Romantic Suspense can be intense. The hero and heroine have to overcome the villain, creating external tension for the suspense portion of the book. For the romance part, there’s always some internal conflict keeping them apart. In other words, plenty of action and drama to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. For me, a touch of humor goes a long way toward adding balance. I like to lighten my stories by inserting a dog. Every one of my books has a furry co-star, and some of my favorite scenes include the canine hero.
In Every Step She Takes, a malnourished, pathetic stray in the wilds of Alaska adopts my heroine…even though she’s not too sure what to do with him. Here’s a short excerpt featuring Grace and her new best friend.
The trail climbed more steadily than she did. Grace wiped sweat out of her eyes, pausing occasionally to drink from her water bottle or eat a handful of the trail mix Berta French had provided. Shaking the last of the snack into her hand, the light breeze sent the empty bag sailing off her fingertips. She turned to grab it and saw a streak of brown shoot into the bushes.
Pressing a hand to her chest, she backed slowly away. The handful of nuts, pretzels, and dried fruit rained down onto the trail. The bush shook, and a long brown snout inched forward.
If the animal didn’t get her, surely she’d die of fright. After the monster in the bush finished with her, they’d need dental records to identify her remains. Blood roared in her ears as she pictured the headline.
Careless Journalist Devoured by Rabid Wolf
Wary brown eyes and long, floppy ears appeared. The giggle that escaped her lips held an edge of hysteria. She clamped a hand over her mouth as the dog froze. Not a vicious woman-killer after all. Trembling, the stray from the lake belly crawled to the spilled trail mix and gulped it down.
Mindful of the pack, Grace squatted and held out her hand. “It’s okay, baby. I’m not going to hurt you.”
The dog sniffed her fingers and backed up a step. Ribs showed beneath matted fur with each breath the poor animal took. Mostly brown with patches of dirty white, the dog was probably some sort of spaniel mix. If it wanted to follow her, she didn’t mind having company. In fact, she welcomed it.
“Time to get moving, baby. Let’s go.” Standing, she trudged up the trail. Her new companion followed at a cautious distance. “Good boy.” She glanced back at the scrawny animal, tongue hanging, brown gaze focused on her backpack. He reminded her of the coyote in the old roadrunner cartoon. “I’ll call you Wylie. How does that sound?”
So, how do you feel about dogs in books? Thumbs up or thumbs down?
You can run from the past, but you can’t hide . . .
Tough as nails, no nonsense San Francisco reporter Grace Hanover will do anything to cover the story of the decade—and her career. Having survived a painful past, she’s learned never to let anything stand in her way. Even if it means following a key witness into the Alaskan wilderness, and partnering with Travis Barnett, a former Navy SEAL turned PI who’s working for the Feds, and who would love to bring in Grace’s witness before she can get her story. But together in the wilderness, they’ll each have to put aside their differences and trust one another if they want to survive.
Because someone from Grace’s past is watching, waiting for just the right moment. Every step Grace takes draws her deeper into the line of fire, and into the hands of a killer…
Write what you know. Jannine Gallant has taken this advice to heart, creating characters from small towns and plots that unfold in the great outdoors. She grew up in a tiny Northern California town and currently lives in beautiful Lake Tahoe with her husband and two daughters. When she isn’t busy writing or being a full time mom, Jannine hikes or snowshoes in the woods around her home. Whether she’s writing contemporary, historical or romantic suspense, Jannine brings the beauty of nature to her stories. To find out more about this author and her books, visit her website at janninegallant.com.
Where you can find Jannine