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Forever Friends Book 3
by Allyson Charles
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Dax Cannon never says no to a challenge. But when he discovers a sexy stowaway in the back of his truck, he realizes Annelise Ansel might be more than he bargained for.
An artist, Lissa claims she’s leaving New Orleans for a fresh start in Michigan–which just happens to be where he’s headed with the pack of rescue dogs he’s delivering to the sanctuary he works for. But when three thugs threaten to take lovely Lissa off his hands, he realizes she’s in need of a sanctuary, too.
Once Lissa is riding shotgun with her long, lean protector, she’s wondering if fate might have something better in store for her than a life in hiding. But when her hijinks threaten to take down the best man she’s ever had the pleasure to run away with, Lissa realizes it’s time to face her demons. Now it’s up to the two of them to fight through the danger to discover the life—and love—waiting on the other side.
Forever Friends #1
Isabelle Lopez has never been a dog person. Raising her daughter alone and building a real estate career leaves no time for four-legged furballs. When she finds an abandoned mutt and litter of pups in a foreclosed apartment, Izzy intends to drop them off at a shelter and walk briskly away. Instead, her “heroic” deed makes her a local celebrity. Her boss is thrilled. Commissions are up. And thanks to gorgeous shelter owner Bradley Cohen, Izzy’s disciplined life is suddenly much, much more complicated.
He’s got a sexy smile, a wicked sense of humor, and a big, noble heart. Even as Izzy tries to get her libido to heel, boy, Bradley sets out to convince her there’s more to life than padding her bank account. But Izzy knows a trade secret that puts Brad’s beloved shelter at risk, and she can’t warn him.
Their relationship was barely getting started; suddenly it’s in the dog house. Now Izzy and Brad need to figure out what matters most, and whether this could be much more than animal attraction…
Forever Friends #2
Head vet at the Forever Friends animal rescue shelter, Gabriel Moretti is known as the Dog Whisperer because of his gift for soothing rambunctious patients. But it’s the two-legged species that has him, and his libido, working overtime. Marla Popov single-handedly saved the shelter from financial ruin. But the bossy trust funder is even more irritating than her snooty Standard Poodle. You’d think keeping his attraction on a short leash would be a no-brainer for Gabe. Unfortunately, Marla is also smart, beautiful, and intriguing . . .
Most of her life, people have been eager to tell Marla just what she wants to hear. So now that she’s nearing forty, she doesn’t expect to be refused—especially by a sexy younger man like Gabe. She also doesn’t expect it to sting so much. But when she discovers a scheme involving illegal dog fights, she gets a chance to show what she’s truly made of. And as she and Gabe team up to fight it, they discover a surprising respect for each other—and passion that might just grow into love. . .
Dax Cannon never thought trouble would appear in such an unassuming package. But with his vast experience in stirring it up or sniffing it out, he really should have known better.
She wore a paisley kerchief tank top, the triangle hem fluttering around her waist. Dax didn’t see her face as she hurried past, but the cascade of curls tumbling down her back was enough to capture his attention. They looked so soft, Dax’s palms itched to reach out and touch them. Her hair was a rich mahogany near the roots, growing lighter until the blond tips disappeared into the sunlight. Her bare, tawny arms were long and slender, and the tips of the fingers on her right hand were stained blue. She had a black backpack tossed over one shoulder, and it bounced off her pert behind with each step she took as she jaywalked across the street.
Reaching the other side, the woman stopped by two young boys tapdancing on the sidewalk, dug into her pocket, and tossed some bills into an upturned hat. One of the kids gave her a thumbs-up as he spun at
Unbidden, Dax’s feet turned to follow. He stepped onto Decatur Street, and a mule brayed a foot from his left ear. Heart thumping, he leaped back onto the sidewalk.
He shook his head and patted the animal’s rump as it trotted past. “What a dumb ass,” he muttered, and he wasn’t talking about the mule. When the tourist carriage passed, the woman with the long curls was gone.
He sighed. Well, no matter. He wasn’t in New Orleans for a vacation. He’d left Crook County only two days ago. Two days, one thousand miles, four tanks of gas, and more fast-food restaurants than he could count. And now to make the return trip at the same exhausting pace. But the eight at-risk dogs he’d picked up from the local pound were heading to Forever Friends, the no-kill shelter he volunteered for in Michigan. They were safe, and that made the trip worth every headache.
A gust of wind rippled the green awning of Café du Monde. An elderly woman in front of the café grabbed for her scarf, but it blew off her shoulders. Caught in the breeze, it drifted up and up and wrapped itself around a light post.
Dax jogged over to her. “I’ll get that for you, ma’am. If you’ll just hold my bags …” He waited until she cupped the two bags of baked goods with wrinkled fingers.
She drew her eyebrows together. “It’s fifteen feet up, young man. You’ll never reach it.”
“I love when someone says I can’t do something.” He shook out his arms and shot her a grin. “It makes it that much more satisfying when I succeed.” He winked and turned toward his target. The light post had a boxy base that rose two feet from the ground. The lip was an inch wider than the pole, plenty of space for a toehold. He ran for the light, jumped onto the base, and pushed off. He stretched his lanky six-foot-three frame and grabbed the pole close to the horizontal arm the scarf was wrapped around.
Hand over hand, he pulled himself up the last couple of feet and tugged the silk square free. He slid down the pole, hopped off, and presented the scarf to the woman with a flourish. “Madam.”
Several patrons from the café’s patio clapped, and Dax swept a low bow.
The woman handed him his bags and knotted the scarf around her neck. “Thank you for the dramatic rescue,” she said wryly.
Dax opened his mouth to respond, but a group of three beefy men knocked into him as they hurried down the sidewalk.
Dax staggered into the woman and threw out a hand to steady her. “Hey, watch it,” he shouted after the jerks. The men ignored him and quickened their pace.
The older woman sniffed. “People today. What are you going to do?”
He shrugged and waved goodbye. His irritation melted away before he’d crossed the street. It was hard to stay annoyed in the Big Easy. With its decadent food, sultry music, and beguiling women—Dax looked up and down Decatur but didn’t see any long curls—New Orleans didn’t allow a person to stay in a bad mood for long. Maybe he should take a real vacation down here sometime.
Allyson Charles lives in Northern California. A former attorney, she happily ditched those suits and now works in her pajamas writing about men’s briefs instead of legal briefs. When she’s not writing, she’s probably engaged in one of her favorite hobbies: napping, eating, or martial arts (That last one almost makes up for the first two, right?). One of Allyson’s greatest disappointments is living in a state that doesn’t have any Cracker Barrels in it. To find out what she’s up to next, visit her website at allysoncharles.com.
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