itzyThis year marked the passing of our little Itzy, a toy Pomeranian who wandered up to our door over a decade ago and never left. I miss the little guy, but it’s also nice to go to the bathroom without an audience. Don’t get me wrong, dogs are great, but sometimes all that slavish devotion gets on my nerves. Itzy was adorable, especially when he was sporting his lion cut, as he is in this pic, but I have a theory. Like babies, God makes dogs cute so we’ll put up with the not so cute stuff they bring to the table.

Still, though I’m more of a cat person, I do like dogs. I must, since many of my stories include them as characters. One of my favorite animal characters appears in one of my all-time favorite romances, It Had To Be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. His name is Pooh, and he’s the heroine’s toy poodle. In the opening scene, Pooh wreaks havoc at the funeral for the heroine’s father. After toppling a dozen flower arrangements and chairs, and knocking several attendees on their asses, he ends the scene by jumping onto the casket and peeing in fright.

I won’t bother with what comes next, because you really should read the book for yourself, but the dog and his antics perfectly set up the theme for the story. That little poodle was out of his element, just like the heroine. He means well, however, just like the heroine, and in the end, they both find their way. Another special animal character comes from a recent release by Dixie Lee Brown. Rescued by the Ranger is a romantic suspense and a much darker story, but like Pooh, Cowboy, a retired military service German Shepherd, sets the theme of the story as he protects not only his master, but the heroine as well.

As I mentioned, I’ve also included dogs in some of my stories, like Murphy in To Win Her love, book 1 of my Players series. Murphy, a border collie/terrier mix, has this habit of greeting men with a head butt to the crotch. Like his owner, the heroine of the story, he’s a bit distrustful of strangers. In book 2, To Win Her Trust, Walter’s antics in the opening scene literally throw the hero and heroine together, and later, the hero uses the rambunctious Rottweiler as an excuse to get close to the reclusive artist. Now that I think of it, I’m not sure Walter projects an actual theme, but he does provide some laughs as the heroine imagines his thoughts, spoken in Antonio Banderas’s sultry accent.

Personally, I think pets in romance can deliver an added dimension, and of course, used as comic relief, they steal my heart. What about you? Do you enjoy stories with four legged characters, and do you have a favorite?

ToWinHerTrust1000x666To Win Her Trust by Mackenzie Crowne


Can she trust this player with her heart?

Ever since experiencing a childhood trauma, reclusive artist CC Calhoun has suffered from panic attacks. But when a fateful kiss from handsome wide receiver, Kevin “Tuck” Tucker, is enough to stop one of those episodes cold, she wonders if guarding her heart has been the right choice. Will going on a test date with Tuck open her to trusting someone for the first time in years? Or will she wind up being just another notch in the football player’s bedpost?

Tuck has a reputation for charming women into bed, but after his kiss with CC, he’s left aching for more. When he proposes a second date, his attraction to the sexy blonde looks like the makings of true love—something he’s never quite believed in—until now. But when Tuck discovers CC’s childhood secrets, will the pro athlete be tough enough to stay by her side—or will he betray her hard-earned trust?

Available at:
Barnes & Noble


Head shot 2014About Mackenzie

Wife, mother and really young grandmother, Mackenzie lives with her high school sweet heart husband, a neurotic Pomeranian, and a blind cat. She calls Phoenix home because the southwest feeds her soul. Though her friends claim she’s a princess, she disagrees. After all, one can’t raise two rambunctious boys to wonderful men without getting a little dirt under their nails. A lover of the romance genre, her resolve to share her stories with others was sharpened by a bout with breast cancer. Today she is an award-winning author and eight year survivor, living the dream. Her friends call her Mac. She hopes you will, too. Connect with her at, and

CrowneTour copy