One of my earliest childhood memories involves “Gaylord,” a battery-operated toy dog. (BTW, I didn’t name it Gaylord; that’s the name it came with, like Barbie). You’d pull its leash, which turned it on, and it would walk. It had Velcro under the chin, and it would walk toward its bone and pick it up. I was about 3 years old. I liked Gayloard–as long as it was on floor. To get it out of my box, I’d yank on the leash–which activated him. He’d be in my toy box, upside down, his legs moving and grinding.
I’d screeeaaammm. My mom would come running.
Gaylord was kind of a robotic dog.
Maybe that’s why when I was asked to write a story for Pets in Space, a science fiction romance anthology featuring a pet, I decided to write about robot dog named Sparky.
Sparky does NOT look like this:
Sparky is a realistic-looking dog resembling a Maltese. He has synthetic fur and a lifelike bark. He is programmed to protect the heroine no matter what.
Cute, huh? You’d never guess he has electrified teeth. Sparky is so lifelike that when the hero of Spark of Attraction encounters him he mistakes him for a real dog. Because animals can spread disease, and they’re on a spaceship, dogs are not allowed. So he orders the dog removed.
An excerpt from Spark of Attraction.
“Please, don’t send Sparky away.”
Her plea shot into him with a sharp stab. Rules were rules, and while he might have been inclined to bend them—especially for her—he had to protect the health of his crew and two-hundred-plus refugees. The latter, physically compromised and half-starved, were in no condition to fight off an alien contagion. Who knew what they might have already been exposed to?
“I wasn’t suggesting airlocking,” he said. “The animal could be placed on a pod and sent on ahead to SSO15.”
She lifted her chin. “No! He stays with me.”
Everyone was watching, taking note. If he allowed even a small insubordination, it would spread. A ship’s captain had to maintain order and control. He looked at the liaison. “Get with Lieutenant Commander Brack and remove the animal. That’s an order.”
Now he had something else to feel guilty about. But what could he do? So much for the ‘let me know if there’s anything I can do to help you’ speech he’d planned. His first officer had been right. He should have let her handle this. Dante turned to leave.
The woman blocked his passage. “I’m keeping my dog with me. You try to take him, and you’ll see what happens!” Anger animated her entire face, giving him a glimpse of what she looked like when she was healthy.
That inappropriate sexual heat flared low in his abdomen. “Do not threaten me.” Dante leveled a stare that caused those under his command to quake in their boots. “My order stands. Now, move out of the way.”
“No.” She planted her feet wide apart.
Gently, he grasped her arms to shift her out of his path.
Behind him, the dog growled.
“Sparky’s not even a real animal! He’s a K9-500 bot!” She wrenched away, the force of the jerk causing her to lose her balance. She started to topple, and he lunged to catch her before she fell.
The mongrel snarled, charged, and latched its teeth onto his ankle.
Spark of Attraction blurb:
Memory: intact. Cognitive function: enhanced. Emotion: erased. After becoming a cyborg, Captain Dante Stone didn’t think he’d ever feel again, until a traumatized young woman and a ball of synthetic fur named Sparky helped him to love.
Coming October 11, 2016 – Pets in Space!
Join the adventure as nine pet loving sci-fi romance authors take you out of this world and pull you into their action-packed stories filled with suspense, laughter, and romance. The alien pets have an agenda that will capture the hearts of those they touch. Follow along as they work side by side to help stop a genetically-engineered creature from destroying the Earth to finding a lost dragon; life is never the same after their pets decide to get involved. Can the animals win the day or will the stars shine just a little less brightly?
New York Times, USA TODAY, Award Winning, and Bestselling authors have nine original, never-released stories that will capture your imagination and help a worthy charity. Come join us as we take you on nine amazing adventures that will change the way you look at your pet!
10% of profits from the first month go to Hero-Dogs.org. Hero Dogs raises and trains service dogs and places them free of charge with US Veterans to improve quality of life and restore independence.
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