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Simply put, AmberPax™ Collections are groups of five stories centered around a specific theme. Each story within an AmberPax™ is released individually, on the same day as the others, and can be purchased separately, but these five stories can also be purchased as a single unit (the full AmberPax™) at a discount, currently 25%. Generally, an AmberPax™ is similar to an "anthology" of stories, but instead of the titles being released in only a single volume (file), they are also available individually. These AmberPax™ Collections are sold exclusively through our website and only in electronic format.

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Friday, 14 November 2014

Of Paws and Pet Rocks by J.D. Walker

Barry Dunning is a gifted yet lonely pet groomer, fierce animal lover, and the painter of pet rocks, thanks to the lease on his tiny apartment that does not allow for actual pets. He’s been burned badly by an ex-boyfriend who left him with tons of debt, which will take years to pay off, and has built a wall around his wounded heart.

Sheldon Svenson, the handsome owner of the animal shelter where Barry volunteers on weekends, asks him out on a date. Barry—for once taking his sister’s advice—accepts. Dinner starts out well, but when the discussion turns to Barry’s past relationships, he panics and runs away.

Undaunted, Sheldon pursues Barry. But can Sheldon convince the man to risk losing his heart and to give their budding relationship a chance, despite his fears?

Genres: Gay/Contemporary
Heat Level: 2
Length: Extended Amber Kiss (12k words) 


Read a short excerpt...


...“So did you always want to run a shelter?” I asked Sheldon.

“Initially, no. But it turned out to be the perfect thing for me after leaving the messy corporate world behind.”

“Burn out?”

“Maybe. I got tired of the drama. Everybody’s a leg-humper on his way up the ladder. It got old.” He dipped a chip in salsa. “I got out, did some research and decided to open a shelter. It’s something I love and believe in, and it provides a place for animals that wouldn’t have anywhere else to go. And they never judge you, unless they’re cats. That just goes with the territory.”

I smirked. “Yeah, cats are like that. We’re here to serve them, after all.” I drank more of my margarita, then had some chips myself. The more I learned about the man, the more I liked. He was content with his place in the world, and that was attractive to me.

“What about you?” he asked. “Have you always enjoyed grooming animals? Is it your dream job?”

“I don’t know if it’s my dream job, but I’ve always been drawn to them. My sister and I also had pets growing up. In fact, you might even remember Trixie. She came by the shelter a while ago and adopted a beagle—Macy’s her name.”

“I remember Macy. Smart dog. As for your sister…short brown hair, golden brown eyes, lots of personality?”

“That’s her.”

“She had a baby in a stroller—”

“My nephew, Timothy. He’s a year old now.”

“Right. So you’ve always loved animals. How did you become a groomer?”

“I started out on the floor at the pet store when I was nineteen, and became interested in grooming. I got certified and the rest is history.”

“Boyfriends?” he asked, tentatively.

Before I could answer, our food came. I waited until we’d settled in a bit before I continued.

“Until a few years ago, I had infrequent encounters, nothing lasting. My heart probably wasn’t into that scene, anyway. I prefer something more stable, solid. I probably broadcast that vibe everywhere I go, which sends men running in the opposite direction, leaving me dateless.” I took a sip of water. “And then, there was Winslow.”

“Would Winslow be the one who broke your heart?”

“That would be he.” It still hurt to think about it.

“What happened, if I can ask?”

The moment of truth.

“Not much to tell. I fell for his charm and fancied myself in love for the first time, ever. He was the one, I thought to myself. So handsome and attentive, so insistent on having everything in both our names. I was a fool. I should have known it was too good to be true. I mean, how dumb was I?”

Sheldon put down his fork and reached over to lightly touch my hand. “You’re not dumb, Barry. He took advantage of you, your sweet nature. It’s not your fault.”

“That’s kind of you to say, but it is my fault. I was na├»ve. He saw a sucker—a guy desperate for any form of affection—and I bought it all.” I set aside my fork, all appetite gone. “Now, I’m left with debt it will take me years to pay off. The real estate market is shit, too, so the house just sits on the ‘for sale’ listings like a lump.”

“You’ve been through hell, haven’t you?” Sheldon scrutinized me with what seemed dangerously close to pity. Great way to impress your first date in years, Barry...

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