Today, award-winning and USA Today bestselling author Dariel Raye is guesting. She’s talking about her latest release Gateway 1, book one in the Gateway Trilogy, a paranormal romance. Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.
The last several years have been an eye-opening mixture of sadness and appreciation. Until recently, I had three large house dogs, a broad head Black Lab (girl), a Dobie/Coonhound (boy), and a Rottie mix (girl). Both of my girls died of complications from Hip Dysplasia. My boy, Jackson, the Dobie/Coonhound died at 14 of post-surgery complications following the removal of a cancerous growth. Now, I know this is sad and all, but bear with me – there’s a silver lining. About two years after Jackson passed, I’d finally mourned the loss of all three of them enough to get a girl, a German Shepherd/Pitt Bull (Staffordshire Terrier brand), and she is a handful.
I hear people say all the time that they don’t want any more pets because it hurts so much when we lose them, but think about that for a minute – suppose we said we didn’t want to love people anymore because it hurts so much to lose them! I have always loved and admired animals, and they’ve always been an integral part of my life, so I can’t imagine living without them. They add so much to our lives, particularly when we pay attention to them. I believe that’s one reason I enjoy writing shifters so much. So, all that said, let’s talk about some things we can learn from dogs (translated, silver lining).
1. Enjoy the little things. Any pet lover knows how happy our dogs get when they realize they’re going for a ride, or to the park, or just for a walk or run. Unlike us, they don’t take the little fun things of life for granted.
2. Enjoy your meals like you’ll never get more. I love watching them eat and enjoy their food. They’re content and appreciative, and Jackson always comes and finds me after he eats just so he can kiss my hand. I love that! His way of saying “thank you.”
3. Happiness is the standard. Unless there’s an immediate reason not to be, they’re joyous about living. They don’t worry about something that hasn’t even happened yet. They make the most of every living moment instead of killing time with negativity.
4. Giving without expecting reciprocation. They show affection in every way they can, even attempting to groom us without expecting anything in return.
5. Protect the ones you love. I’ve seen dogs protecting homeless people who can barely feed them, yet the dogs are willing to give their lives without a thought. I’ve seen them live with constant neglect and mistreatment by selfish, hateful owners, yet they sacrifice for these people and love them anyway.
6. Trust. Trust is really hard. It means a willingness to risk your heart. Dogs do it all the time. They trust us to make the best decisions for their lives, feed and care for them, and even when we make bad decisions and detrimental mistakes, they don’t judge (at least I’ve never heard one say anything. LOL). Jackson is not friendly, so when we went to the vet and the tech took his temp (you know, at the back end), I wrapped my arms around him and turned his face towards me. He looked into my eyes when he realized what she was doing, but didn’t say a word. It was as if he was saying “If you say this is okay, I guess I won’t turn around and take her head off.” Now, that’s trust!
7. They follow protocol. They know who’s in charge, and they seldom challenge that. To them, being in charge doesn’t mean you’re the most important or most educated and certainly not the richest, and it doesn’t even mean you’re the one who feeds them. It means you’re the one they love the most, for whatever reason. I like to think they see our souls, or at least our auras and our hearts.
8. They’re honest. Dogs are guileless and straightforward.
9. They don’t complain about their condition. No matter what’s ailing them, they let you know about it if you’re an attentive pet owner, then they leave it to you to take care of. They don’t whine and complain and say “why me?” They accept and make the most of their situation, whatever it is. I admire that. I’m not there yet – nowhere near it. LOL
10.Last, but certainly not least…It’s not all about them; It’s all about you. As mothers, we get a taste of that, but we’re the ones giving the unconditional love in that instance. In fact, I think dogs and mothers are the only sources of unconditional love in the human realm, and not all mothers are even capable of this amazing gift. It’s still one of a dog’s most admirable traits, if not the most endearing. You are the center of their universe, because of that they forgive you for anything, and it’s that unconditional love that allows them to wrap their paws around our hearts forever 🙂
Make the most of every day with your pets so you don’t have to regret anything. Take them for rides with the windows rolled down as far as they safely can be, go love on them and find all their “happy” spots – you know, the ones that make them shake their back legs and roll their eyes back in ecstasy. LOL When I get teary about the wonderful pets I’ve lost, it’s those things that give me comfort. They most definitely deserve all the love we can give them.
I’d love to hear about your pets, and feel free to share pics with me on Facebook.
Every predator has a weakness.
Blurb: When an ancient being, the last of his kind, meets a fiery woman sought by evil, neither one of them is prepared for the consequences.
Gateway is a shape-shifting demon hunter who finds, protects, and prepares the Chosen – human females with the ability to redeem or destroy demons. For centuries, he has followed the rules…
Complete genetic imprint
No personal attachments…
Until he meets his newest charge – curvy, fiery, headstrong, and angry with the world. Following the rules while fending-off demons is going to take everything he has and then some.
Note: “Gateway” contains explicit love scenes, profanity, and violence. Must be 18+ Part of this story was previously published in the “A Darker Shade of Evil” anthology under the title, “The Devil Upstairs.”
The employee who came to get Gateway stopped short of the hallway, his blue eyes wild with fear. More symbols lined the back of the club where the offices and restrooms were, but once again, there was no time to ask about them.
As soon as we reached the small sitting area outside Gateway’s office, two men were waiting there for him.
They both held guns as they glanced at me, then at Gateway, dropping their heads in the next second as if they had broken some unwritten rule I wasn’t aware of. The whole thing was like a scene from a bad mafia movie.
Gateway immediately shoved me behind him before I could even gasp, but he didn’t let go of my hand.
“Good Evening, Mr. Savoy,” one of the armed men said.
The last thing I wanted to do was distract him, but I instinctively placed my free hand at his back for support to keep from passing out. I didn’t want him to get the wrong idea. I had never been one of those weak, simpering females like so many in horror movies. I didn’t mind a good fight from time to time and I had definitely won my share, but guns were different. They had a strong tendency to give the holder almost 100% advantage, if the holder knew how to use them, that is.
Gateway squeezed my hand in reassurance and for some reason I believed him. I trusted that he had it all under control. Of course, my subconscious was screaming for me to get the hell out of here and stop acting like a damn fool, but I needed to believe him because my feet wouldn’t move and my legs felt wobbly. I really didn’t need the drama right now or ever, for that matter. Hell, I was embarking on a job search the next morning.
“Evening. How can I help you?” Gateway asked as if he didn’t see the guns.
My hand tightened, clutching his back like a security blanket.
“We figured one of your staff would see the urgency of getting your attention,” the man with the gun replied. “What you can do for us is to open your safe.”
The next few seconds were a blur of rapid movement and I was still behind Gateway, so I only caught bits of the action.
Arms moved, mostly Gateway’s and feet scuffled, mostly everyone else’s except for Gateway’s. The scuffling feet were mostly the gunmen’s.
I couldn’t see how he managed to do it, and I’d only managed to do it a few times in self-defense class, but somehow Gateway took the guns from both men and dropped them to the floor. I knew I would never forget the clattering sound they made when they landed on the concrete. I know concrete is supposed to absorb sound, but the guns sounded like thunder in my ears because all of my senses were amped with adrenaline.
Then Gateway finally let me go and stepped away long enough to lift both of the men by their necks and pin them against the wall.
The sound of running water drew my attention to the fact that one of the men was pissing himself.
Both of their faces were masks of horror, eyes huge, mouths open, soundless. They just hung there, all the fight gone out of them in an instant.
I wondered what exactly were they seeing and thinking.
“Look what you made me do. You scared my lady friend, and almost made me lose my temper.”
Gateway sounded dangerously calm to my ears and I couldn’t see his face. Almost? What is he like when he actually loses his temper? “If I ever see either of you again, you’ll end up in the same condition as your weapons, except I’ll make sure to make you suffer first. Understood?”
The men nodded in quick time like bobble heads, unable to speak with Gateway’s hands around their necks.
I slumped against the opposite wall in an attempt to pull myself together. I was probably in shock, but I definitely was mesmerized by the way Gateway had dismantled the would-be robbers.
The minute he released the men and turned to face me, my feeling of relief flew out the window as the thieves ran for one exit and I ran for the other. I wasn’t running from Gateway, but from the whole near-death experience. If not for meeting Gateway, I would have sworn this day had been sent from Hell.
I glanced back like Lott’s wife in the Bible and like her, I immediately regretted it. Unlike the nameless biblical character, I was looking to see if Gateway was following me. A flash of red grabbed my attention and I couldn’t look away.
Dariel Raye is an animal lover, animal rights activist, musician, and USA Today bestselling, award-winning author of powerful paranormal romance and dark urban fantasy with IR/MC (Interracial/Multi-cultural) alpha male heroes to die for, and strong heroines with hearts worth winning. She fell in love with books and started reciting stories at the age of 3.
A counseling psychologist, classically trained vocalist, and pianist, she plays over 11 musical instruments, and naturally incorporates behavioral psychology into her characters. Her stories tell of shifters, vamps, angels, demons, and fey (the Vodouin variety). She is also a mom, art tinkerer, and Netflix and Amazon Prime paranormal TV series binger.
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