Did you ever have that one life changing event? That one moment where you made a decision that changed the course of your life forever? I’m Mackenzie Harris, Mac to my friends, and this was mine.

Three days back in town and I was late meeting my friend Emma, so I took a short cut through an alley and was striding quickly down the uneven pavement when I heard a fierce growl that made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end. I stopped and slowly turned to my right.

There behind a dumpster next to the shattered remains of what looked like several pots of tulips was a brown dog, baring its teeth and looking like it wanted to rip my throat out.

“Easy, boy,” I said. My heart thumped hard in my chest and I glanced at the end of the alley to determine if I could escape if I ran. I had visions of trying and having the dog chase me down and clamp its powerful jaws on my leg or throat. I’d never make it.

I glanced back at the dog. It growled, keeping low to the ground. It had a big blocky head and from what I could see of its shoulders, it was built strong. Oh, man. Why couldn’t it be a Yorkie or a Shih Tzu?

I took a cautious step away and the dog growled, deeper and meaner. Then I heard a thumping sound. It was wagging its tail. What was that supposed to mean? I took another step away. The dog growled and it rumbled low and deep from its chest.

Okay, so the stepping away thing wasn’t really working for the dog. I stood still and studied the face staring at me from behind the dumpster.

“You don’t want me to leave, do you?”

The dog whimpered and I felt my heart clutch in my chest, maybe the poor thing was hurt.

“Listen, I don’t speak dog,” I said.

I glanced around, looking for help. There was no one, just me and the dog. I slowly crouched down, watching how the dog reacted.

“It’s okay,” I said. I kept my voice soft and kind. “I’m not going to hurt you.”

The dog whimpered and then wagged. Maybe it was hungry. I wished I had a dog treat, but then I remembered the granola bar in my pocket. Maybe some food would make the dog trust me.

I carefully pulled out the granola bar. I took off the wrapper and noticed that the dog never looked away from me.

“It probably tastes like rocks and sticks to you but it is food, I swear.” I held out my hand. The dog stared. I moved closer and the dog lowered itself to the ground, making me tense up and then it wagged.

“You’re really giving me mixed signals here,” I said.

I inched closer. I didn’t know what I’d do if the dog attacked her at this point. Die, I supposed.

“I’m not going to hurt you,” I said softly. “I promise.”

My legs were beginning to cramp and I was sure we were going to be in this stalemate until nightfall when the dog belly-crawled toward me just a few inches and stopped.

“Good dog,” I said. “That’s right. I got you.”

The dog crawled forward again, stopping just in front of my hand. I waited. The dog’s tail was still wagging and its ears were flopped to one side. The warm brown eyes never left my face. I really wished I could tell what the puppy was thinking.

To my surprise, the dog nudged the granola bar aside with its cold nose and pressed the top of its head into the palm of my hand.

“Oh,” I said softly.

The dog’s head felt like warm velvet beneath my fingers and it looked up at me with big brown eyes that seemed to have witnessed a world of hurt.

“It’s okay, baby,” I said. “You’re going to be okay.”

The dog made a deep shuddering sigh as if it was psyching itself up for something, then it cautiously climbed into my lap. The dog’s posture was rigid as if bracing for rejection. There was no question it was taking a huge leap of faith in trusting me. I felt my throat get tight as I looked into the dog’s earnest face, I could see the pretty eyes imploring, Please don’t hurt me!

“It’s okay, you’re safe now,” I said. I hugged the dog close until I felt it relax against me.

Now what to do? It was a ridiculous question. There was only one thing I could do. I had to take the puppy to the one guy I’d been avoiding like a case of the flu over the past few days. Gavin Tolliver, the town veterinarian, and the one man my poor heart had never forgotten during my seven years away from home. In short, I had to see a man about a dog.


You can read more about Mackenzie in About A Dog, the first book in the NEW “Bluff Point” romance series.

Fall in love with a little help from man’s best friend in New York Times bestselling author Jenn McKinlay’s contemporary romance debut.

Mackenzie “Mac” Harris fled her hometown of Bluff Point, Maine, after being left at the altar—and seeking solace in the arms of her best friend’s off-limits brother. Now, seven years later, she’s back to attend her best friend’s wedding—safe, or so she thinks, from the mistakes of her youth.

But Gavin Tolliver has never forgotten the woman who has always held his heart. And when Mac rescues a stray puppy named Tulip, only Gavin, the town’s veterinarian, can help. With a little assistance from Tulip, Gavin vows to make Mac realize that their feelings are more than just puppy love. . .

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About the author
Jenn is the New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly, and USA Today bestselling author of several mystery series and will be debuting her women’s fiction series on May 30, 2017, starting with the title About a Dog. She lives in sunny Arizona in a house that is overrun with kids, pets and her husband’s guitars. Visit her website at www.jennmckinlay.com.

All comments are welcomed.

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