Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
What Austin Lloyd lacks in academics, he makes up for in his love of the animals who frequent his pet salon. He’s not lucky in romance, though, and his family would like him to settle down with a good man. Austin—and his golden retriever, Maggie—couldn’t agree more.
Evan Partridge isn’t good at letting people in. His messy family life and the past that’s shaped him aren’t worth bringing up. But his pug, Dexter, sure likes the pet salon owner.
Austin and Evan get off to a rough start, but being friends soon turns into something more. Unfortunately, Evan’s secretive behavior nearly does the relationship in, and the budding love affair almost crashes and burns when Evan’s troubled sister shows up on his doorstep.
Not speaking to each other is killing them both, but Evan doesn’t know how to keep Austin and help his sister at the same time. He just knows he has to try. Winning back Austin’s trust back, however, is going to take a whole lot of work.
Austin Lloyd is a cutie. He’s also smart and ambitiou, and though he didn’t go to college, he owns his dog-grooming business, Pawsitively Purrfect. After a long, stressful day, when the owner of a pug puppy fails to show up to claim him, Austin is spitting mad and takes it out on the owner as soon as the guy arrives after closing time.
Evan Partridge is a dark-haired, good-looking college professor who’s also had a bad day. He was delayed by a staff meeting, and not one, but both of his cars broke down today. He literally ran to pick up Dexter and then was berated by a guy who he would have considered cute in other circumstances. Now he can’t wait to get away.
An inauspicious start to a romance, but no fear, the author arranges an unexpected meeting in the grocery store, and the two guys decide to call a truce and start again. Right from the beginning, Evan tells Austin that he doesn’t do relationships. He’s not good with people and doesn’t want to cause any problems. Austin accepts that, and the two begin a friendship—a friendship that eventually leads to more, and they seem to be headed for their HEA as they create a little family with Dexter the pug and Austin’s young golden retriever, Maggie.
But fate has other plans, and when Evan’s emotionally damaged and very dependent sister arrives with all her worldly possessions and then takes one look at Austin and decides she hates him, everything goes topsy-turvy, and their sweet little bubble of happiness bursts.
Can the insurmountable be surmounted? After all, Evan has practically raised his sister, and he’s helpless in the face of her unhappiness. But he’s more than unhappy himself, and he knows Austin must be devastated because they haven’t spoken in weeks—ever since Evan pushed him away after his sister’s arrival. For a while, it seems impossible to believe these two can find their way back to friendship, trust, and a happy ending.
I enjoyed this story immensely. It’s light and sweet throughout most of the book, but there’s a ton of heartbreak once Evan’s sister arrives. It’s also got lots of UST, and I personally love unresolved sexual tension in my stories. The guys don’t make it to the bedroom until the 75% mark, but this story isn’t all about the sex anyway. It’s about forming relationships—friendship, trust, and love—and the author does a wonderful job with that. If you like a sweet love story, especially one with adorable pets, an MC who is clueless about his own needs and how to say no to family members who drive him crazy, and an MC who is willing to love and forgive his man despite the obstacles thrown in their way, this is the story for you.
Cover art by L.C. Chase is pawsitively adorable and perfect for the story.
Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon
ebook, 200 pages
Expected publication: March 4th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press