Bean is the pseudonym for Buttercup, my own adorable little dog.  Her name has been changed in HAUNTING BEAUTY to protect her from the throes of fame, but there is no way to pretend Danni's Bean isn't the same creature who lives in Erin's house.

In HAUNTING BEAUTY, Bean can't help that she's antisocial.  She's had a hard life and the only person who has ever loved her unconditionally is her human Danni. 

Understandably, she doesn't take well to strangers, especially Sean Ballagh, who Bean instinctively senses will change both of their lives.  Below is an excerpt of how these two meet. 

Sean stepped forward, trying to make out the woman's features, but a strange dog launched itself against the door with a loud bang that made Sean jump back.  He stared at the little beast in horror as it growled and snarled aggressively.  The woman reached down and grabbed the monster by the collar and hauled it away.  He glimpsed a pale face, long golden brown hair and a baby blue sweater before she disappeared back in the shadowy entryway of her home.

It was enough.  She was the woman he’d been looking for.  As if there’d ever been a doubt.

“I said it was shame you don’t know the name of your own father,” Sean repeated.

An imperceptible pause and then, “I don’t have a father.  I don’t have any family.”

“Ah, but you’re wrong.” 

He opened the manila envelope he’d brought with him and took out the snapshot.  He stared at it for a moment before pressing it against the screening.  The dog growled again, but the lure pulled the woman closer. 

The sun shifted a little higher, catching her in a beam that penetrated the screen and illuminated a delicate face with large, gray eyes.  Sean stared at her, stunned by the feeling that cut through him.  She was familiar—not just because he’d known her when they’d been children living in Ireland.  It was more than that.  The sight of her lovely face, those soulful eyes, roused an awareness that went deeper than mere familiarity.  It was harsh and it was intimate and it confounded him completely.

In one arm she held the vicious little canine, the other hung at her side, fingers clenching and unclenching nervously.  She cast him a guarded glance and caught him staring, mouth open.  He forced himself to shut it.

There was something perplexing in her expression—as if she’d had the same bewildering sense of recognition as he.  As if she knew who he was and what he really wanted.  As if she knew him.  The realization unsettled Sean long after she’d turned her attention to the photograph he held. 

She stared at the picture as if entranced then brought her fingers up to touch it through the screen.  “Where did you get this?” she murmured.

“It was taken in Ballyfionúir.  Ireland, where you’re from.  Where I live.”  He waited a half beat before saying softly, “’Tis your family.”

She made a low sound and pressed her palm over the image in a gesture that at once caressed and denied.  He swallowed back his conscience and asked, “Would it be possible to speak with you, Danni Jones?  Without the door between us, perhaps?”

He felt her eyes boring into him through the screen and warring desires pounded in his head.  There was something fragile about her that he hadn’t expected.  Something defenseless, despite the stiff back and level gaze.  He didn't want to deceive her and he certainly didn’t want to draw her into the hell that was about to become her life.  

“Who are you?” she asked.

“Sean Ballagh, as I said.  I’m sent from Ireland to find you.  For your family.”

“Do you have ID?”

He nodded, fumbled out his passport and placed it where he’d held the photograph against the door.  The passport picture was old and grainy and she studied it for a long time, her eyes moving back and forth as she compared his staid mug shot to his real being.  Again, the recognition flickered in her eyes as she looked at him.  She’d been only five and he barely a teenager when they’d last seen one another.  It was unlikely she’d remember him at all, let alone place the gangly boy he’d been into the man he’d become, yet he couldn’t shake the feeling that she had.

“You’re very young in this picture,” she said with a frown.  “How old is it?”

“Old,” he answered.  “I need to get a new one taken.”

At last she gave a nod, then the lock snicked back and she opened the door.  The dog squirmed in her arms like a wild boar but Danni managed to keep hold of it. 

“Bean, no,” she scolded.

Close up, Sean was able to determine that Bean couldn’t be all dog.  Somewhere in its lineage there most definitely had been a badger.  The writhing, snarling animal had a long nose, pointed ears and no tail.  There were terrier genes in there somewhere and possibly rottweiler, too, baffling though that idea was.

“She’s very protective of me,” Danni said, putting her fingers around its muzzle to silence the mutant dog.  “I rescued her when she was a puppy and I’m the only family she has.  She doesn’t like people very much as a rule.”

“Grand,” he said, putting on the smile again. 

Having made the decision to open the door, she now stepped back and bid him enter.  Sean forced himself forward and into her home.

He followed her through a sunny sitting room with a wall of bookshelves, a comfortable looking sofa and chair, and a small television tucked in the corner.  She went through an arched opening and stopped in a bright, tiled kitchen.  She paused, looking momentarily unsure before regaining her composure and indicating the table and chairs.

“Have a seat.  Would you like some tea?”

He nodded, still eyeing the beast in her arms.  She set Bean down with a stern command and went about putting water to boil.  The dog perched at her feet, moving every time she did and then resettling, all the while keeping Sean under surveillance.  Had Sean meant Danni physical harm, small or no, the dog’s hostile stare would have made him reconsider.  

Order Haunting Beauty:
Amazon      Barnes & Noble       Borders    Indie Bound

Sign up for Erin Quinn's newsletter or enter Erin's monthly contest to be automatically added and eligible for free books.

**Erin promises not to send you a bunch of email you don't want--she's a hater of spam and takes this promise seriously. She will, however, send you a notice of any new releases she has coming out and a monthly newsletter which will probably only come every other month cuz she just doesn't have that much to say--but again, you'll get it once and only once and she won't follow it up with a thousand little notes about what she's doing, thinking or eating. (She REALLY hates junk mail, :).

In case you do care what Erin Quinn is doing, thinking and eating...check out my blog or come be my friend on Facebook.

Erin Quinn loves to talk to readers. If you have a book club or reading group and would like to read any of my books, I will work with you to deliver autographed copies and, whenever possible, come to speak at your group. Please contact me for more information.