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(CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform $11.99)
Author's note: This series is NOT to be considered Christian Fiction
~ Charlie Russell lived with a secret for fourteen years, but now guilt has pushed him to the breaking point. He meets psychologist Dana McClain and feels an instant connection that has nothing to do with his Great Dane, Sugar, spilling coffee down her shirt.
Dana switched to counseling animals because she has a history of becoming too emotionally involved with her clients. She figures she's safe helping Charlie with Sugar's issues, until he reveals his secret and asks for her help. She tries to convince herself it's all about the dog, not the guy, but history has a way of repeating itself.
Charlie Russell scowled at the bright afternoon sun and wished he hadn't had so much to drink at Rowdy's last night. That, and Sugar's hell-bent-for-leather path down the sidewalk, intensified the headache pounding at his temples. Most days he could keep the ten-month-old
Great Dane in check, but today she was like a souped-up Harley on nitro.
At least she pulled him in the right direction--straight to Carrie Lowell's Coffee to Chai For on Salvation Street. In front of the shop windows, he shifted his sunglasses to the top of his head and squinted inside to see Carrie wiping down the half-dozen or so tables. He raised his hand to knock on the glass, only Sugar jerked his arm, and tugged him toward the door as it opened with the tinkling of a bell.
"Sugar, no. Come here, girl," he admonished, catching his balance after stumbling a step. He managed to stop the dog seconds before she accosted the woman walking out with two iced coffees in her hands. "Sorry."
The woman looked up from Sugar to him with a smile, and Charlie blinked when he saw her startling light green eyes. His attention tracked downward. Long blonde curls rioted about her face and shoulders, perfectly complimenting her white sleeveless blouse with ruffles around the collar and down along the buttons, and a pair of tan slacks.
Dropping his sunglasses back into place to cover his bloodshot eyes, he tried not to stare, but found the combination of wild curls and sophisticated clothes on a beautiful woman with a helluva body impossible to resist.
She sidestepped Sugar in her strappy high heels. He noticed her gaze sweep over him before her smile faded and she walked toward a metallic green Toyota Hybrid parked in front of the shop. He ran a self-conscious hand through his dark hair that desperately needed a trim. Why
the hell hadn't he showered, or at the least combed it before taking Sugar for a walk? Maybe worn something other than a ratty tee shirt, cutoff jeans and holey tennis shoes.
Yeah, so what, he'd brushed his teeth, but he should've shaved, too. Not that she'd look twice at him anyway, but still, it might have kept him from feeling like a total loser.
He turned back to the coffee shop and saw Carrie hold up a hand to let him know she'd be out in a minute.Anticipation for the reviving cup of French Roast she'd bring out made his mouth water almost as much as the woman who'd given him the visual brush-off.
The feminine voice spun Charlie around on his heel to see the beautiful blonde standing by her car.She lifted the iced coffees, and with another smile, asked, "Would you mind getting my door?"
His heart skipped a beat."Of course."
He moved forward, but remembered Sugar about three seconds too late. She shoved her large black nose under the woman's hands in an excited demand for attention. The woman's fingers clenched on the plastic cups as she gasped in surprise and both lids on her coffees popped clear off. Charlie pulled on the leash, but watched helplessly as one cup dumped down the front of her shirt and the other spilled along the length of her right thigh.
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