Title: JUNKYARD DOG
Author: Katja Desjarlais
Genre: Paranormal Romance
VJoshua Tree National Park Ranger Charlotte arrives on the scene of a car accident caused by a large dog tearing across the road. The third sighting of the animal in as many weeks, Charlotte’s interest is piqued. Armed with a bowl of dog food and a bucket of patience, she sets out to find the beast.
With the grille marks of a sedan imprinted on his broken ribs, Alex returns to the scene of the accident, scouring for prints he’d left behind when he encounters Charlotte on the trail. The attraction is undeniable, but Alex is on a mission from Hades and can’t afford the distraction.
While Charlotte continues to gain the trust of the wild dog roaming the park, Alex is caught between the woman he’s falling for and the job he was sent to do. With bodies and secrets piling at his feet, Alex is pushed to choose between the hellhound he is and the man he wants to be.
One brave, or stupid, coyote let loose another call into the night air and Alex lifted his nose to the sky to snarl a warning until quiet returned to the park.
He’d run the terrain for well over an hour, his SUV, clothes, and cell phone a good thirty miles away by now. With no sign of Charlotte near the Lost Horse Mine trail, he had ventured farther east toward the Keys, sticking as close to the paved roads as he could without being seen by a wayward tourist or determined hiker.
His ears perked up when Charlotte’s familiar voice carried on the breeze, stilling and listening as something thumped to the ground eight hundred yards to the north. The rockier terrain slowed his progress as he maneuvered toward the sound, his nose finally picking up her scent when he reached the apex of a ridge.
He sat and watched, unnoticed, as she slid off the hood of her small car and bent over to retrieve something. Cocking his head, he let out a snort of appreciation for the view, raising his ears when she jumped in surprise and spun toward him.
“Oh, my g—” she breathed, taking a step forward and zeroing in on him. “Woah. You are a big boy, aren’t you?”
When she took another step off the road, he rose up and flattened his ears back.
“Okay, okay,” she cooed, backing up and lifting an open palm. “You come to me, boy.”
A slew of dirty dog jokes ricocheted through his head as he padded down the rocky incline, his ears instinctively tracking the movements of the rabbit to his left. When he was just over a hundred yards away from the road, he sat back on his haunches.
She knelt, extending her hand out farther and rubbing her fingers together. “It’s all right, boy. Come on. I’m not going to hurt you.”
He chuffed and lifted his front paw. When she inched forward, he dropped his head and growled low.
“Fine.” She laughed. “You come to me. Let me make sure you aren’t injured. I… Wait.”
He tilted his head as she rose to her feet slowly and opened the trunk of her car. She hefted a green bag onto her hip and resumed her position beside the car. “I brought something for you.”
The bag crinkled as she opened it, releasing an unpleasant scent into the air.
He recoiled slightly and pointed his nose to the hare that had gone motionless under a cactus.
“You leave that poor little bunny alone,” she chastised, dipping her hand in the foul-smelling bag and holding a pile out to him. “C’mon, boy.”
He let out a whimper and lowered his nose to the ground, his ears dropping.
“It’s not that bad,” she cajoled, shaking the food pellets in her hand and sending the atrocious stench across the desert. “How about I put it in a bowl? Hmm?” She leaned back and opened her car door, reaching across the console to the passenger side. “Still a few crumbs in here from dinner, but it’ll work.”
Rising to his full height, he closed the gap between them by a few more yards and stopped.
His hackles rose as Charlotte got to her feet and took a slow step his way, Styrofoam container of dog food in hand.
“I’m just putting this out here,” she purred quietly, her steps hesitant. “And when you’re hungry, you can come get it. Okay, boy?” When he snorted in response and began pacing back and forth, she lowered the food to the sand and began to retreat to the car. “Kind of a beast, aren’t you, boy?” She laughed, a hint of nervousness in her voice as she sat in the driver’s seat and leaned forward to rest her elbows on her knees.
He watched her watching him as he continued to pace across the sand.
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Why is your featured book a must-read?
JUNKYARD DOG is a fast-paced blend of action, mythology, and romance. A unique spin on Cerberus and the Underworld, this dual POV book is a must-read for fans of Greek mythology, strong heroines, and redeemable heroes.
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Katja Desjarlais is a music teacher by day and a paranormal romance writer by moonlight. She is an unapologetic music addict and has an obsession for bad Bach puns despite her irrational aversion to Baroque. Her favorite words include 'plethora' and 'dapper', and she is physically repulsed by the word 'moist'. Katja's interest in the spooky and paranormal can be traced to her early childhood movie choices and to her borrowing history at her local library.
Desjarlais lives in the Okanagan Valley with her husband, three children, and three cats Her ideal summer vacation is spent driving Route 66 with her family and attending heavy metal concerts.
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