Squeaky is the harlequin Great Dane from Hot, my first contemporary romance written under the name Julia Harper. In Hot, the heroine, Turner Hastings, is on the run from a sexy FBI agent. She’s bent on proving that her local small town bank president embezzled funds from the bank—and framed Turner’s uncle for the crime. Turner has already tried going to the police with her story and they didn’t believe her, so now her methods of finding evidence to implicate the bank president are a little, well, less than orthodox.

Here’s the scene where Turner first meets Squeaky…after breaking into the bank president’s house:

Outside, the dog must’ve lost interest waiting for her to return, because he’d laid back down on the concrete floor of his kennel, mailbox head on his crossed paws. He came to his feet as she exited the broken patio doors, and gave a tentative tail wag. Turner ignored him and began walking around the house.

Behind her, a low moan started.

She kept going.

The moan turned to a mournful howling. Roooow. Rooroooow. Rorororwoooooow. Eek! The howl ended on a strange, high squeak.

Turner swung around. “Hush!” she hissed at the animal sternly. “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself, a great big dog crying like a puppy?”

His jaw dropped open, huge tongue lolling as he wagged his tail at her.

Turner frowned at him and noticed an overturned red bowl by the door of the kennel. “What did you do? Flip your water bowl?”

At her words the dog’s entire rear end started wiggling. She sighed, unlocked the kennel, and reached in carefully for the bowl. The dog watched her, tail slowly wagging. She found the outside water spigot, filled the red bowl, and placed it within reach of the dog. It noisily lapped at the water.

She started walking away again.

Rooow. Rooowrowrooooow. Eek!

She turned around. The dog was staring at her, jaw closed, water dripping from its muzzle. It gave a tentative tail wag.

“What?” For God’s sake, she was talking to a dog. The enemy’s dog at that. Except it was very hard to see this animal as anyone’s enemy. And what kind of jerk left a big dog out in the August heat without water? “Fine.”

Turner marched over to the kennel and opened the chain-link door wide. The dog swiped her hand with his tongue and then made a bounding victory lap around the yard.

“Come on.” She picked up the red bowl and set off down the drive.

The dog barked once and followed.