Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: MY FOREVER HOME (Rescue Me) by Debbie Burns

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MY FOREVER HOME (Rescue Me Series, Book 3) by Debbie Burns

Publication Date: November 27, 2018

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

683FC058-AF3E-4819-91E7-268645CE8F1DLove comes to the rescue.

Vet school drop-out Tess Grasso dreams of having her own pet therapy business, but she meets one disastrous obstacle after another. There’s no denying she has a way with animals, so in the meantime she puts her skills to use at a local no-kill shelter. Between helping her furry companions and a budding relationship with fellow dog lover Mason Redding, Tess begins to find fresh confidence…

What Tess doesn’t know is that Mason is recovering from an accident, hoping to get back to his pro-baseball career. He’s afraid the truth will ruin everything—and he’s right. But in the midst of hurt and betrayal, a free-spirited stray Husky enters their lives, and teaches them a few things about faith, love and forgiveness.

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Excerpt

“So, were you heading out of town or are you just getting back?” he asked as he turned the truck down a narrow alley. He was really hoping the thief had dumped Tess’s stolen suitcase and backpack in one of these Dumpsters.
“That’s a good question considering what we’re on the hunt for,” Tess said. “Neither, really. I got back from Europe about a month ago. I’m staying put in St. Louis for a bit. I was on a sales call.”
Mason parked the truck at a row of three Dumpsters, two trash and one recycling. “Europe, huh? I’ve never been, but I’m taking my parents in January.” He slipped the truck into Park and switched his wipers to low. “You can stay here if you’d like. I’ll call you if I see anything.”
Tess unbuckled her seat belt. “Thanks, but they’re my bags. I’ll Dumpster dive.”
They headed out into the drizzling rain together. Mason picked what seemed like a clean spot on the closest Dumpster’s lid and lifted it. It was cleaner inside than he’d imagined and a quarter full of tied bags of trash, a computer monitor, and a silk plant that showed more dust than green foliage.
Tess moved to the adjacent Dumpster with him. She stepped close enough to him as she peeked inside that he caught a whiff of her scent—soft, sweet, and subtle. It mixed with the stink of the Dumpsters, confusing his nostrils.
When the third Dumpster, the recycling bin, proved empty as well, they climbed back into the truck and Mason continued cruising through the streets and alleys around the park. On the fifth stop, they surprised a dog who’d been hanging out behind a Dumpster that was out of the rain under a roof overhang. Mason was only a bit surprised to see that it was John Ronald.
The magnificent animal dashed away to about the distance between home plate and second base, then turned and stood in the rain, watching them with pricked-at-attention ears. Mason whistled loudly. The dog, which Mason guessed was mostly husky mixed with something big and long-legged, responded with a single wag of his tail.
“That,” Mason said, “is my dog. He just doesn’t know it yet. Or maybe he does, and he’s still trying to deny it.”
Tess looked from Mason to the dog, and back to Mason. “He’s watching you like he knows you, that’s for sure.”
Mason wished he’d thought to bring some treats in the likely event they’d run into John Ronald on this Dumpster prowl. He whistled again. After a few seconds, probably determining that Mason was empty-handed, the dog turned and trotted away, his long legs making fast tracks.
“Not today, huh, John Ronald,” Mason said under his breath.
Tess was suddenly studying him intently.
“What did you mean, ‘your dog’?”
He shrugged. “He’s a stray who hangs out near my building. We’ve had a few moments, but I haven’t been able to get close enough to catch him. If I ever do, I intend to keep him.”
Her mouth opened a fraction of an inch, calling Mason’s attention to the fullness of her lips a second time.
“And why John Ronald?”
Judging by the incredulous look that had spread across her face, Mason’s best guess was he’d done something either impossibly wrong or impossibly right. He just didn’t know which.
Hoping it was the second, he opted for the truth, letting it fall out in a display of rare vulnerability.
“The first night I saw him, I was up in my loft. It was six or seven months ago—early spring, I guess—and the moon was full. I told you, I’m on the sixth floor. I have a decent view of the street below my loft. After I spotted him, I stepped out on my balcony. The white patches on his body and above his eyes stood out in the moonlight, and I could have sworn that he was looking up at me. I was afraid if I went downstairs and outside, I’d scare him off, so I dropped him hot dogs from my balcony, and he ate them. He even caught a few before they hit the ground.
“When I ran out of them, I headed down as fast as I could. I think he knew I was coming. He was already at the end of the block, but he was looking my way like he was waiting but needed the distance to feel safe. He watched me for a while, but then he turned and left like he did just now.”
Mason shrugged, thinking of all the interactions he and the dog had had since that first night. He’d been doing his best to catch the stray, but hadn’t had any luck. “I leave him food on the street under my balcony. Sometimes he leaves me things too. Odd things. A dead crow once, but also trash. I know it’s him, because one time I spotted him carrying a hat. By the time I got downstairs, he was gone. The hat was waiting for me by the building door.”
Fresh tears blossomed out of nowhere, brimming on Tess’s lower lids. She blinked them away without shedding them. “But why John Ronald?”
“Because calling him Tolkien didn’t feel right.”
She dropped his gaze so quickly that Mason knew she’d gotten the confirmation she’d been looking for. “Not all those who wander are lost.” It was such a quiet whisper on her lips that Mason almost wasn’t sure he’d heard it. It was said so softly that he suspected it wasn’t even meant for his ears.
She shook her head as if she’d just heard something she didn’t quite believe. He was about to ask for clarification when she abruptly returned to the truck.
Mason climbed in after her, wondering if perhaps the universe had just shifted for him a second time in a month, only this time much less painfully so.

 

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Buy Links

Kindle | Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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Giveaway

Enter to win one of five copies of SIT, STAY, LOVE by Debbie Burns!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

Debbie Burns lives in St. Louis with her family, two phenomenal rescue dogs, and a somewhat tetchy Maine coon cat who everyone loves anyway. Her hobbies include hiking, gardening, and daydreaming, which, of course, always leads to new story ideas.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Spotlight, Review & Giveaway: SIT, STAY, LOVE (Rescue Me) by Debbie Burns

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SIT, STAY, LOVE (Rescue Me Series, Book 2) by Debbie Burns

Publication Date: April 3, 2018

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

D7A33FE2-255D-4D9C-9741-03B2526747DAThese dogs aren’t the only ones in need of rescue

For devoted no-kill shelter worker Kelsey Sutton, rehabbing a group of rescue dogs is a welcome challenge. Working with a sexy ex-military dog handler who needs some TLC himself? That’s a different story.

Kurt Crawford keeps his heart locked away from everyone. Well, everyone except the dogs who need his help…and always have his back. But as Kurt gets to know the compassionate, beautiful woman he’s been assigned to work with, he can’t help but feel a little puppy love…

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Donna review 4.5 stars

This is a lovely, light romance with a cast of varied personalities and emotions. There is no real drama to tense you up, yet it never got boring or saccharine. Kurt may have seemed a bit too standoffish at first, and Kelsey too naively optimistic, but it all worked. It was real people, real life and real love woven around rescued dogs. I enjoyed this feel-good story.

*Review copy provided by Sourcebooks in exchange for an honest review.

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Excerpt

It had been years since Kurt had felt genuine peace slip over him after the sun sank below the horizon and stars studded the sky. In Afghanistan and in the jungles of Honduras, he’d rarely been able to relax, even on nights when he was tucked in a bunk and crowded with the sounds and smells of other marines and a handful of dogs not far away. He hadn’t expected to be able to do so here either.
But the calm cradled his skin despite the surprise that accompanied it.
Standing under the stars, Kurt set his beer on the table and headed into the screened-in half of the porch. The pregnant Rottweiler let out a whine as he approached. Kelsey had taken her outside an hour or so before after making sure she ate a plentiful dinner.
Kurt hooked a leash onto the dog’s collar and led her around the yard long enough to ensure she was calm and obedient, then asked her to sit on command before letting her off leash. Once free from its confines, the Rott—Pepper, as Kelsey was calling her—gave her massive head a shake and trotted off into the yard. Kurt headed back onto the porch for his beer.
Taking a swig of beer, Kurt eyed the silhouette of an owl standing watch on an exposed branch of an enormous oak tree at the back of the yard. If Kurt hadn’t been outside when it let out a series of soft, low hoots, he wouldn’t have known the owl was there. It seemed to be watching the dog sniff around the dark yard as if it had come across an interloper in its nightly hunting spot.
A cool, gentle breeze swept over Kurt’s skin. He was thankful to no longer be living in sweltering lands. The dry oven that was the desert, and the wet, stifling tropics. He wondered how long it would be before he forgot the sensation of the heat rising off the desert sand late at the night as if he were holding his hand over a radiator. Or standing guard in the jungle at night, listening to the howler monkeys crossing the tree canopy while he scoped openings in the thick tropical forest for insurgents. One night he’d spotted a small, wild ocelot hunting at the edge of the base. About the size of a slender coyote, it had unusually large eyes and a sleek coat with spots and stripes.
As he was thinking about it, a very different feline stalked into view. Mr. Longtail. Who knew where the unusual cat had been this evening, but he was headed confidently toward the Rott, in full view of the owl. The enormous Maine coon was too big to ever end up dinner to an owl, but Kurt wasn’t so sure about the off-leash Rott. Setting down his beer, he whistled confidently.
Pepper—the name was sticking even though naming these dogs would create unnecessary emotional attachment—pricked up her ears and looked his way.
“Come here, girl,” Kurt called, half holding his breath as the cat trotted directly into the dog’s path. Like earlier this afternoon, Pepper didn’t disappoint. She dropped into a play bow and woofed. Mr. Longtail stopped mid-step as the hair along his back and tail stood out stick straight. As if he’d had no idea a dog was capable of such a baritone woof. Pepper didn’t seem to notice. She sniffed the cat all over, nudging his hind end off the ground with her strong head.
Kurt emptied his pocket of treats for her. Mr. Longtail followed, walking underneath her, straight to Kurt’s legs to rub against his jeans. The cat meowed, and Kurt was surprised to hear a deep, thrumming purr radiating from his chest.
After getting Pepper back in her kennel, Kurt headed into the kitchen, Mr. Longtail following. He fed the cat and helped himself to a slice of cold pizza. He considered hunting down a notebook and pen and making a to-do list of all the items bouncing around his head, but even if he could find a pen and a notebook, he doubted he’d get halfway through writing the list before becoming distracted. Experience had proven he could tackle projects of almost any size, but he couldn’t make a list to save himself. So instead, he dove into repairs of the Sabrina Raven estate the way he did everything else—focusing on whatever came to the front of his thoughts.
He sorted through a bulky metal toolbox for all the flooring nails he could find. “Come on, cat,” Kurt said to the watchful Mr. Longtail. He slipped the nails into his pocket and fisted the hammer, heading out of the kitchen. “You and I could likely use each other’s company. Let’s see if I can get those stairs to be a bit less of a hazard so I can make it up to one of those old feather beds you’ve been sleeping on.”
With a twitch of his tail, the cat followed him out of the kitchen, and Kurt suspected he was on the way to making an unlikely friend.

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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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Giveaway

Enter to win one of five copies of A New Leash on Love by Debbie Burns!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

Debbie Burns lives in St. Louis with her family, two phenomenal rescue dogs, and a somewhat tetchy Maine coon cat who everyone loves anyway. Her hobbies include hiking, gardening, and daydreaming, which, of course, always leads to new story ideas.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Spotlight & Giveaway: A NEW LEASH ON LOVE (Rescue Me) by Debbie Burns

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A NEW LEASH ON LOVE (Rescue Me Series, Book 1) by Debbie Burns

Publication Date: July 4, 2017

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

9781492650836First in a fresh contemporary romance series from award-winning debut author Debbie Burns.

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.

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Buy Links

Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo

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Author Guest Post

A Letter from Debbie Burns:

Dear Reader,

Chances are you’ve been drawn to this book because you enjoy second chance love stories, whether they’re about animals, people, or both. It’s my hope you fall in love with the dynamic characters, both two and four footed, in A New Leash on Love as much as I have.

Writing this book enabled me to blend together two of my favorite things, a love of animals and a good romance. I’ve been an animal lover ever since I can remember. When I was 13, I began volunteering with a friend at a local rescue shelter. I’ve never forgotten the remarkable dedication of the people working and volunteering at shelters, helping to ensure surrendered animals get care and comfort while waiting for forever homes.

As I mentioned, I’m also a sucker for a good love story. I soak them up in both film and literature. I’m an eclectic reader and read a blend of romance, contemporary fiction, and nonfiction. I get the most enjoyment from books with love stories that are powerful enough I become convinced the world would be a sorrier place if the main characters hadn’t gotten together. I’ve read Pride and Prejudice three times, and most other Jane Austen novels at least once. I am awed by her accomplishments. Jane Austen wrote stories that have survived over two centuries and are still among so many people’s favorite novels. And of course, I enjoy reading the contemporary masters of romance as well. I’m also drawn to unique and quirky love stories like the one portrayed in The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind that leave me thinking about them for a long time afterwards. The love story featured in A New Leash on Love is one I hope you’ll cheer for, laugh with, and walk away from reading believing all is just as it should be.

To tell you a bit more about me personally, I’m a Saint Louis resident and native who has also lived in Georgia and Michigan. I’m the mom of two amazing teenagers. Being an integral part of their life journeys has been a profound experience. I try not to pass a single day without giving thanks for all the blessings in my world, and these remarkable young adults always top that list. Coming in a close second are my family’s two rescue dogs and willful Maine Coon cat. I’ve posted pictures and shared my dogs’ rescue stories on my website, authordebbieburns.com.

Like their human counterparts, the animals we share our homes with have personalities of their own. Our family’s trio of pets are no exception. To paraphrase Roger Caras, dogs (and cats) aren’t our whole lives, but they make our lives whole. There are times when I’m not excited to wake up before dawn to make sure the dogs have a good walk before I head out for the day, and times when I cringe at vet bill statements. However, when you strip away the investment of training, time, and money, you’re left with a companion who thinks you’re more awesome than a bowlful of gravy. And if you let it in, you’ll feel that same kind of unmasked adoration right back. If you ask me, that’s what it’s all about.

Happy reading,
Debbie

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Giveaway

Five copies of A New Leash on Love

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

Debbie Burn resides in St. Louis, Missouri. Shelter is her first contemporary romance and has finaled in multiple contests. Her writing commendations include first place awards for short stories, flash fiction, and longer selections from the Missouri RWA and the Missouri Writers’ Guild.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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