Hey, romance addicts. I have a sweet romance. Rescue Road is part of Gayle M. Irwin’s Pet Rescue series. Romance and cuddly critters, what’s not to love? The author was gracious enough share an excerpt. Check it out!
One year ago, my first clean, contemporary romance released. Rescue Road is a second-chance, western romance story, the first book in my Pet Rescue Romance series. I chose to release the novel at this time because October is Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month and November is Adopt-a-Senior-Pet Month.
I’m a pet rescue and adoption advocate, and I created my heroine, Rhiann, to be one as well. Rhiann wants to start an animal rescue sanctuary on property she purchased for back taxes in southwestern Montana. Her own dogs, Jax, plays a strong role in the story; he is based on my own rescued and adopted Shih Tzu, Jeremiah, whom I adopted three years ago from Hearts United for Animals. Rhiann helps the local EMS (Emergency Medical Services) department adopt a cocker spaniel as a mascot and therapy dog, and she develops a relationship with Levi, the EMS captain. Not only do she and Levi have a second chance at love, but so do the animals Rhiann rescues.
Below is an excerpt from Rescue Road, in which Rhiann brings Max, the cocker spaniel, to the department. The ebook is available at the low anniversary celebration price of just .99 cents on Kindle, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and Apple Books.
Levi stood in the ambulance bay, clipboard in hand. Gathered around him were five men and two women. They listened as he spoke.
“Last month’s safety training results are in, and everyone performed well. Good job! Don’t forget the competition at the Boys and Girls Club fundraiser is this weekend, so, even though it’s a fundraiser for a good cause, we have the opportunity to win back the regional trophy. Let’s be prepared but also plan to have fun and engage the kids and families.”
“Yes, sir!” came a chorused reply.
Heads turned toward the bay’s windows; Levi followed the eyes of his team. He noticed a cobalt dual-cab Toyota Tacoma pull up near the building’s entrance. He watched as Rhiann stepped from the driver’s side, bright blue leash in hand. Max, the cocker spaniel, jumped out of the truck, and together, the dog and Rhiann walked into the ambulance bay.
“Hi, all,” she said as she looked at them. Levi noted the surprise in her voice. “I, uh, I hope I’m not interrupting something.”
“Just finished our meeting. Who do you have there?” Levi asked.
Rhiann walked toward the gathering of EMS workers with a smile. “This is Max. I’m hoping he’ll become your department mascot.”
Levi smiled as his colleagues applauded. He noticed Max remained calm despite the noise. Levi bent down toward the dog and stroked his fur, noting the softness.
“He had a spa treatment earlier today, getting ready for his new assignment. That is, if you all think he’s the right dog for you,” he heard Rhiann say.
Levi glanced up as Phil Quinn crouched next to him. “He’s sure a handsome fellow,” the younger man said. “He seems pretty mellow. That’s the kind of dog we need.”
Stacy Johnson, one of the female crew members, spoke up. “I looked into therapy dog training. We can get someone in Bozeman to come test his temperament, and if he passes, Phil and I are willing to take him through training since we’re on different schedules.”
“Good idea, Stacy,” Levi said as he stood up. “I’m glad you and Phil are willing to take that on.”
“Well,” Rhiann said, handing the leash to Levi, “I would say, Captain Butler, Max belongs to you and your crew.”
Several team members gathered around Levi and the dog.
“Welcome, Max!” he heard someone say.
“Glad to have you aboard, little buddy!” said another.
Levi noticed Rhiann’s eyes twinkled with joy despite a tear in the corner of one. He watched as she knelt next to Max. Rhiann cupped the dog’s face and said, “You be a good boy, Max, as I know you will. You’re a great dog, and these are good people who will be caring for you. Do incredible work. I know you’re fulfilling a special purpose.”
Rhiann stood, and Levi watched as she wiped a hand across her eye.
“It’s never really easy passing a dog onto a new owner but truly worth doing, knowing the dog will be cared for and fulfill its purpose. Thanks for taking Max and giving him an important job,” she said to the crew.
He noted her quick smile before she turned and walked toward the door.
Levi gave Max’s leash to Phil and said, “Get him settled in. I’ll be right back.”
He dashed out the door. He saw Rhiann climb into the blue pickup. He ran up to the driver’s side window and tapped on the glass. She looked over, saw him, and the window came down.
“Thanks for bringing Max to us. I think the chief will be pleased. I know the crew is,” Levi said.
He watched her wipe her eyes again. “Sorry. You’d think I’d be used to placing dogs in homes by now and not be so emotional.”
“You get attached, I’m sure.”
She nodded. “Just take good care of him, okay? Make sure whoever has him takes care of him.”
Levi smiled. “No problem there; we’re all dog people. And, Rhiann …” He placed his hand on hers. Trying to ignore the tingle he felt from the touch, Levi said with sincerity, “Thank you for what you’ve done regarding George’s other place. That area is likely filled with all kinds of wildlife, from elk and moose to foxes and pine squirrels. I know George would love to see it protected, and you’re doing just that.”
“And you get to have your horses on land that’s meant for them. No access or water worries.”
“Well, I do still have to drive up what is officially your road.”
“Have Mr. Williamson draw up an easement provision. I’ll enjoy seeing horses in the pastures one of these days. I just hope the dogs in my rescue won’t keep you awake after you build the house you want … neighbor.” She smiled at him.
Is this woman for real? Levi asked himself. The desire to kiss her surged. Instead, he asked, “Have you had lunch yet? I know it’s after three o’clock, but I have a break coming up. I’d be happy to buy you lunch.”
“I ate a salad earlier, but thanks,” she replied. “And I have dinner plans in a few hours.”
Levi felt his heartbeat stagger. He tried to keep his tone casual. “Oh? Your friend Trisha?”
He noticed a slight blush appear on Rhiann’s face. “No, one of our neighbors. A ‘welcome to Montana, get acquainted’ kind of thing.”
He briefly wondered who that might be. A tightening came to his chest. Not Patterson, his mind lurched.
Thank you, Gayle! Readers can grab a copy of Rescue Road at Amazon.
Gayle M. Irwin is an award-winning author and freelance writer, being recognized by Wyoming Writers, Inc., and the Wyoming Press Association for several of her works. She is a contributor to seven Chicken Soup for the Soul books and the author of many inspirational pet books and stories for both children and adults. Her clean, contemporary romance series, Pet Rescue Romance, consists of Rescue Road, released November 2019, Finding Love at Compassion Ranch, released in May 2020, and Rhiann’s Rescue, a prequel holiday novella releasing November 2020.
She subtly weaves important life lessons within the lines and pages of her stories, including the importance of pet rescue and adoption. An animal advocate, Gayle volunteers for various dog rescue and humane society organizations and donates a percentage of all book sales to such groups. Gayle resides in Wyoming with her husband and their adopted animals. Learn more about the author, her writing endeavors, and her pets, and receive free stories and resources by visiting her website: www.gaylemirwinauthor.com.