Please help us welcome Rick R. Reed to Sinfully. Today he is celebrating the release of his latest novel Lost and Found with a guest post, exclusive excerpt and a giveaway.
Beagles: In Real Life and in Fiction
A Guest Post by Rick R. Reed
If you follow me at all on social media, or have ever met me in person, you know the breed of the dog in my life (and to call her a dog is a stretch—a more appropriate moniker would be ‘daughter’ or, even better, ‘princess’) is not a beagle, like the dog in my latest, Lost and Found. Our dear Lily is a Boston terrier and she has an enviable life—two doting gay daddies and the best of everything.
So you may wonder why I didn’t make the main character in Lost and Found a Boston. There are a couple of reasons:
Beagles, maybe more than any other breed besides the Bloodhound, have an incredible sense of smell. That says a lot when you consider that dogs in general have a sense of smell that’s much more powerful than our own. According to reliable sources, dogs have up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, compared to humans who have only a measly 6 million. We can’t even begin to imagine what a dog smells! My point, for this story, is that Barley the Beagle in Lost and Found, tends to wander off, led by that incredible sense of smell, which accounts for the “lost” part of our story.
Second, I have a personal history with beagles and I love the breed very much. I grew up with beagles in a run in our backyard (my dad was a hunter) and, as soon as I was old enough, it was my chore (and joy) to take care of them, feeding them, keeping the run clean, and when they had puppies (which is a whole ‘nother story), helping the puppies get weaned. But aside from that, one of my favorite childhood pets was a beagle named Corky. You can see her picture below. She was a little devil—and my best friend. She was smart (for example, she wasn’t allowed on the beds upstairs—she had her own bed, but if you happened to come up the stairs, she’d hear them creaking, so she’d hop from the bed she was on and get in her dog bed and pretend to be asleep). She went everywhere with me. And then came the summer I went away for a month to visit an aunt and uncle in Michigan. When I came back from the trip I was dying to be reunited with my little Corky. I was heartbroken to find that my parents, tired of her antics and her lackadaisical attitude toward housebreaking, had gotten rid of her—they gave her to our paperboy, who always liked her. That heartbreak still stings and it was in my subconscious when I wrote Lost and Found, because I know how both of the guys felt at losing—or the prospect—of losing their own lovable beagle.
Here’s a little taste of the book… Hope it whets your appetite to read more!
Lost and Found
Rick R. Reed
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ 5th December 2016
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
On a bright autumn day, Flynn Marlowe lost his best friend, a beagle named Barley, while out on a hike in Seattle’s Discovery Park.
On a cold winter day, Mac Bowersox found his best friend, a lost, scared, and emaciated beagle, on the streets of Seattle.
Two men. One dog. When Flynn and Mac meet by chance in a park the next summer, there’s a problem—who does Barley really belong to? Flynn wants him back, but he can see that Mac rescued him and loves him just as much as he does. Mac wants to keep the dog, and he can imagine how heartbreaking losing him would be—but that's just what Flynn experienced.
A “shared custody” compromise might be just the way to work things out. But will the arrangement be successful? Mac and Flynn are willing to try it—and along the way, they just might fall in love.
Flynn sat down next to Mac. Mac noticed how good he smelled—simple, just a little sweat with an undercurrent of soap that had maybe a touch of coconut in it. Clean and manly. Mac was like a dog in that way—the smell of a guy was a major turn-on, sometimes more than his looks. And Mac was not averse to the smell of a little perspiration. To him it showed the man was full of vigor. The aroma of sweat was masculine and real. Mac involuntarily leaned a little closer to Flynn, nose twitching. Flynn was dressed similarly to Mac in shorts and a tank, and Mac was glad for the exposed skin, which was pale like Mac’s but dusted with a fine coating of coarse black hair.
Oh, could you be gay? Please…. Mac’s thoughts went where they shouldn’t.
Flynn gave Mac a brief flash of his pale blue eyes, so like a perfect summer sky, then stared out at the lake, now dimpled by raindrops. “I couldn’t keep him away. Number one, when we were here last week, I could see it just about killed you to let him go.”
Flynn looked at Mac again, searching, Mac supposed, for an acknowledgment of the truth he spoke. And Mac didn’t say anything, figuring the validation was written plain as day on his face.
“Hell, it hurt me to see you so torn up. I honestly debated whether I should take him back or not.” It was Flynn’s turn to show Barley some love. He rubbed his belly. The maneuver caused the dog to flip over to give Flynn even more access.
Rub my belly, Mac thought, and I’ll do the same thing. He couldn’t keep the smile off his face.
“But he’s my little buddy.” Flynn kept up the tummy rub as he spoke. “You understand—I love this little guy with all my heart. You don’t know how long I fantasized and even dreamed about him coming back. And then there was the real darkness when he didn’t and I feared the worst.” Flynn shook his head. “It was, really, like losing my kid. No exaggeration.”
“I get it,” Mac said, having trouble keeping the sadness out of his voice. I get it all too well.
“Anyway, it wasn’t just me who was affected by separating you two characters.” Flynn chuckled. “And thanks again for giving him such a good home and such obvious love. You have no idea how much I appreciate it.”
Mac nodded. He would have liked to say “You’re welcome,” but the words got caught in his throat. He knew he wouldn’t mean them. Flynn was not welcome. “Sure, whatever,” Mac mumbled.
“Barley missed you, my friend.” Flynn paused for a moment. Barley got up off his back and lay down, head on his forepaws, between them. “A lot. It almost pains me to tell you how much. If a dog could be said to be in despair, then Barley fit the bill. He searched for you, Mac. He waited for you. When I walked him, swear to God, he was looking for you everywhere. He seldom strayed from the door. And at night I’d wake up to find him perched on the back of the love seat I have under my front window, just staring out. I really believe he was hoping to see you coming along Stone Way.”
Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love.
He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). He is also a Rainbow Award Winner for both Caregiver and Raining Men. Lambda Literary Review has called him, "a writer that doesn't disappoint."
Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever "at work on another novel."
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December 6: The Novel Approach
December 7: Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews
December 8: The Blogger Girls
December 9: Love Bytes Reviews :: Diverse Reader :: Prism Book Alliance
December 12: The Purple Rose Tea House
December 13: MM Good Book Reviews
December 14: Bayou Book Junkie