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A whine, soft but high-pitched enough to show a complaint.
I look over to where my mutt, Amber, a German shepherd and Labrador mix, is lying down, in my direct line of sight. Her soulful eyes are staring at me. Is she admonishing me?
Stupid dog. She is always interrupting my train of thought. Okay, where was I…and I am back in my world, engrossed once more in my writing. I remember the exact dialogue I want to write for this scene, I expand it a bit more. One or two words that had escaped me pop up in my brain, and I trudge on.
Another whine. This time, louder. My dog is next to her water bowl. She looks down at the empty bowl and up at me. Her eyes are almost accusing—you are ignoring me again, they seem to say.
Yes. Yes, I am.
Writing with Amber around is both a challenge and an experience.
You see, my stupid dog is my alarm. My you-need-a-break reminder. You-need-a-life reminder. And she will do anything to remind me she is there, that she needs my attention, requires my affection, and demands my time. She will whine, go to the table and pluck my used tissue to chew on in order to force me to stop and grab the thing before she swallows it. She’ll sit next to me and complain, quite insistently, that she is hungry. Amber even butts her head beneath my elbow and forces her head between my typing fingers and the computer keyboard when I am ignoring her completely. When I am pacing, trying to get a scene clear in my head, she will thread through my legs as if it were a game. She tripped me once doing that, and I landed flat on my butt…ergo the moniker “Stupid dog.” She will bark to get my attention, bang on the outside door to be let in. She is annoying to the point of complete exasperation.
But I love her dearly.
Despite those moments, Amber is my loving companion. She will lie down patiently next to me for hours on end, alert, looking toward the front door to make sure no stupid rabbits, squirrels, or birds interrupt me. She growls when strangers pass by. She will lovingly lick my feet when I start cussing because I can’t get the scene right or words simply don’t come out of my brain. She will lie down with her head on my feet, or under the table near me, so I can pet her absentmindedly from time to time. She will put her head on my lap when I get upset, comforting me. When my husband arrives from work, she waits until he is inside and has greeted me before she leaves my side. It’s almost as if she is thinking, “Okay, my duty is done.”
She is my third child. My loving, human-like child. My annoying child.
Speaking of which, I’ve got to go. She is sitting by the door, her whine insistent. I have already had my breakfast, so has Amber. I have had my potty break. She hasn’t. Amber comes back to me, nudges me, and walks to the back door. She stares.
“Okay, stupid dog. I’m coming.”
Title: The Book of Hours
Date Published: February 12, 2015
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Word Count: 108,000
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For artist Gabriela Martinez, psychopaths do strike twice. In The Coin, two star-crossed lovers were cruelly used by fate—and now, in The Book of Hours, destiny isn’t done.
Back then, Gabriela almost lost her life to a psychopath hoping to claim her artwork, her career, her body, and her love. If not for Richard, the operative sent to protect her, she would have fallen victim to his twisted vision. The dramatic showdown pushed Gabriela and Richard together, even in the face of countless obstacles.
With someone new threatening Gabriela’s life, Richard will risk everything to protect the woman he loves. But with a new villain on the horizon, bent on possessing Gabriela’s latest work no matter what it takes, she is forced to fall back on old friends, including the man who changed her life not so many years ago.
With an even more dramatic threat looming, and far more to lose, if they don’t stay one step ahead of the danger, their lives, their love, and their future may very well go up in flames.
Richard turned slightly. “Why didn’t you call me, Gabriela?”
“If my memory serves me, I once told you to contact me if you ever needed me. Why didn’t you?”
Gabriela’s heart skidded to a stop, only to thunder out of control. Those words. God, those words from his letter four years ago. “Who says I need you?”
Richard leaned forward until their faces were mere inches apart. Gabriela scooted back, only to bump into the railing. Richard followed, effectively cutting off any means of escape by caging her with both arms against the railing.
“Why didn’t you call me? You’re under attack—again. From what I’ve heard, you’re way out of your league—again. You need my help to get out of this mess—again. What I don’t understand is why I had to hear of your predicament from Father Ramirez.”
“Father Ramirez?” Gabriela echoed, surprised. And here she thought Jean-Louis had betrayed her. “He called you?”
“Maurice. He, in turn, contacted me. Imagine my surprise when I discovered you were in danger, again.”
“I’m not in danger,” she scoffed, then revised the pronouncement. She was in danger all right, but not from Wickeham. The man facing her was the real danger.
Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra is a full-time novelist based in North Carolina. With Cuban roots, she has lived in many countries, including France, the setting for her first novel, The Coin. She speaks English, Spanish, French, Italian, and German, and reads Latin, Middle English, and old French. She holds a Masters in English literature, specializing in medieval romances, and is currently an active member of the Carolina Romance Writers. She loves to hear from her readers, and always hopes to open a dialogue with her fans.
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