Katie Bryan
The WOOF Books

The Woof Books are kind of like Marley and Me only they're not sad and only loosely true. Maybe they’d be more alike if Marley was a German Shepherd named Max and worked as a maître d in an Italian restaurant and lived with a neurotic female named Sophie. And if there was a Golden Retriever named Buttercup and a kitten named Tilley. Oh, and a guy named Jack who was the sheriff in a small town who was the neurotic female’s love interest. So, hmmm…Maybe they're a bit more like Turner and Hooch, minus the huge Mastiff and murder. Also a bit like A Dog’s Purpose, but no one dies or gets reincarnated. They've kind of got a “Friends” feel to them only with less people and more dogs. And a cat.
​This short book is a free cast of characters companion guide to the The WOOF Books series. This ebook is available so the info you may need is always right at your fingertips.  It's just for fun and will be updated as the series requires it. 
Love dogs? Meet Max! He’s the most loveable, conning, canine miscreant to walk on four legs.
When Sophie Zinelli answers her phone in the middle of the night, she never expects to be asked to rescue an abused dog. She lives above her family’s restaurant (Try The Veal) and knows absolutely nothing about owning a dog, let alone a bossy, sly, and smart-alecky German Shepherd. As she tackles Max’s training, you’ll meet Jack, Sophie’s commitment-phobic boyfriend and his dog, Buttercup, the kleptomaniac hoarding Golden Retriever, and Tilley the nearly-blind kitten. So what happens when you liberate a dog you don't know? Find out what Sophie does and see just what Max, a very bad dog with a very big heart, is up to.


The Canine Liberation Movement
 
I was raised on a steady diet of sarcasm and muttered obscenities generally uttered by one of my three idiot older brothers. Because I am the youngest, and female, woe to the moronic mutterer if my very Italian mama heard them utter so much as a mild oath in front of me. The wooden spoon would appear like a Jedi lightsaber, suddenly glowing in my mother’s hand, and before my brothers could make a break for it, whack, whack, whack! “Ima so ashamed!” Whack. “You no see little Sophia standing righta there?” Whack. “You gonna give her a filthy mouth!” Whack, whack. An Italian mother was supposed to be the scariest and most terrifying person in your life, and you would think all the spoon-whacking would create fear. Maybe it did with my brothers, but not with me. Nope. Mostly it just created guilt. Probably from my brothers getting whacked all the time. Hence, I learned at an early age to drown out the guilt with cannoli and to drink espresso just to keep calm.

And I make lists. I’m a master list maker. I make lists to make lists. Maybe it’s some genetic mutation since I’m sure no one else in my psychotic pain in the ass (must find a kinder adjective for my family, lest they think I don’t love them) Italian family is as list-crazy as I am. The one thing I know with absolute certainty is that stealing a dog was not on my list. Let alone stealing a pain-in-the-butt German Shepherd. But steal him I did. It wasn’t easy either since he’s noisy and bossy and well, big. Not exactly the kind of dog you can toss in your purse and go about your business with.
 
#IAmADogNapper
#WouldHaveBeenEasierToRideAT-Rex
#IWantMyHandcuffsInPink
Love dogs? Join Sophie as Max gets trained! He’s the most loveable, conning, canine miscreant to walk on four legs.
What will Sophie Zinelli’s family do when they find out she’s bringing home a dog and giving him a job in their family’s restaurant (Try The Veal)? Max’s vet insists Max needs a job. But what kind of a job can a huge, wily, neurotic dog like Max get in a fine dining establishment? Why, becoming a maitre’d of course. Maybe. If Max will quit eating the profits, stealing grandma’s dentures, and can charm a skeptical food critic. But first Sophie enlists the aid of her commitment-phobic boyfriend, Jack, his dog Buttercup, and Max’s friend, Tilley the cat. Then Sophie must figure out who is sabotaging Max at every turn before Sophie’s very large, very loud, very Italian family banishes them both for good. 


​Meatballs, Mayhem, And Max
 
On my way to my execution home, I got a phone call from every single person in my immediate family. I’d been gone one half of one day, but you’d think the apocalypse had arrived and I’d been missing for months. Possibly eaten by starving koala bears.
 
Mama: Where are you? You’re not cooking are you? We don’t need the fire department do we? If you’re sick, you’d better be dying. Unless you’re… Are you… I’m telling your papa to call. Dio mio, and to think, I used to be normal.”
 
Papa: “Are you pregnant? Have you peed on a stick? What color is it? Plus or minus sign?”
 
Nanna: “You have a boy over, eh? Good for you, cara. I’ll keepa your secret.”
 
Nonno: “Who broke your heart? I’ll send Luca. He can pop a top in his ass plus he has a bigger trunk than me. Where’s the closet swamp? We may need alligators for this.”
 
Gio: “Does he have a sister? Is she hot?”
 
Paulo: “Good grief, Sophie, anything for attention. You’re not really dying are you? Is it cancer? Nonno said to have your prostate checked.” Then a whisper, “Is it the mob? Are you in somebody’s trunk?”
 
Luca: “Nonno said something about a trunk, a gun, and alligators. I’ve been holding him off, but you’d better hurry. You know I’m weak when it comes to keeping secrets from the family. I gave them all a head’s up you were bringing a dog home, but that’s it. You owe me.
 
How could I tell them I stole a badly abused dog then escaped to Live oak where my friend Bailey (the town veterinarian) lives because I loved this dog and didn’t want grief from my family?
 
Ha, I could SO not tell them I stole a dog. My Nonno might approve, but that’s the mobster in him. Everyone else would give me the shocked, “Little Sohpie’s a criminal?” My Nanna would pop my Nonno upside the head and assure him that it was all his fault that I now led a life of crime. My mother would cry, wring her hands, then get out the wooden spoon. My father would get that far away look in his eyes and start calculating lawyer expenses. Gio would snicker. Poalo would hide until he was sure no mobsters were involved, and Luca would look all smug.
 
So, I’d lie. 
​SPEED DATING DOGGIE STYLE!
(Holy saints, get your mind out of the gutter)
 
Are you fed up with being the ONLY ONE of your friends who stays home on Saturday nights completely and utterly ALONE?
 
Are you tired of hearing things like: “You’re still single? At your age?” Or “Don’t worry, dear, love will find you when you least expect it.” Or “You should try online dating!”
 
If hearing these things make you smack your head, roll your eyes, or want to throw yourself head first into a fifty foot well, then clearly, you need to stop all those wild couch/television/alcohol threesomes and …
 
Come to Live Oak’s First Annual Labor Day Speed Dating Doggie Style Extravaganza where we hope your dogs will have fun and you, yes YOU, will find a mate for life! (Mating of minds not dogs) Featuring a fenced and grassy exercise and play park where you will do your actual dating. Instead of the normal 5 minutes (or whatever those weird speed dating rules are), you’ll have 10 whole minutes to mingle and play with those of the opposite sex! Don’t forget to bring a list of questions to help you remember your date and help your date remember you! Let’s make sure your dogs and your dates are compatible!
Come and join us, this may change your life forever!!!

SOPHIE
Exasperated, I marched back to my office in the rear of my family’s restaurant (Try The Veal) with Max (my portly 95 lb. German shepherd) close on my heels, then slumped down at my desk in defeat, still glaring at my cellphone. What have I just agreed to? Why? How did Bailey O’Donlan-Mitchell get me to say yes when I firmly had no on the tip of my tongue? I must have taken it as a personal challenge when Bailey said, “Seize the day, Sophie, seize the day!” I’ve even got hotel reservations. Gah! Just because I sort of gave Bailey the idea in the first place (which she hastened to remind me more than a dozen times) didn’t mean I could leave my position as manager at my family’s restaurant (Try The Veal) on the two busiest days of the week!
 
Have just informed Luca (the oldest of my three older male siblings) he would be in charge of restaurant over busy weekend. He’s ecstatic. Want to smack him for making me feel so … so expendable. Note to self: Let Max watch Silence Of The Lambs again, then explain that older brothers taste quite good with a nice Chianti.
 
Mama and Papa are happy to see me go as well. “Go, spread your wings!” they said. Jeez. I’m thirty. Wings have been spread for years. Feel pathetically hurt about being so blatantly expendable.
 
I have now chastised my expendable-self for having hurt feelings. I’ve wanted to find a decent date instead of some disastrous hook-up ever since I realized that Jack O’Donlan, my on-again off-again almost-boyfriend is a total and disastrous commitment-phobe. Hmmph. Now that I have an entire day to explore possibilities, I should celebrate not pout.
 
But what if new date also finds self expendable?
 
The need to blame someone has overwhelmed me. I switched my glare from my phone to Max. Max, standing next to my desk in his doggie tuxedo, looked not only dashing but smug. I gave Max the evil eye. Max one-upped me with stink eye.
 
Expendable-self ignored Max to sift through bottom desk drawer, finally finding scary Labor Day brochure. I had tossed brochure aside weeks ago stupidly thinking I was non-expendable. Since I was obviously wrong, must read brochure to see what I’ve gotten myself, and Max, into.
 
Have read brochure. Eyes have glazed over. Nausea imminent.
 
THIS, I thought as I shook the brochure in the air, was NOT my idea. Have a small get-together, I’d said. A few people with dogs, I’d suggested. But this? This… timed dating insanity was not my idea. Aargh!
 
I scanned my desk hoping to get my mind off finding a mate for life! and noticed old New Year’s Resolutions peeking out from under a pile of books on desk. I grabbed the list in hopes of having accomplished all resolutions in order to make myself feel less nauseous.
 
1) Resolve to quit flapping hands about when speaking. Am in Atlanta, and not yet grandmother in Italia.
 
Crap. Made a quick note to buy duct tape before attending big dating extravaganza.
 
2) Resolve to quit putting evil eye on Paolo. He scares easily and might have Luca or Gio pummel me into paste at which point Max would eat them, thus upsetting parents. Plus I’m still not yet grandmother in Italia.
 
Older siblings deserve to be stuffed into mobster’s trunk (Paolo’s biggest fear) but having brothers whacked would probably mean jail time.
 
3) Resolve to lose ten pounds before summer. Must learn to love Zumba and Pilates. Also must take fat Max with me no matter how much he whines in protest. Note to self: Buy ear protection.
 
It’s now September. Pounds lost: Zero. Hate Zumba and Pilates. Have full belief Zumba and Pilates instructors have gotten training from medieval torture device manual. I still have no ear protection.