Paws for Love by Mara Wells – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Mara Wells who is celebrating the recent release of her newest book Paws for Love. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a set of Cold Nose Warm Heart and Tail for TwoSee our five star review for this book here.

Broken hearts—man, woman, and dog—have a second chance for love, healing, and happiness under the warm Miami Beach sun in this endearing contemporary romance…

Danielle Morrow works tirelessly for a greyhound rescue helping retired racing dogs find their forever homes. She guards her heart as vigilantly as her two adopted greyhounds guard her. One heartbreak per lifetime is enough for any woman, and no one she’s met since her high school boyfriend dumped her to join the military has ever tempted her enough to risk love again.

Knox Donovan expected to be career military, but an injury and an honorable discharge leave him uncertain of his future. When his brothers ask him to come back to Miami Beach to help with their new condo conversion, he has no intention of staying on in the city that has so many bad memories for him.

Knox is reminded that not all his memories are bad when he sees Danielle again at the grand opening of the new Fur Haven Dog Park. Fifteen years haven’t softened the pain of their breakup. But Knox is different now, more hard-edged and suspicious, and when he bonds with the retired racing greyhound, Sarge, Danielle’s cool reserve begins to melt. Sarge needs special care after the injuries that ended his racing career, and it’s not long before Danielle realizes that Knox does too. Can Danielle trust her heart to the only man who’s ever broken it?

Enjoy an Excerpt

“I guess we don’t know as much about each other as I thought.” Knox frowned at the bushes, picking strings out from between his fingers.

Danielle stared at him, hand frozen in mid-eight-ball shake. It hadn’t occurred to her that he’d had secrets in high school, too, but of course he had. He’d never wanted to talk about his family, especially his mother, deflecting questions with hot kisses that left her unable to remember her own name, much less any topic of conversation. She gave the eight ball a half-hearted shake to avoid responding. What was there to say anyway, especially after all this time?

Knox nodded at the eight ball. “What’s it say?”

Danielle showed him the result—concentrate and ask again. “I didn’t ask a question, so it makes sense that the eight ball has no wisdom for me.”

“What kinds of things did you ask as a kid?” Knox stood back from the bushes, head cocked, then stepped forward to flick a few strands so they draped on the leaves evenly.

Danielle plopped onto the front step and shook the ball again, still no question in mind. “Will there be a math quiz tomorrow? Does Tommy Peralta like me? Will I get Ms. Kandice for homeroom next year? You know, kid stuff.”

“Did it answer you?” Knox took a break from hedge decorating and sat a careful few inches away from Danielle, close enough that she could imagine leaning against him but far enough away that she didn’t. Not that she would, she reminded herself. It wasn’t like that with Knox, not anymore.

She handed him the ball. “Sure. It’s what kept me coming back.”

“And did Tommy Peralta like you?”

Danielle folded her hands in her lap, fiddling with the nail on her thumb. “I believe the most common reply was Don’t count on it. Sometimes I got Ask again later, which I liked better. More hopeful.”

Knox gave the ball a hard shake. “Was Tommy Peralta a complete idiot?”

Without a doubt.

“See?” Knox held the response so she could see it. “You weren’t asking the right questions. And there seems to be an abnormal amount of idiotic guys at your middle school.”

“I’d say it was a normal amount of idiotic guys.” Danielle laughed, comfortable with Knox in a way she usually wasn’t with new people. But Knox wasn’t really new, was he? Just different. Older, more mature. And certainly more built. The width of his thigh next to hers made her feel small. When he laughed, too, she found herself inching toward him on the tiled step.

“What questions should I have asked?” Danielle caught her lower lip in her teeth, but it was too late to stop the words before they escaped. It wasn’t so much the words themselves as the way she’d said them. Low, breathy. Was she really sitting on Eliza’s front porch flirting with her ex-boyfriend? She was.

Knox’s eyes locked onto her lower lip, and he took a long blink. “You should’ve asked—” He coughed and started over, this time in a high-pitched cartoon voice, “Will I grow up to be the fairest of them all?”

Danielle laughed at the question and his poor acting skills.

“Here.” He handed her the ball after shaking it.

She hefted the weight of it in her palms, turning the plastic window toward her.

It is certain.

Danielle blushed. She felt the heat rise, knew it made her freckles blend together until she was one red-faced mess. She ducked her head, letting her bangs swing forward to cover her cheek while she pretended to study the ball.

“Two for two. Guess that thing is pretty accurate.” Knox closed the remaining inches between them, and their hips touched.

Danielle’s breath caught in her throat. She shook the ball idly to cover her intense reaction to Knox’s nearness.

“I always thought so,” she said once she’d coached her breathing back to normal. “It made me sad when Eliza packed it up for the year.”

“Ask it something now.” Knox nudged her with his knee.

Danielle slanted a glance at him under her eyelashes. She couldn’t shake the rightness she felt in Knox’s presence. The awareness of him, the longing for him. Did he feel the same pull? She asked the question in her mind and shook the ball.

Better not tell you now.

The breath rushed out of her. Had she really thought the Magic Eight Ball would add clarity? A kid’s toy? She deserved the disappointment that flooded her, bowing her spine so that she curled into the ball on her lap.

Knox tipped the ball his way with a finger. “A secret question, huh? That’s not playing fair. You have to ask it aloud. That’s the rule.”

“You didn’t even know how to play this game five minutes ago.”

“Now I do. Only questions asked out loud get real answers. Go ahead, ask it what you really want to know.” His blue eyes dared her.

Her heart sped. They might’ve had their secrets back then, but he’d always helped her feel braver than she really was. His eyes traced her face, the crinkles around his eyes tightening like he wanted to smile. His gaze landed on her lips and stayed there. “Go on. Ask.”

Danielle licked her suddenly dry lips, and Knox’s breath hitched.

“Does Knox Donovan want to kiss me?” Danielle closed her eyes and shook the ball.

The lightest of touches brushed across her lips. Her eyelids fluttered open at Knox’s gentle kiss. His lips pressed against hers for the briefest moment, his blue eyes intent on hers. Her own lips curled into a smile, and she leaned into the kiss, exerting her own pressure. He pulled back a fraction of an inch, then returned for another caress. It was simple and innocent, the tickle of their lips against each other, but her heart pounded like she was in the middle of a particularly brutal spin class.


Excerpted from Paws for Love by Mara Wells. © 2021 by Mara Wells. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author: Mara Wells loves stories, but especially stories with kissing. She works in academe, and lives with her family and two rescue dogs–a poodle-mix named Houdini Beauregarde and Sheba Reba Rita Peanut, a chihuahua-mix in Hollywood, Florida.

Buy the book at your favorite online venue.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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A Tail for Two by Mara Wells — spotlight and giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Mara Wells who is celebrating the upcoming release of A Tail for Two, the second book in her Fur Haven Dog Park series. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a copy of Cold Nose, Warm Heart, the first book in the series.

All paws on deck!

Carrie Burns has a successful business, a young son, Oliver, and an energetic Jack Russell terrier. She doesn’t have time in her busy schedule for her ex-husband and his talk of working together again. But when she runs into Lance in the dog park, their lives are turned upside down.

Lance Donovan wants to promote his fledgling construction company by helping his brother Caleb with a big condo conversion. Lance even knows the perfect interior designer to make this project a success—his ex-wife, Carrie. But after a fateful meeting at the dog park, Lance finds himself not only petsitting both his brother’s dog and the beloved Jack Russell terrier he had to leave behind in the divorce, but babysitting a young son he never knew he had while his ex-wife tries to get back into dating. How did life get this crazy?

Enjoy an Excerpt

Carrie called the elevator, nerves stretched so tight she thought she could hear them twang as she walked. That had been close, too close, and now here she was owing Lance for saving the day, for charming Kristin into extra time, for getting her business back on track. She felt unsettled by the whole thing, from her panicked call to him to his casual acceptance of the job. The Lance she knew wouldn’t have been so calm, would’ve argued about Kristin’s timeline and threatened her with all the things that could go wrong if the job was rushed. When had he learned to schmooze a client like that? When had he traded his anger for charm? For all that she’d lived with the man for five years, she found herself staring at him like she’d never seen him before.

“Come by the Dorothy tomorrow.” Lance followed her into the elevator, unaware she was silently freaking out. “You could bring Oliver.”

That snapped her right back into the moment. “To an active construction site?”

“Right, bad idea. I heard it as soon as it left my mouth.” He smiled ruefully, a familiar expression that made him her Lance again.

“You take lunch breaks?”

He leaned broad shoulders against the back wall. “Yeah, most days.”

“You can have lunch with us.” She busied herself looking for something in her purse. Keys? Sure, it didn’t matter. She just couldn’t look at him. “If you want.”

Lance waited until she looked up, and his eyes locked with hers. “Oh, I want.”

Carrie stilled. Caught. Because she wanted, too. She watched him watch her, sure that want on his face was reflected on hers. He’d always read her so easily. It was one of the things she loved about being with him, how completely she felt seen. Understood. Only now she wished he wasn’t quite so perceptive.

He took a step toward her. She took a step back and another until she was pressed against the elevator doors. He followed, stopping when he was close enough that the heat of his body radiated through the thin T-shirt, warming her. Melting her resistance, one particle at a time. She grasped the strap of her bag tightly with both hands. She would not reach for him.

“You want me, too.” It wasn’t a question, but her head bobbed in agreement. His eyes flared at the movement, pupils darkening, widening. He leaned toward her. She wobbled on her heels, knees suddenly too weak to support her. Lance shot out a hand and steadied her, using his grip to pull her closer.

He lowered his head. He was going to kiss her. She knew it, knew she should do something to stop it. Nothing good could come of kissing Lance. But he’d come and helped when she called, hadn’t stayed angry at her about Oliver. And he smelled so good, a citrusy soap and that something in the air that was simply Lance. Her Lance.

“Yes,” she said even though he hadn’t asked a question, and his lips crashed down on hers.

It was fierce, their first kiss since Oliver was conceived, like the years apart had left them both starving. She was starving. She let go of her bag’s strap and fisted handfuls of T-shirt, hauling him closer until her breasts pressed into his chest. She moaned at the pressure. He changed the angle of their kiss, going deeper, harder. She couldn’t breathe and didn’t care. He was all the air she needed. God, she’d missed him. Missed this, the very us of them together.
The door dinged and opened, bringing fresh air against her back. She gasped and pulled away, stepping backward and over the threshold, wiping her palms down the front of her chocolate skirt. What a mistake. What a colossal mistake. She should say that out loud, tell him to forget it happened. She opened her mouth, but one look from his smoldering eyes silenced her. Instead, she turned and fled. She was pretty sure he’d get the message. Lance Donovan was not something she could have, and her raging hormones would simply have to calm down and get over it.

He followed her to her Blazer and leaned in the window once she’d pulled on her seat belt. “See you tomorrow?”

Oh God, tomorrow. She swallowed. “Yeah.”

He tapped the top of her car. “Sleep well.”

“I always do,” she lied. Then she lied to herself all the way home about how letting Lance back into her life was only for Oliver’s sake. And Beckham, of course. Yeah, it was all for them. She would put the kiss out of her mind. Old habits and all that. She was sure it meant as little to Lance as it had to her. If she never mentioned the kiss again, she doubted he’d even bring it up. It was better this way, really. She repeated that in her head until it started to sound true.


Excerpted from A Tail for Two by Mara Wells. © 2020 by Mara Wells. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author: Mara Wells loves stories, but especially stories with kissing. She works in academe, and lives with her family and two rescue dogs—a poodle-mix named Houdini Beauregarde and Sheba Reba Rita Peanut, a chihuahua-mix in Hollywood, Florida.


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

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Cold Nose, Warm Heart by Mara Wells – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Mara Wells as she celebrates the upcoming release of her debut novel Cold Nose, Warm Heart, the first book in her Fur Haven Dog Park series. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a copy of the book.

A poodle, a black lab and a Chihuahua walk into a dog park…

All Caleb Donovan has to do to redeem his family name is take a rundown Miami Beach apartment building and turn it into luxury condos. Easy, right?

Unfortunately, that would also turn the local dog park into a parking lot and the neighbors aren’t having it. Caleb is faced with outright revolt, led by smart, beautiful building manager Riley Carson and her poodle, LouLou.

For Caleb, this project should have been a slam dunk. But even more challenging than the neighborhood resistance is the mutual attraction between him and Riley. It would be so much easier just to stay enemies.

Can Riley and her canine sidekick convince Caleb that what’s best for business isn’t always best for the heart?

Enjoy an Excerpt

“LouLou!” a hoarse voice called. “LouLou!”

“Over here!” Caleb yelled, not sure where the voice was coming from, but hearing the pain in it and wanting to do anything in his power to make that pain stop. What could he say? Rescuing furry damsels in distress brought out his mushy side.

Through the sheets of rain, he spotted Riley limping along the sidewalk across the street from dog park. She didn’t look much better than LouLou had, hair flattened and plastered to her head, clothes sticking to her as though she’d taken a dunk in the ocean. And was she barefoot? All those shoes outside her front door, and she’d run out in the storm without so much as a flip-flop to protect her?

“You’re a pair, aren’t you?” He whispered to LouLou, waving frantically to get Riley’s attention. “Over here! Riley, I’ve got LouLou!”

Riley looked across the road, and he knew the moment she saw them. She collapsed to her knees, hands over her face, and a giant sob racked her body. So they’d be staying out in the rain a little longer. He crossed over and knelt beside her, the soaked poodle between them.

“It’s okay. She’s okay. You’re okay.” He sounded like an idiot. He knew it, but he kept saying stupid things anyway. “I’ve got her. She’s right here.”

Riley sucked in a big breath and looked up at him with her tilted eyes. “Thank you.” She held out her arms for LouLou. He shifted the dog’s weight to Riley’s hold, but LouLou curled her paw around his wrist, tight.

Riley’s chin sank. “I deserve that.”

“No, it happens.” Caleb didn’t know what he was talking about. What happened? Rain? Dogs running loose in the streets? “You didn’t do anything wrong.” He knew that part at least was right.

“I couldn’t find her.” She scrubbed at her face with the heels of her hands, eyes red and lids swollen from crying. “And now she’s hurt. What happened to her paw?”

“She’s fine, just a small piece of glass.” He pried LouLou’s paw off his wrist and handed the dog over, surprised at how giving her back felt like a loss. If he felt this attached after such a brief time with the dog, how bad must Riley have felt when she realized LouLou was missing? The impulse to make Riley feel better kept his assurances flowing. “Eliza patched her up, and she’ll be good as new in no time.”

“Thank you.” She buried her face in LouLou’s fur and stood, but as soon as she did, she lost her balance and keeled over with a squeak.

Caleb reached out to steady her. “What’s wrong?”

Riley closed her eyes and leaned heavily on him. “Think I stepped on something.”

“Let me see.”

Feeling a sense of déjà vu, he crouched to inspect the bottom of her foot, dark with dirt and specks of gravel stuck to it. “Looks like a bad bruise. Maybe from a rock.”

Riley bit her lower lip. “Sounds right.”

“Can you walk?” He levered her back to standing on her own.

“Of course.” One careful step forward. Then another. “Thanks for taking care of LouLou, but you don’t have to hang around.” She winced and took another step, face as white as the knuckles clutching her dog. “I’ve got it from here. No problem.”

It was painful to watch. Still, she’d said to back off, so he did. Until she stumbled, almost dropping the poodle, and a car horn blared at her for hogging up the road.

“This is ridiculous.” He scooped her up, exactly like he’d done with her dog. Unlike LouLou, she wasn’t grateful.

“Hey! What’re you doing?” Riley couldn’t bat at his chest because she was holding onto her dog, but she glared. “You can’t swoop in and take over everything.”

“Hang on tight. I’m taking you home.” Caleb clutched Riley and LouLou against his chest, her legs over his arm like in some damn rom-com movie, and strode back toward her condo. If he wasn’t mistaken, he could hear Eliza’s cackle following them, but he didn’t care. It felt good to save LouLou, and it felt even better to have Riley in his arms.


Excerpted from Cold Nose, Warm Heart by Mara Wells. © 2020 by Mara Wells. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author: Mara Wells loves stories, but especially stories with kissing. She lives in Hollywood, Florida with her family and two rescue dogs—a poodle-mix named Houdini Beauregarde, and Sheba Reba Rita Peanut, a chihuahua-mix. To find out more, you can sign up for her newsletter at her website.


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

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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