Ain't Too Proud to Beg

( 77 )


Josie Sheehan collects failed relationships the way some women collect designer handbags. Now, at thirty-five, she has exactly one male in her life: her Labradoodle, Genghis. In fact Josie, along with the three very single women in her dog-walking group, has recently sworn off men, resigning herself to long walks in the park with her devoted, four-legged friend.

All bets are off, however, when she meets Rick Rousseau, a pet-company CEO who is smart, sexy, and, best of all, ...

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Josie Sheehan collects failed relationships the way some women collect designer handbags. Now, at thirty-five, she has exactly one male in her life: her Labradoodle, Genghis. In fact Josie, along with the three very single women in her dog-walking group, has recently sworn off men, resigning herself to long walks in the park with her devoted, four-legged friend.

All bets are off, however, when she meets Rick Rousseau, a pet-company CEO who is smart, sexy, and, best of all, head-over-heels for Josie. Even Genghis, an excellent judge of character, seems to know that Rick is the real deal. But just when Josie starts to think that she has found something more enduring than puppy love, she discovers that Rick has a complicated past—and a secret that could put the woman he loves in serious danger...

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Donovan whips up a fine frappe of romantic comedy and suspense." —Publisher's Weekly on Ain't Too Proud to Beg

"A delightful new series." —Romantic Times on Ain't Too Proud to Beg

“Susan Donovan will steal your heart.” —Christina Dodd, New York Times bestselling author

Publishers Weekly
Donovan (The Girl Most Likely To) whips up a fine frappé of romantic comedy and suspense. Josie Sheehan, obituary feature writer, joins her dog-walking friends in a vow to give up on men. After a drunken motorcycle crash left Rick Rousseau nearly crippled and his date comatose, he swore repentant celibacy. Of course, the two can't resist each other, and their first date is laugh-out-loud hilarious, but when Rick's old girlfriend slips from coma to coffin, drama ensues. Donovan creates delightful characters in Josie and Rick and a fine supporting cast in the dog-walkers and Rick's rehab buddy. Even the villain is a sympathetic character, though the end of his plot is cut disappointingly short. Excessive gushing over the trappings of Rick's wealthy lifestyle is the novel's only flaw. (Nov.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312366049
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 11/3/2009
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 335
  • Sales rank: 572,427
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Donovan's novels are witty, sexy, and entertaining—“brain candy for smart women,” as she puts it. Her books include Not That Kind of Girl and The Night She Got Lucky. Susan is a former newspaper journalist with degrees from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and has worked as a reporter in Chicago, Albuquerque, and Indianapolis. Her other jobs have included fine arts fundraiser, freelance journalist, painted furniture artist, horse stall mucker, proposal writer, and aide to a U.S. Senator. Susan lives in rural Maryland with her family and dogs.

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Read an Excerpt


The photo album crackled with age as the page was turned. “This is it,” the widow said, tapping a ridged fingernail onto the edges of a black-and-white snapshot. “I know he’d want the world to remember him this way, in this moment.”

Josephine Sheehan placed her reporter’s notebook on her lap and leaned in close to the old woman, peering at the photo of Ira Needleman on his 1947 trek to the North Pole. His young face was frozen in triumph, frozen in time, and probably just plain frozen. His huge, toothy smile and iced-up goggles were all she could see of a slight man buried inside a fur parka, both arms raised in triumph against the vast white horizon, a U.S. fl ag flapping above the permafrost. It was a photo of a guy who’d made it to the top of the world, literally. No wonder his widow had chosen this photo to accompany his obituary.

“It’s a wonderful picture,” Josie said, smiling at Gloria Needleman.

“He was so young, and everything was ahead of him.” With a sigh, Mrs. Needleman gently peeled the photo from its yellowed page.

As she’d already told Josie, Ira would return to San Francisco just months after this photo was taken, where he’d meet Gloria and fall in love. They’d get married. They’d have kids and grandkids. Ira would run a successful Bay Area electrical supply company. He’d mentor four inner-city kids and pay for their college educations. He’d compete in his first triathlon at the age of seventy. The young man in the snow had just begun the grand adventure of his life.

The widow handed the photo to Josie, giggling. Josie waited patiently for Mrs. Needleman to bring her in on the joke.

Gloria shrugged and offered up a pensive smile. “My Ira had a very good time while he was here. He made the most of every day.” She patted Josie’s hand. “And when you get down to it, is there anything else a person can ask for?”

That’s when Josie had her epiphany.

Okay, maybe it was just an epiphanette. But at that moment, right there on Gloria Needleman’s plastic- covered couch, it dawned on her that if you lead a life chock-full of relationships and adventures and sorrows and celebrations, like Ira Needleman did, then the people you leave behind can focus on how you lived rather than the fact that you died.

But if you died before you had a chance to live? Josie knew there was nothing worse. In the news business they called it a “tragic death,” as opposed to a nontragic one. Josie herself had been known to use that phrase now and again in her obituary feature stories for the San Francisco Herald.

And suddenly it all became clear to her—if Josephine Sheehan, thirty-five, dropped dead right that second, her own newspaper would put her demise in the “tragic” category.

She’d never married. She didn’t use all her vacation days. She still rented. Josie didn’t do triathlons or biathlons or any athlons at all. And her most stable interpersonal relationships were with a too-hairy Labradoodle named Genghis and the women in her dog-walking group. Yes, she had parents and siblings and nieces and nephews, but no kids of her own.

And her love life? It was nothing but a series of starts and stops that hadn’t taken her anywhere. She’d had eleven boyfriends since college, six of whom had moved into her place only to move out again. Her sister once glibly suggested she install a turnstile at her front door. She’d been so offended by that remark that she got out her calculator and did the math. Bad move. It seemed her average relationship lasted 4.2 months, followed by 7.6 months of unattached limbo. In other words, one of her romances had the shelf life of a container of bacon bits. This would be information she didn’t plan to share with her sister, or anyone else, ever.

And right there, with Mrs. Needleman staring at her, Josie knew that if she died that day there would be several people more than willing to say that her life had sucked, but there wasn’t a single soul who could claim that Josephine Agnes Sheehan had sucked the marrow out of life.

Her vision began to swim.

“Are you all right, dear?” Mrs. Needleman’s voice had a charming warble to it. She put her hand on Josie’s knee and studied her face with concern. “Do you feel sick? Can I get you some water?”

Oh, man. Josie envisioned the headline on her obit, courtesy of the jokers on the copy desk:

SPINSTER EXPIRES; dog alerts neighbors to decaying body

“Should I call someone at the paper and tell them you’re not feeling well?”

And my God! What photo would be scrounged up for her obit? The picture of Josie at her sister’s wedding, in that bridesmaid’s dress her brother said made Josie look like an eggplant with boobs? Or the one from eighth grade, where Josie sported the Cyclops zit? Or how about the one of her stinking drunk in Cancún after college graduation, falling out of her beach chair, digging through the sand trying to locate the lime wedge that had fallen from her Corona bottle? Because really, those were the choices. Josie had never gone to the North Pole, and the world had recently learned that the permafrost was anything but, and now she couldn’t reach the top of the world unless she took a raft!

Josie began breathing too fast.

“Is there anything I can do for you?”

She blinked at Mrs. Needleman, embarrassed. Josie needed love in her life. She needed deep, true connection—the kind of grand adventure that only seemed to happen to other people. And unless this eighty-four-year-old widow from Cayuga Terrace was some kind of mystical matchmaker, there wasn’t a damn thing she could possibly do for her.

“Thank you so much for your time.” Josie tucked the photo into the pages of her notebook and crammed everything into her bag, then stumbled to her feet. “You and your late husband shared a beautiful life together, and again, I’m sorry for your loss.” She headed for the door. “I’ll call to let you know the day we plan to run it.”

“Stop right there, Miss Sheehan.”

Gloria was fast for an old lady. When Josie turned, she was already right behind her. The woman examined Josie’s face with a fi erce curiosity that had nothing to do with the obit and everything to do with her odd behavior.

“I apologize,” Josie sputtered, letting her shoulders droop. “I just . . . I’m . . . look, I just figured out that I’m really, really late for something.”

“Another interview?”

“A life.”

Gloria’s pensive smile returned. She took one of Josie’s hands in both of hers and gave it a friendly squeeze. She looked Josie right in the eye. “I’ve always believed that if you’re breathing, it’s not too late.”

Josie laughed. That’s what her dog-walking friends always said, usually after they’d reamed her for stumbling into yet another going-nowhere relationship.

“Great. Thanks again.” Josie reached behind her and fumbled for the doorknob.

“Ask the universe for what you want, dear girl.” Mrs. Needleman’s face turned serious. “Be very precise in your request. Put it in writing and wait for it to come to you. It always does.”

Josie frowned. She’d seen that garbage on TV once—some woman claimed she wrote a list of all the qualities she wanted in a man and then met her soul mate in thirty days. Josie had laughed long and hard at that, seeing as how the universe couldn’t even get her order right at the Dairy Queen window.

“That’s very sweet, Mrs. Needleman. Thank you again.”

The friendly squeeze turned into a grip. The widow scanned Josie’s face, demanding her attention. In a voice that had lost all its charming warble, the widow said, “In your case, I suggest you do it before daybreak.”

Josie gritted her teeth while trying to smile politely.

The old lady wasn’t done. “And, I must be honest with you, I think it’s going to take great courage to embrace what you ask for.”

Josie yanked her hand away and retreated out the door. She backed out of the Needleman driveway, tires squealing, wondering what the old lady meant by that remark about courage. Plus, why the hell did everything—including her love life—have a deadline?

Josie was so disconcerted that she nearly caused the tragic deaths of several pedestrians.

Excerpted from Ain’t Too Proud to Beg by Susan Donovan.

Copyright © 2009 by Susan Donovan.

Published in November 2009 by St. Martin's Press.

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction

is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or

medium must be secured from the Publisher.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 77 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 77 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    This is a lighthearted contemporary wacky romance

    San Francisco Herald obit writer Josephine Sheehan would like a two legged hunk in her life; her only male being Genghis the Labradoodle. However, her work is not exactly the best place to meet a man. Although she promises her friends to give up men for dogs, she draws up a list of the attributes of her ideal man.

    Soon afterward, she meets Celestial Pet Superstore owner Rick Rousseau who was working as a groomer at one of his fourteen shops. She asks him out for coffee, but he agrees though he has sworn to have a life of celibacy as his comatose girlfriend Margot Cumming never recovered from their motorcycle accident that left him severely injured. When the CEO and the reporter first meet, each hopes this is their eternal mate. However, when Josephine writes the obit for his girlfriend who just died after seven years in a coma in Rhode island, she has doubts that she can deal with it or him anymore even as Margot's raging father Bennett vowed vengeance once again.

    This is a lighthearted contemporary wacky romance that feels like a throwback to the 1930s madcap comedies. The lead couple is an entertaining pair struggling with issues especially him while the support cast is solid except for Teeny's knees. Fans will enjoy this fun dog-walking tale while wondering if Katherine Hepburn will play Josie (should have been a cat-walker) and Cary Grant as Rick.

    Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2012

    Laugh out loud funny

    All I have to say is that I regret waiting as long as I did to read this book! I will definately be reading the next book in this series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A delight

    Susan Donovan's Ain't To Proud To Bed is another sexy and funny story by this delightful author.

    Josie Sheehan has had one to many failed relationships. She and her dog-walking group of friends decide on a no need for a man pact. All the man Josie needs is her dog Genghis. But that new rule is put to the test when she meets the CEO of Celestial Pet Rick Rousseau.

    Rick Rousseau had put his dating life on a permanent freeze after a serious accident many years ago. That resolve is broken when he meets Josie. Rick thinks maybe he can have it all with Josie at his side.

    But there is someone from his past that is determined not to let Rick or anyone he loves find happiness. With Rick and Josie drawing closer, Josie's life becomes in serious danger.

    Ain't To Proud To Bed is full of humor and all out sexual sparks. Rick and Josie are gems, they connect on so many levels. Its a pleasure to read a couple falling in love and watch them overcome major obstacles. Susan Donavan is author that every romance reader should have on their auto buy list.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Touching Tale

    I really enjoyed this book. There is one pet peeve that I have for all romance books- when the hero and heroine fall in love in like, a day. It seems completely unrealistic and I find myself rolling my eyes going "Oh please." But in this book it seemed to fit. Rick was so damaged by his past and so dead to life that when Josie came in (a breath of fresh air) he came to life again- and that seemed to work. It seemed like that could actually happen in real life. I really felt for Rick, and was happy when he got his happy ending. The only issue I have with this book was that Josie seemed to much like a doormat. Too kind and sweet, too forgiving. I would love to meet a person like that in MY life! Overall, it was a touching book with a full-scale romance.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2011

    A great love story!

    I just couldn't put it down its been awhile since I read a really good love story. A must read!

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  • Posted July 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    a woman in pain

    a new lover may open her eyes

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  • Posted May 23, 2010

    Fun and quirky characters

    This was a fun read for when you need to just sit and relax. The characters were interesting and offbeat. The plot was somewhat the typical romance novel plot.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2010


    This book was great. I finished it in one day. The story was involved and and had some suspense to it. I loved the honesty of Rick's character. I wish more people were so upfront with their past. I will definitely read it again.

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  • Posted January 2, 2010

    Great read again

    This book has it all. Humor, romance and realism. One can get lost in her books and how she portrays independent, strong women. I recommend all her books.

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  • Posted December 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Ain't Too Proud to Beg

    This was a sweet little story, about a man, a women and a Labradoole.
    Donna A.

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  • Posted November 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Susan Donovan Rules Romance with this amazing book

    Redemption is a wonderful experience - it is freeing and exhilarating all at the same time. Facing your demons straight on and making amends for the mistakes you have made in your life makes you stronger and more determined to finish the rest of your life as an upright human being. Rick Rousseau made such a mistake seven years ago in a moment of immaturity and selfishness. He recovered from the damage he did to himself but he has since that horrible night spent his life shedding the evils of yesterday and cleansing his body and soul everyday he has woken up since. He took his inheritance and built a dog store dynasty all the while never forgetting what he had been or how he overcame it.

    Rick had a game plan for his life and had been living it for so long that on the day he met Josephine Sheehan it was earth shaking for him down to the bottoms of his feet. He knew that all his great plans to remain celibate were over once he met Josie and she came after him with a determined glint in her eye and a dog the size of a pony.

    Josie was as equally surprised by her attraction to Rick since she and her four dog walking friends had decided to be "man-free". Josie had sworn off men after too many complicated and failed relationships. With her new swagger toward life she was enjoying her newspaper job, going for walks with her friends and devoting herself to the care of Genghis her Labradoodle. But a chance meeting with a quirky woman has her acting with more bravado then she knew she had and pursing Rick with a great gusto. After looking at Rick she is convinced that the email she sent to the celestial angel of relationships had been answered with a double check on handsome. The next thing she knows her orbit is colliding with Rick and their two planets implode into magic.

    Rick and Josie both have baggage and even when Josie learns all the sordid details about Rick's past she still doesn't give up on him or their relationship. She continues to believe in him and the chance for a future. But there is one huge problem lurking in the shadows and it is not the huge tattoo on Rick's body. There is a man who is trying to not ruin Rick but kill him for ruining his life. All the determination Rick and Josie have to stay together may not happen no matter how much love you have if this man has his way.

    What a wonderful story of overcoming your past and correcting the mistakes you have made in a healthy and loving fashion. We all stumble over choices we have made but the way you recover from them is the true test of who you are. Rick and Josie are real characters that speak to the reader about trusting in yourself as much as you do your partner. We are as great apart as we are together and friends are always there to remind you of how important you are to yourself.

    Mary Gramlich ("The Reading Reviewer")

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