Thursday, October 8, 2015

Blog Tour/Excerpt: When the Right One Comes Along by Kate James


On tour with Prism Book Tours.

When the Right One Comes Along (K-9 Trilogy, #1)When the Right One Comes Along
(K-9 Trilogy #1)

by Kate James

Adult Contemporary Romance

Paperback & ebook, 293 Pages
October 1st 2015 by Harlequin

Brought together by disaster. Kept together by love.

In the aftermath of a deadly earthquake, it's chaos for trauma surgeon Jessica Hansen. Among the many victims, one patient stands out—San Diego Police K-9 search and rescue officer Cal Palmer.

Cal vows to help Kayla, a child orphaned by the disaster. But he needs Jessica's help. Will their shared concern for Kayla and for Cal's canine partner, Scout, allow them to put aside their personal torments and discover the difference love can make?

Excerpt:

CAL AND SCOUT waited on a bench in Balboa Park, not far from the group home Kayla was living in. Scout wore his official police collar and Cal had attached the dog’s police badge, as well. They were generally worn only for ceremonial purposes, but Cal could swear that Scout sat up straighter, held his head higher, whenever the badge was fastened to his collar. Cal remembered he used to do much the same when he’d first earned his badge as a rookie. He ruffled Scout’s fur and then his hand stilled.

Jessica was walking toward him, Kayla’s hand clutched in hers. The sight touched him.

The tall, lithe blonde with her hair pulled back in a ponytail, the ends dancing on the wind, smiling. The girl, in contrast, was tiny and fragile especially since she’d lost weight. Her long dark hair was loose and curling around her shoulders. The doc wore jeans and a T-shirt; the little girl a simple pink romper.

Cal couldn’t explain it, but as he watched the woman and child walking toward him, hand in hand, emotion clogged his throat. He coughed brusquely, blinked a few times and rose from the bench.

He saw the instant Kayla noticed him. “Cal!” she cried. Tugging her hand free, she ran toward him. He grinned and bent down awkwardly to hug her as she threw herself in his arms. Wanting to join in the excitement, Scout scampered around them. Kayla stumbled back, and Cal grabbed her hand to steady her.

“Hey, Doc,” he greeted Jessica as she joined them. He gave Kayla’s hand an encouraging squeeze before letting go, and instructed Scout to stay in a sitting position. “Kayla, do you remember my partner, Scout?”

The girl clasped her hands behind her back, swayed from side to side and took a hesitant step toward the dog. “He got me out of the hole Mommy and I were in?” she asked, looking up at Cal.

“Yes. He did.”

“He’s your doggy?”

“He’s more than my dog. He works with me. He’s a police officer, too.”

Kayla giggled. “Dogs can’t be police!”

“They sure can!” Despite the pain that seared his leg, he squatted down and showed her Scout’s badge. “See. He has his own police badge and everything.”

She touched the badge, but pulled her hand back quickly when Scout tried to sniff it.

“It’s okay, Kayla. He won’t hurt you. I promise,” he added when she still looked hesitant. Cal took her hand again, raised their joined hands and let Scout sniff hers. She giggled when Scout’s cool, wet nose touched her. Obviously more comfortable, she reached out for his badge and tried to read it.

“San Diego…” She glanced up at Cal. “What does the rest say?”

Cal read the words to Kayla. “San Diego Police Department. And down here…” He pointed to the metal portion below the crest. “It says PSD Scout.”

She traced the letters with a forefinger. “What does PSD mean?”

“It’s short for ‘police service dog.’”

Nodding, she stroked Scout’s head. “He really is the police?”

“Yes. Scout, say hello to Kayla.”

Scout gave a short, happy bark and extended a paw.

Laughing, Kayla shook the offered paw. “Can I play with him?” she asked.

“Sure.” Cal pulled the Kong out of his pouch. Scout was immediately alert, but on Cal’s command held back. “Grab it by the rope. That’s good. Now throw it for him to fetch.”

Her first attempt had the Kong landing only a couple feet away. Scout pounced on it, brought it back, dropped it at her feet and sat down with an expectant look on his face.

“That was great.” Cal handed her the Kong. “Try it again and see if you can throw it a little farther.”

“`Kay,” she said. This time the Kong went flying about ten feet. Scout immediately whizzed after it.

Kayla bounced and clapped excitedly.

Cal and Jessica exchanged a warm look over her head.

“Can I do it again?” she asked when Scout had deposited the toy near the toes of her sneakers.

“Go ahead. As many times as you like.”

Cal and Jessica sat on a bench, and watched as Kayla got more and more proficient at throwing the toy. Her delight at having Scout chase and retrieve it didn’t diminish with the repetitions.

“You’re good with her. Really good,” Jessica observed.

“Thank you.” He took her hand briefly in his. It meant a lot to him that she thought so, especially after everything that had happened with Haley. “Scout likes kids. Most of the police dogs do some community work. Pitbull, for instance, works with inner-city youth, counseling them about the dangers of drug use.”

Jessica turned to him, surprise evident on her face. “The San Diego Police Department uses pit bulls as police dogs?”

Cal threw his head back and laughed. “Sorry. I can see how that would be confusing. Pitbull is Sergeant Rick Vasquez’s alias. He and his narcotics canine partner, Sniff, a yellow Labrador retriever, work with the kids.”

“We see a lot of young victims of drug-related crimes in the emergency room. It’s tragic. Not all of them make it. That’s an important job, uh, Pitbull has.”

“He does it on the side, as a volunteer.” Cal thought about Rick’s childhood in the midst of the drug cartels in Mexico, and knew exactly why Rick did the volunteer work. “He does it because he cares about the kids. Their official job, his and Sniff’s, is to patrol the San Ysidro border between San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico. Their mission is to thwart the cartel-related drug trafficking that takes place between Tijuana and the US across that section of the border.”

Jessica knew enough about drug smuggling to understand how dangerous the San Ysidro border was. The emergency room saw too many young people who were the victims of shootings, knife fights or drug overdoses. “You really do have the most dangerous jobs in policing, don’t you?”

Cal watched Kayla fling the Kong again. He shrugged. “It’s what we do. The risk is part of the job. We try to be careful, but it’s there.”

When it became obvious that the child had tired herself out, Jessica called her. Kayla ran back to them, Scout pacing himself to stay at her side. Out of breath and with a huge smile on her face, she rested her hands on Cal’s knees and gazed up at him. “Can we do that again sometime? Please?”

Cal forced himself not to show the pain the simple act of her leaning on his leg caused. “Sure.”

Jessica rose. “We’ll let Cal get back to what he needs to do, okay?”

“Okay, but I have to say bye to Scout first.” Kayla threw her small arms around Scout and hugged him tight.

When Cal stood, she threw her arms around his legs, too. Cal winced, and Jessica grimaced at him, an apologetic look on her face.

“Thanks, Cal,” she said as Jessica took her hand. “That was fun!”

“Thank you,” Jessica mouthed, giving him a thumbs-up as she took Kayla back to the home.

Kate James 2.jpg
Kate James spent eight years of her childhood living in foreign countries as her professional parents travelled on business. She lived in four countries and spoke five languages before settling down in Canada again to attend university. After graduating with a degree in civil engineering, she held a variety of positions in the field of real estate development and operations, and ran three substantial organizations. While her writing during this period was mostly business related, including presentations and speeches she delivered both nationally and internationally, her passion is and always has been fiction.

Kate's business and personal experiences enable her to write fiction with a deep, often first-hand knowledge of what she is writing about. This approach makes Kate's stories richer and more vivid.

Kate’s goal is to entertain you with well-written, engaging stories, set in intriguing places and with strong, likeable characters. “I hope my stories bring you pleasure and entertain you. Nothing pleases me more than receiving feedback from people who have chosen to spend their valuable leisure time with one of my books,” notes Kate.

Kate married her husband, Ken, in an elegant, ocean-front wedding on a tropical island. When they are not traveling, they split their time between their properties in southern and central Ontario in Canada.



Grand Prize: Spa Gift Basket and a print copy of When the Right One Comes Along (US/CAN only)

2nd Prize: $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of When the Right One Comes Along (print if US/CAN, ebook
if international)

3 – 3rd Prizes: copy of When the Right One Comes Along(print if US/CAN, ebook if international)

Ends October 16th

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3 comments:

Kate James said...

Thank you for hosting me on your blog, Melanie.

Happy reading!

Kate

Diana Tidlund said...

thanks for having kate have loved stalking her all over!

Kate James said...

Diana, it's so wonderful to see you at each of the stops of our tour!

I wish you the very best of luck with the giveaway!

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