(Stray) Puppy Love

This morning, as my boyfriend was heading to work, he came across a stray puppy wandering around outside on the steps. When he came back to the apartment and asked, “Guess what?!” I thought he might’ve unexpectedly had the day off. Wrong. I looked down and saw a little furry head peeking through the door; he had found a stray dog.

“What am I supposed to do with it?” I asked, incredulously. He didn’t seriously expect me to hang on to it while he was at work, did he? Yes, folks, he did. Normally, I wouldn’t even blink twice in this type of scenario — I love dogs — but seeing that I already have a dog, this presented a huge problem. My dog, Bailey, is also a puppy and isn’t really socialized yet. And, because she’s much smaller than the stray (Bailey is a long-hair chihuahua, the stray looks like a jack russell terrier mix), not only is she extremely suspicious, but the other pup plays too rough for Bailey’s liking.

All day long I’ve been babysitting, playing referee and cleaning up accidents on the carpet. Needless to say, I was at my wit’s end by the time the BF returned from work. Since the animal shelter was already closed (we planned on seeing if she was microchipped), we decided to take another walk around the neighborhood to see if we spotted any ‘Lost’ signs or people looking for her. Luckily, within five minutes, we came across her owner, who was definitely relieved — and to be honest, so was I.

During this whole ordeal, I couldn’t help but roam through my mental catalog of romances, trying to figure out if any of them ever included stray dogs. I mean, this seems like the kind of situation a quirky, modern heroine might find herself in, right? That’s when I remembered Getting Rid of Bradley by Jennifer Crusie! In it, Lucy Savage decides to mix things up after she finds out that her (now ex) husband cheated on her. “Mixing it up” includes a bad dye job and — you guessed it — taking in a stray.

“So, I’m changing. I want to make my own mistakes and mop up after them myself. I want to talk to my ex-husband without you threatening him with death. And if I want to dye my hair purple or adopt another ten dogs or . . . or . . . ” Her eyes twitched to the man across the room. “. . . or go out with inappropriate men, I want you to stay out. It’s my life. I want it back.”

But wait, it doesn’t stop there. Not only was there a stray dog in Getting Rid of Bradley, but they’ve appeared in many of Crusie’s books, including:

Even though I love dogs, I have to say, when it comes to strays, I much rather keep them in the pages of my contemp romances…since, you know, they usually come with dark, smoldering heroes.

ROAMING QUESTION: Have you ever found a stray animal? If so, what did you do about it?

Truly, Madly in Love

For my first post, I thought it only appropriate to talk about The Book That Started it All. And by ‘it,’ I mean my love affair with romance books.

I was 15 when I stumbled across Truly, Madly Yours by Rachel Gibson at a yard sale. Though it was nestled in a stack of other 25 cent contemporary romance books, the story between Delaney and Nick caught my attention more than the others. She was a hairdresser, and he was the town’s bad boy, and the chemistry between them set my eyes ablaze! Top it off with a small, quirky town called Truly (still one of the best fictional towns I’ve ever read about) and I had myself a new love — a love for romances.

After Truly, Madly Yours, each time I went to the bookstore, I made a beeline to the ‘G’s in the romance section and bought something by Rachel Gibson. At the time, she was all I knew, and I knew she wrote amazingly. Titles like Simply Irresistible, It Must be Love and Lola Carlyle Reveals All quickly followed.

Then one day, I decided to roam around the romance section to see what else caught my eye. At the time, my knowledge of romances was limited, so I had no choice but to stick with what I knew, which was bright, playful covers. Hand me a book with a curly title and a cutesy drawing of a woman (or her accessories), and chances are I’d be a happy camper — which is how I learned about other contemp authors like Susan Mallery, Carly Phillips and Jennifer Crusie. At the time, I didn’t feel bad for judging books based on their covers because while their covers were cute and colorful, the stories inside them were just as alluring!

Nowadays, my tastes have expanded beyond just cutesy covers (though they still hold much appeal); and with my Kindle, the whole notion of choosing books based on their covers has been thrown to the wind, leaving me free to read whatever I want! So there you have it — the story of how I came to love romances. And to think, it only cost me a quarter.

ROAMING QUESTION: Romance lovers (and other bibliophiles), what was your Book That Started it All? Have you reread it since then?