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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Guest Post with Author V.K. Sykes and Giveaway

Meet V.K. Sykes, author of Payoff Pitch.

V.K. Sykes is really two people—a husband and wife team who write USA Today Bestselling contemporary romance. Vanessa also writes bestselling historical romance for Kensington Zebra as Vanessa Kelly. You can find her at www.vanessakellyauthor.com.

Find V.K. at:


The Dog Days of Summer

Some of you may know that in addition to my historical romances, I also write contemporary romance with my husband under the pen name of VK Sykes. We’ve recently released PAYOFF PITCH, book 5 in our USA Today Bestselling, award-winning series about a pro baseball team called The Philadelphia Patriots. As you can probably imagine, hubby is a total baseball fanatic. Me, I’m a novice when it comes to the sport, although I do think athletes make great heroes, for all the obvious reasons!

Like me, the heroine of our new book is also a baseball novice. But she is passionate about something—besides the hero, that is—which I can totally relate to. She’s a huge animal lover, specifically dogs. In fact, she’s a professional dog walker. Hubby and I both love dogs, having owned many over the years. Or, I should more properly say, they owned us! Several dogs make an appearance in the book, and two wacky Standard Poodles figure prominently in the hero’s life.

Here’s a taste from PAYOFF PITCH, which features a runaway Siberian Husky who helps bring the hero and heroine together in their first meet.

Buster? Buster, come here, you!

Alarmed at the dead silence that enveloped the cavernous stone house, Teddy Quinn raced through the Bennetts’ marble foyer and skirted the great room on her way to the side door. She worried because Buster always greeted her with his wagging tail and bright blue Siberian Husky eyes when she arrived for the dog’s daily afternoon walk. The poor animal got little enough attention from the couple that owned him, a pair of lawyers who had brought the puppy home a year ago to placate their whiny five year-old twins. Bored after the novelty wore off and the puppy grew into a gangly, rambunctious adolescent, the twins now mostly ignored Buster, too.

Teddy said a silent prayer as she hurried to the flexible dog door that enabled Buster to get outside to do his business. Her heart thudded because she knew that if the dog was in the six-foot high enclosure that the Bennetts had constructed as a doggy poop yard, he would have started barking as soon as he heard her car pull up to the house. The silence greeting her could only mean one thing.

Buster had busted out. Again.

She flung open the mud room door and scanned the empty yard, quickly locating the escape tunnel. In the front corner of the enclosure, clumps of dirt and grass were strewn around a freshly-dug hole under the cedar fence. That particular location was Buster’s preferred route—it was the third time he’d dug that same tunnel and escaped into the wind. And yet the idiot Bennetts hadn’t done a thing to stop it from happening again.

Teddy gritted her teeth, furious that the lazy owners had ignored her advice on how to secure their yard. Of all the dog breeds in the world, Siberians were among the most inclined to dig their way out of captivity and run like their tails were on fire. They loved to dig, but even more they loved to run. They needed to run.

“Shit!” She cursed Winston Bennett for his lousy attitude toward his dog’s welfare. She’d been lucky the first two times Buster made his break because he’d raced straight to the local park where neighbors recognized him and grabbed his collar before he could continue his dash to freedom. But she knew that he could just as easily have sprinted away so fast and so far that she would never have been able to find him. Or, worse yet, she could have found the beautiful creature’s broken body in the middle of the road, crushed by a car or truck.

There was no point calling Bennett. He’d just snap that it was her responsibility to find the dog. And his wife would probably berate Teddy for getting her out of a client meeting or something. That had happened once before. No, this was on her. She’d deal with the Bennetts later.

She hurried out to her car after quickly locking the front door of the house. Popping the hatch of her dusty Ford Escape, she reached into one of her plastic containers and grabbed a handful of the dried liver chunks she’d made at home. Buster, like every other dog she’d met, would dance a jig for one of the disgusting but effective treats. If he’d come to her for anything, he’d come for liver.

The park. Only a couple of blocks away, it would be deserted in the early afternoon except for maybe a couple of moms or nannies and their preschoolers. Teddy stuffed the liver in the pocket of her jeans, slammed the hatch shut and took off, running down the road with her long ponytail flying behind her.

But she almost came to an abrupt—and tragic—end when a dark blue car popped out of the neighbor’s hidden driveway and slammed to a stop just before slamming into her. Fortunately, she’d unconsciously registered the car out of the corner of her eye and, at the last moment, managed to dodge just enough to miss getting T-boned. For several frantic heartbeats, she and the obviously startled driver gaped at each other, but then Teddy got moving again. Half-turning her head, she gave the man a little wave as if to say no harm, no foul. He looked absolutely stunned at first but then recovered and gave her a warm smile.

Teddy remembered that sexy smile. He’d used it on her once before—the time she was walking Buster and the dog unexpectedly deposited a present on the guy’s front lawn just as the big and decidedly gorgeous man looked up from washing his fancy car. Embarrassed, Teddy had given him a shy smile in return as she stooped to pick up after Buster, then had scurried off before her panties melted. From more than fifty feet away, the thirty-something, athletic-looking hunk had radiated the kind of confident masculine power that very few men could muster. He was, quite simply, totally hot.

That was the only time she’d ever laid eyes on him despite having walked Buster every day for the past month. She’d idly hoped more than once that she’d bump into him again but it had never happened.

Until today, when he’d almost bumped into her.

Focus, girl. Find the dog.


Are you an animal lover? How do your animal companions make life better? Two people who comment will win copies of my VK Sykes Philadelphia Patriots anthology, which includes the first 3 books in our series.


He’s a billionaire ballplayer…

Noah Cade, pitcher for the Philadelphia Patriots, has big problems. He’s recovering from a serious injury and he’s just been saddled with his sick aunt’s crazy dogs. Then there’s his dad, a wealthy oilman who wants Noah to retire from baseball and step into his shoes as CEO of the family corporation. All Noah wants is to pitch again and help his team win the World Series, but his family keeps dragging him in the opposite direction.

She’s a small town girl…

Teddy Quinn moved to the city to start a dog walking business for rich people, hoping the income will pay for law school and help her fight the oil corporations drilling the county where she grew up. When Noah Cade hires her as a full-time dog sitter for his high-energy pets, it seems like the answer to Teddy’s financial woes. But the boundaries get blurred when she starts falling for her boss, who uses all his formidable charm to lure her into his bed.

When Teddy discovers Noah’s father owns Baron Energy, she’s devastated. How can she work for—or love—a man whose family stands for everything she hates?


Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo |
   


Check out what's up for grabs.

Up For Grabs:
  • 2 eBook copies of the Philadelphia Patriots anthology

To Enter: 
  • Please answer V.K's questions: Are you an animal lover? How do your animal companions make life better?
  • Please fill out the Rafflecopter form.

Good Luck! 

Special thanks to V.K. Sykes for sponsoring this giveaway.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

41 comments :

  1. The best thing about your pets is the unconditional love that they give you! Well, maybe not so much with some cats!! But my dogs!!!

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  2. I like animals ... from a distance. Between my kids, my husband, work, etc. I can't imagine adding in the responsibility for a pet. Thanks for the giveaway! :-)

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    1. They are a HUGE responsibility, Mrs.Mac. Hubby and I no longer own them because we live in a condo and travel a lot. But I do miss them!

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  3. I love dogs... I had 2 as a kid... They always cheer me up after school!

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  4. We have a dog and a cat and I can honestly say that pets added to the mix can definitely make life more entertaining!

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    1. They sure do, Danielle - sometimes bad but mostly good!

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  5. my avatar is my furbaby Sammie when he was a puppy. He's my "kid" :) Definitely makes life a lot easier and he always makes me feel better! Congrats to the Sykes on the new release and thanks for sharing!

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  6. Dogs are the best - unconditional love.

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  7. I love my dog, a Golden Retriever named Belle. She gives us unconditional love. And while she was never trained to do this, she acts as a therapy dog for my severely autistic son, who goes to her when he needs to calm down. Also, I just want to say that rescue dogs make the best pets. All the dogs I've owned during my life were rescued and not purchased.

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    1. It makes me so happy to hear how Belle helps your son, Sandra. And I agree - rescue dogs make fabulous pets. Bless you for giving those dogs a well-deserved new life!

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  8. The give you love and companionship.

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  9. I am an animal lover who is currently in a "no animals allowed" condo. But when my kids were young we had as many as 4 cats at a time and out Cocker Spaniel, Teddy. They were family to us.

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    1. We're in a condo too, Betty. I miss have furbabies!

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  10. I am an animal lover who is currently in a "no animals allowed" condo. But when my kids were young we had as many as 4 cats at a time and out Cocker Spaniel, Teddy. They were family to us.

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  11. Something happened to my first post. We have two funny Great Danes who crave our companionship and keep me company when the guys all go camping without me

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    1. Missy, I'm so jealous - I love Great Danes!!

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  12. I like animals, but I am not at a point in my life where I can have some. I would feel so bad keeping my dog locked up in an apartment all day :(

    When I get a yard, I am getting a dog!

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    1. I hear you, Veronica. I would never have a dog unless I had a fenced in yard.

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  13. I am an animal lover but currently don't have any. They always show you the meaning of limitless love.

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  14. I love animals, but have only had cats (and a guinea pig during school vacations as a kid). I like that cats allow me to love them. LOL

    Marcy Shuler

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    1. LOL! Yeah, cats definitely deal with love differently, but they are lots of fun, too!

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  15. I can't imagine life without pets (or being an animal's pet depending on the point of view). Both cats and dogs bring a lot of love into the home -- granted with cats the love isn't quite a goofy and unconditional as with dogs. :-)

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    1. Glenda, our dogs definitely had us trained!

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  16. I love pets, I find them very relaxing. Unfortunately I'm allergic so I have to wash up really good after petting them.

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    1. Oh, drat, Linda. My hubby has allergies too, so I know where you're coming from.

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  17. The love that animals give is not fake... they love you no matter what.

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  18. It's the companionship & unconditional love.

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  19. yes, i have a furr baby, a husky female name Clara. Unconditional love and always cheer me up :)
    thanks

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  20. We have always had cats in the family-they know when something is wrong and don't expect much in return.

    thanks for the giveaway

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