Nov 17 2017 2:00pm

3 Pets from Romance We Wish Were Ours

Deal Breaker by Tara Leigh

Today we're thrilled to welcome Tara Leigh (Deal Breaker) to Heroes and Heartbreakers. Many of us are long-time animal lovers and pet owners, and it can be a special joy to see cute creatures pop up in the romance novels we read. Tara is here today to share some of those beloved pets we've met withing the pages of a love story. Thanks, Tara!

When I was in fourth grade, my teacher called my parents in for a conference… because I wouldn’t let anyone else touch our class pet. I was worried that they would hold the guinea big too tightly, or not tightly enough. That they would pull his fur or drop him if he squirmed. So, the teacher hinted that I might have more friends if I wasn’t so possessive of the guinea pig and that a pet of my own might help. Now, I’d been asking for a dog since I could say the word. But my father was allergic and the answer was always no. They tried to fob me off with goldfish (which promptly died because I tried to “pet” them), and a hamster that escaped its cage, never to be found again. But at my teacher's suggestion, god bless that woman, they finally caved. Tasha the hypoallergenic Bichon Frise was my canine companion for fifteen years.

Fast forward a decade or so. I’d recently graduated from college and was living with my boyfriend in NYC. And even though my boyfriend wasn’t a dog person, I fell in love with a teeny little Maltese in a pet store on the Upper East Side. He reluctantly agreed to the dog… on the condition that she didn’t sleep in our bed. The very first night we brought Billie home, she cried the second I put her in her new crate. So, of course, I brought the scared two-pound puppy into our bed. The boyfriend, none too pleased, complained that it had only been a few hours and I already cared more about her than I did him. It was the truth, and he wasn’t my boyfriend much longer.

About a year later, I decided Billie was lonely and needed a friend. I’d always loved Pomeranian, so I signed up with a rescue organization. Until I found out that my building had changed their pet policy and now only allowed one pet per apartment. I wasn’t about to move… so I got another Maltese, figuring that no one would be able to tell them apart. 

Ava and Billie were best friends for the next thirteen years, until Billie crossed the rainbow bridge, with Ava following a year later. By then, I had three little kids, and I had my hands full. It was almost a relief not to worry about one of the dogs swallowing a Lego, or constantly begging for food beneath the high chair.

But after a couple of years, I was ready to bring a dog back into our family. My husband was on board, too, in a hypothetical way. But this time, with no allergies to worry about, I wanted to rescue a dog from a shelter. And not just any dog—the unicorn of rescue dogs: a female puppy that would stay relatively small, less than 15 pounds, preferably a Pomeranian mix. I thought it would take a long time, so I kept my search a secret from both my husband and our kids, not wanting to get their hopes up. Two days later I saw a black and gold ball of fluff on the site and knew she was meant to be my fur-baby.

At the time, I was in the middle of writing Deal Breaker, and I couldn’t resist incorporating our new puppy into the story. “Kismet” became an integral turning point in Nixie & Nash’s romance, and thought I would share a few other contemporary romances that feature rescue dogs.

The Foxe & the Hound by R.S. Grey

The hound in question is named Mouse and is responsible for one of the cutest meet-cutes I’ve ever read. Noah is a broken-hearted veterinarian, and Madeleine can barely handle her own life, let alone manage a dog that’s grown bigger than she is. But together, the three are perfect.

Mister Moneybags by Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward

Bianca volunteers at a shelter that rescues retired Greyhounds once their racing careers are over. When his new relationship hits a hiccup, Dexter adopts Bianca’s favorite dog. A must read.

Good Girl by Lauren Layne

Noah’s rescue Golden Retriever is in love with Jenny’s Pomeranian from the start, an emotion the pedigreed pup does not reciprocate.  The doggy love affair is just as heartwarming as Noah and Jenny’s path to their own HEA.


Learn more about or order a copy of Deal Breaker by Tara Leigh, available now:

Buy at Amazon

Buy at B&N

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Tara Leigh attended Washington University in St. Louis and Columbia Business School in New York, and worked on Wall Street and Main Street before “retiring” to become a wife and mother. When the people in her head became just as real as the people in her life, she decided to put their stories on paper. Tara currently lives in Fairfield County, Connecticut with her husband, children and fur-baby, Pixie. She is represented by Jessica Alvarez of BookEnds.

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Carmen Pinzon
1. bungluna
I love dogs in my entertainment and in real life. I've been watching a Russian TV show, "The Dog", with a canine star that steals every scene he's in on Amazon, but my favorite canine stars are all in books.

My favorite book furbaby is Fred the depressed Basset Hound in Jennifer Crusie's "It Had to Be You". This author has many worthy dogs in her oeuvre. Other favorite Basset is in "Shattered Rainbows" by Mary Jo Putney.

Honorable mention:

The Protector: The Witness by Nora Roberts
All of them: various by Jill Shalvis (can't pick a favorite)
Funniest: Just One of the Guys by Kristan Higgins
Urban Fantasy Warrior: The Unleashing by Shelly Laurenston
The Hero: The Search by Nora Roberts
2. Kareni
What a fun post, Tara; best wishes for the success of your new book. I enjoyed your suggestions, too, bungluna.
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