Title: It Happened at the Park
Author: Ryan Jo Summers
Genre: Romantic Comedy Novella
Practical city planner, Cassidy Grant, just inherited her sister's beloved dogs. Except she's a career girl into heels and matching accessories, she's not a dog mom. Worse, she's required to take the furry darlings to the dog park for regular play dates. Even worse, her boss is after her to find the cartoonist who is trashing the city mayor.
Recently jilted, Ethan Sheppard finally got a long waited for dog. He loves their bonding trips to the dog park. He's also the secret cartoonist whose drawings poke fun at the city leadership. After strong emotions build, Ethan learns Cassidy's going to be fired if she can't identify the satirist. But telling her will cost his job.
Cassidy was going to kill Remi. Things were going pretty good, all things considered, for her impromptu meeting. Or they were, until the little heathen yanked the leash from her hand. Heels, so perfect for the office and sidewalks, sank in the soft grass of the park. It had taken a degree in rocket engineering just to figure out how to get their cute sweater and jacket on in the first place. The extra time spent dressing them set her so far back, she had no choice but to dial in for the meeting from the park. She was thankful no one asked what the hullabaloo in the background was, though there was no mistaking the questions in Adam’s voice.
Wondering how she was going to murder Remi, once she finally caught him, she was stunned to see the little wretch happily gallop over to a man kneeling in the dirt. A cute man. Laughing, he scooped Remi up in his arms, dodging disgusting facial licks. Her heart skipped a few beats as he approached her, holding Remi squiggling to his chest.
“He must be yours,” he said, stopping before her, his ocean blue eyes stealing her breath.
“No. I mean, yes, he is. Now. He is. They are.” Hearing the gibberish pouring from her mouth, she stopped, heat fanning her cheeks. Clearing her throat, she tried again.
“They were my sister’s dogs. I just inherited them. Yesterday.”
He unhooked Remi’s leash and set the wooly beast down again.
“I thought I recognized them.”
“Why did you do that?” she asked in dismay, noticing Remi once more darted happily out of her reach. Without a leash trailing, she’d have no earthly hope to catch him.
He gave her a quizzical look, one that made her wonder what he was thinking. If it were possible, he looked even cuter with his head titled a little to the side. Her chest thumped. He knelt again, reaching for Tessa and unhooking her leash. He gave her a friendly pat on the head and gentle push. Soon, she was off racing after Remi. Standing back up again, he gave her another quizzical look. “It’s a dog park. They’re supposed to run free and play.”
Somehow, in all of Cindy’s very detailed instructions, she had omitted that small detail.
He fingered the leash swinging from his belt loop, drawing her eyes to how his faded jeans molded to his fit body. “My dog is over there.” He pointed to where four big dogs piled on each other in a fight. She easily heard the growls and barks over the rest of the park din. “The husky and shepherd mixed guy, kind of brown and gray with the black face and ears.”
“He’s fighting,” she exclaimed, once she identified his dog on top of the pile, shocked he was so nonchalant about his dog’s aggression.
“He’s playing,” he mildly corrected. “Jake knows those dogs. They’re all buddies. In a moment or two they’ll be chasing each other like first grader kids at recess.”
“My dog.” He stuck his hand out. “I’m Ethan Sheppard.”
He smiled, the corners of his eyes crinkling. His hand was warm. She felt a spark jump from him to her, racing through her palm and into her arm.
“So, Cassidy, I take it you’ve never been to a dog park before.”
She shook her head, torn between watching his to-die-for blue eyes, Remi and Tessa or the pack of fighting dogs now tearing off to another corner like marathon runners, barking. “Only when I need to go someplace to run around and bite people on the shins.”
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Why is your featured book a must-read?
This romantic comedy has just the right balance of laugh-aloud one-liners and humor mixed with tissue-grabbing emotional scenes. The romance between Cassidy and Ethan is slow and genuine. Their friends and family provide plenty of comic relief to offset the seriousness they find themselves in. Oh! And the dogs are endearing, mischievous and down-right loveable!
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Ryan Jo Summers writes romances that blur the lines of subgenres. She mixes contemporary with time travel, Christian, suspense, sweet, and paranormal like blending a fruit and yogurt smoothie. Her non-fiction works have appeared in numerous trade journals and magazines including ‘WNC Woman Magazine’, ‘Critter Magazine’, ‘Journey Devotions’, and ‘Vet Tech Journal’. She is a regular contributing author for the ‘Asheville Pet Gazette’.
Her hobbies include baking, crafts, gardening, enjoying nature, and chess/mah-jongg/word-find puzzles. She pet sits/dog walks when she’s not busy writing and she fosters homeless pets for area animal rescues.
She lives in a century-old cottage in North Carolina with her own menagerie of rescued pets and way too many houseplants. “September’s Song” is her second self-published work, the first one being the chronicles of the first two years with her adopted PTSD rescue collie.
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