Friday, October 16, 2009

Toxic by Belinda McBride

cover art by ReneƩ George
ISBN: 978-1-60521-304-0
Genre(s): Paranormal
Theme(s): Interracial, Werewolves, BBW
Series: Sex and Chocolate
Length: Novella

There are three things that Dr. Briony Theale loves. Her job as a veterinarian, a good bar of rich, dark chocolate, and Rico, the new ranger in charge of the Wildlife Rescue center. When a casual dinner with the mysterious Rico turns surprisingly intimate, Briony realizes that she might just have a chance with him after all, if only she could lose a few pounds. It's the ultimate sacrifice, but Briony goes cold turkey, and swears off chocolate forever.

Rico Montgomery fell hard for Briony the first time he set eyes on the curvy little doctor. Her brown hair and cocoa skin trigger cravings that he can barely control, and her fragrance is like the sweetest, richest chocolate he's ever scented in his life. That's a bad thing for Rico, because to a werewolf like him, chocolate is literally a toxin.

Rico can't live with it, and Briony can't live without it. And when a certain wandering wolf finds a bag of chocolate in the Dumpster near Briony's clinic, these two will find just how toxic love can be.

This e-book file contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language which some may find offensive and which is not appropriate for a young audience. Changeling Press E-Books are for sale to adults, only, as defined by the laws of the country in which you made your purchase. Please store your files wisely, where they cannot be accessed by under-aged readers.

"I really can't believe you want to muzzle Chaucer. He's such a sweet boy!"
Dr. Briony Theale deftly placed the makeshift muzzle over the little schnauzer's head. Sweet boy or not, he was showing teeth just a little too readily. "Oh, it's just a precaution, Miss Wilson. My tech had to go home early today, and this just makes it a little easier handling him by myself."
"Are you sure that other vet isn't available? That nice man?"
Briony barely kept from rolling her eyes at the question. Like she hadn't heard that a million times over the past two years? "Dr. Sewell retired a couple years back." She bent to the dog, giving it a brief physical examination. "Now, what brings Chaucer in today?"
"He's sick."
Okay, the day was getting better and better.
"Can you tell me his symptoms? Or maybe what caused him to be sick?" She palpated the dog's belly and he grunted. Quickly, she turned to the thermometer. While holding the instrument in place, she hummed slightly.
"What?" Briony blinked, wondering if her chocolate-heavy lunch was still on her breath. Not that she indulged herself that way every day, but still, she had to stifle the urge to check her breath against a cupped hand.
Considering where her gloved hand had just been... Her face grew warm with embarrassment.
"Well, he was acting hungry, so I shared some of my chocolate with him. There was plenty left over from Easter, and you know, chocolate is so fattening..." She broke off, eyeing Briony's abundant figure critically.
"That could be it. Chocolate is very toxic to dogs."
"I didn't know! Oh my precious..." She nuzzled the nose of the muzzled dog. Considering the muffled growls, the woman would have probably lost the tip of her nose if Briony hadn't taken precautions to muzzle the little beast.
"So is he vomiting? Acting particularly agitated or nervous?"
Miss Wilson bobbed her graying head.
"How much did you give him?"
"Well, not much..." She held out her wrinkled hand, which had a slight tremor. "Just a palm full."
"Dark or milk?"
"Why does that matter?" Miss Wilson was sounding decidedly irritated.
"Well, for a dog the size of Chaucer, eight ounces of milk chocolate could prove to be toxic, but only one ounce of dark chocolate would have the same effect."
Tears welled up in the elderly woman's eyes. "Oh no! I'm so sorry, Chaucer." She stroked the dog's grizzled head. "I gave him bittersweet. I don't care for that type so much."
The little dog was trembling, and Briony knew she needed to act fast. She left the woman comforting her pet and stepped away, stripping off her gloves.
"I'll need to keep him over the weekend. There's no remedy for this, but hopefully it'll work through his system without too much trauma. I'll give him some activated charcoal to help with the toxins, but mostly all I can do is support him until he recovers."
"Will he be all right?"
Briony looped a lead over his head and slipped the muzzle loose. "Well, that's difficult to tell. It'll take the toxin several hours to work through his system. If he's vomited, hopefully some of it is gone already. Unfortunately, it might take a day or two."
"If he stays here overnight, will you be with him? I don't see the point in leaving him here if he's alone all night."
"No, he won't be alone." She gave the woman a reassuring smile. "I have a tech that stays the night, and if there's an emergency she calls me at home. I live just minutes away."
She picked up the little dog, who struggled just a bit before settling. "We'll take very good care of him, Miss Wilson. I'll call first thing in the morning with an update."
She walked the woman to the door and nodded at Amy, the receptionist. Taking her cue, the younger woman came and guided Miss Wilson to the counter to begin the billing process. She sighed and returned to the back of the clinic to get the dog started on his treatment. She gently settled Chaucer into a roomy crate, checking his water bottle. No doubt the little dog was Miss Wilson's only family. She'd be shattered if Chaucer died because of her soft heart.
"So, you and me, Chaucer, we've got the very same vice."
The dog sat for a moment and then got up, circled, and sat back down. Within a few seconds he repeated the process. That was the hyperactivity kicking in. If he was at home, he'd pace and circle all night long until the effects of the chocolate toxicosis wore off. He was also in danger of having seizures that could kill him.
Slipping her hands into the pockets of her exam jacket, Briony found the half-eaten remains of a chocolate bar. She sighed and slipped a square into her mouth, letting it melt over her tongue.
Sex and chocolate were the two greatest indulgences in Briony's life. The sex might be lacking these days; luckily, the chocolate was abundant. That wasn't so bad. Maybe she was a little lonely, but how bad could it be when there was chocolate to soothe those other cravings?
She folded the wrapper around the bar and slipped it back into her pocket.

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