Let me grab a towel for the blood.”
I stood and as I looked for a clean kitchen towel, I noticed the dirty plates and glasses in the sink. Lillian hated dirt and disorder, so dinner dishes in the sink was out of character. I found a clean cloth and rejoined Lillian on her floor. “Here.” I pressed the material to her head. “Where else do you hurt?”
“My left hip. That’s where I landed.” She clucked her tongue. “I’m so clumsy.”
“Is someone else here?” I asked as I pressed on her hip.
She groaned from my touch and her gaze shifted away. “No. I’m here by myself. That’s why I can to call you.” Tears gathered in her eyes.
I knew she was lying to me. I just didn’t know why.
“Yeah, I don’t think I can get you up. My money’s on either a dislocation or broken hip.” I squeezed her shoulder in sympathy. “Sorry, Lillian, I have to call an ambulance.” I expected an argument. Lillian is one of the most independent women I know, and when I only got a head nod in answer, I knew I’d made the right decision.
I called 9-1-1 and explained the situation. Once I knew help was coming, I helped into a sitting position and joined her on the hardwood floor.
“Well, this is a fine mess you’ve gotten us in to,” I said in my best Laurel and Hardy imitation.
She chuckled with a grimace. “I know.”
I heard heavy footfalls in the entry way, which surprised me as I hadn’t heard an ambulance siren. Plus, unless the ambulance had been one block away, there hadn’t been enough time for one to get here.
A man I did not know stepped into the kitchen as I realized that in my haste to get to Lillian, I’d left the front door open. Panic seized my throat and my breath.
I live in a Dallas historical area comprised of craftsman homes, many over a hundred years old. Lillian and I both live in refurbished homes in this classic neighborhood. While many of the houses have gotten the renovation necessary to bring back their stately beauty, others remain in poor conditions with the owners lacking the funding to do the required upkeep. Inside our neighborhood enclave, we feel secure. However, outside our immediate area, crime rates are higher than the average in other Dallas neighborhoods. Was the scruffy-looking man one of crime elements I needed to be worried about?
The stranger in Lillian kitchen was tall and broad-shouldered. His chestnut-colored hair was disheveled, as though he’d run his fingers through it recently. A heavy scruff covered his cheeks and circle a pair of thick lips that were pulled into a tight line.
“Get out,” I ordered in my best don’t-fuck-with-me voice and pointed toward the direction he’d just arrived. I might have been anxious about the stranger, but Baxter wasn’t. He greeted the man with a wiggly tail and excited yips, but of course, Baxter loved everyone.
He ignored me and continued to advance toward Lillian and me. My gaze flew around the kitchen for a weapon of any type, but honestly, our seated positions on the floor left us vulnerable.
PREORDER your copy TODAY at the LOW-LOW rate of $0.99!
Go to https://books2read.com/Rescued-Dog-Anthology to order today!
OF COURSE, I have a giveaway!!
I’ll pick one person to win a $5 Amazon Gift Card, so leave a comment to be in the running!