One Careful Owner
by Jane Harvey-Berrick
Release Date: January 2, 2017
About One Careful Owner
“Take me, all of me, broken and in pieces, or say to hell with me.”
From the best-selling romance author of The Education of Sebastian comes a sexy, heartbreaking, and heartwarming story about one man and his dog.
Alex is lost and alone, with only his dog, Stan, for company. He doesn’t expect kindness from anyone anymore, but sometimes hope can be found in the most unlikely places. He has a second chance at happiness, but there’s a dark side to Alex, and a reason that more than one person has called him crazy.
Single mother Dawn is doing just fine. Except that her ex is a pain in the ass, her sister isn’t speaking to her, and her love life is on the endangered list.
At least her job as a veterinarian is going well. Until a crazy-looking guy arrives at her office accompanied by an aging dog with toothache. Or maybe Alex Winters isn’t so crazy after all, just…different.
Dawn realizes that she’s treated him the same way that all the gossips in town have treated her—people can be very cruel.
Warning: This book will break your heart! This is a standalone novel with no cliffhanger. Contains scenes of an adult nature.
Read my five-plus-starred review of One Careful Owner.
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An Excerpt from One Careful Owner
He still reminded me of a Mountain Man, and he appeared to be wearing the clothes that I’d thought were rags. His long, shaggy brown hair and thick beard hid most of his face. A shudder of apprehension ran through me.
He seemed just as ill at ease as he had been by the lake, his eyes darting around restlessly, but then he walked around to the passenger door and I lost sight of him.
When he reappeared, he was carrying a large dog, one that easily weighed 80 or 90 pounds. He must have been strong because he carried the weight easily. I recalled the thick slabs of muscle that sculpted his chest and arms when I’d seen him earlier. Yes, there was no doubt that he was strong, but as he held his pet, his hands were gentle.
I watched his chin bob, and I realized that he was talking to his dog.
Carefully, he set the animal on the ground and fixed a leash around its neck.
The dog immediately sat down and refused to budge. His coat was thick and looked glossy and healthy, his muzzle starting to gray. I guessed he was part retriever, part mastiff—large and solid. And heavy.
Ashley giggled as the man tugged on the leash, but the dog still wouldn’t move. The man stood still, looking at his pet, his hands on his hips, then he shook his head in defeat. Bending down, he scooped up the dog again and shouldered his way through the door into the office.
Now he was closer, I could study him in more detail.
His hair was a tangle of light brown with sun-blond lights, still uncombed, an off-putting mess of wild, crazy curls. His clothes were even worse now I could see him wearing them, unkempt and torn as if he’d given up, but they were clean. And when he stopped in front of Ashley, I caught the faint scent of soap and laundry detergent—no cologne. This man was a paradox.
Ashley smiled tightly from her position behind the reception desk.
“Mr. Winters and Stan, is that right?”
He nodded but didn’t speak, still holding his dog in his arms. His face was grim, as if he’d never smiled, never thought of smiling.
So this was the man who’d bought Old Joe’s place? I immediately felt guilty that I’d assumed he was trespassing and camping illegally. I didn’t know that somebody had already moved into the property. Technically, I’d been the interloper this morning. I felt like such a judgmental bitch. But he’d really scared me, and I hadn’t been thinking clearly.
“I’m so sorry,” Ashley said with fake sweetness, “but Dr. Petz, our male veterinarian, had to go out on an emergency visit. Dr. Andrews over there is available.”
He turned to stare at me and his body stiffened. I saw a flicker of recognition in his eyes before he dropped his gaze to the floor again. I thought for sure that he’d turn and walk out, but then he glanced at his dog and I saw the expression soften in his curious golden-brown eyes as he peered up at me and nodded slowly.
“Great!” said Ashley, her gaze glancing across to me. “I’ve got basic information from your email, but if you could just fill out this form and…”
“Maybe you’d like to bring Stan into the examination room, Mr. Winters,” I interrupted quickly. “He looks rather heavy.”
The man blinked twice, but carried the dog inside without commenting or even looking at Ashley.
“Rude!” Ashley said, not quietly enough, and although I agreed, I shot her a look and took the form from her.
She leaned toward me, her eyes wide as her voice dropped to an urgent whisper.
“I’ll keep my ears open, Dawn. He looks kind of weird. You know, serial killer weird.”
I pressed my lips together and followed my new client.
Jane is a writer of contemporary romance fiction, known for thoughtful stories, often touching on difficult subjects: disability (Dangerous to Know & Love, Slave to the Rhythm); mental illness (The Education of Caroline, Semper Fi); life after prison (Lifers); dyslexia (The Traveling Man, The Traveling Woman).
She is also a campaigner for former military personnel to receive the support they need on leaving the services. She wrote the well-received play Later, After with former veteran Mike Speirs.
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