Rating: 4 stars out of 5
On a cold winter day, Mac Bowersox found his best friend, a lost, scared, and emaciated beagle, on the streets of Seattle.
Two men. One dog. When Flynn and Mac meet by chance in a park the next summer, there’s a problem—who does Barley really belong to? Flynn wants him back, but he can see that Mac rescued him and loves him just as much as he does. Mac wants to keep the dog, and he can imagine how heartbreaking losing him would be—but that’s just what Flynn experienced.
A “shared custody” compromise might be just the way to work things out. But will the arrangement be successful? Mac and Flynn are willing to try it—and along the way, they just might fall in love.
In a delightful story about two men and their love for one dog, Rick Reed’s love for his real dog, Lilly, comes through loud and clear.
Flynn Marlowe lost his dog, Barley, last fall, and his house has never been home since then, so imagine his shock when he spots Barley as he’s out for a run about eight months later, but Barley is now answering to Hamburger and is accompanied by a gorgeous redhead who also catches Flynn’s eye.
Mac Bowersox took in the near-starved pup last winter when he found him. After checking for a chip and calling around, it was evident he’d been abandoned, so after scarfing down Mac’s burger, Hamburger was christened and taken home to the rooming house where he lives with his elderly landlady. Confronted by Flynn, Mac lies, and despite Barley’s apparent interest in the stranger, Mac adamantly insists the dog can’t be Barley. The moment Flynn turns his back, Mac takes off.
I loved the beginning of the story as both men have found their family member and yet neither is willing to compromise in any way on his custody. Sometimes our pets are all the family we have, and anyone who’s owned a dog knows they give us their whole heart unconditionally.
After he has time for remorse, and when he happens to see Flynn again, Mac decides to do the right thing and give Hamburger up, but then it’s Flynn’s turn for remorse as he can see how traumatized Mac is by giving him up.
There’s a nice compromise on the table, though it proves heartbreaking for both men, and when Mac has a family tragedy, it’s Flynn he turns to for help. Over time, the men have grown closer—a point Barley seems to be quite happy about.
This author never fails to deliver a wonderful story, whether it’s scary, heartbreaking, or heartwarming. A simple concept, with a very interesting twist and turn of events, and wonderful, three-dimensional characters from Mr. Reed makes this one a winner. If you’ve ever had a pet or wanted one, and if you have a soft spot in your heart for men who love animals, I highly encourage you to pick this one up. You won’t be disappointed.
Cover art by Reese Dante is beautiful and perfect for this story. The characters are exactly the way I pictured them, the dog is perfect, and she even managed to get in a bit of the Washington coastline.
ebook, 200 pages
Expected publication: December 5th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press