Wednesday, October 25, 2023

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The Vet’s Shelter Surprise
Elle Douglas

Published by: Harlequin Special Edition
Publication date: October 24, 2023
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance

An unlikely volunteer…

Saving more than the shelter!

When Georgia O’Neill bursts into the Sunset County Animal Shelter, wary veterinarian Mel Carter doesn’t know what’s hit her. But soon, Georgia’s California rays of sunshine are lighting up even the darkest parts of Mel’s heart, still raw after a heart-wrenching betrayal. Still, PR pro Georgia is set only on rehabbing her image while cleaning out her beloved aunt’s cottage. Mel’s life in rural Canada can’t possibly compete with LA glamour…can it?

From Harlequin Special Edition: Believe in love. Overcome obstacles. Find happiness.

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“Alright. Follow me,” Mel said, leading Georgia down the bright hallway toward the back room. Time to see how she’d do with their resident reptiles. “Right in here,” she said, motioning to the open door at the end of the hall. “After you.”

Heels clicking against the linoleum, Georgia breezed by, leaving the floral scent of her shampoo in her wake and causing Mel to take a deep breath before following her into the room. How was it that something as inane as hair soap could make her heartbeat rev up to double time, and make her palms sweat like a cold glass of lemonade on a hot day? It really had been too long.

Mel surveyed Georgia’s reactions as she walked between the reptile tanks, silently peering into each one with a curious expression.

“Who’s this one? What’s his name?” she asked, pointing to the iguana.

“That’s Sherbet. And she’s a she,” Mel said.

“Okay. Cute. And who’s this?” Georgia pointed to the turtle.

“That’s Pixie. Careful with that one. She almost took my finger off last time I fed her,” she said. She followed Georgia to the gecko tank. “Lollipop is the brown-and-white one, and Gummy Bear is the yellow one.” She waited for Georgia to approach the final tank, which housed a ball python snake named Slinky. Slinky was mellow and gentle, as well as nonvenomous, but Mel knew very few people who liked being in the presence of his sort. Time to see how much Georgia really wanted to volunteer at the shelter.

To Mel’s surprise, Georgia scanned the tank and tapped quietly on the glass. “A snake,” she said matter-of-factly.

“Slinky,” said Mel. Georgia was full of surprises, she was starting to realize. “Most people don’t want to go near him with a ten-foot pole.”

“I lived outside the desert for a few years as a kid. Place was teeming with snakes,” she said. “Okay, next stop?” Her sparkling hazel eyes ratcheted up Mel’s heartbeat from double time to a full-on Ginger Rogers tap dance.

Next stop was the bunny room. Mel was doomed.

Author Bio:

Elle Douglas writes small-town contemporary romance for lovers of warm, feel-good stories that are on the sweeter side. Elle’s novels feature strong, relatable characters living in tight-knit communities, with a backdrop of stunning Canadian wilderness.

Elle is a lover of 90’s alternative music, a wannabe chef specializing in comfort food and a sometimes reluctant but usually dedicated gym-goer who lives in Toronto with her romance muse partner and their cat Lucy (or Lucifer, depending on the day). Between writing romance novels and working as a high school guidance counsellor, Elle works exclusively in helping others find their happily-ever-afters.

She is a graduate of TMU's Radio and Television Arts program, OISE at U of T, and the U of T Creative Writing program, and is a member of Toronto Romance Writers, Romance Writers of America and Georgia Romance Writers.

Visit her website at or find her on Instagram at @elledouglaswriter

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