Friday, November 1, 2013

Ay Chihuahua!

I often introduce pets as characters in my novels, and Boom! Listen to Your Heart is no exception. This time the hero owns two Chihuahuas.

Actually, his ex-wife owns them, but he still takes care of them from time to time. The dogs bring the hero and heroine together in the book—sort of!

Jessie gets roped in to “rescuing” Minnie and Maxie from Michael’s back yard when the ex-wife fails to take them to a kennel as promised, and Michael is on holiday in Panama. She’s never met Michael (at least she doesn’t think she has) and doesn’t like dogs, but Michael’s brother is her literary agent, and so she does it as a favor to him.

Trouble is she feels sorry for the dogs and overfeeds them. Consequently when Michael returns, he has to forfeit a large entry fee for a dog show. Minnie and Maxie no longer qualify for the 6lbs weight limit!

Jessie names the dogs Binky and Bonky because their dog tags provide only a phone number.

Here’s an excerpt when she first goes to Michael’s house to pick up the dogs. She has successfully disarmed the alarm that she didn’t expect, so her nerves are on edge. She goes in search of dog dishes.

When a search of the kitchen proved fruitless, she hesitantly opened several cupboards, looking for something to put dog food in. Whoever this guy was, he seemed to live a bare-bones existence. There were three plates, mugs, a couple of small cooking pots, a frying pan, beer and wine glasses—that was about it.

She glanced around, hesitant to pry into the rest of the house. The dogs yipped, yapped and growled. They’d sensed someone was in the house. She peeked into what was probably meant to be a cozy den. A large home gym that looked like a medieval torture device, a stationary bicycle, and a rack laden with weights almost filled it. The room even smelled like a gym.

“Huh! A jock! Might have known,” she murmured derisively.

French doors led on to the patio and the backyard. Two dogs had their paws up on the glass, teeth bared, snarling menacingly. She snorted a giggle—Chihuahuas, for goodness sake. What kind of man had two Chihuahuas? Not exactly a manly dog.

She’d sooner walk on hot coals than venture into that yard without dog food. The dishes were just outside the door—licked clean.

She hurried back to the kitchen and grabbed the bag of dog food. She fumbled with the foolproof re-closable bag, finally ripping it open. Some spilled on the floor. “Shit!”

She poured food into the frying pan, holding her breath against the unpleasant odor. Then she ventured to the French doors, unlocking one quickly and yanking it open. This evidently surprised the dogs. They jumped back, ears perked. She leaned out to put the pan on the ground, grabbed the empty dishes, and retreated back into the den, slamming the door.

The dogs attacked the food, tails wagging. Jessie swallowed the lump in her throat, her heartbeat thudding in her ears.

She walked back to the kitchen in a daze, and slumped on to a kitchen chair. “Cheap vinyl,” she murmured. “This man has no taste.”

When her breathing slowed, she washed out the dog dishes, filling one with cold water, the other with more food. She ventured back to the French doors, trying not to spill water. Every scrap of food had disappeared from the frying pan. The Chihuahuas waited expectantly, snarling when they caught sight of her, though they didn’t look quite as vicious.

“Hello, puppies. Did Daddy leave you all alone? The uncaring jerk.”

She put the water dish on the floor and opened the door a crack. Before she knew what was happening, the dogs had squirmed through the opening and rushed into the den, heading straight for the water dish. Who knew little dogs had such strength?

They drained the bowl dry in two minutes while she put the food dish outside. “Poor things. You were dying of thirst.”

Two doggy heads swivelled to look at her, ears pricked up, sharp teeth bared—miniature hounds from hell. Fear constricted her throat. It was ridiculous. Combined they were no bigger than her purse, and she was afraid of them. If only she knew their names. She swallowed hard and bent to offer her hand for them to sniff, hoping they wouldn’t tear off her fingers. They barreled past her on their way to the food dish.


Melissa Keir said...

Very cute excerpt! I've been bitten by three dogs and four children. None of which were mine! :) I love dogs but they can turn scary in a moment. One of the dogs that attacked me, did so while I was riding a moped. Then he had the nerve to attack the police man! I was not happy to get bit but was overjoyed to learn that the dog had his shots so I didn't need them!

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