After the ultimate abandonment by her family, Savannah Monroe channels her savior-complex tendencies into helping animals because they can’t hurt her like people can. Life at the animal rescue shelter has always provided the security and personal reward that she needs to be happy while protecting her heart.
But as she works with Sadie, Savannah soon realizes that his dog isn’t the only one who needs saving…
Savannah came through the garage door, Carl and his leash weaving around her legs, intent on tripping her. As soon as she got in the house she dropped the leash, figuring she’d sort it out once the initial excitement of seeing Sadie had worn himself out a bit. The dogs raced around the kitchen, barking wildly, then Sadie nuzzled Carl, their tails whipping back and forth, loud knocking adding to the general confusion.
“Jesus, Savannah. Put them outside, okay?”
Dylan ran his fingers through his hair and glowered at the dogs circling his barstool like sharks circling favored prey.
She smiled at his expression and walked over to him, brushing his hair back. “You need a haircut. Why are you still here? And I can’t put them outside. No fence, remember?”
Then she caught sight of a mischievous grin teasing his lips. He pointed out back. “What’s that?”
She peered out the slider and saw the chain link fence completely encircling his yard. She whirled around and crashed right into his lean body. He grabbed her arms, steadying her, and reached around her to open the door.
“When did you get the fence?” She unsnapped the leash and let Carl out after Sadie.
The dogs ran around the yard, hindquarters almost outpacing their front paws in their excitement about being able to run free, barking like lunatics. Thank God he didn’t have any close neighbors. They’d be so pissed. Savannah wrapped her arm around Dylan’s waist and pulled him close for a hug.
“When did you get this done?”
“This morning. They came at the ass-crack of dawn, waking me up damn early and I really could have used the sleep. But it was worth it. They love to run, don’t they?” He draped an arm over her shoulder and they watched the dogs quietly.
Savannah’s heart ached a little at the thought of all that Dylan had done after bringing a dog into his life, a dog he swore he never wanted or needed, one he insisted on getting rid of as soon as possible. Instead, he fenced in a yard for a house he was not planning on keeping, in a town he was not planning on living in, trying desperately not to have any ties to anything or anyone. Yet, he had a dog now and his house was definitely not showroom quality any longer. And the yard would need serious repair work after two dogs dug trenches with their running and bathroom breaks.
She snuck a glance up at him. Judging by his half smile, he wasn’t too worried and that, along with the fence, made her half fall in love with him. Whoever said the path to a woman’s heart was through jewels or shoes had never met Savannah. No, dogs in the bed, fences, that was main line to her heart and he found it so easily, with almost no effort. Something that took most men ages, if they ever figured it out at all.
She stretched up on tiptoes and placed a kiss on the corner of his mouth. He turned, a look of surprise on his face. “What was that for?”
She shrugged. “For being you.”
He pulled her closer, her hips snug against him. “I think I deserve a little more than a quick peck on the cheek.”
She arched a brow, loving this playful side of the normally quiet, staid, and serious man. “Really? That wasn’t on your cheek but on the lips. Sort of.”
He snorted. “Not a real kiss. Not like this.”
He slid a hand down her back to cup her butt through her jean shorts and pull her against him. He lowered his head, pausing centimeters from her lips, pausing for one moment as if waiting for permission, or for her to pull back. When she didn’t, he pressed his lips to hers, passion infusing his kiss, heat rising quickly between them. She moaned and twined her hands behind his neck, entangling them in his hair, pulling his head down for a deeper embrace. His tongue teased at the seam of her lips and she opened them, eagerly tangling with his, tasting coffee, cinnamon, and a hint of something else, something she wanted more of, was starving for. And that scared her more than losing a dog.
Lust overshadowed the fear and she angled her head to deepen the connection, for once, letting feelings overtake sense. She tangled her fingers in his hair, feeling the silky strands rub against her skin. His tongue stroked hers, and his hand slipped under her shirt to caress the bare skin between her shorts and t-shirt. She moaned and arched into his hand.
A sudden barking at the door interrupted them. She jerked back and his hand dropped as if scorched. She lifted a shaky hand to her hair, mourning the loss of his touch. He glared at the dogs sitting on the other side of the sliding glass door, tongues lolling to the sides of their mouths. He shook his head.
“I knew I didn’t like dogs.”