Saturday, January 5, 2019

BookBub Sale for Memories Follow By S.C. Wynne

Morning friends!
I have a book on sale right now that's only 99 cents for a few more days. It will go back up to $3.99 on Monday, January 7th. This story was written in Felice Steven's Kindle World.

Scottie Kinland works as the Kennel Manager for the Paws For Care veterinary clinic. Spending his days with animals is the only way he can feel safe. He has first-hand knowledge of how cold and calculating humans can be. How could he ever forget? He wears the scars on his face and his heart.

Lance Franklin likes to play the field. Still reeling from a lying cheating fiancĂ©e, he’s plowing through men like aspirin; only the pain of betrayal still stings. When he takes his mom’s dog in to the Paws For Care clinic, he’s immediately drawn to the quiet loner Scottie. But Scottie wants nothing to do with Lance.

Lance persists and he manages to forge a fragile relationship with Scottie. But just as both men begin to believe perhaps fate has something beautiful in store for them; the past collides with their future in a shocking way.

Chapter One

I knew better than to stick my hand anywhere near a frightened stray, so I kept my distance. I held the terrified German shepherd’s wary gaze, hesitating to push him too far in case he bolted past me into the street.
“It’s okay, boy.” I kept my voice calm and steady as I wiped my sweaty hands on my jeans. “I don’t mean to scare you.” I had the dog boxed in between me and the trash bin that he apparently called home, but I knew he could get around me if he really tried.
“You gotta get this mutt out of here,” the shop owner behind me grumbled.
“He’s scaring all my customers.” The man glared at the dog. “He’s been here for two days, and he’s a public menace.”
“Keep your voice down,” I hissed. “Go back inside.”
“Why? Maybe I can help.” The guy sounded breathless.
“No, thanks.” His energy was all wrong. No way would he make the situation any better. “Let me handle this,” I growled.
The dog shifted and lowered his head. His black-and-caramel-colored coat was matted, and his hip bones jutted through the fur. He’d obviously been on the streets a while, and from his skittish behavior, I had a feeling he hadn’t been treated with kid gloves even before that.
“What are you, some kind of a dog expert?”
“Sort of.” I wasn’t a professional with a degree, but I worked as the kennel manager at Paws For Care, a veterinary clinic just down the street. “You made it worse by throwing that soda at him.”
“He barked at me.”
“He’s terrified. Can’t you see that?” I shook my head and tried to tune out the man. Jesus, humans were a pain in the ass sometimes. A thought occurred to me, and I spoke to the shop owner, who still hovered behind me. “Do you sell dog biscuits by any chance?”
“How about bagels?” I said the first food item that came to mind. Probably because I was starving and would have loved to have had a fresh cup of coffee and some breakfast before wrangling freaked-out dogs this early in the morning.
“Oh, yeah, I have some of those.”
“Could you get me a pack?”
“Cream cheese?”
I scowled. “What? No. Just the bagels.”
“Wait. Are you going to feed them to the dog?”
“I’m gonna try.” If I ever get them.
“Who’s going to pay for that?”
I turned my head and gave him an exasperated glance. “I’m trying to help this poor dog.”
“Buddy, bagels don’t grow on trees.”
I counted to ten and spoke as calmly as possible. “I’ll pay for them as soon as I have the dog in my custody. Okay?”
“Deal.” The guy disappeared around the corner toward his store.
Now that it was just me and the dog, I felt like maybe I would have more success. “Hey, boy. It’s okay. I promise.” The dog flicked his ears toward me, and he sat down. I took that as a good sign that maybe I could get through to him. His calmer demeanor also gave me comfort that he wasn’t a dog mad with rabies. I tightened my grip on the leash I held and inched closer. The dog cocked his head and pinned his golden gaze on me. “I’m not gonna hurt you. I just want to take you somewhere safe.” I knew my boss would never turn away any stray I brought in. Dr. Rafe Hazelton had a soft heart toward animals and people.
The dog stayed where he was as I took another step closer. He didn’t growl, just watched me with suspicion. The store owner stomped up behind me, and I tensed my muscles in case the animal tried to race past me.
“All I had left were blueberry bagels.”
I shot him a look over my shoulder as he held the bag out to me. “I don’t think he’s choosy.”
I took the food from him and tore through the plastic with my teeth. Then I tucked the package under my arm, pulling out one of the bagels with the hand that held the leash. The little clip on the lead jangled loudly and the dog shifted uneasily. I moved a step closer and dropped slowly to my haunches. When I held the bagel out, the dog licked its lips and stood up.
“Come on, baby. Give me a chance. I’m a nice guy when you get to know me,” I muttered.
A string of drool hung from the dog’s mouth, and he licked his chops again, whining softly.
“That’s right. Come to Uncle Scottie.” I pushed the bread closer to the dog. He stretched his neck and tried to get a bite of the bagel without coming closer. I grinned and pulled the food back a little so he’d have to get nearer to me. “Nice try.” He whined again and stomped his front paws as if he was annoyed.
“Ain’t you afraid he’s going to bite you?” The guy’s grating voice made the animal take a step back.
I clenched my jaw with irritation. The guy was useless. Why was he still hanging around? “No.” My tone was clipped. “Why don’t you go inside your store? I’ll come pay you when I’m done here.”
“Hey, if he rips your throat out don’t you want a witness? The dog ain’t going to call you an ambulance.”
“He’s not going to hurt me.”
“Famous last words.” He snorted. “I guess we’ll see.”
Go away, you annoying buffoon.
“Feel free to leave the area,” I said between gritted teeth.
“I don’t need a wild dog and a dead body near my store. I ain’t going anywhere until you have that crazy beast on the leash.” He exhaled roughly. “In fact, maybe I should just call animal control.”
“No!” I scared the dog when I spoke sharply and he retreated a few spaces. I licked my lips and tried to continue more calmly. “Please don’t do that. I have this under control.” Sweat broke out on my forehead as I spoke, and I tried to focus all my positive energy toward the shaking dog. The worst thing that could happen to this poor dog would be if he was taken to the pound. There was little doubt in my mind they’d put him down. He was a slightly older dog, and all anyone wanted were puppies.
“Calm down. I’ll give you a few more minutes.”
“Thanks,” I said curtly. What kind of an asshole called the pound on a dog? I took a bite of the bagel, and then I held the rest out to the dog. I knew it wasn’t typically how you got a dog to eat. But I was desperate. I’d seen Rafe do that with his son, Dylan, before to get him to eat, and I figured it couldn’t hurt. The dog licked his lips but stayed where he was.
My shoulder muscles burned from holding the food out to the animal, but I kept coaxing him softly and wiggling the bagel under his nose. I could feel impatient vibes coming off the store owner, but I did my best to ignore him. Animals took time to win over, and I wasn’t going to give up on this dog. I could tell he wasn’t a bad dog; he was just starving and overwhelmed.
Car horns honked and people yelled on the street, but the dog and I continued to face each other in a battle of wills. Perspiration rolled down my face and my arm ached, but still I held the bagel out to the dog. He inched closer, minute by minute, licking his lips and whining.
“I don’t blame you for not trusting me. I wouldn’t trust a stranger either.” I swallowed hard. “That’s probably why you’re still alive,” I muttered under my breath.
When the dog stepped forward and started nibbling on the bread I felt like I’d won the lottery. My chest tightened as the dog gnawed on the soft bread, watching me intently. “That’s it… that’s right.” I slowly raised the lead and slipped it over the dog’s head. I expected him to start jerking and going crazy, but he didn’t. When I dropped the bagel on the ground, he just kept attacking it hungrily.
“I’m glad that’s over.”
I jumped when the store owner spoke. I’d almost forgotten he was there. I reached in my pocket and pulled out a five-dollar bill. My face warmed when the guy’s gaze dropped to the six-inch scar on my cheek that ran along my jaw. “Here.”
The guy grabbed the cash. “You want change?”
With him staring at me so intently, I was too embarrassed to say yes, even though it was the last five dollars in my wallet. “No.” I just wanted to get out of there. The dog had devoured the bread, so I tugged gently on his collar and clucked my tongue. “Come on, boy. Let’s go.”
He licked the ground and looked up at me expectantly, his eyes locked on the package of bagels still tucked under my arm. I laughed and turned to leave the alley. He followed me hesitantly, jumping at the car horns and raised voices. I kept talking to him quietly, keeping the lead short so he didn’t have a chance to slip off. When we reached the clinic, I opened the door and breathed a sigh of relief that the waiting area was empty. It was still early enough the patients hadn’t started arriving yet.
“Morning, Scottie,” Patty the receptionist greeted me cheerfully. She’d worked for Dr. Hazelton for years and years. She’d once told me it was the best job she’d ever had, and unless she died or got fired, she was never leaving. Her gaze dropped to the dog I had with me. “Who do we have here?”
“I found him.” I hated that I sounded stiff and unfriendly. It wasn’t my intention. Patty was one of the nicest people I’d ever met, but I just had trouble talking to people. That was one reason I liked animals so much. They didn’t care if I said one word or not.
Patty didn’t seem to notice my tone. She just came around the counter and spoke softly to the dog. “Aww, poor baby. You look like you’ve had a hard time of it.” She winced. “He’s so skinny.”
“I know.”
“Hey, fella,” she cooed to the dog.
“I’m… I’m gonna separate him from the other animals and keep an eye on him for ten days. Make sure he’s not sick.”
“Okay.” She sighed. “He certainly doesn’t look like a sick dog. He’s filthy and thin, but his eyes look clear.”
“That’s what I thought too.” I gestured to the dog. “If he checks out okay, Dr. Hazelton probably won’t mind if we fatten him up and try to find him a home, right?”
Her eyes twinkled. “I’ve never known Dr. Hazelton to turn anyone away. Man or beast.” She smiled at me, and her gaze dropped to the bagels. “Did you bring breakfast?”
I grimaced. “I bribed the dog with food.”
“Good thinking.” The phone rang and she moved to answer it. I led the dog toward the back of the clinic where the kennel area was.
I put a muzzle on the dog just in case, and I bathed him gently in warm water and flea shampoo. He shook like a jackhammer as I rubbed his ears and lathered him up thoroughly, but he didn’t behave aggressively at all. He was horribly lean, but I could tell he was most likely a purebred. I wondered how such a fine animal had ended up starving on the busy, noisy streets of New York. Once he was rinsed off, I towel-dried him and pulled off the muzzle.
He wagged his tail and jumped around like a puppy for a few seconds, which made my heart happy. “I knew there was a real dog in there somewhere.” He flicked his ears and moved away from me to sit in the corner. He obviously wasn’t a hundred percent sure about me yet. I smiled and nodded knowingly. “I get it, boy. Trust is earned.” I pushed ugly memories away. “And even then, sometimes it isn’t deserved.”
I took him to a large clean cage and then headed off to tend to the rest of the animals.

Hope you enjoyed that! If you're interested in buying the book I'll drop some links below!

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