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Best of Breed (MF)

Siren-BookStrand, Inc.

Heat Rating: SENSUAL
Word Count: 20,560
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[BookStrand Paranormal Romance, werewolves]

It started out as a joke: a werewolf entering a dog show. Adele Chase has always believed herself ugly, with her doggish wolf form and non-shifter blue eyes. But in the show ring she’s discovered a place where she can be beautiful.

Now, poised on the brink of her biggest win, nothing can deter her-–not even the presence of Bowie, the notorious werewolf hunter. He’s stalking the show in search of a werewolf and found what he thinks is a woman. Adele realizes he could be her destined mate–-or, if he uncovers her secret, her death.

With Best in Show within her reach, she plays a dangerous game with a man who might either love her or kill her…with neither aware of the enemy who’s out to destroy them both.

"I meant to write a funny story–-werewolf undercover at a dog show–-but low self-esteem and bad body image aren't laughing matters for too many young women. Adele proves strong enough to find her own beauty, and triumphs over the ugliness around her. Confidence breeds beauty, no airbrushing required." ~Pat~

A BookStrand Mainstream Romance

Professional Reviews

5 DELIGHTFUL DIVAS, RECOMMENDED READ: "Best of Breed is an awesome read! Pat Cunningham combines suspense, paranormal and romance, with great results. From the beginning, Ms. Cunningham grabs your attention and doesn't let go; making you wonder, will Adele (Heidi) win Best in Show, or will Bowie catch her and her brother? How can a were-hunter be Adele's destined mate? Why does Bowie have a beef with were and just what is he hiding? With all these questions, I couldn't put this book down. I had to know, and Ms. Cunningham didn't disappoint. She weaved a story that had me on the edge of my seat, and not only on the suspense, but on the romance aspect as well. I loved Adele; while she’d been beaten down her whole life, she still believes in herself enough to think she can win Best in Show. Bowie is a were hunter, who’s also destined to be Adele’s mate, not that he realizes it. He also has a thing for Adele before he knows that she’s a were. The whole story comes together, leaving you satisfied and happy." -- Autumn, Dark Diva Reviews

4 BOOKS: "I really enjoyed this book. Despite the constant peril that Adele was in from Bowie and an unknown assailant, the undercurrent of humor and fun remained throughout. The writing was deeply descriptive and the editing good. The plot, for a short story, was remarkably complete without being ponderous or loaded with back story. Easy to follow, enjoyable to read, with loads of tension and plenty of angst, Best of Breed is a winner!" -- Poppy, Long and Short Reviews

4 ANGELS: "Jeff 'Bowie' Bauer was determined to hunt down and kill all the werewolves that brutally murdered his entire family and if it took eliminating any blameless werewolf that got in his way - so be it. Bowie's hunt had led him to a popular dog show where shifters had been known to pass themselves off as dogs. As he was on the trail to his latest prey, Bowie ran into the most beautiful woman who brought him to his knees. Although, instant attraction sparked between them, Adele Chase refused to have anything to do with him. Undeterred, Bowie wasn't going to let that stop him from exploring the desire that had firmly planted itself between them. One way or another Adele was going to be his woman. All her life Adele Chase had been labeled as an ugly werewolf because of her doggish wolf look and her non-shifter blue eyes. Then her beloved brother gave her self-esteem a mega booster when he convinced her to enter a dog show resulting in her winning competition after competition. Finally she felt beautiful! All was well until at the most prestigious dog show, she and her brother ran into Bowie, the most scandalous werewolf hunter known to their kind. And, to add more insult to injury Bowie turned out to be her mate! When Bowie discovers her secret will he kill her because she was a shifter or will he welcome and love her as his mate? Readers, you are in for a treat with Best of Breed. It has all the makings of remarkable read. There was suspense, abhorrence, paranormal, witty moments and most of all - an affectionate romance. I was hooked from the start and refused to come up for air until the last page was read. I just had to know how Bowie and Adele's journey to romance was going to pan out and let me tell you that Pat Cunningham did not disappoint. I truly enjoyed Best of Breed and I can't wait to see what Ms. Cunningham comes up with next." -- Contessa, Fallen Angel Reviews

Excerpt

Blue. Her eyes were blue, just as he’d imagined. As he’d been hoping, he realized. Pallid as an arctic sky, just like her dog’s. He sucked in a temporizing breath and discovered she smelled of lavender. It couldn’t be coincidence. More like fate. He’d had that smell in his nose all morning, ever since he confronted the Chase boy and the dog. He couldn’t seem to shake it. Encountering it now on Adele, he decided he no longer wanted to.

Those remarkable eyes lifted to meet his. Fear darted through them, swiftly suppressed. Her smile was courteous, but guarded. “Yes?” she prompted.

She couldn’t be were. Not in those shoes that no shifter female would ever subject her feet to, or that dress that clung so tightly to every delightful dip and curve of her body. Not with those blue eyes.

He’d felt those eyes on him up in the stands, dragging at his awareness, demanding response. One look at her and he’d become obsessed, even before he heard Dartmouth identify her. He wanted suddenly to draw her to him and learn the texture of that midnight hair. Learn how she would respond to his most intimate touch. Test the strength of those athletic-looking limbs, discover how the skin between her breasts would taste.

Not at all his normal reaction upon meeting a woman, not even the most attractive ones. That scent of lavender had scrambled his thoughts. He’d been on the trail too long, he decided. Too long hunting weres and nothing else.

He’d slit his throat with his own silver knife before he’d do with a were what he wanted to do with this woman. She must be human. She had to be.

She fidgeted at his continued silence. Her smile had disappeared. She wrenched her gaze from his and darted it at the nearest exit. She tried to slip by him. “If you’ll excuse me—”

He reached for her arm. She shied away, with a quick, instinctive lift of her lip. A were’s reaction. Her eyes thinned to ice-blue slits. “What do you want from me?”

To kill her, if she weren’t the human he desperately wanted her to be. He doubted she’d appreciate hearing that. He found himself groping after an answer. That had never happened to him before.

It was the lavender, of course. And the way she stood before him, head raised and eyes direct, every line of her body proud and sure. Just like the dog in the ring. “You’re very beautiful,” he blurted.

Her jaw dropped. Not the reaction he expected when he complimented a woman. Her voice shot up the scale to a squeak. “What did you say?”

“I said you’re very beautiful, and I meant it. I’m also incredibly rude. My name is Jeff Bauer.” He held out his hand.

“You’re…who?”

“My name is Jeff Bauer,” he repeated. “You are Adele Chase? Owner of Hide in Plain Sight?”

She stared at his hand as if it held poison. Then at his eyes, as if she expected the same. She seemed confused when she found none. He hoped his smile looked reassuring. Smiles did not come to him easily. He let his hand drop. “You’re not thinking I’m somebody else?”

“I’m not sure who you are, Mr.…Bauer. Or what your interest is in me.”

“To be honest, my interest is more in your dog. You bred her yourself?”

She smiled tentatively, as if at a private joke. Even that faint expression transformed her from beautiful into a woman who could shake a man’s soul in her teeth. “My parents bred her, actually, but she belongs to me.”

“And her handler? Your…?”

“Brother. Trevor is my brother, and Heidi’s co-owner.” She eyed him cautiously. “Are you a Husky fancier, Mr. Bauer?”

“I’m becoming one.”

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