A New Leash on Love, first in a fresh contemporary romance series from award-winning debut author Debbie Burns, is out now!
Every heart has a forever home.
Megan Anderson loves the animals at her no-kill shelter. She’ll do anything for them—even go toe-to-toe with a handsome man who’s in way over his head. She’ll help him sort out his troubles, but getting too close to an adorable puppy’s human counterpart? Been there, done that, got burned.
When Craig Williams arrived at the local shelter for help, he didn’t expect a fiery young woman to blaze into his life. But the more time they spend together, the more he realizes it’s not just animals Megan is adept at saving—she could be the one to rescue his heart.
Soon, Craig and Megan find that the magic of unconditional love can do anything…even lead to their forever home.
Debbie is here to tell us how she'll celebrate release day:
That’s a great question. With family, friends, and fireworks! I can’t think of a better holiday to share release day with than the Fourth of July. The idea of sitting on a blanket, looking up at the night sky, and waiting for the fireworks to start while knowing that I have a book in the world seems about as perfect as can be. Of course, I’ll allot some time earlier in the day to head to my local Barnes and Noble and just soak in the good feels of seeing A New Leash on Love on book store shelf. I’m getting goosebumps as I write!
Enjoy this excerpt from A New Leash on Love!
Megan carried her steaming tea to the living room and curled into her favorite cozy chair. Her two cats jumped up beside her, demanding the attention they’d gone all day without. Moxie, a girl, was the younger. She was small and dainty and a long-haired Himalayan-Siamese mix. Max was older and bigger and a temperamental gray tabby. Megan had imagined adopting a dog after splitting with her ex-fiancé a year ago, but this condo had fit her budget and dogs weren’t allowed. Shortly after she moved in, Moxie and Max were surrendered together. They were healthy but FIV positive. People were hesitant to adopt a cat that would likely become sick in later life, let alone two. Not wanting to split them up, Megan had brought them home to foster them and later decided to adopt them.
Moxie, a snuggler, curled into Megan, while Max sprawled out on the ottoman.
Megan sipped her tea and reminded herself what she needed to do. Her cell lay abandoned on the side table, Craig’s business card tucked underneath it. She picked up her phone. The only new emails were shelter-related, and she was too tired to focus on them tonight. Summoning courage she didn’t feel, she dialed the crisp, clear cell numbers written along the top of Craig’s card.
It’d be easier if he didn’t answer. She’d leave a message, and it would be over. They’d probably start searching for another breeder right away.
He answered on the third ring, his low, easy tone tickling her ear. “Ms. Anderson. I was just thinking about you.”
Her hand froze around the mug. He was thinking about her. Get it together, Megs. “I’d ask if it was good or bad, but if it wasn’t bad, it’s probably about to be.”
“So she’s keeping him.” He let out a breath that was somewhere between an exhale and a sigh. “I suspected as much.”
“I’m sorry. I feel terrible for your daughter. I’m not sure if it’ll help, but he’s in a great home.”
“I don’t doubt that.”
“Please tell your daughter I’m really sorry.”
“I will, but you did nothing wrong. It’s been my experience that apologies don’t change things. We wrap them in colorful bows and pass them out like Christmas gifts, but nothing ever changes.”
Megan blinked. It was his tone as much as his words that caught her off guard. She could almost swear he was wanting to make a connection. But after the way they’d clashed and then this fiasco, how could he be? She wanted her reply to be witty and compassionate, but the thought of the conversation becoming a personal one locked up her throat.
“I couldn’t be in this business if I didn’t believe in the possibility of change,” she managed. “Which brings me to your daughter. I’d love to make it up to her. She might not be interested now, but when she’s ready, we have some spectacular dogs—old and young alike—that I could introduce her to. And if she ever wants to adopt one, I’d waive all the fees.”
“That’s a kind offer. I’ll pass it along to both her and her mother. The decision is between them, and my ex-wife is days away from listing our—her—house. I suspect she’ll ask Sophie to wait until they’ve completed the move.”
“That makes sense.”
“In the meantime, that dog-walking program of yours… Do you have to be sixteen? Sophie picked up a flyer before she found out about Hershey. When she feels better, she may still be interested, and I think it could be good for her.”
Megan’s jaw fell open. She’d only been able to picture him hanging up and having nothing more to do with the shelter after hearing this news. “Um, how old is she?”
“She could become a junior protector.” Megan’s voice rose almost into question form before she managed to find her confidence by thinking of what the shelter had to offer. “It’s a mentoring program we have for kids over twelve. They don’t have the full freedom the adult volunteers do. But she could participate in the Saturday morning walking program and join us at off-site adoption events or even do service projects at the shelter.”
She turned her mug in a circle on top of her knee, holding her breath. It made absolutely no sense, but she wanted to see him again. And she wanted him to know what an awesome place the shelter was.
“It sounds like something that would be up Sophie’s alley.”
“Great. We’d love to have her.”
“Well then, Ms. Anderson, where do we go from here?”
His tone was playful, engaging. She could envision those blue eyes and that spectacular mouth like he was right in front of her. Her pulse quickened. “There’s an application and a fifty-dollar joining fee. Considering what happened, I’ll happily waive it. Usually there’s a formal tour too.”
“Tell you what. I’ll pay the fee—double it even—if you’re the one to give us that tour and we get through it without either of us laying into each other like we did Sunday. Sound okay?”
Megan laughed. “That sounds nice.”
“I take it this is your cell? Or are those cats purring into the receiver at the shelter rather than your house?”
She laughed again. “You’re observant. I’m home and about to crawl into bed. It’s been a long few days. Call me when you’re ready for your tour. I’m there every day except Monday, unless it’s a Monday after an ice storm that shuts down the city and keeps would-be pet owners from reclaiming their dogs. I’m there those days too.”
They said their good-byes, and Megan sat in her chair with her knees tucked into her chest and her mug perched precariously on top. She was smiling and biting her lip and wondering how she’d gone from never wanting to see him again to feeling as if the next time couldn’t come soon enough.
Snag your copy of A New Leash on Love today and read more about super cute animals!