As time races on, I don't feel any older, but for the fact that when I look at my children, and my animals, they seem to be maturing far faster than I'd like, which means that I too am ageing. (We'll not speak of my maturity as I'm quite sure there's still a distinct lack of it.)
I'd only just had Beau for my birthday when I wrote For Heaven's Cakes and gave my hero in that story the same name as my new pup - and look at the boy now. How he's grown.
Beau in reality is not so far removed from Beau in my imagination. I used a number of features, including the big paws, the soft brown eyes and the wet smell of dog in For Heaven's Cakes. Yes, he's a shapeshifter, but not a dog, a wolf.
Twelve years of living in Ireland smoothed Beau’s rough edges, and hard work as a construction worker made him a wealthy man. The call of his pack is stronger than he can resist though, and he isn’t averse to returning to show his small home town in America what he’s made of himself.
What he doesn’t anticipate is meeting the local pharmacist’s daughter - in his wolf form. By day, he renovates the pharmacy, and tries to cajole the lush assistant into having dinner with him. By night he watches Catherine bake her fantastic creations and blossom through her art.
Sleeping on her bed each night in his wolf form isn’t exactly ideal, but how does he tell her the wolf she’s come to love, is the man she lusts over?
Mrs. Timmins turned to see what had caught Catherine’s attention. Her pointed chin turned upward to meet the dip of her nose, which nearly fell into her wizened old mouth as it opened and closed.
He seemed to have the same effect on all women, no matter what age. He was probably used to it.
“Well now, this is precisely what I mean, Catherine.” Mrs. Timmins smacked her lips together.
“Hello, young man. Don’t I know you?”
“Yes ma’am. Good to see you looking so well Mrs. Timmins. You don’t look a day older than when I last saw you.”
The harsh cackle took Catherine by surprise, but Beau smiled at the old lady as he leaned his elbow on the counter. She tried not to stare as his T-shirt pulled tight across his chest, but a small whimper threatened to escape.
Mrs. Timmins wiped her dry old lips with the back of her hand. “I remember you. You’re the middle Devlin boy. The one who left to make his fortune.”
“And did you?”
“Good. I never did believe all those rumors about you being trash.”
Catherine almost choked, but Mrs. Timmins hooted with laughter and patted Beau’s arm, pausing a moment to give it a sly stroke.
With a regretful sigh, she peered near-sighted into his face. “Are you married?”
“No ma’am, are you proposing?”
The hawking laughter drew Catherine’s gaze away from the flexed muscles of Beau’s arm to the old lady who seemed to have difficulty breathing. Another side effect of the hunk’s presence. He had the ability to stop a woman’s breath.
It wasn’t deliberate, but Catherine simply couldn’t stop uttering. “Definitely not!”
Heat washed over her as they both stared at her. Beau’s slow smile made her want to hide under the counter. She’d never had the ability to stop words blurting from her mouth before her brain had the foresight to stop them.
She tried a casual shrug, but from the deep laughter lines slashing into his cheeks, her awkward jerk had been just that.
“There you go. I just told Catherine how she needed a man to give her a real good…”
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