It might sound cheesy but when we heard that we were publishing Puppy Love, it was absolutely love at first bark. Service puppies (look at his adorable vest!), swoony men (look at that smile!), and snarky, smart, heartwarming writing? Check, check, check. We were sold, and we hope you will be too! Read on for an excerpt from the first book in Lucy Gilmore's Service Puppies series, out May 28, 2019!
“Wool is going to be your warmest option, obviously, and it’s good for beginners because it’s so forgiving.” Sophie took a few steps forward and started jabbing her finger at the colorful bundles lining the wall.
The whole wall. As in, a hundred feet of storefront, all of it lined with shelves and so tightly packed with yarn you could probably knit a scarf from here to the moon. Harrison couldn’t decide if he was impressed or alarmed.
“Acrylic is lighter, so you might want to consider it for summer wear or if you plan to make Bubbles something purely decorative. It’s also easier to work with if you’re a beginner. If you care about sustainability, of course, you could always go for something organic and cotton. Now, me? I’m obsessed with this alpaca stuff right here. It can smell a little funny when you get it damp, but you get used to it after a while. It reminds me of wet dog—which, to be honest, is my standard eau du cologne.” She turned to him with an expectant look on her face, eyes wide and her lips slightly parted. “Well? What’ll it be? The pink wool? I feel like you’ve been eyeing the pink wool.”
Harrison sighed. As far as he could tell, there were twelve identical pink wools, each one looking more like bubblegum than yarn. “You’re loving this, aren’t you?”
“The yarn store? Um, yes. This is my happy place.”
He paused, waiting for the rest of whatever Sophie had to throw at him, but she just kept watching him with that same earnest expectation. And joy—that’s what that was on her face, what made her look so much like an angel atop a Christmas tree.
She wasn’t kidding. She really loved yarn that much.
Since Sophie had decided that knitting was the only way—short of regularly making out in front of his barn—of breaking down his barriers and integrating Bubbles into his life, he turned his attention to the task at hand.
What other choice did he have? Yarn was a much safer activity than kissing.
“It’s all the same to me, to be honest,” he said. “Maybe I should let Bubbles pick, since she’s the one who’s going to have to wear it.”
He didn’t wait for an answer or look at Sophie, since he could guess how she looked right now.
Smiling. At him.
Laughing. At him.
“As much as you love your sock, Bubbles, Sophie said you don’t look up to snuff. She thinks you need to be dressed up in handmade finery.” He ignored the choking sound of Sophie’s laughter behind him and picked up the puppy, who had been sitting patiently at his feet. Holding her up to the wall of yarn, he asked, “Which one do you like?”
Bubbles gave a Pomeranian squirm—a movement he was rapidly coming to realize was her standard expression of joy. Since he had no other way to interpret her mysterious canine desires, he decided to go with it, passing her over the wall and seeing which wooly bundle caused her to wriggle the most.
“White?” he asked as she worked her way toward a pearly, bridal-looking thing in one corner. “Are you kidding? After Labor Day?” That was a thing, right? He vaguely remembered that being a thing.
The choking sound became strangled.
“Pick something more practical, please,” he admonished the puppy. “Black is what I recommend. The color of soot and ashes. You have no idea how hard those are to get out of clothes after a few weeks of nonstop exposure.”
“Maybe fire engine red? That seems appropriate.” Sophie stepped forward to stand next to him. As he expected, her voice and her shoulders were shaking with laughter. “A lady always looks striking in red. They say women who wear it are more attractive to members of the opposite sex.”
As Sophie had chosen to wear a deeply vibrant pair of red pants that day, Harrison could only assume she was pushing him again. The pants themselves weren’t overwhelming—other than the color, which drew the eye inevitably toward the rounded curves of her ass, they were like any other pair of pants. Except, for some godforsaken reason, they stopped just above Sophie’s ankles. Capri pants, he’d heard them called. In no way, shape, or form an item of clothing to be sexualized—especially since she’d paired them with a simple black T-shirt.
But damn. Every time she walked into his line of vision, his gaze was drawn inexorably down to where the flash of her ankles peeked above a pair of shiny, black heels. Like the rest of her body parts, those ankles looked sleek and delicate, and he wanted to explore them at his leisure.
Ankles of all fucking things. A few more weeks in this woman’s company, and he was going to have to start asking people to cover their piano legs like some scandalized Victorian maiden.