Cover Reveal: I Heart Boston Terriers by Rick R. Reed
I Heart Boston Terriers by Rick R. Reed, published by Dreamspinner Press
Publication date: September 20, 2107 Available for pre-order: August 21, 2017
Cover art design: Reese Dante https://www.reesedante.com/
Cover Model: Lily, the Boston terrier (owned by Rick R. Reed and Bruce Moynagh)
When Aaron finds Mavis, an emaciated and shy Boston terrier, at a pet adoption fair, his heart goes out to her—completely.
When Christian, manning the adoption fair for the Humane Society that autumn Saturday, finds Aaron, his heart goes out to him—completely.
This is a story about embracing love, whether it’s for someone who walks on four legs or on two. Mavis’s journey back to wholeness and finding her forever home parallels the story of two men discovering each other at the perfect moment—a moment that defies logic, propriety, and common sense. But when did love ever follow a rational course?
A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE STORY AND AN EXCERPT
With lots of panting and tail wagging, I give you the re-release of my dog-uniting-two-men-in-love story, “I Heart Boston Terriers.” This story is nearer and dearer to my heart than most others because, if you know me, you know I have a Boston terrier (Lily) and she’s our little princess.
It’s only fitting that Lily’s the cover model for the story. I am a proud papa! I took the picture of Lily featured on the cover last fall, just as we were waking up in our cabin at Washington state’s Orcas Island, where we were staying for a long weekend. I’m so glad the phone was nearby that morning!
Thanks to amazing cover artist, Reese Dante, who was able to incorporate Lily into the beautiful face for the story. I’m very blessed to be able to work with her on almost all of my books.
As a point of interest, my husband Bruce and I got Lily from a breeder when was eight weeks old. She’s now fourteen years old and has slowed down some, but is still the same sweet-tempered girl we brought home from the airport that September day lo these many years ago. She’s been part and parcel of our marriage, so it’s kind of appropriate that I would write a love story revolving around a Boston terrier.
I hope you’ll read “I Heart Boston Terriers” even if you read it in its original Amber Quill Press edition (there are significant changes to the story which, I think, improves it a lot). If you like the story, please drop a line to Lily in care of firstname.lastname@example.org
NEG UB2. For those of you not familiar, this shorthand, meaning ‘negative; you be too’ has shown up in online personals for years…and it can be kind of hurtful. In the excerpt below, our underdog romantic hero, Ethan Schwartz, comes across the phrase for the first time.
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. He wasn’t sure she had really 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, especially if she became a dreaded “repeat offender.”
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 first insisted go back to the pound. But Mavis was appealing to his kindness with huge brown 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’s head all the while.
“You and me, kid. We’re two of a kind. Alone. A bit unwanted, yes.” He massaged her neck. “But the two of us, we 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’s compact body against his own and knew, right then, that come hell or high water, sisters or high heels, 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 his words as nothing more than Hallmark platitudes? He was lifting his head to give Christian one of his patented sheepish grins, when he noticed Christian already looking at him.
If Aaron didn’t know better, he would say Christian 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?”
Real Men. True Love.
Rick R. Reed draws inspiration from the lives of gay men to craft stories that quicken the heartbeat, engage emotions, and keep the pages turning. Although he dabbles in horror, dark suspense, and comedy, his attention always returns to the power of love. He’s the award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifty works of published fiction and is forever at work on yet another book. Lambda Literary has called him: “A writer that doesn’t disappoint…” You can find him at www.rickrreed.com or www.rickrreedreality.blogspot.com. Rick lives in Palm Springs, CA with his beloved husband and their Boston terrier.
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