Lenae McIntyre is a visually impaired woman who happens to love women and she is a dog trainer now, running her Dog training center in a small town trying to help other visually impaired people to find a companion for life after she was in such a program and found Baxter, her labrador. She used to work as a feature writer for the Nation’s News Network, but she left the media world full of betrails and back stabbs, especially coming from her former lover Traci. She’s bold, strong, beautiful, intelligent, yet not reading people quite well. She just wants to run her center, helped by Des, but she needs some funding to maker her five years plan for the center work, so she needs a local tv show for some publicity, more clients, puppy walkers and perhaps a sponsor, yet still she secretly searches for love or at least she has to face the attraction she can’t deny nor forget.
„She felt unmoored by the changes about to occur, precipitated by a need to increase the community’s awareness of her new center, and she had come to the kennels to reorient herself. She had chosen the dogs, had designed the layout of the center, and had drafted a five-year plan for building it into a thriving program. If she had to let a television crew invade her privacy for one afternoon in her quest to make the center a success, then she’d do it. Reluctantly.”
„Toby was one of her trained dogs, ready for his first experience with a new vision-impaired owner, and he exhibited all the signs she wanted to notice at his level.”
„All of her dogs were important to her because they meant the training center had a chance of being a success. She had trained individual service animals in the past—whenever her busy work schedule had allowed—but now she was planning to do the work full-time. More than the future of the center, though, was the realization that each of these dogs would mean a sense of freedom and companionship for someone trapped in a lonely and restricted world. She loved having the opportunity to give other sight-impaired people the same experience she’d had when she first got Baxter. Her world had grown, physically and emotionally, when she had been handed the training harness and had first knelt to fumble through fitting it to the patient dog. She had expected to find in him a helper, a guide to get her around more easily and swiftly, but she had found so much more—a relationship with more depth and trust than she had ever experienced, more so than she thought would be possible with other humans. Funny that she needed a television program—the ultimate in meaninglessness, in her opinion—to help promote her efforts to provide deep relationships between her dogs and the people with whom they’d bond.”
„Lenae edged her way into the last run, counting puppies with one hand while she groped for the latch with the other. There seemed to be more than three of them as they tumbled over each other in the attempt to get closer to her. She finally got the door securely fastened, made sure she had the requisite number of pups still inside the gate, and sat down on the springy grass. She laughed as she was assaulted by the furious licks and eager wet noses.
Lenae picked up her personal favorite of the bunch, a Lab named Pickwick, and cuddled him close. She burrowed her face in his fluffy baby fur and felt his whole body wriggle because he was wagging his tail so hard. She let the warmth and softness of all three pups ease the tension she had been carrying all day. All of her training animals mattered to her, but these three—as well as three others from another litter that were still with their mother—had special meaning. They’d be the first group of service dogs to be in her training program from the very start. The dogs waiting for their new humans and the ones waiting to begin their first days of training were animals she had purchased from other facilities. These puppies would be with her from day one, and she’d be able to control every detail of their training, from puppy walking until they were released to their new owners. They were the real future of the center, and the true test of her methods and talent as a trainer.”
„She didn’t mind standing in front of a camera—and the audience it represented—but she did mind being used for someone else’s self-advancement. Cara Bradley was most likely looking for attention, for a chance to break into a bigger market, pretending to be interested in the people and stories she spotlighted, but only after one goal. Self-promotion.
Lenae had been used once, giving her heart to a woman only to realize it wasn’t her heart Traci was after—and she never wanted to let anyone use her again. She had left her job as a television newswriter because she hadn’t been able to determine the true character of the people she worked with. Now Lenae was far away from the shallow world of television, safely installed at her training center where she was surrounded by creatures she could completely trust. Having to allow her old world into her new one—even for a few hours—was disturbing, but she would put up with it for one day, for only one reason. This time, she wasn’t the only one being used. She needed the publicity from the show, so she’d use Cara Bradley as well.”
Cara Bradley is a local reporter of a beautiful charity show that promotes special cases of people which make this world a better place, called „Around the sound” and teaches a great course at the University about how much family roots influences one’s character.. She wants to stay in the background and to promote these wonderful people, because she wants to make a difference. She’s a beautiful woman and has everything her heart desires as a member of the Bradley family with a shallow celebrity lifestyle, her mother is a famous actress, her father a national known reporter and her brother Richard a famous script writer and actor. He seemed to have escaped easily his parents’ expectations of fame and followed his talent, somehow siding Cara, who was never as good enough as him and although, she played in commercials before she could walk and tried to pleased her parents by searching fame, yet they never understood Cara nor her real talent, being beautiful yet bringing other gifted and philantropists in front of the camera. She was betrayed by a number of women who only dated her for her family’s fame and favors. She wanted to please her public, but she didn’t wanted to be like her fame hungry parents, nor use people in the search of it.
“The people she interviewed for her public television series, Around the Sound, were often stiff and hesitant to talk when the microphones and lights were pointed in their direction. But after most of the equipment had been moved away, and Cara nudged them into conversations about their passions, they became different people. Open and relaxed.”
„Cara had been reading Lenae McIntyre’s bio during the ride. Feature writer for the Nation’s News Network turned philanthropist and dog trainer. The story had all the right angles for Cara’s show. Lenae had left a fast-paced, high-paying, high-profile job with Three-N for this significantly less lucrative and low-key new job. Even as Cara planned what to say when she was on-air and highlighting the sacrifices Lenae was making to help unite visually impaired people with service animals, she was wondering what Lenae was really getting out of this lifestyle change”
They met when Cara wants to make a tv show about Lenae’s dog center and their characters collide at first, yet afterwards they manage to know each other and understand characters, talents and flaws. They fall for each other without knowing when filming Lenae’s center, Cara’s blindfolded puppy walking Toby and knowing Baxter, Lenae’s dog. Cara finds Lenae sophisticated and very much attractive through her boldness and straightforwardness, yet Lenae belives Cara is using this local show to find a national job, especially when Cara’s father calls Lenae and says he will support through a grant and a nationwide show her center all at Cara’s suggestion. Of course, it’s not true, it’s all his idea for his daughter to find fame at the national network he works for in NY, yet he manages to make Cara become a puppy walker for a year with puppy labrador Pickwick at Lenae’s side and perform a show at his network.
„Cara was wrapped in thoughts of her family, and she was startled back to the present when a woman with a large golden retriever by her side opened the door just as she was about to knock. Lenae McIntyre.
Cara lowered her hand. “Oh, hello. I was going to knock, but you answered.” She cringed at her inane way of stating the obvious. She rarely was at a loss for words, having been raised to speak in public as soon as she had uttered her first syllables, but the woman in front of her made it difficult for Cara to breathe properly. She was no stranger to compliments about her own looks, and therefore she disregarded any such praise as meaningless and no real indicator of worth, but Lenae was so stunning that Cara wanted to thank her just for standing there.
“I’m Cara Bradley,” she said, smoothing out her expression with the skills of much practice, even though she knew Lenae couldn’t see the subtle changes. Cara had a feeling Lenae was adept at discerning nuances of tone, and Cara’s calmer demeanor would lead to a more controlled voice. Relax the muscles along the side of the nose, expand through the temples. Cara, after spending hours listening to her parents’ advice and studying herself in the mirror, had developed some effective little tricks for keeping her face calm even when turbulent emotions thrashed under her skin. ”
„Lenae would have been as at home in front of the camera as she must have been behind the scenes as a writer. Her appearance was stylish, in a simple, classic manner. Dark mahogany hair in a bob, cut slightly longer in the front. A royal-blue button-up Oxford shirt with dark khaki pants. Cara wasn’t sure whether Lenae had chosen her look because it was simple or because it flattered her, but it managed to do both. Sharp cheekbones were emphasized by the hairstyle, and the shirt highlighted her elegant figure. The colors would look well on camera, and they even brought out the brassy tones in the retriever’s coat.
“I’m Lenae McIntyre.” Lenae held out her hand and felt strong, warm fingers take hold of her own. No hesitancy or fumbling for grip, as Lenae so often experienced when shaking hands with someone for the first time. Her hand found Cara’s naturally.
“Nice to meet you, Lenae.””
„Lenae pulled her hand away more sharply than she intended. Cara’s use of her name—spoken in that oozing-honey voice of hers—brought conflicting feelings to the surface. Attraction, yes. But more than that. From the feel of Cara’s hand fitting so perfectly in hers to the voice that could convince a person of just about anything, Lenae felt physically aroused even as she heard warning Klaxons in her mind. If Cara’s looks were any match to her voice, she’d be a knockout. Definitely on the track to bigger and better media jobs. Lenae had been fooled by soft voices and the smoky sound of her own name spoken in ways she thought had been meaningful, only to find they had merely been self-serving. She didn’t trust herself to judge by sound alone how much of Cara was practiced media personality and how much was the real person.”
„Filming had already begun. “This is Baxter,” she said, reminding herself why she was doing this interview. For the center. For all the people and dogs that would come through her doors and be forever changed by their new partnerships. “He’s a five-year-old golden retriever, and we’ve been together for three years.”
“It’s customary to ask permission from the handler before approaching and petting a service animal,” Cara said, her voice becoming a touch more distant as she addressed her remark to the camera. Lenae felt an odd sense of loneliness until she felt the whisper of Cara’s breath and the focused sound of her voice when she faced Lenae again. “Is it all right if I pet him?””
„Cara knelt next to him, Lenae felt a quiver of excitement run through his body—even more pronounced than it had been when he met Des. She had been expecting him to be standoffish, but she felt him squirm like a puppy under Cara’s attentions. Maybe he had only been reacting to Lenae’s emotions, not responding to Cara’s character as Lenae had originally thought.
More distracting yet was the sound of Cara’s laughter, as seductive and sweet as her voice had been.”
Lenae is dissapointed , yet she slowly falls for Cara’s hear, soul, voice and heart. She doesn’t want to be an obstacle in Cara’s on air personna’s rise, yet she’s hurt that Cara may have used her for fame especially after their passionate, heartfelt lovemaking in New Yoor after the show and karaoke’s night out.
„Cara’s touch was different. Respectful and minimal, although it generated a sensation of heat along Lenae’s collarbone and against her belly when Cara clipped the equipment in place. Cara was dangerous. She seemed to know how to use her voice to seduce and charm. She left a trail of electricity everywhere her skimming fingers touched. She even had Baxter enamored of her. But she was still dangerous. She could lead Lenae to believe everything she said. She had already stirred up Lenae’s arousal until she compliantly let Cara take charge of the mic even though Lenae had used one before and could have wired herself up in less time. Every place where Lenae had the potential to be weak, Cara was strong.”
„Cara finished clipping the mic to Lenae’s shirt and then she stepped away. Usually Sheryl took care of this small chore, but Cara had stepped in and done the job herself because she had been the one talking—the familiar one—to Lenae, and she thought the requisite touching might be less disturbing from her. But the second her fingers brushed the smooth, pale skin just above the waistband of Lenae’s khakis, she had to admit that she had wanted to find out if Lenae’s body lived up to its promise.”
„“Before our fully trained dogs are matched with new owners, they go through a final test of guiding a blindfolded volunteer. We want to find out how they adjust to a different voice issuing commands. I thought we could blindfold Cara and have Toby guide her around a little.””
„A light whiff of oranges and vanilla signaled Cara’s approach. The scent reminded Lenae of the ice cream bars she used to enjoy as a child, when the summertime sound of the ice cream truck brought her running to the curb along with the other neighborhood children. Flavors as soft and sweet as Cara’s voice. Too bad her words hadn’t had the same qualities as the tone in which they were delivered.”
„Lenae scratched Baxter under his chin and felt his rough tongue on her wrist. She had been apprehensive about getting a guide dog at first. Such a physical and glaring proof of her difference—anyone who saw her walking down the street with him would know she was visually impaired and judge her as helpless. Giving up control as they sped along the sidewalk. Trusting him without reservation. She had spent her first days of training being told repeatedly to stop trying to guide him”
„Find Cara,” she said to Baxter, and he led her a few yards forward and stopped. She put out her hand and brushed the sleeve of Cara’s shirt before she felt Cara’s hand close over hers. The same sense of connection Lenae had felt before. Instead of touch being a necessary—and unwanted—experience for her, the feeling of anchoring herself to Cara was similar to what Lenae felt when she petted Baxter. A physical attraction, especially to someone she was unable to read and with whom she had little in common, was at best a distraction from her goals and at worst a sure way to get hurt. She let go of Cara’s hand.”
„The break had given her time to catch her breath, but the only thing her senses were aware of was Lenae’s closeness. The scent of Chanel, the throaty timbre of her voice. Sophisticated smells and sounds, but the softness of Lenae’s touch was something grounded and down-to-earth.”
Cara knows she’s in love with Lenae from the moment she asked her students to help in cleaning Lenae’s center, paint the fence and making an aromatic plants’ basket for Lenae, she loves Pickwick and training him and having him in her life and Lenae is sophisticated and attractive in the most beautiful way Cara has ever know, she loves the way Lenae understood her intimate thoughts, her real self and her on air personna and her Channel is intoxicating. Their lovemaking is wonderful after the show in New York and Cara’s karaoke night out.
„She had considered bringing a date to tonight’s monthly family dinner, but she had been disappointed too many times in the past. At first, she had been surprised each time she realized the woman she’d thought was a potential long-term girlfriend was merely an aspiring starlet hoping to be invited into the Bradleys’ world. Later, she had tried not to care whether her dates were only interested in her looks or her name. But the superficial desires of those women, combined with the coldness of her family, had left her numb.”
„Cara loved her brother and admired his classically developed talent as an actor, but she saw the chasm of difference between them in the way they responded to flattery and starstruck adoration. Richard, like their parents, came alive with the attention. They were animated and kinder to one another than when they were in private. They sparkled with the very star quality that Talia wanted to see. Cara, on the other hand, withdrew inside herself even as she kept up the façade of the Bradley name. She had felt empty, hollow, when her name and family—instead of her true self—had been the center of a woman’s attention, whether on dates or at parties and openings. Maybe her family recognized the shallowness of Talia’s interest, but they seemed to thrive on it, believe they deserved it. Talia’s kind of attention only made Cara grow less certain that there was anything deeper to see in any of the Bradleys, even herself.”
They are transfixed by love and charity and somehow loves finds a way to sidetrack Cara’s bad family’s values and life happily ever after.
„“What does it mean to have roots in a geographic location, in a culture, an ethnicity, or a specific family? To what extent are we bound by those roots? Are we ever completely free to choose our own destiny, or do we create a future that branches out from—but always connects to—the past? We’re going to approach these questions from a variety of angles—sociological, biological, and anthropological”
„“I’ve wanted to kiss you for a long time, but I expected it to be kind of wild. Like the surface of the ocean during a storm. Not…”
“Not a deep, strong current.” Lenae finished her sentence.”
„Start with the heart of her. Not her hair, her chin, her face. But her heart, where she truly needs to be known.Lenae cupped Cara’s breast and felt her heartbeat, strong and fast. She moved her hand, wanting the friction of Cara’s silky shirt against skin to increase Cara’s arousal. She followed the edge of Cara’s shirt with her fingers, from her shoulder to the V between her breasts and back again until she felt Cara arch up toward her hand. She dropped her head and used her lips to follow the same path.”
„“I want to feel your New York,” Cara said, leaning close to Lenae’s ear when she spoke.
Distracted by the rush of soft breath, Lenae hesitated for a moment. “You mean my old apartment? The Three-N building?” She’d take Cara to those places if she wanted, but retracing the steps she had taken with Traci would be painful for her.
“Not so literal. I don’t know how to explain, but when we walked down to the Sound when you came to Evergreen, you seemed to experience it more deeply than I did. Every sense attuned to your surroundings. I see places, but not as dimensionally as you know them.”
„Lenae’s fingers clenched in Cara’s hair. “Tell me…more.”
Cara made lazy circles with her fingers around Lenae’s wet lips. “You’re full of fascinating textures here, too. Some places are smooth, others rough. Soft and hard at the same time. Your muscles clench like you’re powerful, but weak enough to collapse. Your skin moves under my fingers when you start to shiver and your inner thigh muscles tremble. And when you come?” Cara asked as Lenae’s orgasm crashed over her. “When you come, I feel and taste and smell and hear and see…heaven.””
„ Lenae was dying inside, but she wouldn’t be selfish enough to deny Cara this chance to grow.”
The story is magnificent, unique, bold and beautiful, yet I would have wanted to know and feel more of Lenae’s feelings and sensations, especially during their lovemaking and less of the bulshit in the media world. The characters are beautiful, strong sensitive, trustworthy, caring, loving, yet Cara seems to weak and sometimes like a teenager because of her family and Lenae too strong and to reluctant. I loved it and would recommend it as a special, amazing lesbian romance read.