Man's Best Friend

Man's Best Friend

P.A. Brown

Price: $5.99


New Mexico, the land of enchantment weaves a spell of love around Todd Richards and Dr. Keith Anderson as they struggle to make their love work amid terrible loss, betrayal and rustlers and make their dream of a bed & breakfast in Santa Fe a reality.

PUBLISHED BY: ManLove Romance Press
CATEGORIES: ManLove, Romantic Fiction
KEYWORDS: gay erotic romance, slash, M/M

EBOOKS BY ManLove Romance Press


COPYRIGHT P.A. Brown/2009

Chapter One

It was purely accidental that I even met him. Or fate. I think I prefer to think of it as fate. What would my life have been like if Shadow hadn't stepped on that piece of glass that day?

I'd been looking for a new veterinarian for a while. The dogs might have been happy with the old fart I took them to now, but I wasn't. I'd overheard more than one homophobic comment from Fritzy in the past, and it seemed to me his attitude was getting worse, not better, with time. I'm a pretty live and let live kind of guy, but intolerance like that is hard to stomach. I don't think he knew I was gay, which is probably how I overheard him; he wasn't being cautious about what he said. Already a couple of my more overt gay friends had quit going, saying they didn't feel comfortable with his hostility.

I'd taken the two dogs out for their usual run in the dog park, but it wasn't until I got home that I noticed Shadow was limping. A quick examination of his right front foot revealed a razor thin piece of glass embedded in his pad. I extracted it, but got to worrying about how long it had been since he'd had a tetanus shot. Too damned long.

A glance at the kitchen clock told me Fritzy, the old fart, was closed for the day. I knew from past experience that a call to his emergency service would yield a very grumpy visit and a whopping bill not justified by what he actually did. That was when I thought of the new guy who'd opened an office in the area only a few months ago. I called and the girl who answered said yes, they were open, so I booked an emergency appointment, crated Sleuth, bundled Shadow into the van, and headed over.

The waiting room was empty except for a harried-looking, middle-aged woman with an equally harried-looking Yorkie. Both of them eyed Shadow apprehensively, but I'm used to that reaction. Dobermans have an unearned reputation for meanness, but Shadow was a complete gentleman who never even glanced at the other dog as I checked in and confirmed our appointment. After a few minutes the Yorkie was called in to the examination room, leaving a relieved Shadow and me alone in the waiting room. The receptionist, a teenage girl with frizzy blonde hair, kept glancing at the two of us. Finally our eyes met.

"Nice dog," she said. "Purebred?"

"Yeah," I said, touching Shadow's head possessively. "Both of my dogs are."

"You have two? Neat. I love Dobes."

Smart girl. But I could tell she was flirting with me, and while I'm used to it—I've been told I don't look gay—I still never quite know how to handle it. So I ignored her signals and picked up a Kennel Club newsletter to browse. She went back to her keyboard and phone.

Several minutes later the woman with the Yorkie came out, accompanied by a man I assumed was the new vet, and I forgot all about flirting receptionists and yappy terriers.

He was about my height, just over six feet, with well-defined shoulders and chest on a slender body. He had dark, tousled hair, sleepy-looking eyes that just screamed sex appeal, and a mouth I had a sudden urge to kiss. Even in a plain white lab coat he oozed sexuality, and I knew then and there my dogs were never going to be seen by another vet.

I stood up when his gaze fell on me. He smiled. "Shadow?" Shadow scrambled to his feet when I tugged on his lead, and the two of us followed the gorgeous vet into the examination room. He closed the door behind us.

"This your first visit?" the hunk said.

I nodded and extended my hand. "Todd Richards," I said. "And this is Shadow—Silhouettes First Edition, to be exact." His fingers closed over mine, and I wanted nothing more than to pull his pliant body against mine and taste that delicious-looking mouth. Instead I shook his hand and smiled inanely.

"Beautiful animal. I'm partial to Dobes myself."

Smart man. God, gorgeous and smart. I was smitten.

"I'm Dr. Keith Anderson. Let's get Shadow up on the table and see what's going on."

Together we lifted the hundred pound dog onto the examination table, and the vet slid his stethoscope over Shadow's rib cage.

"Good, strong heartbeat. How old is he?"

"Three last month."

"He's not an American breed, is he?"

I was impressed. Most people don't pick up on that—European Dobermans are bred heavier than their American counterparts. To my eye, American Dobes look frail. Lightweight. I'd always favored the Dutch Dobes myself. They look more butch; just like I like my men. I grinned. If he wondered what I found so funny, he didn't ask.

He checked out Shadow's impressive teeth and looked in his ears. I confess I like the cropped look, so both my dogs have their ears cut. Only Shadow has one lazy ear, so he has a lopsided look. I think it's endearing. Keith seemed to agree.

"Aren't you just a sweet thing." He rubbed Shadow's head. "Bet you're spoiled rotten."

"Oh, yeah. Major suck. They both are."

"Most Dobes are. You show them?" Then he answered his own question as he examined the dog's back end. "Oops, guess not. Not fixed like that."

"Nah, dogs shows aren't my thing." Suddenly I was wishing I were a dog so that Keith, the way hunky vet, could examine me all over. I was sporting a boner and was thankful the examining table was between me and Keith. "Too political. We do special shows. Superdogs type thing; obedience and agility. They've picked up a few ribbons. I'm booked into the county fair next month. Maybe you could come see us."

There must have been a catch or something in my voice because Keith gave me a weird look. Then a smile burst out of his gorgeous face.

"They must be something to see, watching all that muscle in motion."

"You'll have to come out and see for yourself."

Another weird look. "I'd like that." He picked up Shadow's injured paw and studied the cut. "Ah, here's the culprit. Glass?" I nodded. Keith cleaned it out and gave Shadow his shot. "That ought to take care of him. He's lucky. It's not deep enough to need stitches." Keith's hand rested on Shadow's head, right near my hand. "I've seen you around."

"Oh?" I figured he meant on the street, maybe walking the dogs, so he surprised the hell of me when he said, "Yeah, at the Green Lantern Bar and Grill."

My mouth must have hung open because he was grinning crazily. The Green Lantern was a gay restaurant right in the heart of boy's town. I went there at least once a week for beer and munchies. No way had I ever seen him there. I said as much.

"It was my first time. I was new in town and feeling a little down, so I went out for a nice meal. Someone had told me about the place. I'm out, but I wanted to be careful about being seen by my clients, so I stayed inside. I'd rather be known for my skill with animals than my sexual orientation. You were on the patio with a bunch of other people, as I recall."

We put Shadow back on the floor and stood there looking at each other. I could feel the heat radiating off his body and suddenly knew under that white smock that he had a hard-on as heavy as mine. But I'm not a forward kind of guy. I never did well in the club scene, and I was a disaster on the circuit, which is probably why I'm alone more often than not, so as usual I did nothing except look at him longingly.

Fortunately Dr. Keith wasn't as reticent. "Would you like to join me there for a drink sometime?"

Would I? I smiled dopily. "When?"

He put his hand over mine where it lay on the examining table. "How about when I get off here? I'm done in..." he glanced at his watch, "twenty minutes. Unless there's an emergency walk-in, you're the last appointment of the day."

I stared into his eyes, which were a beautiful mountain-lake blue. I could drown in eyes like that. "Do you have to go home to get changed?"

"I live here," he said, jerking his head upward. He came around to stand in front of me, wiping his hands on a sterile towel. "Above this place. It was a package deal. I couldn't resist when I was looking for a business location. Live close to work; no commuting costs. Considering what I'm driving, that's a good thing. You can come and have a drink while I get dressed. As long as you like beer... I'm afraid it's all I have."

Is that all? I wondered wistfully. He could have offered me tap water. I couldn't seem to lose the dopey smile.

Maybe that's why Keith did what he did next. He leaned over and planted those perfect lips on mine.

I haven't been with a ton of guys, and I'm not the most experienced person in the world, but that kiss just about blew me away. It wasn't over-the-top raw lust; he wasn't trying to fuck me right there, but he was definitely sending a message. Call me Western Union.

I opened my mouth, and groaned when his tongue accepted the invitation and slipped inside. His hand went behind my head and pressed me against him. I grabbed his hip for support. My body swayed and leaned into him. I groaned again when I felt his erection press against my belly. I must have been wrong about his height. He had to be an inch or two taller than me. His dick felt huge.

"God, you're cute," he murmured when he broke the kiss. He nibbled on my mouth, then leaned away. "Sorry."

"For what?" I stared at his mouth, wishing he'd kiss me again. "For kissing me?"

"For being so forward. I don't normally go around kissing my clients."

I stroked his face, feeling the start of a five o'clock shadow. I was glad to feel him lean into my hand. His skin felt hot and invited exploration. I stroked his cheek, and then ran my fingers around his outer ear, feeling his pulse leap under my sensitive fingers. "Good," I said a little breathlessly. "As long as it's just me."

"Oh, you're definitely the first." Then he pulled away completely, straightened his lab coat, and smoothed his ruffled hair back into place. The gesture only made me want to run my fingers through it and mess it up again. "And if I don't get out there and help Mandy close up we'll never get to dinner." He gave me that killer smile again. "Or anything else."

I wanted to ask him about the anything else, but he was gone.

I stared down at Shadow, who was watching me with his normal Dobe intensity. "I think I'm falling big time, guy. What am I going to do?"

Shadow's stub of a tail wagged in what I took for approval. He liked this new vet, too.

"I hope you're right."


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