Savage's Buck & Doe #3
Adult Romance
Date Published: August 1st, 2019

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Alessandro Savage walked through the same maze of streets in the French Quarter that he had walked for the last few months. He carried two things: his guitar case and a bottle of Jack. Months of self-induced punishment, wandering lost, looking for redemption. At least, that was the lie he told himself. It should have been him who died that fateful night the music had died in the Las Vegas massacre. He could never have absolution, because he had committed a crime unforgivable to those he loved.
Family was everything to the Savage brothers. Alessandro had broken that sacred bond when he had killed his oldest brother. He hadn’t been the one to pull the trigger, but he was as guilty as the man who had. This was why he needed to get drunk every day to numb the pain. He couldn’t deal with not being able to go back to the past and make things right.
Ava Lombardi hated bachelorette parties and her cousin’s was going to be extremely painful. She was spending four days at Savage’s Buck & Doe Resort. Ava was a beautiful loner who had the ability to help the Savage family find Alessandro but didn’t want to get involved.
Getting Alessandro home was only half of the battle the other would be helping him to become clean and sober and stay that way. Ava had closed herself off years ago but not all ghosts were left better in the past.
Not all rehabilitation opposed to addiction were about abstinence. Could two souls that lost redemption find peace in each other’s arms? Would Ava be the one addiction Alessandro couldn’t beat?


He had just hit the first block in the French Quarter when he heard a dog yipping in pain. He saw a man kicking and swearing where the whining came from. As he got closer, he saw the man pounding the little mutt. “What the fuck are you doing?”
Turning his head toward Alessandro, the man snarled at him. “Mind your own business, gutter punk.”
Ignoring the threat, Alessandro insisted, “Animal cruelty is a sign of antisocial personality disorder, which is about ten levels below a gutter punk, so I’ll take that as a compliment. What’d that little puppy do to you?” He indicated the pup lying on its side, wiggling and whining in pain.
“The fleabag grabbed a beignet right out of my customer’s hand. It needs to learn a lesson.”
Alessandro reached into his pocket and threw five bucks at the abuser. “Good fucking reason to beat an animal to death, for trying to survive. Take the five bucks and consider it paid. Hope you don’t have a wife and kids.”
Snatching the bill off the ground, the bastard snapped back, “What the fuck would a gutter punk know about family? If you were worth even two cents, you’d be with your family. For your information, my family is just fine, and hell of a lot better behaved than that mutt. But I’m warning you now, if I see that mutt again, I’ll finish the job in the river.”
As soon as the ignoramus walked away, Alessandro bent down to check on the puppy. It pulled back with a yelp as his hand got close. “It’s okay, little buddy. I’m not gonna hurt you.” He didn’t know if it was the sound of his voice, or the fact the pup realized how badly it was injured, and that it couldn’t get away, but it stayed still now, half-heartedly wagging its tail. “Hey, it looks like you could use a friend. I’m not sure I’m that person, but if I leave you here, that bastard will probably make good on his threat and you’ll be fish food. I’m gonna lift you up. I promise to try not to hurt you.”
Alessandro scooped up the scraggly gray-and-black pup, noticing it had one ear that was permanently folded down and one that was up. He winced as it yelped again in pain. The sad thing was shivering, either from the cold or the beating. “You’re a cute little guy.” He scratched behind his ear. Alessandro opened his jacket and placed the little mutt inside, offering him some warmth, and continued to talk to him. “How could anyone look at that face and want to hurt you? I hope you aren’t a fleabag, because I have enough shit to deal with, and I’m not having my best day, either.” The puppy licked the side of his face, like it understood the words he was saying. Alessandro smiled for the first time in months. He had not realized how much he missed caring for something other than himself. He needed a connection to something, and this pup looked like he needed saving. Maybe he could fill the gaping hole in his heart.
He kept gently talking to the mutt. “My nephew, Eli, really wanted a puppy. His mamma, Brooklyn, wasn’t on board with the idea, so I told him to ask his parents after she had her operation. My brother Luca wouldn’t be able to deny the kid anything if the surgery worked and she was healthy. And from Brooklyn’s emails, I learned Eli got his dog. My coglione of a brother convinced Eli to pick the most pathetic, ugly dog available, saying no one would ever adopt him and they had no choice but to save him. The coglione also convinced him to name him after me, seeing as it was my idea. She attached a picture, and let me tell you, it is the ugliest thing to ever grace the earth. Not like you—you’re a good-looking pup.”
The little dog was looking up at him with doggy worship, tongue lulling out, and eyes slowly blinking. Alessandro felt his little tummy rumble with hunger. “I guess that asshole got to you before you ate the beignet. We’ll get you something to eat. Now, if you and I are going to be friends, I think I should name you.”
Alessandro felt his little tail trying to move cupped under his hand as he started to walk to the closest convenience store. “Ah, you like that idea. Okay, well, my first instinct is to call you Buddy, but that’s not very original. Then there is Max, Rover, Jack . . . but I already have a friend named Jack. Besides, you don’t look like just one breed, so it can’t be a simple name. I’m a mixed breed too, half-American and half-Italian.” All of a sudden, he heard his mamma’s voice in his head: You may have been born in America, but you are Italian first, because you came from my body, and it wasn’t easy bringing you into this world, so you will honor me by saying you are Italian first. Shamo!
“That’s it, Shamo! Your name should be Shamo. My mamma calls me that all the time. In English it means stupid, and you have to be stupid to like or trust me. I’ve hurt a lot of people, but I promise to try not to hurt you, Shamo.”
When he approached the convenience store, he tucked little Shamo’s head inside the coat, so the cashier wouldn’t kick him out. “I need to hide you because I don’t have a leash to tie you up, and if that bastard comes back, he might try to finish the job.”
Shamo wasn’t having any of it, and kept poking his head out. The cashier saw and started to reprimand Alessandro. He’d had enough of cruel people for one day. “You can’t kick me out because this is my service dog, and it’s against the law not to allow him in with me.”
The cashier tilted her head like he was nuts. “Nice try, but unless you have the papers stating that is a service dog, you have to leave him outside.”
He had learned at the resort that you couldn’t deny a service dog in Pennsylvania, but he wasn’t sure if that was the case in Louisiana. “Please, just give me two seconds. I just saved him from being beaten to death by some asshole, and he’s hurt and can’t stand up. The poor little guy is starving half to death. I swear I’ll just get him some food and be outta here in a minute.”
The girl’s face softened. “Really? You’re not lying to me? You just saved him?”
“Yeah, and nobody deserves to be beaten to death just for trying to survive.” When people thought you were helpless, they tended to be very cruel. Alessandro learned that lesson his first month living on the streets.
The girl looked quizzical for a minute. “Listen, you hurry up and get a bag of dog food before anyone comes in, while I go in the back. The owner’s dog died a couple of months ago, and there is a leash and collar back there. I’ll give it to you, because it was a nice thing you did saving the puppy.”
Wow, he wasn’t expecting that. He hadn’t seen any kindness from anyone over the last four months. Mind you, he hadn’t done anything worth receiving it, either. He walked to the shelf, where there were two types of food to choose from. He looked at the dog. “Do you prefer chicken, or lamb and rice?”
The dog whined. “Right. You don’t give a shit. You just want food. Lamb and rice it is, because my mamma made the best lamb in the world.” He grabbed the bag and headed to the cash register.
The girl was already there, bagging the leash and the collar. “I also added the bowls. You’ll need something to put the food in. I threw a bottle of water in too.” She extended her hand to grab the bag of food, while looking at him. “Hey, aren’t you the guy that plays on St. Ann and Royal?”
“Yeah, that’s me.”
She scanned the food and placed it in a bag. “That’ll be seven ninety-nine. You’re really good. I always stop and listen. My favorite song I’ve heard you sing is ‘Billy Jean.’ You sound just like Chris Cornell.”
He looked up, surprised. “Not many people know that version. Not sure I sound anything like Chris Cornell, but thanks. I don’t have any other way to thank you for all the stuff you’re giving me, so next time you pass, let me sing you something.”
Brightly smiling, she said, “Wow, I would love that. I’ve never requested anything before because every cent I make is accounted for, and it seems wrong to ask for something you can’t pay for.”
“Trust me, I get it. Thanks again. See you around.” He grabbed his bag and headed out the door.
Alessandro waited until he got back to the hovel before he opened the bags. Inside, he found two small bowls, a pillow, the leash, collar, and a large water bottle. “Look at this, Shamo. She even gave you a pillow.” He took the pillow out and placed the dog on top of it. The poor guy was shaking again. “It’s okay. I promise I won’t hurt you.” He ripped the bag open, and the dog perked up the minute he smelled it. He tried to get up, but yelped when he tried. Alessandro lifted him and offered him a handful of food. While Shamo was scarfing it down, he felt his chest for broken ribs. It didn’t appear any were broken, although he did flinch when Alessandro pushed. They must be bruised. He put him back on the pillow and filled the bowl. The dog’s tail was wagging like crazy as he lay there, eating so fast Alessandro thought he would puke.

About the Author

Anne Marie Citro grew born and raised in the greater Toronto area of Ontario, Canada. She grew up in a large, loving family. Anne Marie is married to a very patient man. He is the love of her life. They have four very cool sons, and the girls they brought into their family that have become daughters of her heart. She has been blessed enough to finally have two beautiful granddaughters after four sons. She has her own personal gaggle of girlfriends, who enrich her life on a daily basis and make her laugh. Caesar Friday is her favorite day of the week. Caesars with the girls and date night with her hubby. She worked with special-needs teenagers, that taught her how to appreciate life and see it through gentler eyes. Anne Marie was encouraged by her husband to follow her lifelong dream to write. She loves the characters that take over imagination and haunts her dreams. She loves the arts and she has tried her hand at painting, wood sculpting, chainsaw carving, wood burning, metal and wire sculptures. Yes, her husband is a very patient man! Anne Marie is an avid reader and enjoys about three books per week. But nothing makes her happier than riding on the back of her husband's Harley and throwing her arms out and feeling the wind race by. Anne Marie and her husband take a few weeks every year to travel to spectacular destination around the world. Anne Marie is excited and can't wait to see what the next chapter holds for her life.

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