Nothing is more heart-warming than kisses from the pet who adores you and the man who loves you, so snuggle up with VALENTINE PETS & KISSES — an anthology of fourteen sweet romances from USA Today bestselling and award-winning authors — and strike the perfect mood for moonlit walks and candlelight dinners with your pet and sweetheart.
Check out descriptions and excerpts from two of the stories featured in the anthology!
Valentine Hound Dog
- Rachelle Ayala
Fashion icon Jenna Hart, along with her basset hound puppy, tries to convince a burned former fireman that beauty is never skin deep and love's arrow strikes not only the beautiful, but the bold.
Unfortunately, now that Connor was promoted to chief, he didn’t hang out as much anymore, which meant Larry was facing a Friday night with a TV dinner in front of a basketball game.
A piercing wind blew as he lifted the dumpster lid, threatening to blow it down. Larry held the lid with one hand and hefted the trash bag into it. Letting the lid slam, he turned toward the warmth of the building.
Something moved near the dumpster, darting behind it. Probably a rat. He should set traps, but not tonight. The wind whined and howled as he opened the door.
Another whine and something furry touched the back of his leg. It was a puppy, likely a basset hound, with a brown and black patchwork face and white paws.
“What’cha doing here, boy?” Larry bent down and held his hand out for the puppy to sniff. There was no collar, but the puppy appeared well groomed and plump. “Did you get lost?”
The puppy licked his hand, and Larry scooped him up. “I bet you’re hungry. Tomorrow I’ll put up a poster. See if anyone lost you.”
He rubbed the puppy’s head and long ears while the puppy licked his jowls and yawned. How could he resist such cuteness?
The Crazy Girl’s Handbook
- DelSheree Gladden
Spending the weekend babysitting her two nephews and a puppy was supposed to be fun. Sweating to death at a baseball game while getting gum in her hair, soda down her shirt, and an ice cream pedicure wasn't part of the deal. Neither was finding out the best guy she'd ever missed a blind date with had witnessed it all. Longest. Weekend. Ever.
We looked both ways before crossing the street. Both boys held my hand and Thor stayed right at my heel with the leash wrapped around my wrist. The second we set foot on the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street, the boys took off and Thor made a valiant attempt at following them. Problem was, his leash was still looped around my wrist so I could hold the boys’ hands more easily. So when he lunged forward to follow, I didn’t have any control of the leash to stop him from taking me down.
Pain blossomed in more than one spot as my elbows and palms hit the cement and my head whacked into the decorative stone edging that lined the grass. Thor yelped as my dead weight kept him from getting any farther, then doubled back to see what was wrong and stomped all over me at least three times before settling on my head. By the time my senses cleared, I was so tangled in leash and puppy I couldn’t even figure out where to start. My head and arms throbbing didn’t help at all.
“Thor, get off,” a firm voice said.
I thought I wanted to die when I got gum in my hair, or soda ice down my shirt, or an ice cream pedicure. Those were nothing compared to having to be rescued from an over-enthusiastic puppy by Roman Carpenter while covered in dirt, grass, and blood. It was a miracle I didn’t give up right then and just start crying. I loved my nephews, but I was never going to be able to show my face in this neighborhood again.
The heavy weight of the squirming—and rather large—puppy was finally removed from my face. I heard Roman ask one of the boys to hold the leash, but I kept my eyes closed out of pure shame. Not until a pair of hands pressed against my face did I even dare to breathe. Even then, it was a gasp at the urgency behind the touch.
“Greenly, are you okay?” Roman demanded.
The hint of worry in his voice forced me to peel my eyelids apart. I peeked up at him through half-opened eyes and was startled not to find him laughing at me again. There was real, honest fear in his expression and it left me speechless.
From romantic suspense to sweet contemporaries, I write from my heart and love to include children and pets in my stories.
DelSheree Gladden is a USA Today bestselling young adult and romance author, whose writing includes everything from dystopian and Native American mythology to sweet and funny romances.