I Kissed a Dog
The Werewolves of the West Series Book One
Carol Van Atta
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Cambridge Press US under the umbrella of Charles River Press (CRP)
Number of pages: 446
Cover Artist: Ann Falcone
Chloe Carpenter isn’t like other women. She can communicate with animals. A gift she unwrapped following one of her frequent dances with death.
In her otherwise wacky life, she’s finally found a semblance of sanity working at the Plum Beach Wildlife Park, where her unique talents can make life or death differences for the animals in her care. That semblance is shattered when a new veterinarian roars into the park in his spiffed up sports car and sets his golden gaze on her. If she had her way, he’d roar right back out.
Problem: He’s her new coworker and he’s saved her life twice – in the past twenty-four hours.
Zane Marshall, Enforcer for the Pacific Pack of purebred werewolves, has a job to do – figure out who or what is mutilating the young men of Plum Beach.
With orders to find the woman who talks to animals, he accepts a position working alongside the fiery Chloe Carpenter, a female who ignites his interest far more than he ever expected. Remarkably, she’s the one elusive female with potential to bring meaning and passion to his empty existence.
Problem: She despises him.
Together, they’re forced to unravel a mystery of supernatural proportions, a murderous mystery with eternal implications for everyone. In the process, they discover opposites really do attract.
Major Problem: Zane is pledged to another woman, and she’ll do anything to keep him from Chloe.
We pulled into Will’s gravel driveway about thirty minutes later. I could see his treasured quads parked off to the side of the garage. He’d been a great driver, somewhat of a daredevil, but good enough to convince me into taking a long thrill ride on the dunes last summer. It was almost impossible for me to accept that he was dead — killed — and would never ride again.
The police team, swarming over his property like flies on a corpse, was what convinced me.
“This way,” Officer Tate directed.
Several colleagues acknowledged him but gave me cautious looks. I wondered if they knew the reason for my presence. If so, they weren’t sold on my special skills. I recognized the FBI agent from the news. He glanced our way without any official acknowledgment.
My arm hairs stood at full attention when his eyes met mine. He gave me what my mom referred to as the major heebie jeebies. I decided right then I didn’t like or trust Agent Green. Zane wasn’t the only one with good instincts.
“You ready?” Before I realized what he was doing, Zane rested his hand on my arm. The electricity remained, but this time it felt less intense, yet no less pleasurable. His touch provided a calm and confident feeling I was grateful for.
You are a good woman echoed through my tumultuous thoughts. As much as I’d like to believe otherwise, Zane was the reassuring presence I was desperate for right now.
Remembering why I was here, I nodded at Officer Tate. “Take me to talk with the animals.” I hoped I sounded halfway pleasant — anything to slice through the gloom that hung over the crime scene. My earlier morning cheer had been replaced by a grim sense of duty.
Exiting Will’s house, a woman approached. “You must be Chloe Carpenter. I’m Detective Davis. You are?” She looked at Zane with open approval.
“Dr. Marshall. I’m the new wildlife vet down at the park.” He extended his hand.
She disregarded it and jotted something in her flip pad; the evidence of her approval gone like it’d never existed, replaced with suspicion. “I may want to talk with you later, Dr. Marshall.”
I attempted to swallow my surprise. So, not all women were automatically under his spell. Even more unexpected, though, was my intense desire to protect him from her probing eyes. As if aware of my intentions, she gave a curt nod and strode away.
Inside the house, everything appeared undisturbed. A man was dusting for prints and other law enforcement personnel were removing plastic bags of evidence.
I couldn’t begin to imagine how I’d feel right now had we been lovers. Once again, my commitment to maintaining my virginity had saved me from additional heartache.
“Here’s Junior. The cat took off.” Another officer led a young pit bull into the room.
I confirmed the puppy’s leash was secure. I’d never forgotten or forgiven the pit bull that had escaped with my favorite shoe.
“Hey, little guy.” I had to admit he was adorable. His stubbed-tail wiggled and he yipped, excited by the attention. “You sure are cute.” He squirmed and pranced around us more like a pony than a pit. I realized I’d have to hold him and get him settled down if I was going to retrieve any information other than: Pet me! Pet me! I like you! Pet me!
After some reassuring whispers and gentle strokes, Junior calmed; his round puppy-eyes melting into mine. For a brief scary second, I couldn’t see or hear anything. Then the memories roared into my mind like a tornado. Woman. Sex. She smelled like a dog. The pictures were beyond my wildest and most horrifying nightmares.
A redheaded woman was clinging to Will like a rider on a bucking bronco, her head thrown back in ecstasy. Following their vigorous coupling, everything blurred. She changed into something I couldn’t explain. Either that or she’d let a wolf the size of a grizzly into the bedroom.
All I knew for certain was that Will hadn’t been stabbed.
He’d been ripped to shreds.
About the Author:
Like most authors, Carol Van Atta is no stranger to the written word. She penned a short novel at age 12 (somewhat frightening illustrations included, and lots of bunnies were involved), and had a creative writing piece published in her high school newspaper (about David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs LP). Yes, she’s an ex-80’s chick.
Devouring books from numerous genres, Carol developed a deep thirst/hunger for more reading material, and could almost always be found with her nose in a book.
She has contributed to several popular inspirational anthologies and devotional books, and lives in the rainy wetland of Oregon with a terrifying teen (another in college) and a small zoo of animals. She is taking an undetermined hiatus away from inspirational writing to delve into her darker side. (Though you can check out her latest spiritual suspense novel, Soul Defenders). It is rumored that this genre-jumping occurred after Carol discovered too suspicious red marks on her neck, and experienced an unquenchable urge to howl at the moon.