THAT DOGGONE BABY
Everyone thinks they can push Jaci Meadows around: her family, her boss, even her full-grown Malamute, Baby. The dog reaches Jaci’s shoulders, weighs more than the petite event planner, and has decided Jaci’s designer shoes are a favorite toy. Justin Blakely understands dogs better than most people. It’s clear to him Jaci Meadows can’t handle her own life, let alone a two-hundred-pound Malamute ready to take on the world. Can one oversized Malamute and one very discerning dog whisperer help guide Jaci back to her true path? Can she learn to say no or is she just too addicted to the need to be needed?
Justin Blakely fell in love the minute he saw her. She had a spectacular shape—lean and curvy in all the right places. That distinctive coloring…the sassy bounce to her step. Absolutely stunning.
The magnificent malamute’s owner wasn’t too bad either…but Justin was trying not to notice. The last time he’d gotten involved with a blonde-haired, blue-eyed fashionista like Jaci Meadows, he’d almost lost his kennel. He’d been so busy trying to find ways to please his ex fiancé Gina, he allowed himself to fall deeply into debt. By the time he realized she was mostly interested in his status as Angel Falls’ pre-eminent dog whisperer, creditors were hounding his steps. He called off their engagement and spent the next two years focused on his business and what he knew best…dogs.
Petite, curvy blondes with big blue eyes were definitely not on his radar range. Especially ones like Jaci Meadows. He’d seen her kind of owner too many times. Folks with a designer bent who opted for the high-end purebreds. Owners who cared more about how their specialty animal looked beside them than what was best for the dog or even what the animal needed.
Ms. Meadows fit into that category like a designer purse in a protective bag—perfectly. She was so concerned about her looks, she wasn’t willing to part with her haute couture long enough to wear the proper flat shoes for the lessons. Here she was at their second class, once again having donned fancy boots with a two-inch heel to march around his uneven, soft dirt corral with Baby leading all the way.
The first class had covered all the points on teaching the dog to follow on the leash, not lead. But Baby still tugged her petite owner around the corral, almost toppling her over in her two-inch heels. Justin might have found it comical if he hadn’t been concerned about the prima donna falling and suing his business. That would be just his luck.
Maybe he should consider having all of his attendees sign release forms, or an agreement stipulating they would at least try to implement his techniques. He doubted Ms. Meadows heard even one word of his carefully constructed insights into a dog’s psyche. She’d been on her phone for most of both classes.
Baby’s owner was a lost cause. But the malamute…she had potential. Baby had all the looks, poise, control and intelligence needed to be a great show dog. A first-class winner.
Too bad he couldn’t say the same about Ms. Meadows.
Usually, Justin made it his business to separate that particular breed of humans—the kind that didn’t care—from their dogs. But given his soft spot for blondes, he’d already decided to give Baby and her human a wide berth. Still, there was something about Ms. Meadows blue eyes…a softness, an innocence…
OK. Make that a soft spot for blondes with big, naïve-looking blue eyes. Shaking his head, Justin purposely turned away to focus his gaze on Mrs. Jones and her Great Dane. Bertie was doing a great job of leading his owner. But Mrs. Jones was deftly, if somewhat timidly, applying Justin’s technique on the leash.
Good to know someone’s paying attention.
A yelp caught his attention. He turned around just in time to see Baby circle his owner. The leash wrapped around the blonde’s ankles.
“No. Don’t say that!” Justin saw the accident in the making but spoke too late.
Baby immediately obeyed Ms. Meadows’ command. She stopped, turned, raised on her hind legs and placed two huge front paws on her owner’s immaculate white, ruffled top. With the leash still tangled around her ankles, the lovely Ms. Meadows’ arms flailed as she sailed backwards and landed flat on her back in a puff of dust.
My Review - also on goodreads
I certainly wasn't expecting this. Any of it actually. I'd imagined Baby to be a child or a baby - instead it's a dog you can't help loving, despite the fact it's in need of training. And according to Justin, so does it's owner. And then you can't help loving Justin and Jaci either. I would have liked it a little longer, to see the event they'd been planning. But the ending we got.... never saw that coming. At all.
TANYA STOWE is a Christian Fiction writer with an unexpected edge.
This Pelican Book Group author fills her romances with the unusual…gifts of the spirit in TENDER TOUCH and spiritual warfare in HAUNTED HEARTS. In NEVER-ENDING NIGHT she explores the horrors of a Civil War battle and unravels a mystery. TENDER TRUST treks to the Old West. LEAP OF FAITH brushes wings with an angel and WHITE CHRISTMAS wraps romance in the traditions of a small town holiday. No matter where Tanya goes…on a journey through the past or contemporary adventures in new lands…be prepared for the extraordinary.