It's my pleasure to welcome Marcia James to the Living After Midnight Blog, to tell us about the meaningful attire worn in her novella, "Nothing But a Hound Dog."
ADOPT, DON'T SHOP: My Characters Proudly Wear Their Convictions
Cindi Landon, the heroine of my novella, "Nothing But a Hound Dog," is the director of the animal shelter in Jenkins, a small North Carolina town. As a hands-on, pro-animal advocate, she works alongside her staff. That means dressing in jeans and shelter t-shirts. One day, she might be working with dogs rescued from a hoarding situation. The next day, she might be meeting with families looking to find the perfect pet. There's nothing she likes more than to rescue and then place a homeless pet in its forever home.
After a night of raucous partying following a rodeo and concert in Jenkins, country music bad boy (and the hero of my novella), Ryan "Rowdy"Gates, is sentenced to community service at the shelter. Like the rest of the staff and volunteers, he wears jeans and shelter t-shirts while he helps out—whether it's cleaning dog runs or bottle-feeding an abandoned Basset Hound puppy he names Buddy. The shelter t-shirts sport different pro-adoption slogans, which start out as abstract concepts to Ryan, then become his conviction after he witnesses pets living on the streets or being surrendered to the shelter.
While researching my novella (which is the third in my "Klein's K-9s Service Dog" series and currently featured in the Love Notes ebook box set), I found quite a few wonderful, pro-adoption slogans, including, "Rescue: It's Not Just a Verb. It's a Promise."; "Paws to Love a Rescue Pet."; and "The Best Things in Life are Rescued." Being pro-adoption myself, I was happy to include many of the slogans in my novella. In fact, I have rescue dogs, cats, and the occasional pot-bellied pig in all of my books. These fictional pets add so much to the plot and reveal in my two-legged characters a love for animals that makes readers root for them to find their happily ever after.
Of course, "Nothing But a Hound Dog" has a happy ending, with Cindi offering Ryan something he's never had—a home, a family, and unconditional love. And, of course, they adopt Buddy the Basset Hound.
"Nothing But a Hound Dog" Excerpt:
When the puppy was sleeping soundly, Shauna, the shelter's volunteer supervisor, stood to go. "Why don't you stay here and hold him, so he'll know he's not alone. The best thing for this little boy is food and sleep. And while you're sitting here, think of a name for him." Shauna left, heading down the hall toward the dog runs.
Ryan looked at the puppy. Somehow the usual dog names—Spot, Rover, and the like—didn't seem right. So he gently rocked the puppy while he considered other names. He began to hum, something he often did when working out a problem. Then he started softly singing the song Elvis had made famous, "Hound Dog."
The puppy had been twitching, as though having a bad dream, but he settled down when he heard the song. Obviously, he had good taste in music. Ryan smiled. He could name the puppy Elvis, but it didn't seem to fit.
Ryan segued into Buddy Holly's "Everyday," a personal favorite. The little guy's mouth opened in a doggie grin. Maybe he should name him after the singer?
He stopped singing and said, "Buddy."
The puppy's ears twitched. Each time he said the name, he got the same reaction. So it was settled. Ryan christened him Buddy the Basset Hound.
Cindi stood in the clinic doorway, watching Ryan sing softly to the poor little thing. It was so poignant that her heart swelled and tears pricked her eyes. The tough kid from high school had grown into an admirable man who could gently rock a puppy and—according to what Shauna had told her—befriend and feed Andy, a troubled teenager who volunteered at the shelter.
God help her, she might be falling in love with Ryan.
She doubted he would appreciate her getting misty-eyed over him, so she simply listened until she got her emotions under control. He was singing the Buddy Holly song, "Words of Love." Cindi was a sucker for 1950s' pop music, so she joined in.
Startled by her voice, Ryan stopped and blushed, actually blushed. "Uh, the puppy settles down when I sing to him."
"He must be a fan of oldies, like me." She sat next to Ryan and gazed at the puppy. "He looks better already. Did he eat yet?"
"I bottle-fed him with Shauna's help. And I named him Buddy."
Buddy. It was perfect for the little pup. Suddenly, she remembered why she was there and stood again. "Speaking of eating, I came to get you. Your massive order from the Asian fusion place on Main has arrived. If you want any before the shelter hordes scarf it down, you better come with me."
Holding the puppy in a towel, Ryan got up from the chair without disturbing the Basset Hound's sleep. "I need to take Buddy with me. Shauna says he can hear my heart."
A warmth spread through her chest, and Cindi turned to the doorway before her face revealed what she was feeling. She was a sucker for a man who cared for animals.
Buy links for "Nothing But a Hound Dog" in the Love Notes box set:
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1SFYWOA
Author Bio & Links:
Marcia James finaled in eleven Romance Writers of America contests before selling her first contemporary romance. Her releases include Sex & the Single Therapist (the first in a comic romantic mystery series) and the "Klein's K-9s Service Dogs" contemporary romance series. She is a national and international ebook bestseller, who writes hot, humorous romances featuring heroines you can root for, heroes to die for, and funny dogs.
In her eclectic career, Marcia has shot submarine training videos, organized celebrity-filled nonprofit events and had her wedding covered by People Magazine. After years of dealing with such sexy topics as how to safely install traffic lights, she is enjoying “researching” and plotting her novels' steamy love scenes with her husband and hero of many years.
Amazon Author Central page: www.amazon.com/author/marciajames