Countdown Continues!

There’s a new member in the Petal cast – Joe’s dog Buck.

Copyright 2013, Lauren Dane
All Rights Reserved, Samhain Publishing
Releasing March 12 in digital formats, September 3 in trade paper

Buck saw her and barked, nearly skipping—cutest damned thing she ever saw, his little prancing dance—over. Joe sent a look her way, part pleased, part pleading to be freed from Dolly’s clutches.

“Hey, Buck.” She bent to scratch behind his floppy ear and straightened. “You ready, Joe?”

Joe blinked and then nodded. “Yes. Ready.”

Beth put the cookies on the counter and turned to Dolly with a smile. “Hey, Dolly, thanks for keeping Joe company until it was time for him to take me to lunch.”

“He never said anything to me.” Dolly tried to look triumphant but she just looked dumb. As usual.

“Why would he?” Beth laughed and turned to Joe, who’d grabbed his keys. Lunch was impromptu, but she didn’t want Buck here suffering, not that Joe would leave the dog there anyway. “Want me to grab Buck’s leash?”

Joe couldn’t help but be impressed by Beth. She breezed in, looking amazing. Especially in comparison with Dolly who apparently didn’t believe in the less-is-more philosophy.

The damned dog actually danced to her, barking happily. And she had cookies? He could totally take her to lunch just for that. Then she’d saved him from Dolly and made sure he understood she wanted Buck along?

Every time he ran into her, he had less and less defense against her charm. Because she was charming.

And really hot.

He handed the leash to Beth and turned back to Dolly, once again pushing the bill and the keys her way. “So like I said, I changed the oil and checked everything over.” He’d known, of course, that there was not a damned thing wrong with the car and that Dolly had been interested in him, not his mechanical skills. But he remembered what she’d been like in school and that had left him sour on her ever since.

Beth bent, chatting to the dog as she got him leashed. “Sorry, the cookies are triple chocolate and dogs can’t have chocolate. Which really sucks, Buck, because chocolate is awesome. But I promise to let you have some of my ham sandwich as a consolation prize.”

Joe held back a smile, shaking his head, amused. Dolly gave an annoyed huff, but paid and stomped out.

“Every single woman in town is going to be bringing in dog treats now.” Beth straightened, handing the leash to Joe.

“None of them mean it.”

She shrugged one shoulder. “I still aim to make you go to lunch with me.” Buck barked. “And you too, Mister Buck. I haven’t forgotten the promise of the ham sandwich.”

He opened the door, locking it in his wake after he put out the lunch sign. “I need to lock the garage. Hang on a sec.”

He needed to hire someone else. Which was actually a good thing.

“There’s a nice shaded picnic table behind the salon. We of course have a very lenient dog policy.” She said this as she knelt to get eye to eye with the dog. He liked how she was with Buck. It wasn’t fake at all. She was as goofy with Buck as she was with Joe.

“He’s going to leave me for you at this point.”

She grinned, standing. “We can get sandwiches and stuff at the Honey Bear. I called ahead so they’d be ready. I hope you don’t mind.”

“Ever since you mentioned food, I’ve been starving.”

She handed him the leash again, and took his arm. He should have stopped her. But he didn’t.

She indicated the table under a big oak tree as they walked past the salon. “It’s the Murphy version of a break room.”

He laughed and very nearly leaned in to kiss her temple. “Why don’t you and Buck head over. I’ll grab lunch and be back in a few.”

“Fine. I’ll get some water for him. To wash down the ham sandwich.”

He walked a block down and then across the street to the Honey Bear bakery and café. William worked there, Joe knew, as a baker. The early hours and solitary nature of the job suited his friend well. Joe got that too. He liked his job. Liked solving problems with an engine on his own. Puzzling through and going step by step to finish.

No one got on his nerves. He had no boss to take orders from either. It was just him and the thing he was best at.

He recognized the woman at the counter, and she grinned, holding up two big bags. “Got your order ready.”

“That’s some kind of service. Thanks.”

She wouldn’t take his money though, saying that Beth was like family and they had a deal with the ladies at the salon. He shoved a ten in the tip jar and headed out.

But when he got back across the way, she was lying on a blanket with Buck, scratching his belly. The dog opened one eye as Joe approached.

“He likes to drink from the hose. I told him he could have it from the bowl, but he snorted at me and got dog snot and spit on my leg. We had a talk about such behavior, and he assures me he won’t be repeating that again.”

Today I’m giving away two digital ARCs of LOST IN YOU, chosen from the comments to this post tomorrow, 3/9 – Do you like animals and/or kids in your romances? If so, any favorites?

23 comments to “Countdown Continues!”

  1. Lisa Guertin
    March 8th, 2013 at 5:21 am · Link

    I enjoy having both animals and kids in romance novels. They tend to take the storyline in some fun directions.

  2. Christine
    March 8th, 2013 at 6:53 am · Link

    I am a huge animal lover. Having dogs and cats in my life forever. I think having an animal or child can only add to the storyline. Just love Eve’s interaction with her cat in In Death Series.

  3. M. Barrett
    March 8th, 2013 at 7:04 am · Link

    Cannot wait for this book to come out. Adding animals and kids gives an extra “real life” element to the story.

  4. Melanie J.
    March 8th, 2013 at 8:32 am · Link

    I love having pets and kids in books. I loved the Colter’s by Maya Banks, The Browns, by you… PLay by play series by Jaci Burton… and the list can go on and on!

  5. Kelsey Summer
    March 8th, 2013 at 8:44 am · Link

    Since I have animals and kids (sometimes kids who are like animals) I do like to them to be in books. It makes them seem more realistic and I can relate to the characters more.


  6. Moran
    March 8th, 2013 at 8:47 am · Link

    I love reading about kids and animals in romance books but in real life I’m super scared of dogs and cats LOL
    One of my fav books with a dog in it is Take a Chance on Me by Susan Donovan.
    I also love Kristan Higgins and how the animals are a big part of the story.

    A fav book with kids in it would be Coming Undone.

  7. Amy R
    March 8th, 2013 at 9:25 am · Link

    I enjoy kids and animals in romance because they usually add humor. One of my favorite romance books with an animal (dog) is Deirdre Martins Chasing Stanley.

  8. Marianne
    March 8th, 2013 at 9:32 am · Link

    Yes, I like animals in particular in a book. They really make it feel more real and bring out the “awwww” moments.

  9. cathyf
    March 8th, 2013 at 9:39 am · Link

    I loved the kids and dogs in Nora Roberts Inn at Boonsboro series. The little boys reminded me of my nephews.

  10. Carinne
    March 8th, 2013 at 9:40 am · Link

    Can’t wait to read this one!

  11. CrystalGB
    March 8th, 2013 at 9:45 am · Link

    Yes, I do. They add to the story.

  12. Barbara Lalik
    March 8th, 2013 at 10:09 am · Link

    Love pets & kids in books. The whole family theme is awesome. Like the Browns, Chase brothers, etc…

  13. Texas Book Lover
    March 8th, 2013 at 10:24 am · Link

    Yes I like dogs (and other pets) and kids in my books. They make for some great moments. One that comes to mind is Jill Shalvis Lucky Harbor Series…Tank (the dog) & Toby (the son) were both great in Forever and A Day.

  14. Rachel Riddles
    March 8th, 2013 at 11:33 am · Link

    I love them as long as they enhance the story and don’t take away from the h/H. Can’t wait to read this.

  15. bn100
    March 8th, 2013 at 2:06 pm · Link

    Don’t mind animals in stories. For kids, it depends on the story.

  16. Collette
    March 8th, 2013 at 2:28 pm · Link

    I do like them. My favorite animal in a story is Mutt from the Kate Shugak/Dana Stabenow series. But if that dog gets hurt one more freaking time, I’m gonna kick her ass.

    I can’t think of a kid but I do like them in stories.

  17. Timitra
    March 8th, 2013 at 3:42 pm · Link

    I love both in my romances, off the top of my head The Red Diary by Toni Blake for pets and Burning Wild by Christine Feehan for children!

  18. LindaL
    March 8th, 2013 at 5:37 pm · Link

    I like kids and animals in romances though I don’t really recall many kids in the novels that I’ve read. . Jill Shalvis has kids in a Animal novels and there is George in the BDB series. For kids, Miles & Alexander in the Delicious/Brown series and Tara had a son in The Perfect Play

  19. Larri
    March 8th, 2013 at 6:34 pm · Link

    It really depends on the book. Having raised a couple of kids, I have little patience for fictional kids who are too perfect or precious. I am quite fond of Adrian and Gillian’s son, Miles and I thought Lorelei James did a great job with Sierra, the teenaged daughter of Gavin in GONE COUNTRY.

  20. Jenn @ Lost in a Great Book
    March 8th, 2013 at 7:09 pm · Link

    I love the idea of pets in books, especially if they have personality. I loved the dogs in the movie “Must Love Dogs”, but my greatest fear is an “Old Yeller” situation. It makes me so upset when that happens!.
    Kids …. eh. Depends on the book and their relationship with their parent(s). I’ve read some fabulous ones (many of which have already been mentioned before), but I’ve read some truly dreadful ones as well (Stepford kids, anyone?).

  21. Chris N
    March 8th, 2013 at 8:02 pm · Link

    I love animals and kids in romance novels. They generally add comic relief and a nice distraction from the intensity of the plot.

  22. Lori T
    March 8th, 2013 at 9:03 pm · Link

    I do enjoy reading stories with animals and kids.

    I am so looking forward to LOST IN YOU!!!

  23. Cyndi
    March 9th, 2013 at 1:26 pm · Link

    I love when kids and are pets are used to form bonds and relationships in a romance. They tend to bring a new layer of love and devotion to a story line. They can soften a hard situation and be used to heal hurts. Buck sounds like just perfect for bringing a beautiful new family together!