Harlequin American Romance
Book 2 of Lee’s Collingwood Station Series
Join Brent and Leslie for a merry little Christmas in July as they unwrap the greatest gift of all…love.
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas…In July?
Brent Borden has always imagined that Leslie Durrance is happy on her pedestal. Until she runs–in the midst of a rainstorm, dripping diamonds, wedding dress and all–into the construction worker’s arms.
With the whole town buzzing about the juiciest scandal Collingwood Station has ever seen, the embarrassed debutante needs to lie low. Brent takes her in, but it’s a Christmas-themed fund-raiser, complete with hot Santas in tuxedos, that gives Leslie a chance to get the tongues wagging about something besides her almost-wedding and get the wallets to open for a worthy cause. And also makes her see that the greatest gift has been in front of her all along…
*4-Star Review—Romantic Times Magazine*
“Brent and Leslie’s story is a treat for anyone who has ever loved someone so much that they won’t accept halfway for an answer.”
“Brent and Leslie will surely win a place in reader’s hearts.
Brent . . . is funny and smart and is a true Prince Charming in every sense. Leslie is his match in every way . . . With This Ring is a lovely holiday story to emphasize the notion that love comes from all walks of life and all you have to do is reach out and grasp it.”
Mills & Boon Desire Duo
(Australia and New Zealand)
December 2010 : ISBN: 9781742789491
Mills & Boon Australia
Mills & Boon Australia
eBook ISBN: 978146081139
Mills & Boon Australia
Old English Sheepdog Rescue
I owe a huge thank you to my friends Anne Rambaud and Ray Salmon of Sheepie Hollow for introducing me to their delightful dogs, and for graciously allowing me to use their wonderful photographs.
Molly will always have a special place in my heart. She’s a rescued Bearded Collie who has had to have one hind leg amuptated. There’s more about Molly in this blog I posted on the Harlequin American Romance Authors’ blog.
One Very Special Old English Sheepdog
Brent Borden, the hero in With This Ring, has an Old English Sheepdog named Max. Many readers have told me how much they love Max, so I invited him to share his stories with you.
Hi. My name’s Max. Not short for anything like Maxwell or Maximilian. Just Max.
My owner’s name is Brent. He’s a laid-back dude and all-round nice guy. He buys my favorite dog chow, lets me sit on the furniture, and doesn’t freak when I come in the house with muddy paws. As owners go, they don’t come any cooler.
Life wasn’t so good before I moved in here, but me and Brent, we don’t talk about that. We met at this place called the SPCA. If you’re a dog, you don’t want to end up there. If you’re a human like Brent, it’s a very excellent place to go and get yourself a dog. Like me, for example.
I’m an Old English Sheepdog, by the way. Not old as in old, but old as in not a New English Sheepdog.
Most of the time I think Brent’s glad to have me around. Especially when we go to the park to play frisbee. Not to brag or anything, but I do have a way with the ladies. Seriously. You can even ask Brent. A lot, and I mean A LOT of women stop to admire me. Then they end up talking to him, and sometimes he even gets their number. All thanks to me.
And just between you ‘n’ me, the guy needs all the help he can get. Once in a while a woman comes to visit but it never seems to work out. I, on the other hand, am not so picky.
He says we have a nice little house but I hafta tell you, it’s not that little. There’s plenty of room for more. Like a pretty little girl sheepdog for me and a fine-looking woman for Brent, if you catch my drift. And since Brent goes to work everyday and leaves me here on my own, I’d kind of appreciate the company.
Today is one of those days. I’m pretty sure it’s the weekend but Brent still got up early, put on his work clothes and left the house. There’s a serious rainstorm going on, so he put me in the porch at the back of the house. What can I say? The rain makes a mess of my fur, especially when I lie on my back and roll around in the muck. If you knew how good it felt to roll around on your back in the rain, you’d understand why I do it.
Wait. Was that a truck door? I know that sound! It’s the middle of the day and Brent’s home. Maybe he didn’t go to work after all.
And now here he is, letting me into the house. “Hey boy, glad to see me? Come on. Yeah, good boy. Come on. Somebody wants to meet you.”
Cool. Visitors mean LOTS of attention for yours truly.
Want to find out who Brent brought home? Be sure to pick up a copy of With This Ring (Harlequin American Romance, December 2007; Mills & Boon Desire, December 2010) by Lee McKenzie.
I’ll be back soon with another doggie tale, and I’ll have a thing or two to say about plumbing. And about Brent’s visitor.
Max Is Back!
Hi, everyone. Max here. So did you read With This Ring? Didya? Huh? Huh? Didya? Okay, sorry, but I’m still kind of excited. This is the first time anyone’s ever written a book about yours truly. Now do you see what I mean? I do have a way with the ladies.
And Leslie, she’s definitely a lady. Nothing against the other women Brent’s had over, but there’s something different about her. In a good way. I mean, she fed me even though it wasn’t dinnertime. And she smells good. Expensive good, if you know what I mean, and clean.
The only other woman who’s spent the night in our spare room was Brent’s mother. She stayed one night last winter when her furnace broke down. She’s nice enough—even brought me a big old ham bone. She doesn’t smell like Leslie though. She smells clean, too, but like laundry detergent. Leslie smells more like the park after it rains, but even nicer.
And Brent ended up doing a lot of work while Leslie was here, don’t you think? Not that I’m saying she’s high maintenance. No way. If anybody can take of herself, she sure can. But the plumbing was another matter. What was up with that?
Right now it’s time for a dog to take a nap. I’ll be back next Thursday, and I’ll have a confession to make about a certain pair of shoes.
Bad dog. I used to hear that a lot, which is kind of strange, since I’m so darned adorable, but today I had it coming. Fact is, I don’t know what I was thinking. I’ll admit I have a problem, you might even say it’s a bit of an obsession, but I seriously thought I had it under control.
I guess I should start at the beginning. Yesterday when Brent brought Leslie home, she brought a pair of shoes with her. She was carrying them instead of wearing them and after she put them on the floor by the front door, she kind of left them there.
Dog’s honor, I did my best to ignore those shoes. But then this morning Brent and Leslie went out and left me here by myself. I sat in the sun by the French doors for a while, and then I checked out the stuff in Leslie’s room ‘cause it smelled like her and I like how she smells. Then I drank some water out of the toilet because Leslie doesn’t know she’s supposed to put the lid down. And then I wandered out to the living room, and that’s when I remembered they were there. I’ve tasted a lot of footwear, but those were the most delectable shoes ever.
At first I just sniffed them and pushed them around with my nose. Don’t do it, Max. That’s what I kept saying to myself. I went into the kitchen and sniffed at my empty bowl. Leslie seemed to have caught on that I only get fed once a day. I picked up my teddy bear and tossed it in the air a few times, but I couldn’t get those darn shoes out of my mind. That’s when I went back for another sniff, and everything went downhill from there.
Most shoes aren’t all that interesting. Sneakers, for example, do not smell very good, and they taste even worse. Brent’s work boots are just plain disgusting, although every time he puts new laces in them I chew the crunchy bits off the ends. Can’t help myself.
But these shoes of Leslie’s were beyond tempting and before I knew it, the heel was between my teeth and I was done for. So were the shoes.
A few minutes later Brent’s truck pulled into the driveway.
I high tailed into the bedroom. If you’ve already read With This Ring by Lee McKenzie, you’ll know Brent was a lot madder about the shoes than Leslie. “Max!” he yelled. “Where are you?”
Like I was going to answer that. I’m not sure how, but they found me hiding under the bed. Leslie gave me a hug and said, “Poor Max.” Brent seemed to calm down a little and he ended up taking me to the park. I think we both needed to blow off a little steam.
I’ve already told you that the park’s a great place to meet women, but today Brent didn’t seem interested. What I forgot to tell you was that the park is also a great place to meet other dogs, and today was no exception. Today I met . . . well, that’s a whole other story. Check back next week and I’ll tell you all about her.
Max in Love
Max here. You know how I told you that Brent took me to the park after the shoe incident? Well, there are almost always other dogs at the park, including some regulars like me. There’s a Basset Hound named Henry, who can run pretty fast for a guy with such short legs. Gertie is a white French poodle. Sometimes I see her at the dog groomer’s, too. Bart is what’s politely called a mixed breed. I like Bart. He’s a real character, and has even fewer manners than I do.
So, yeah, I like going to the park because me and the other dogs chase frisbees and each other while our owners stand around talking about being dog owners.
Today was pretty much a typical day at the park. Bart and Henry were there, and before I knew it, we were playing tug-of-war with a big old stick. Brent was having a conversation with Henry’s owner, a woman about the same age as Brent’s mother.
We’d been there maybe ten minutes when it happened. One minute I had the end of the stick in my teeth and was this close to winning the game. The next minute I was in love. The most beautiful Old English Sheepdog you’ve ever seen—aside from yours truly, of course—was walking across the park with her owners.
I dropped the stick and ran across the grass, heading straight for her. What can I say? Subtlety is not a sheepdog trait and when we fall in love, it’s completely and instantaneously head over heels.
Her name is Penny. Princess Penny, if you must know, and she’s a looker, don’t you think? Penny’s owners are super nice people, too, and they rescued her from a not-so-good situation.
So they have a lot in common with me and Brent.
After Bart and Henry went home, we stayed at the park for a while. Brent talked to Penny’s owners, probably about the pleasure of owning an Old English Sheepdog, while Penny and I tore around playing a game of tag-you’re-it. At that point I was prepared to stay at the park forever, but you know what they say about good things coming to an end.
Before I knew it, Brent clipped a leash to my collar, saying something about getting home to see what Leslie wanted to do about dinner. Or at least that was his excuse. It’s clear as can be that he’s as much in love with her as I am with Penny, but humans get kind of weird about this stuff. Have you noticed that? They’re way too subtle, if you catch my drift. Giving each other sidelong glances and talking about stuff that doesn’t matter, when all they really need to do is play a good old-fashioned game of tag-you’re-it.
Do you think there’s hope for Brent and Leslie? I’d like to think so. They deserve a happily-ever-after as much as Penny and I do. If you want to know for sure, check out Lee McKenzie’s latest book, With This Ring.