When Phil Conway takes his pooch for a walk in the park, the last thing he expects is to be bowled over—literally—by another man, and his dog.
Greg Hunter is in from Seattle, visiting his soon to be divorced sister, Sarah, and taking on dog walking duty, when he and Phil first meet.
Quickly giving in to the attraction they feel for one another, they plan drinks, dinner, then a day at the beach—and more… But Phil has a wariness of commitment, and Greg's sister is resentful of Phil's intrusion into their lives. It seems the idyll will end without the two men finding the happiness they both crave.
But Fate has a funny way of overcoming obstacles. Phil runs into Sarah's husband in the park, and on hearing that the man still loves his wife, initiates a meeting between them, hoping their mutual love will smooth out their differences. All that needs to happen now is for Phil to get over his fear of commitment and ask Greg to move in with him. Nothing difficult about that…or is there?
General Release Date: 21st July 2008
Phil had never seen him before. Every morning at seven and every afternoon at five, Phil walked his dog Charlie through San Diego’s Balboa Park. Charlie was a Scottish terrier, five years old and full of himself, so Phil was generally careful about letting him get too close to other dogs. He could be cantankerous at times, regardless of the other dog’s size or temperament. Invariably, however, he would run across the same people on a fairly regular basis. Sometimes they’d stop and say hello and pass the time of day for a few minutes while Charlie stuck his nose where he liked it. Other times, it was just a friendly nod or wave.
Phil loved the summertime in San Diego. The temperatures never got uncomfortable, coasting around the high seventies, and there was something warm and sensual about the gentle breezes that blew in from the bay. Perfect weather for wearing shorts and going shirtless through the park, enjoying the sight of so many young men similarly attired as they jogged by or lay tanning on the grassy knolls.
On this particular warm and balmy day, Phil saw a slim, blond haired man charging towards him, being led by a dog as big as a small horse. The man’s expression was one of fixed dismay as he approached Phil and Charlie, waving like mad, no doubt trying to signal his total lack of control over the animal that was practically pulling his arms out of their sockets.
“Shit,” Phil muttered, steering Charlie out of the way. Charlie, of course, had other ideas, such as going for the giant dog’s jugular.
“Charlie, stop!” Phil bent down to grab Charlie and lift him out of the danger zone when the other dog leapt on him, knocking him flat on his back. Charlie yelped, Phil swore, the big dog straddled him, leaking drool onto his bare chest, while the other man hauled on the leash, trying to pull off the mutt.
“I’m so sorry,” the blond haired man panted, red in the face and making no headway whatsoever. Phil slapped the monster dog on its nose and it jumped back, growling. The man, putting all his strength into pulling the dog off Phil, had not anticipated the slackening of the leash and staggered back, ending up on his bottom.
While both dogs now growled and snapped at each other, Phil struggled to his feet.
“Quiet, Charlie. Stop that now!” He held out his hand and helped the man to his feet. “Are you all right?”
“Yes,” he said, dusting off the back of his shorts. His eyes swept over Phil’s lightly tanned and hairy chest, then up to his dark blue eyes before giving him a cute smile. “Sorry again. Robbie’s my sister’s dog. The last time I saw him, he was still a puppy. I didn’t know what I was taking on when I volunteered to walk him.”
“What the heck is he?” Phil asked, looking at Robbie who was now licking Charlie’s butt. He yanked on Charlie’s leash. “Get over here,” he growled.
The man chuckled. “Great Dane and mastiff cross, I think.” He held out his hand. “I’m Greg, by the way...Greg Hunter.”
“Phil Conway.” They shook hands and smiled into each other’s eyes. Nice eyes, Phil thought, as he met the hazely-green gaze. “I haven’t seen you in the park before.”
“No, I’m visiting my sister. I live in Seattle.”
Word Count: 15,574
Book Length: NOVELLA
J.P. Bowie was born in Scotland and toured British theatres in numerous musical shows including Stephen Sondheim’s Company.
He emigrated to the States and worked in Las Vegas, Nevada for the magicians Siegfried and Roy as their Head of Wardrobe at the Mirage Hotel. He is currently living with his husband in sunny San Diego, California.
Reviewed by Fallen Angels Reviews
Summer Bliss was such a fun read. The title is so completely appropriate. It's just the kind of book you'd take to the beach to read.
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