Love, By George [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Debra Salonen
eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: Name: George Breed: Harlequin Great Dane Identifying Traits: One blue eye, one brown eye ... and a propensity for trouble! George was last seen escaping from the home of his recently divorced owner, restaurateur Brad Ralston. He wasn't wearing a leash and had a mischievous glint in his eye and is probably headed for Paws Spa, where single mom Kara Williams can be found grooming dogs and nursing her old crush on Brad. Canine suspect is unarmed, but has an agenda--possibly recognizing two of his favorite humans, Brad and Kara, are so busy protecting their wounds from past hurts they can't see what's plainly under George's nose. If you see this dog, please do not report him immediately. He's got matchmaking to do.
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Romance
Fictionwise Release Date: August 2007
4 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats [Secure eReader - What's this?]: SECURE EREADER (RECOMMENDED) FORMAT [175 KB], OEBFF Format (IMP) [425 KB]
All formats: Printing DISABLED, Read-aloud DISABLED
Microsoft Reader ISBN: 9781426804564
Adobe Reader ISBN: 9781426804564
Mobipocket Reader ISBN: 9781426804564
eReader ISBN: 9781426804564
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"OH, GEORGE, WHAT HAVE YOU done? Are you trying to get me arrested for dognapping?"
The six-year-old Harlequin Great Dane dropped to a crouch, his gaze not meeting hers. Kara Williams's heart just about broke in half. She loved animals, and this big galoot was one of her favorite clients at The Paws Spa, her Pine Harbor, Oregon, pet-grooming business. He'd been one of her regulars until his owners, Brad and Lynette Ralston, split up. Now, Brad, who had custody of George and the couple's teenage son, routinely missed George's standing appointment.
Kara poked her head out the door to check the parking lot. Nope. No Brad. But she'd already figured that out after hearing George's loud woof and no sound of a car pulling in. Apparently George had decided to keep the appointment himself. Even if this was the wrong time and the wrong day.
Glancing at his big muddy paws, she guessed that his escape from the Ralstons' backyard had included some kind of digging. Sticks and weeds had attached themselves to his smooth black and white coat, and there was a bit of blood on his right ear. "Poor guy. This wasn't easy for you, was it?"
She went down on one knee and hugged the silly beast. She'd witnessed the aftermath of divorce—in dog terms—too many times. And it was never pleasant. Some animals would worry an open wound to the point where they had to wear a protective collar. Certain cats she'd met had suddenly turned into domestic demons that shredded curtains and left stinky deposits in their owners' shoes.
"Maybe I should be thankful Fly took off before he had a chance to put a ring on my finger," she murmured, gently stroking the big dog's powerful neck.
Fly had been her youthful folly. Her walk on the wild side. A walk that had resulted in twins.
"Come on in, boy," she said, opening the door of what had formerly been a 1960s era Laundromat. When she returned home halfway through her sophomore year of college to help care for her uncle Kurt, who'd been like a father to her, she'd found a job as a part-time dog groomer—and had fallen in love with the business. When the owner decided to retire and move out of the area, Kurt had encouraged Kara to open her own place—one she could put her unique stamp on.
The Paws Spa had just celebrated its seventh anniversary, and so much had happened in her life since that initial ribbon cutting. Meeting Fly (whose real name was Phil), getting pregnant, becoming a single mom to twins, losing Uncle Kurt. Her life had changed in so many ways, but the one constant was her commitment to her clients—and her dream.
"Watch your tail," she warned as George stepped through the doorway.
The sounds and smells that were so familiar to her enveloped them both as she followed George into the entry. The building was a rectangular block-walled edifice with four skylights and four plate-glass windows that faced the parking lot. When she and Uncle Kurt had first looked at it, it had been gutted, except for two rows of pipes sticking up where the washing machines had been. He'd been in remission at the time, and had provided the financial backing and the expertise to help her remodel.
It wasn't ideal but it served her needs. Half of the area was devoted to grooming stations and holding pens. The entry was spacious enough to provide owners a chance to peruse current animal magazines or shop for special extras for their pets. In the far corner was her tiny office.
"Who have you got there?" her friend and assistant Wilma Donning asked. "Why, George Ralston, does your father know you're here?"
George dipped his head in a way that made him look so guilt-ridden, both women burst out laughing. Kara and Wilma had a tendency to talk to all the pets in their care as if the animals understood every word. A select few responded with gestures and mannerisms that made Kara think they were reacting to her words, not her tone. George was one of those expressive types. Maybe it was his eyes—one blue, one brown. There was humor, intelligence, compassion and trust in those eyes.
"Let's not worry about how he got here," Kara said, grabbing a lead from the hook by the door. "He's pretty stinky, and since Mrs. Fox canceled we have an opening. I'll call Mr. Ralston and let him know George is safe."
"As if he cares," Wilma grumbled. "Darned people who let their crazy love lives affect their animals' welfare."
Wilma was eighty-something. The exact number seemed to depend upon whom she was trying to impress or what point she was trying to make. But she was as feisty and energetic as some people half her age. She didn't have to work—Wilma and her husband had owned one of the biggest organic farming operations in the Pine Harbor area for as long as Kara could remember, and she'd sold it for a healthy sum after he passed away. Now she worked for Kara because, as Wilma often said, "Animals have humans beat, paws down."
Kara once asked why Wilma hadn't chosen to volunteer at the SPCA since she loved animals so much. "Don't care for the bureaucracy," Wilma had returned.
So the SPCA's loss was Kara's gain. Wilma could come off a bit gruff and abrupt with people, but the animals loved her. And Wilma also kept Kara grounded where her dreams were concerned.
Kara planned to turn The Paws Spa into a nationally franchised operation—like the Starbucks of pet grooming. High end. Catering to pet owners who wanted the very best for their animals—specialty grooming for show dogs, organic snacks, massage, yoga classes and group play dates.
Copyright © 2007 by Debra K. Salonen.