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Night time can be frightening, especially when you’re all alone.

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Mara Wells | Exclusive Excerpt: COLD NOSE, WARM HEART + Giveaway!

Cold Nose, Warm Heart
Mara Wells




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Fur Haven Dog Park #1

February 2020
On Sale: January 28, 2020
384 pages
ISBN: 149269858X
EAN: 9781492698586
Kindle: B07Y5QTCF7
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
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Also by Mara Wells:
Cold Nose, Warm Heart, February 2020
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Even poodles didn’t have an endless enthusiasm for dog parks. Now on their fifth stop of the day, Caleb and Riley sank onto a dog bone shaped bench in Hollywood, Florida’s recently renovated Hollywoof park and surveyed the weaving poles, the separate sections for large and small dogs, and the mushroom like platforms at different heights for what Caleb could only guess was for doggy step classes. LouLou didn’t stray too far from them, exhausted from a frenzy of running at Snyder Park when she’d spotted turtles in the lake. She hadn’t gone in after them, but she’d run the shore in anxious back-and-forths until Riley’d finally scooped her up and hosed her off. He’d watched as Riley added hoses to her dog park wish list. He noticed that she didn’t add lake or turtles. She’d been awfully worried that LouLou would catch a turtle, even though the poodle was never closer to one than ten feet.

“What would you even do with a turtle, LouLou?” she’d asked while hosing mud out of her curly coat. LouLou’s response had been enthusiastic tail whumping and a roll in the soft grass as soon as Riley loosened her hold on the dog.

Now, LouLou inspected the base of a tree with some half-hearted sniffing and then with a huff, flopped onto her side and watched them with one eye.

“I can’t tell if that means she likes it here or if she wants to go to sleep so she can dream about catching turtles.” Caleb didn’t even try to cover up the giant yawn that overtook him.

“She’s exhausted, poor thing.” Riley hid her own yawn with a hand. “This is more action than she typically gets in a day.”

Getting some action was not on the agenda today. Sadly. Down boy. Focus on business. “What’re your feelings about the big dog-small dog separation fences we’ve seen? Some parks seem to have them, some don’t. Do you think it matters?”

“My guess is it depends on the dogs.” Riley’s head fall back, and she contemplated the clear sky. “If someone brings an obnoxious dog in, it’s probably nice to have a separate area to take your dog to instead of being forced to go home.”

“You don’t seem to have that problem at your park.” Caleb couldn’t believe he’d  called the empty lot her dog park. Well, that’s what he was offering her--or rather the neighborhood--wasn’t it? A compromise. And it was working. With each dog park, Riley relaxed a little more with him. If he’d longed to reach for her, to pull her into his arms a hundred times today, he tried to ignore it. She’d kept a careful distance between them, and he respected that. Last time he’d seen her, she’d been so vulnerable—after the meeting and then dumping her ex’s stuff. She’d been raw, and it had made him raw, too. What Riley really needed was some fun. He draped his arm along the back of the bench and asked her if there’d ever been a fight at her dog park.

“Not recently, but there have been some incidents. I’m going to vote yes on having two separate areas.” Riley got out her phone and added it to the list. Then she groaned.

“What?” Caleb didn’t realize he was massaging the back of her neck until she leaned into his fingers with a sigh. So much for keeping his distance. But a massage was fine. Relaxing. He dug into a knot where her neck flowed into the shoulder, and she sighed again.

“Marco and Kent.” She tilted her head forward to give him better access to her tense muscles. “Another plumbing problem. These pipes are going to be the death of me.”

“What pipes?”

“The original pipes.” Riley rolled her head, vertebrae cracking. “The plumber says we need to redo the whole building. We can’t. I do what I can and call the plumber when it gets real bad.”

“You’ve got plumbing skills? You’re such a Renaissance woman.” Caleb kept his hand on her neck, kneading, while she rolled her head again.

Riley smiled, but it didn’t reach her eyes. “That’s me, only instead of a paint brush, give me a wrench. I’m holding that whole place together with a lick and a prayer.”

“It shouldn’t be that way. What about the reserves? Your maintenance fees?”

Riley flicked her wrist, fingers swishing like she was batting away a fly. “Gone with the wind, as Grams likes to say. Every penny seems already spoken for. Insurance, utilities. I paid for a hallway lightbulb out of my own pocket last month.”

“It’s that tight?”

“It’s that tight.”

It didn’t make sense to Caleb, how the building could be running on such a shoestring of a budget. Management companies were supposed to make things easier on the owners and residents, not create the kind of stress he was feeling stored in Riley’s body. He gentled his touch. “The Dorothy needs a change. You see that, right? You can’t go on like you are.”

“It’ll get better. When we get some new renters. It has to.” Riley’s back stiffened. “I better head back. My wrench is calling me.” Her attempt at humor made him smile, but he was still troubled by how much her job demanded of her.

“Five more minutes.” Caleb trailed his fingers up to put pressure on the base of her skull. It was a dirty trick, meant to entice her into staying, and it worked. “You and LouLou could both use a bit more rest.”

“No kidding.” Riley closed her eyes and rolled her head from side to side, slouching on the bench. “That feels good. Amazingly good.”

“I’m glad.” He increased the pressure, enjoying how her muscles melted at his touch.

“But I’m worried you’ll get the wrong idea.”

He eased up on a knot, kneading it lightly with his knuckles. “What kind of wrong idea?”

“I’m not going to kiss you again.” Her neck cracked, and she sighed. “It was a bad idea before.”

“Which time?” He felt her muscles quiver at the memory. He soothed them with long strokes.

She leaned into his touch. “All the times.”

“So you remember them?” He certainly did. Every damn day for two weeks.

She hummed an agreement. “Bad idea. Ideas.”

“That’s not how I remember it.”

“Then you have a bad memory.” She sat up, and her ponytail whipped to the side when she turned her head his way. “It could never work. We’re on opposite sides of the development issue. Plus we’re practically cousins.”

“What?” He dropped his hands from her neck. “We are definitely not cousins. Why would you say that?”

“Your grandpa? My Grams? Face it, there’s some parallel universe in which we are cousins.”

“I don’t believe in parallel universes.”

“Then you need to read more sci-fi.”

“I don’t read any.”

“That’s my point.”

Caleb’s head reeled. “You’re saying this whole conversation has been about my reading habits?”

She slapped his upper arm. “No, you goofball. About our incompatibility, professionally and familially. You get it, right?”

“We are definitely not incompatible.” He cupped the back of her neck and drew her toward him. “And I definitely know it because you definitely want me to kiss you right now.”

She opened her mouth to protest but sighed again instead. “You’re right. I do.”

His blood surged in celebration. He knew it!

“But,” she put a finger to his mouth, “we can’t always have what we want. We have to do what’s best.”

“This is definitely best.” He pressed his mouth to hers.

She placed her hand on his cheek, pulling away half an inch. “One last dog park kiss, and then we put it behind us. Deal?”

“Absolutely,” he said, closing the distance. Right before their lips met again, he whispered, “Not.”

(C) Mara Wells, Sourcebooks Casablanca, 2020


COMMENT TO WIN: What's your favorite type of pet? Tell is in the comments and you'll be entered to win a copy of COLD NOSE, WARM HEART! US and Canada only - GOOD LUCK! 



Fur Haven Dog Park #1

Cold Nose, Warm Heart

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?

Romance Contemporary [Sourcebooks, On Sale: January 28, 2020, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781492698586 / eISBN: 9781492698593]

About Mara Wells

Mara Wells

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.





31 comments posted.

Re: Mara Wells | Exclusive Excerpt: COLD NOSE, WARM HEART + Giveaway!

I have 2 dogs and 3 cats at the moment - and I love them
each so much. Any pet is a great pet.
(Nancy Reynolds 9:30am January 28)

Dogs rule. Ny dog rules my heart!
(Anna Budziak 1:39pm January 28)

love dogs
(Margo Beredjiklian 1:48pm January 28)

I know i love my little dog,he has been my best friend this
past year through some rough stuff
(Vickie Couturier 6:03pm January 28)

We have 2 cats and have had dogs in the past but not right, but I do enjoy visiting my friends dogs.
(Cynthia St. Germain 9:05pm January 28)

(Melanie Rosen 1:54am January 29)

Love cats and dogs. Both are great in different way's.
(Blanche Nixon 10:12am January 29)

I prefer dogs.
(Tina Rucci 3:20pm January 29)

(Jean Patton 7:51pm January 29)

Our first dog was a bluetick hound who liked to go
hunting although, he mainly chased rabbits instead of
helping retrieve birds from the hut. The next dog was a
border collie who herded us and the cat. The cat was a
regal Maine Coon who we outfitted with a small dress and
bonnet and wheeled him around the yard in a wheelbarrow.
(Alyson Widen 12:58pm January 30)

My favorite pet is definitely dogs! We currently have 2 rescues :-)
(Tracy Urschler 8:10pm January 30)

We have had LOTS of pets of all sorts: dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, snakes, rodents of various types, chickens, etc. By far, dogs are our favorites. We have had about a dozen and fostered many litters for the local animal shelter. Of all the dogs we have had, our favorite was our black lab mix and next would be our beagle mix. If we were to get another, it would be a lab, likely with a beagle playmate. But that will be after our current dog is no longer with us.
(Patricia Barraclough 4:41am January 31)

dogs but I have had 7 turtles, I rabbit that lived 16yrs, hamsters, birds and even cats at one time . can't wait to read.
(Jennifer Beck 8:00pm January 31)

Who wouldn't love to read a book about romance and dogs?
(Jamie Rincker 11:53pm January 31)

My dog Daisey is my faithful best friend. This sounds like a great book!
(Amanda Wimer 8:17am February 1)

Dogs are fun to have, but I prefer my cuddly cats.
(Anna Speed 1:43pm February 1)

I prefer not to have pets.
(Sharon Good 2:37pm February 1)

I love my kitty.
(Jana B 7:19pm February 1)

a warm, fuzzy dog . ...
(Martin Bodnar 7:58am February 3)

I love my dogs!
(Sherry Haut 10:35pm February 3)

Cats are my favourite.
(Lindsey Andronak 5:58pm February 5)

Love books like this. The book cover and book
excerpt/blurb look fantastic.
I've owned dogs in the past from a an Eskimo Spitz to a
full blooded Female Alaskan Malamute. Also owned cats.
Right now I own 1 cat. The cat I own now is a
rescue/adopted cat and is strictly an indoor cat. However
Seeing her Mom who brought her to us, I would say she's
probably a Tuxedo cat.
Sure hope I win.
(Crystal Stewart 7:07pm February 5)

I've many from fish-yes, they are very responsive, lizards,
dogs, cats, horses, cows, ducks and chickens! Loved them
all and currently have a rescued Toy Fix Terrier, seniors,
both of us.
(Kathleen Bylsma 7:16pm February 5)

Doggies!! At the moment I have a (almost) 15 year old
Yorkie/Pom. He is my shadow and my baby!!
(Jamie Gillespie 8:30pm February 5)

I love dogs so this should be an awesome read.
(Thomas Gibson 1:41am February 7)

My favorite kind of pet are German Shepherds.
(Susan Clickner 12:29pm February 7)

I honestly don't think I could choose just one pet. I love my dog. He
provides warmth. He hangs out with me. And last but not least and my
favorite thing is that he gives me unconditional love. I don't have any
cats but I love them. They provide endless fun. And they are great
napping buddies. My favorite thing about them is that they are
independent. They are all my favorites.
(Sandy Klocinski 6:04pm February 8)

Dogs :)
(Beth Shepherd 7:40pm February 8)

I love dogs but sadly I recently lost my dog and I miss her so much.
(Victoria Kondovski 7:48pm February 8)

Love my dogs.
(Lori Byrd 5:24pm February 9)

I love cats and dogs. I also love horses as well.
(Heather Amos 2:40pm February 10)

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