Summer by the River by Debbie Burns – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Debbie Burns who is celebrating the recent release of Summer by the River. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to a copy of the book.

Bestselling author Debbie Burns combines her love for rescue dogs with a compelling woman’s journey in her brand new romantic women’s fiction.

Making a fresh start in a new part of the country is challenging, but fate and good fortune lead young single mother Josie Waterhill and her six-year-old daughter to a cozy Midwestern town right on the river. There, Josie can raise Zoe away from the violence of the life she once knew, and make a new home in the historic tea house where they’ve been invited to stay.

The tea house seems too good to be true, until Josie’s elderly landlord Myra welcomes more guests—journalist Carter O’Brien and his giant rescue dog, Buttercup. Carter is charming, compassionate…and way too curious. Carter’s interest in Josie deepens and he inadvertently stirs up trouble when he uncovers things that Josie would rather not have known. Ready or not, Josie has to let go of her painful past so she can create a glorious future.

Enjoy an Excerpt

A suave and polished journalist showing up unannounced to dig up long-buried secrets wasn’t a good thing. Josie was certain of that.

By the time she got the temperamental printer working and returned to the terrace, Josie noticed most of the weekend’s guests had finished their tea, cake, and scones and were dispersing. Zoe and Carter were halfway down the hillside, and the hair on the back of Josie’s neck prickled at the sight of her daughter being so carefree with a stranger. Her feet itched to join them, but she checked herself. Certainly, there was no better place than here to give Zoe a bit of trust and see what she did with it. Josie busied herself with cleaning off the empty tables on the expansive brick patio. As they rounded the top of the yard, Carter nodded toward Josie. “Myra’s right. These gardens are spectacular.”

“Thanks.” She set the packed-full busser tub on the closest table and slipped his license out of her pocket, offering it his way.

“Would you like my card?” he asked as he tucked his license back into his wallet. “As I mentioned, I’m freelance, but you can Google me. Plenty of my work is online.”


It was a simple, gray-scale business card with his contact information and an image of an old-fashioned typewriter. She’d never known anyone who made their way on this earth exclusively by stringing words together, and was impressed. She was a numbers person. With numbers, she could always find her way. Words were different, complicated. Sometimes they told the truth; other times they were wickedly deceitful.

“So, tell me,” he said with a lopsided grin, “was your asking for my license a formality in case I steal a few towels while I’m here, or in case I follow in my grandfather’s footsteps?”

Josie fought back a laugh as his words sank in. “Around here, you never know.”

Carter was boyishly charming—she’d grant him that. She bet that smile could grab attention a hundred feet away. And then there was that dimple on his right cheek.

“Do you, uh, want to see your room?”

“Sure, that’d be great.”

They headed inside, with Zoe pausing to point out all her favorite places on the lower floor, such as the window seat in the breakfast room at the side of the kitchen that had a clear view of a robin’s nest.

“This house is truly phenomenal,” Carter said as they ascended the massive staircase to the second floor. Josie forced her gaze away from his fingers as they brushed the top of the mahogany banister.

“How many rooms does this place have?” Carter tapped the rounded newel as he took in the second-floor split hallway.

“Six with private bathrooms,” she answered, “plus two on the third floor that share a bathroom. Your room’s down the hall. It’s a great room—a lot of space and one of the best bathrooms in the house. And a wonderful view of the gardens out back.”

“Spoken like someone who knows it well.”

“You could say that.” Josie opted not to add that, when it was just her, Myra, and Zoe here, she often went into that room for a soak in the oversized bathtub after Zoe was out for the night.

“Nice,” he said as she swung open the door. He paused to take it in and nodded appreciatively. “They don’t make houses like this anymore, do they? Great bone structure.”

“If it wasn’t for the Victorian wallpaper covering it all up, you mean?”

He grinned, his teeth gleaming. “Looks like I’m in a lady’s retreat after all. Is that what happened to the guy who pulled out? He didn’t have a tolerance for lace and doilies?”

“He’s mad at his father for getting married again,” Zoe piped up.

“Zoe, honestly. Sometimes I think you hear through walls.” Josie shrugged. “It’s one of those weddings that’s not without a bit of controversy. They were childhood sweethearts who ended up marrying other people. Their spouses have passed away, and now they’ve found one another again.”

“But Linda says they’re hurting everybody’s feelings,” Zoe added. “Acting so in looove.” She drew out the word like it was replete with cooties.

Carter laughed. “Kid, you’re wise beyond your years.”

Josie ran her fingers down Zoe’s hair. “So… Make yourself at home. You’re Myra’s guest. The key is on the dresser. It’s bulky to carry around. If you don’t want to take it with you into town, you can drop it with Myra.”

He strolled over to the dresser and inspected the brass skeleton key. “No plastic cards here, huh?”

“We’re all about authenticity. Oh, I almost forgot. In honor of the wedding, everyone’s being treated with the getaway package from back when this place ran as a B and B. That means homemade cookies and wine delivered each night around nine. There’s a menu on your bed for tomorrow’s breakfast. And there’s champagne in the mini fridge and some extras on the tub as well.” Her cheeks warmed involuntarily at the last bit.

He cocked an eyebrow. “Is that so? Too bad I’m traveling alone.”

She took Zoe by the hand to leave.

“And you’ll just be down the hall if I have any questions about how to work the tub or anything, right?” Carter asked, the playful grin returning to his face.

After that introduction of his, it didn’t surprise her that he was a flirt. “You strike me as being tech savvy. But if you have trouble, ask your questions early. I’m off duty tonight after I deliver cookies.”

He tsked. “What a shame.”

Josie pulled Zoe out of the room and closed the door before the smile that was tugging at her lips broke through to the surface.


Excerpted from Summer by the River by Debbie Burns. © 2021 by Debbie Burns. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author:Debbie Burns is an award-winning and bestselling author and 2019 HOLT Medallion Award of Merit recipient. Her highly praised Rescue Me romance series features happily ever afters of the two and four-legged kind. She lives in a gingerbread house that’s almost cute enough to eat in Saint Louis.


Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Bookshop, BAM, or Books2Read.

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Head Over Paws by Debbie Burns – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Debbie Burns who is celebrating tomorrow’s release of Head Over Paws. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a set of New Leash on Love, Sit, Stay, Love, My Forever Home, and Love at First Bark.

Who rescued who? Love can lead to your forever home in this charming contemporary romance from best-selling author Debbie Burns.

Olivia Graham isn’t in a place to have a dog of her own, but her new position as a volunteer rescue driver for the local animal shelter will keep her close to her four-legged friends. When she’s called to transport pets that have been misplaced by flooding, she doesn’t hesitate to help, but then her aging car breaks down…

Veterinarian Gabe Wentworth, former EMT and firefighter, is also heading to the rescue site and reluctantly agrees to pick up Olivia on the way. After a bad breakup, Gabe’s embraced the hermit life. When he meets Olivia, he can’t deny their irresistible mutual attraction, and his first thought is to run the other direction. But then the two band together in a risky maneuver to save a beautiful abandoned dog from rising floodwaters. The more Gabe learns about the woman who would risk everything to save vulnerable animals, the more he realizes what he might be willing to risk…

Enjoy an Excerpt

Olive and Gabe spotted the house at the same time.

“If we’re too late…” She swallowed back the rest. They weren’t too late. They were right on time. It couldn’t be any other way.

Gabe’s tires skidded to a halt on the wet gravel driveway. The teens who’d spotted the dog were nowhere in sight. Olivia grabbed the bolt cutters and hopped out into the rain. The soft gurgle of rushing water made the hair on the back of her neck and arms stand on end. Gabe jogged around to the back of the truck, and in the space of a minute, he had a tightly wound rope slung over his shoulder, a set of gloves shoved into his back pocket, and an ax and a jumbled mass of nylon in one hand.

As they headed along the side of the house, his free hand locked around her elbow. “Look, I don’t want to come off sounding like a macho prick, but there’s no trusting floodwater, not the current, not what it carries. So, if I don’t like the look of things, I’m going to ask you to hang back. I’d appreciate it if you’d trust me. I don’t want to have to choose between saving a dog and saving you.”

Electricity raced up her arm at the gentle strength in his grip, and his words struck a chord. She was a good swimmer, but she’d never swum in a current before. “Okay. You say it like you have experience in floodwater.”

“Technically, I do. Ten hours of water rescue training and one real-time rescue.”

Olivia started to ask him what he meant, but they’d rounded the corner of the house, and her heart lurched into her throat. A hundred or so feet out in the rushing, choppy water there was a dog pen attached to a small, rotted shed. From the creaks and groans emanating from it, the shed was on the verge of collapsing from the massive pressure of the water rushing into and past it.

Inside the pen, a large liver-brown and spotted-white hound balanced precariously atop a nearly submerged doghouse that must have been swept by the pressure of the water into the far corner. He was standing on all fours, his gangly legs balancing on the half-hexagon roof, his tail tucked tightly between his legs, and his head bowed low. The dog let out a giant bay that stabbed straight into Olivia’s heart.

“Water moving this fast has undercurrents, and you never know when you’re going to step into a strong one.” Gabe’s free hand locked around Olivia’s arm another a second or two. “Would you stay back and hold the rope for me? We could use that tree as a pivot joint.”

Olivia frowned. If she went in and the water knocked her off her feet, four years of high-school swim team might enable her to reach the pen, but there’d be no carrying out a dog that size through the water. She was willing to bet he was seventy or eighty pounds. Pushing through rushing water while holding a gangly, heavy dog would be a challenge even for Gabe, and he probably had half a foot of height and fifty pounds on her.

It was Olivia’s turn to squeeze Gabe’s arm, and even in the stress of the moment, some instinctive part of her responded to the solid feel of his biceps. “Just promise not to get into anything you can’t handle.”

“I’ll do my best.” He pulled out the gloves tucked into his back pocket and offered them to her along with the rope. “You’ll need gloves to hold the rope if I end up fighting with that water.”

The dog let out a series of long bays. To Olivia’s horror, she realized the water was close to tipping the doghouse over right underneath him. It was knocking back and forth against the metal fence of the pen from the pressure of the water. Dogs can swim, Olivia told herself over and over. They’re great swimmers. Even if it tips, he’ll be fine till Gabe reaches him.

Olivia tugged on the several-sizes-too-big gloves as Gabe threaded one end of the long rope through the belt loops of his jeans. His cotton shirt was lifted in the process, exposing an inch or two of remarkably defined obliques and a pronounced vee disappearing into his jeans and sending a wash of saliva over the back of Olivia’s mouth.

When finished, he hooked the backpack-looking strap over his shoulders. Just before he tugged a red-handled pull poking out from its left tip, Olivia realized it was a self-inflating life jacket, just a much slimmer one than the bulky Styrofoam-filled floaty she’d worn strapped around her on float trips as a kid.

Before she realized she was doing it, she leaned forward and pressed a kiss onto his cheek. “Be safe.” Certain her face betrayed the easygoing demeanor she hoped to portray, she flushed tomato-red. She could feel the heat of it lighting her skin.

His hazel-green eyes locked on hers for a single second, then he turned and took off down the yard, leaving Olivia to unwind the rope and pivot it around a relatively young but sturdy-looking tree not far out of the water.

“Water’s damn cold for late March,” Gabe said when he was a few feet in. The brown water parted around his legs, rippling in a heart-shaped wave and forming soft bubbles against his jeans.
A large, floating branch struck the shed with a solid whack, bounced against it for a few seconds, then was swept away by the water.

She wanted to keep watching, but Gabe was pushing through the water fast enough that she needed to focus on unwinding the rope and providing him with the right amount of slack. A quick glance showed he was fifteen or twenty feet in, and the water was already over his knees. He still had a long way to go before he reached the dog. As a rush of fear pressed over her, all Olivia could think to do was pray harder than she’d prayed in a long time.


Excerpted from Head Over Paws by Debbie Burns. © 2020 by Debbie Burns. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author: Debbie Burns is an award-winning author and 2019 HOLT Medallion Award of Merit recipient. Her highly praised Rescue Me romance series features happily ever afters of the two and four-legged kind. She lives in Saint Louis in a gingerbread house that’s almost cute enough to eat. In her free time, you can find her enjoying time with her two teens, two phenomenal rescue dogs, and a somewhat tetchy Maine Coon cat who everyone loves anyway.


Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBook, Kobo, IndieBound, BAM, or Bookshop.

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Love at First Bark by Debbie Burns – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Debbie Burns who is celebrating the upcoming release of Love at First Bark, the latest book in the Rescue Me series. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win the 3rd book in the series, My Forever Home.

“This heartstring-tugger is certain to win fans.” —Publishers Weekly STARRED Review for A New Leash on Love

Animal portrait painter Mia Chambers and architect Ben Thomas have volunteered at the High Grove Animal Shelter for years, and they share a complicated history. Ben has secretly loved Mia all this time, but she was married to his best friend. Now she’s newly widowed, with a young son, and Ben doesn’t know how to tell her what’s in his heart. All he can do is stay close, help her as much as she’ll let him, and watch for the right moment to bare his soul.

When a dozen adorable border collies get dumped in St. Louis’ biggest park, everyone at the shelter mobilizes for a large-scale rescue. Rushing to the park to round up the frisky collies, Ben and Mia unexpectedly plunge into a new phase of their entangled lives. Who knew that opening their hearts and homes—to animals in need and to each other—would lead to so many upheavals…and new beginnings…?

Rescue Me Series:
A New Leash on Love (Book 1)
Sit, Stay, Love (Book 2)
My Forever Home (Book 3)
Love at First Bark (Book 4)

Enjoy an Excerpt

Mia stepped out from Ollie’s room to find the main cabin empty. A single lamp was on, and the dwindling fire still glowed in the fireplace. Neither Ben nor Turbo around, and Mia wondered if Ben was done for the night too. A rush of disappointment swept over her at the thought of not getting to say good night to him.

Swallowing it down, she headed to the door with the dogs. The snow boots were all lined up beside the door on two long, thick rugs that were wet from the clumps of ice and snow that had been clinging to the boots when they’d come inside. The cold, wet patches stung Mia’s bare feet as she slipped into hers. She grabbed her coat from the closet and snaked it up one arm, transferred the puppy, then snaked it up the other.

When Mia moved to open the door and realized it was unlocked, she looked closer at the row of boots. Ben’s were missing. Her heart skittered in her chest. She opened the door with bated breath, but he was nowhere in sight.

Feeling the rush of cold air, Sam gave a determined shake of his head. His muscles tensed against her as if he was getting ready to leap. Sadie trotted backward several feet from the door as if to say “No thanks.”

Holding it open wider, Mia encouraged her. “Come on, girl. It’ll be a quick one, promise.”

Sadie whined but reluctantly followed Mia outside to the porch. Blue-white moonlight poured over the yard, bright enough to create shadows from the trees on the snow, and thousands of stars dotted the sky. The puppy squirmed in her arms as she stepped out deeper into the yard, crunching snow under her boots, until she set him down and zipped her coat.

Ben and Turbo were nowhere to be seen. She headed out into the yard, unable to entice Sadie off the snow-cleared porch. Sam trotted along, creating his own path, diving underneath windswept mounds, burying himself completely, then popping up and shaking himself off.

Mia was laughing at his antics when Sadie tore off the porch at something she’d spotted, barking and racing away into the darkness at the side of the cabin. Mia tensed, waiting, squinting to make out something in the darkness while trying to will Sadie back. “Ben?”

“Thank God,” she said when he called out into the night that it was him. She felt a rush of hesitation as he neared. “I thought the dogs might need to get outside another time before I put them in their crates.”

“Ollie’s asleep already?”

“As soon as his head hit the pillow.”

“Fresh air will do that to you.” Ben fell into step beside her as they headed toward the house.

Mia’s throat grew tight, and there was no denying why. They needed to talk. For hours into the night. There was so much to discuss. The only problem was Mia didn’t want to waste another minute of it not kissing him.

She swallowed hard. “Thanks for everything. For coming and all. For being so good to him.”

“I love him.”

She did her best to snip through the strings of connection drawing her to him. She was at a loss for words again, and Ben wasn’t helping them come any easier. She sat a squirmy and excited Sam back onto the ground. They were both quiet as they watched Sam leap and jump in a patch of untampered snow.

“Are you ready to go in? It’s freezing.”

“Mia, I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about the baby.”

They’d each spoken at exactly the same time. Mia bit her lip. “I can see why you didn’t, I guess. Would you have? Eventually.”

“Yeah, definitely. I was trying to find the right time.”

She nodded, conscious of her beating heart and the deep breaths she was taking. “I forgive you. Today’s a day for forgiveness, it seems.”

He shifted Turbo’s leash from one hand to the other. “About the other night…do you remember what you meant by ‘Et tu, Brute’? You texted that.”

Sam trotted off from them and up to the porch, snuggling against his mom, ready to go inside and get warm. Turbo looked off into the woods, not seeming to notice the cold.

Somehow, Mia knew if she told the truth, nothing was going to be the same. A tiny, nearly incoherent fear-filled voice inside her was screaming that she needed to stop this. But even if she couldn’t put it into words, she knew what she was doing. Suddenly her throat loosened, and the words spilled out. “The night Ollie was born, after the accident, you were there. You held my hand because Brad couldn’t. And not just that night. So many other times too. Sometimes I swear you’re the only person in the world who really sees me. When I figured out it was you Stacey was talking about in the letter, it wasn’t just that you knew and didn’t tell me, learning that made me doubt… I don’t know…everything.”

She could see the pain her words caused, and that more than anything was why she let herself step in and press her lips against his. He was four or five inches taller, but on the tips of her toes, she could just reach his lips. And just like before, she liked it. She liked everything about it.

She closed her bare, cold hands over the sides of his face and opened her mouth fully to his. He had strong lips, and she could feel the stubble from one day’s growth of beard against her skin.

He smelled like the Minnesota woods, cedar and pine, and he tasted like the s’mores they’d had in front of the fire. She could taste the sugar and chocolate on his lips and tongue. Her head began to swim, and she wondered if it was a flashback to drunkenly kissing him, or if she wasn’t breathing. Light-headed or not, she couldn’t pull away. She needed his kiss like she needed air, and he was going to have to be the one to stop it.

Only he didn’t. His hands slipped into her hair, and he lowered his face to hers so that she didn’t have to stand on her tiptoes. His tongue met hers, and he pulled closer as if he needed her the same way she needed him.

If he never pulled away, if he’d stand out here kissing her till they froze, Mia wouldn’t complain. Kissing Ben felt more than just good. It felt right. Like she’d been traveling a long time and had finally landed exactly where she should have been all along. It was as if she could feel broken pieces of herself mending together, halves becoming whole.

And somehow, even though she couldn’t explain it, she knew he felt the same way.

Excerpted from Love at First Bark by Debbie Burns. © 2019 by Debbie Burns. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author Debbie Burns’ writing commendations include a Booklist Top 10 Romance Debut of 2017, a Starred Review from Publishers Weekly, and a Top Pick from RT Book Reviews, as well as first-place awards for short stories, flash fiction, and longer selections. She lives in St. Louis with her family, two phenomenal rescue dogs, and a somewhat tetchy Maine coon cat who everyone loves anyway.


Purchase Links:

What People Are Saying About Debbie Burns:

“[A] warm, wonderful story.”— Romance Junkies for A New Leash on Love
“A tender love story…will win the hearts of animal fanciers.”— Publishers Weekly for My Forever Home
“It captured my whole heart.”— Urban Book Reviews for Sit, Stay, Love
“Sexy and fun.”— RT Book Reviews, 4.5 stars, TOP PICK for A New Leash on Love

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My Forever Home by Debbie Burns – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Debbie Burns who is visiting with us to celebrate the upcoming release of My Forever Home. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the site for a chance to win a copy of Sit, Stay, Love.

Love comes to the rescue.

Vet school drop-out Tess Grasso dreams of having her own pet therapy business, but she meets one disastrous obstacle after another. There’s no denying she has a way with animals, so in the meantime she puts her skills to use at a local no-kill shelter. Between helping her furry companions and a budding relationship with fellow dog lover Mason Redding, Tess begins to find fresh confidence…

What Tess doesn’t know is that Mason is recovering from an accident, hoping to get back to his pro-baseball career. He’s afraid the truth will ruin everything—and he’s right. But in the midst of hurt and betrayal, a free-spirited stray Husky enters their lives, and teaches them a few things about faith, love and forgiveness.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“So, were you heading out of town or are you just getting back?” he asked as he turned the truck down a narrow alley. He was really hoping the thief had dumped Tess’s stolen suitcase and backpack in one of these Dumpsters.

“That’s a good question considering what we’re on the hunt for,” Tess said. “Neither, really. I got back from Europe about a month ago. I’m staying put in St. Louis for a bit. I was on a sales call.”

Mason parked the truck at a row of three Dumpsters, two trash and one recycling. “Europe, huh? I’ve never been, but I’m taking my parents in January.” He slipped the truck into Park and switched his wipers to low. “You can stay here if you’d like. I’ll call you if I see anything.”

Tess unbuckled her seat belt. “Thanks, but they’re my bags. I’ll Dumpster dive.”

They headed out into the drizzling rain together. Mason picked what seemed like a clean spot on the closest Dumpster’s lid and lifted it. It was cleaner inside than he’d imagined and a quarter full of tied bags of trash, a computer monitor, and a silk plant that showed more dust than green foliage.

Tess moved to the adjacent Dumpster with him. She stepped close enough to him as she peeked inside that he caught a whiff of her scent—soft, sweet, and subtle. It mixed with the stink of the Dumpsters, confusing his nostrils.

When the third Dumpster, the recycling bin, proved empty as well, they climbed back into the truck and Mason continued cruising through the streets and alleys around the park. On the fifth stop, they surprised a dog who’d been hanging out behind a Dumpster that was out of the rain under a roof overhang. Mason was only a bit surprised to see that it was John Ronald.

The magnificent animal dashed away to about the distance between home plate and second base, then turned and stood in the rain, watching them with pricked-at-attention ears. Mason whistled loudly. The dog, which Mason guessed was mostly husky mixed with something big and long-legged, responded with a single wag of his tail.

“That,” Mason said, “is my dog. He just doesn’t know it yet. Or maybe he does, and he’s still trying to deny it.”

Tess looked from Mason to the dog, and back to Mason. “He’s watching you like he knows you, that’s for sure.”

Mason wished he’d thought to bring some treats in the likely event they’d run into John Ronald on this Dumpster prowl. He whistled again. After a few seconds, probably determining that Mason was empty-handed, the dog turned and trotted away, his long legs making fast tracks.

“Not today, huh, John Ronald,” Mason said under his breath.

Tess was suddenly studying him intently.

“What did you mean, ‘your dog’?”

He shrugged. “He’s a stray who hangs out near my building. We’ve had a few moments, but I haven’t been able to get close enough to catch him. If I ever do, I intend to keep him.”

Her mouth opened a fraction of an inch, calling Mason’s attention to the fullness of her lips a second time.

“And why John Ronald?”

Judging by the incredulous look that had spread across her face, Mason’s best guess was he’d done something either impossibly wrong or impossibly right. He just didn’t know which.

Hoping it was the second, he opted for the truth, letting it fall out in a display of rare vulnerability.

“The first night I saw him, I was up in my loft. It was six or seven months ago—early spring, I guess—and the moon was full. I told you, I’m on the sixth floor. I have a decent view of the street below my loft. After I spotted him, I stepped out on my balcony. The white patches on his body and above his eyes stood out in the moonlight, and I could have sworn that he was looking up at me. I was afraid if I went downstairs and outside, I’d scare him off, so I dropped him hot dogs from my balcony, and he ate them. He even caught a few before they hit the ground.

“When I ran out of them, I headed down as fast as I could. I think he knew I was coming. He was already at the end of the block, but he was looking my way like he was waiting but needed the distance to feel safe. He watched me for a while, but then he turned and left like he did just now.”

Mason shrugged, thinking of all the interactions he and the dog had had since that first night. He’d been doing his best to catch the stray, but hadn’t had any luck. “I leave him food on the street under my balcony. Sometimes he leaves me things too. Odd things. A dead crow once, but also trash. I know it’s him, because one time I spotted him carrying a hat. By the time I got downstairs, he was gone. The hat was waiting for me by the building door.”

Fresh tears blossomed out of nowhere, brimming on Tess’s lower lids. She blinked them away without shedding them. “But why John Ronald?”

“Because calling him Tolkien didn’t feel right.”

She dropped his gaze so quickly that Mason knew she’d gotten the confirmation she’d been looking for. “Not all those who wander are lost.” It was such a quiet whisper on her lips that Mason almost wasn’t sure he’d heard it. It was said so softly that he suspected it wasn’t even meant for his ears.

She shook her head as if she’d just heard something she didn’t quite believe. He was about to ask for clarification when she abruptly returned to the truck.

Mason climbed in after her, wondering if perhaps the universe had just shifted for him a second time in a month, only this time much less painfully so.

About the Author Debbie Burns’ writing commendations include a Starred Review from Publishers Weekly and a Top Pick from RT Book Reviews for A New Leash on Love, as well as first-place awards for short stories, flash fiction, and longer selections. Her hobbies include hiking, gardening, and daydreaming, which, of course, always leads to new story ideas. She lives in St. Louis with her family, two phenomenal rescue dogs, and a somewhat tetchy Maine coon cat who everyone loves anyway.

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Sit, Stay, Love by Debbie Burns – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Debbie Burns who is with us to celebrate the upcoming release of her newest book Sit, Stay, Love, the second book in her Rescue Me series. Enter to win one of five copies of A New Leash on Love by Debbie Burns!

These dogs aren’t the only ones in need of rescue

For devoted no-kill shelter worker Kelsey Sutton, rehabbing a group of rescue dogs is a welcome challenge. Working with a sexy ex-military dog handler who needs some TLC himself? That’s a different story.

Kurt Crawford keeps his heart locked away from everyone. Well, everyone except the dogs who need his help…and always have his back. But as Kurt gets to know the compassionate, beautiful woman he’s been assigned to work with, he can’t help but feel a little puppy love…

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Kurt’s skin was crawling, and the tightness in his jaw had migrated to his temples. His shoulders and spine tensed as he scanned the parameters of the long, open warehouse like he was on patrol. The rear of the building was blocked off by accordion-style dividers. It bothered him that he couldn’t see past them.

It was the smell setting him on edge, he finally realized. Not the obvious smell—the smell of hot, unbathed dog multiplied by 150. That smacked you in the face when you stepped through the doors. Unnerving him was the underlying scent of fear radiating from the expansive rows of crates that were dwarfed by the thirty-foot ceiling and five-thousand-square-foot floor.

Dogs didn’t have sweat glands, so it wasn’t as if the smell was coming out of their pores. But he’d been in the service long enough to know fear when he smelled it—his own, another human’s, a dog’s. Metallic and salty—like blood, only subtler.

The gushy blond accompanying him on the tour wasn’t setting him at ease either as she squatted down and talked to every crated dog. The bumper sticker on the back of her Corolla—the bright-yellow car he’d parked by had to be hers; he’d seen her keys—was a telltale enough sign she wasn’t right for this job. I BRAKE FOR TURTLES. He didn’t know what Rob was thinking, sending a bunch of trained fighters off to be in this girl’s care.

The bumper sticker wasn’t the only thing he noticed. She was tall and strikingly pretty in an understated, natural way, and she had an hourglass figure.

Not that her looks mattered.

What mattered was that dogs treated the way most of these had likely been treated—stuck in crates or tied to chains and freed only to fight—needed much more than soft words and treats passed through the bars of their crates.

“She seems sweet enough,” she said of the mastiff mix displaying submission along with a good deal of stress while being stared down through the door. Her voice was easy and calm like the slow pour of honey.

Kurt gritted his teeth as she pulled free a yellow sticky and pressed it on top of the crate. Yellow. Seriously? Her and her stickies. He’d stifled a laugh earlier when he figured out her system. Pink for definitely, yellow for maybe, blue for pass. She’d only used one blue sticky so far, and the way that Rott had attacked the cage door, Kurt wouldn’t have been surprised if he was rabid.

About the Author: Debbie Burns lives in St. Louis with her family, two phenomenal rescue dogs, and a somewhat tetchy Maine coon cat who everyone loves anyway. Her hobbies include hiking, gardening, and daydreaming, which, of course, always leads to new story ideas.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Buy the book atAmazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, or IndieBound.

Enter to win one of five copies of A New Leash on Love by Debbie Burns!

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