I recently read a post on Facebook written by Gil Fones, a Montogomery County, Maryland K9 police officer whose partner, Chip, was taken from him after Chip bit him during a training exercise. Officer Fones didn’t blame Chip, but the police department he worked for refused to discuss the matter. He was stonewalled. For months, Fones sifted through a web of lies and obstruction, taking his quest public to be reunited with his partner, with whom he’s worked for four years.
Five-year old Chip has lived with Fones, his wife and children all this time, and Fones had always planned to adopt the Belgian Malinois when he retired. Instead, he frantically sought the dog he loved, taking his quest to the Internet where the unusual case went viral. The two partners are now reunited with the help of a group of retired Montgomery County K9 officers. The posts and videos on the Facebook page K9 Chip are both heartbreaking and joyful.
It got me thinking about the unique relationship between man and dog, especially in military and other branches of law enforcement. As usual, when I get an idea, I thought, what if, why, how, when and, wow, I think I have a romance novel here!
I did some research and learned so much about the rare bond between a human K9 officer and his four-legged partner. Most of us don’t think about the subject much, but I was stunned by the things I discovered. For example, it costs between $15,000 and $30,000 to raise and train a K9 dog. Not only that, but some dogs show particular talent for things like bomb and drug sniffing. Others are brilliant air trackers, which makes them especially useful in hunting escaped criminals.
Some dogs are not suited at all to K9 work. Many different types of dogs are used in the field and I was happy to learn that in the last few years female dogs have joined the K9 forces across America. The first female K9 officer in the US was taken on by the CIA. She is a black Labrador named Maggie—but that’s just by the by.
And oh, I could go on and on. But I won’t.
My story, Avon Lake, centers around a K9 officer whose dog is killed during a foot chase. Just as Officer Fones was distraught at the very idea that Chip may have been euthanized, my character, Detective Rhyen Devito knows his dog is dead and cannot move past it.
For many people, animals are the perfect bond. A love that is unconditional. Rhyen is not only recovering from deep grief over Nico’s death, but struggling to get past the bad relationship from which Nico’s love was able to place a Band-Aid over his broken heart. Rhyen is a sweet guy whose life is about to change. But change is hard. Can he accept a new man who has flaws, blazing sexuality, and who just happens to think Rhyen needs a new K9 partner?
Here is a snippet from Avon Lake. I hope you read it and enjoy it as much as I loved writing it.
Detective Rhyen Devito is struggling to recover from the death of his work partner, Nico. To his parents, Nico was just a dog, but to Rhyen he was the most trustworthy partner who gave him unconditional love and total support. This was more than any two-legged partner ever gave him. After Nico’s full-honors funeral, Rhyen transfers temporarily from the hectic Toledo K-9 unit to the more tranquil Holland village division. He surprises himself by answering a humorous online ad penned by a guy who might just be the answer to his romantic dreams.
Miguel Castro has had a hard time since moving to the U.S. from Argentina. His longtime lover was violent, and Miguel sought legal protection after recovering from his injuries. Now located far from the west coast in beautiful Avon Lake, he misses only one thing. Companionship. He’s attracted to Rhyen the moment they start talking. He knows Rhyen is grieving the loss of Nico and his heart aches for the guy.
When Miguel invites Rhyen to go beachcombing with him, he hopes that sparks fly...the good kind.
...“I know you like champagne.” Miguel reached across the table to an ice bucket.
“Actually, what I said was that champagne makes me horny.” God. I’m a dork.
“I remember.” Miguel gave him a dazzling smile and popped the cork on the bottle. Rhyen glanced at it. A nice bottle, too. Veuve Clicquot.
Rhyen had never met anyone so virile and handsome in his life. Miguel reminded him a little of the gay porn star D.O., but he was right here. In this room. He wore a tight black top with three-quarter sleeves, a gold chain with a cross dangling from it, and tight, hip-snugging jeans and black boots.
Miguel poured them each a glass and handed one to Rhyen. He stared at Rhyen’s mouth as though it were a juicy hamburger.
They sipped their drinks. Rhyen couldn’t stop staring at Miguel, who asked, “Can I touch you now?” from somewhere in Rhyen’s dreams.
They reached for each other at the same moment, their mouths meeting in a long and succulent kiss. Miguel was a great kisser. So good, he made Rhyen dizzy. They broke off their embrace and sipped more champagne.
Miguel leaned into him. Oh yeah, he was hard, too.
Another kiss, then Miguel murmured something in Spanish.
Rhyen gently bit Miguel’s bottom lip. “What did you just say?”
“Necessito tu em mi.”
“I have no idea what that means.”
“You will. Soon.” Miguel took another sip of champagne. Rhyen kept trying to translate the sentence. Something about necessity? Or need?
Miguel pressed closer to him. They exchanged a long, wet, passionate kiss. Rhyen liked the way Miguel put his hand at the back of Rhyen’s head, holding him closer. It was as though he was putting Rhyen exactly where he wanted him as he plunged his tongue into Rhyen’s mouth. He pushed Rhyen against the wall and their kiss continued.
If this is what he needs to do, fine by me. Rhyen put his all into the kiss, liking what he felt, and what he tasted.
Miguel tenderly touched his uniform buttons with reverent fingers before undoing his shirt. When he reached Rhyen’s belt, their gazes locked. Miguel easily undid it, then zipped down Rhyen’s pants. He pushed them all the way down, pulling off Rhyen’s shoes and socks and removing the trousers. Rhyen wore only his white underpants now and watched as Miguel stripped away his own clothes.
The guy had a fantastic body and smelled so good. Sweet and savory all at the same time. He wore tiny black underpants and, Rhyen could tell, had a nice, juicy cock.
They resumed kissing, Rhyen running his hands over Miguel’s back and ass. Miguel moved his hand down the front of Rhyen’s underpants and pulled out his cock, letting it jut upward between them as their kiss continued. He reached for it, enclosing his hand around the shaft. They exchanged soft sighs. Rhyen loved the feeling of his cock being wedged between their hot bodies...
Genres: Gay/Contemporary/Mystery/ Detective
Heat Level: 3
Length: Extended Novella (31k words)
Avon Lake by A.J. Llewellyn is now available at Amber Allure.
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