My mom was a dog breeder—rottweilers and pugs during my childhood––so I’ve pretty much always had dogs around me. Right now, I live with two dogs—a poodle-mix named Houdini Beauregarde and a chihuahua-mix named Sheba Reba Rita Peanut. Both are rescues. I met Houdini at a restaurant in Ft. Lauderdale where his foster mom had brought him to socialize. He was such a gentleman that he stole my heart. Our Australian Shepherd had passed away two years prior, and my husband and I had agreed not to get another dog because the pain of losing her had been so awful. Houdini changed our minds and has brought much joy to our lives.
Sheba came to us as a foster. I was doing a favor for a rescue organization. Sheba was scheduled to be put down on Friday, and the person who wanted to rescue her couldn’t get to the Miami area until Monday. My job was to pick up Sheba at the shelter and keep her for the weekend until the rescue volunteer could pick her up. Monday turned into Wednesday, and Wednesday turned into a week and a week turned into forever because we decided to adopt her ourselves.
Although they got off to a rough start, Houdini and Sheba are now the very best of friends. Sheba takes her job of lizard patrol very seriously, and Houdini acts as her back-up barker for all security related activities. They both love snuggling and eating carrots, not necessarily in that order.
The poodle, LouLou, in Cold Nose, Warm Heart is of course inspired by Houdini, but LouLou is her own dog. Although LouLou has Houdini’s sweetness and Sheba’s love of licking people, her adventurous nature that sends her roaming from home is all her own.
Lady, the black Lab, is LouLou’s best dog friend in Cold Nose, Warm Heart and will appear in future books as well. Lady is the grand dame of the neighborhood, beloved by canines and humans alike. She enjoys head pats and being told how good she is.
My favorite HEA? My own, of course!
Unlike the characters in WHITEOUT, I didn’t have to cross the frozen tundra or fight off bad guys for my happily ever after, but I did have to work for it.
The night I met Le Husband, I was pretty sure he was The One. He let me trim his beard at a dinner party, I skipped home at 4 am, told my mom about him the next day, and broke it off with my then-boyfriend. Instalove is real.
Things went quickly from there—we went on a date, we kissed…and then nothing. He was late for the next date, cancelled the one after. I know, I know, unacceptable behavior from a romance hero. BUT… I decided he was worth pursuing. So I did a weird thing. I sent him a postcard, asking him to dinner at my place. He could RSVP by text only. He showed up that night--on time!—had a bowl of my famous First Date Soup (curried sweet potato) and we’ve been together ever since.
Today, my HEA is living on the coast of France with my 6 foot five French artist husband and our two kids. I followed my heart and it paid off, big time.
Beyond my own, my favorite HEAs are the ones you have to fight for, the ones that drag you down before lifting you to such great heights that you hardly remember the depths. I want HEAs that happen because the characters WANT them, fight for them tooth and nail, not because it’s easy to wind up together.
Here are a few of my favorite, hard-won Happily Ever Afters:
Sandra Brown, Chill Factor. Sandra Brown is an absolute master at making readers think there’s no way the love story will work. And, somehow, it does. Somehow, the guy you’re the most afraid of, the one person who couldn’t possibly wind up being the good guy in the end…IS the good guy. Her HEAs are hard won and hard to believe and, always absolutely perfect.
Karen Rose’s No One Left to Tell is a harrowing, non-stop, edge-of-your seat read. The ending left me blinking and breathless and ready to move on to the next story.
Every book in Katie Ruggle’s Rocky Mountain Search and Rescue Series features lovers who fight hard for their HEA. I’ve never rooted so hard for a heroine to get her hero in the end and never been so happy when she does.
Rebecca Zanetti’s HIDDEN gives us a cast of characters so vivid, so real and eccentric, that we can’t help but swoon when they finally get theirs in the end.
Happy 2020 Romance Read-ers! Who wants to see covers for all of our books releasing between January and June? Keep scrolling to see what is coming at you in the first half of 2020.
Stay tuned for a second round of incredible 2020 covers for the second half of the year!