I write romantic suspense and warm, family relationship type novels, often with a touch of humor. Many of my books have featured animals as key players--dogs, cats, llamas, cockatiels, horses...even our son's pet albino corn snake, Sssssid, who appeared in my first Superromance back in 1999.

Animals have been a big part of my life since I was a child. How about you? I hope you'll become a "blog follower" here (see the right-hand column for a place to click) and will come back often. So...let's talk about our pets!

Friday, June 10, 2011

I've got a new book out!

Just wanted to pass along that I have a new book out in the stores!  Here's the blurb and some sample pages:




SECOND CHANCE DAD
ISBN:  978-0-373-87673-0
Love Inspired
June, 2011
Roxanne Rustand



He Was A Challenge She Couldn’t Ignore...
The minute she steps foot in his dark, miserable house, Sophie Alexander knows Josh McClaren is not her usual patient. But the single mom and physical therapist is desperate to make a life for her and her young son. And she’s definitely no quitter! It’s obvious to Sophie that handsome,
cantankerous Josh hides his pain behind a wall of grief. Little by little, Sophie and her son,  Eli, do more than help Josh find his faith again. They make Josh wonder if there’s a family in  his future after all....

Aspen Creek Crossroads:  Where faith, love and healing meet.



CHAPTER 1

Sophie stepped out of her ancient Taurus sedan but lingered at the open door, staring at the massive dog on the porch of the sprawling cabin.  The dog stared back at her with laser-like intensity, head lowered and tail stiff.
It was not a welcoming pose.

 Set back in the deep shadows of the pine trees crowding so close, the cabin itself--with all the windows dark--seemed even more menacing than a wolfhound mix with very sharp teeth. So what kind of person would be sitting in there, in all that gloomy darkness?

 "Don't worry about the dog," Grace Dearborn had said with a breezy smile during Sophie's orientation at the county home health department offices.  "He's quite the bluffer.  It's the owner who is more likely to bite."           

 Sophie looked at the folder in her hand again.  Dr. Josh McLaren. Widower.  Lives alone.  No local support system. Post-surgical healing of comminuted fracture, right leg with a knee replacement.  Surgical repair of fractured L-4 and L-5 lumbar vertebrae, multiple comminuted fractures, right hand.

Had he been hit by a truck?  She shuddered, imagining the pain he'd been through.  The surgeries and therapy had to have been as bad as the injuries. The only other documentation in the folder were scant, frustrated progress notes written by her various physical therapist predecessors.  The last one had ignored professional convention by inserting his personal feelings into his notes. 

The man is surly and impossible

 Ten minutes spend arguing about the need for therapy.  Five minutes of deep massage of his right leg and strengthening exercises before he ordered me out of his house.

And the final note...

 I give up.  Doctor or not, McLaren is a highly unpleasant client and I will not be coming back here.

Sophie scanned the documents again, vainly searching for a birth date or mention of the man's age.  Maybe he was an old duffer, like her grandfather.  Crotchety and isolated and clinging to his independence. 

The job was just temporary--three months covering for the regular therapist
who'd gone to Chicago for some advanced training. But if  Sophie did exceptionally well, Grace would try to push the county board to approve hiring her on a permanent basis.

The thought had lifted Sophie's heart with joy, though now some of her giddy excitement faded.  She set her jaw.  If her ability to stay in Aspen Creek hinged on those stipulations, then no one--not even this difficult old man--was going to stand in her way.   Far too much depended on it.

"Buddy, I'm going to overwhelm you with kindness, and your mean ole dog, too," she muttered under her breath as she pawed through a grocery sack on the front seat of her car. "See how you like that."

Withdrawing a small can, she peeled off the outer plastic storage lid, pulled the tab to open the can and held it high.  "Salmon," she crooned.  "Come and get it."

It took a minute for the scent to drift over to the cabin.  The dog's head jerked up.  He sniffed the breeze, then he cautiously started across the stretch of grass between the cabin and driveway.

She stayed in the lee of her open car door, ready to leap back inside at the least sign of aggression.  But by the time the dog reached her front bumper his tongue was lolling and his tail wagging.

She grabbed a plastic spoon on her dashboard--a remnant of her last trip to a Dairy Queen--and scooped up a chunk of the pungent, pink fish.  She dropped it on the grass and the dog wolfed it down, his tail wagging even faster.  "Friends?"

She held out a cautious hand and he licked it, his eyes riveted on the can in her other hand.  "Just one bite.  When I come out, I'll give you one more.  Deal?" 

His entire body wagged as he followed her to the cabin door and watched her knock..
No one had peered outside.  No lights shone through the windows.            What if...what if the old guy had passed on?  Her heart in her throat, she framed her face with her hands and pressed her nose to a pane of glass, trying to peer into the gloom.  Knocked again.  And then she tentatively, quietly tried the door knob.

It turned easily in her hand.  She pulled the door open, just an inch.  "Hello?  Anyone here?" She raised her voice.  "I'm from the home health agency."

No answer.

Thundered rumbled outside, heavy and ominous.  A nearby crack of lightning shook the porch beneath her feet.  She opened the door wider, then bracketed her hands against the inner screen door and tried to look inside.  "Hello?"

 The dog at her side shoved past her, sending the door swinging back to crash against the interior wall.  So much for subtlety.

 "Hello," she yelled.  "Are you here?  Are you okay?"

 If the old fellow had died, she had no business disturbing the scene.  The sheriff should be called, and the coroner.   If he was in there with a shotgun, she sure didn’t want to surprise him. But on the other hand, if he needed help, she could hardly walk away.  Steeling herself, she reached around the corner and found a light switch.

Only a single, weak bulb came to life in the center of the room, leaving most of it dark.  A figure suddenly loomed over her, making her heart lurch into overdrive with fear.  Tall.  Broad shoulders.  Silhouetted by the faint light behind him, she couldn't make out his expression, but his stance telegraphed irritation. 
This definitely wasn't some old guy.

Raising her hands defensively, she backed up a step, but then she saw the dog amble over and sit at the man's side.  He rested a gentle hand on the animal's head.

"I-I'm sorry," she faltered, searching his face. He didn't look disabled...but then she saw the telltale signs of tension in his stance, as if he were guarding himself against injuries that probably still kept him up at night. 

He said nothing.

"You must be Dr. McLaren. I thought...I thought you were old," she stammered as her eyes adjusted to the gloom. "When you didn’t answer, I...um...I was afraid that you might be dead."

 "Unfortunately, no," he growled.  He glanced at her upraised hands, then met her eyes with a piercing stare.  "So who are you, and why are you threatening me with that can of salmon?" 
           

Do Not Reproduce without  permission.

This book is available at :

www,target.com
and fine  bookstores everywhere. 


Author  Roxanne Rustand can be found at www.roxannerustand.com 
and at her blog, The All Creatures Great and Small Place,  at  http://roxannerustand.blogspot.com

You can sign up for her free e-newsletters at www.roxannerustand.com/newsletter-signup

If you are reading this on Facebook, the blog post has originated at http://roxannerustand.blogspot.com.  Come on over and say howdy!

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