Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Gage Tackett comes off as a bad boy—detached and maybe a little dangerous. Definitely not Vet Sciences Professor Derek Paulson’s type. Which he tells himself, repeatedly, every time the other man attends his class. Until the day he looks over to see Gage’s seat is empty.
When Gage arrives at Derek’s veterinary clinic with a frostbitten stray dog, the lines of their teacher/student relationship are blurred. Derek realizes his most difficult student has a few things to teach him. Things he’s more than willing to learn.
This was a new to me author, and one who I noticed writes mostly in the M/F romance genre. However, the cover drew me in on first glance–I’m a sucker for both dogs and blonds. For the most part, I really enjoyed the author’s writing style. But there were several times when I found myself confused, when the guy’s conversation just really lost me.
I am a totally dogaholic, so I thoroughly enjoyed the parts of the story about the dog(s). Derek being a vet, Gage a vet student and former military dog handler still grieving the loss of his service dog, Gunner. Then the rescue of the stray, and the way Matty brought the two men together and even changed the path of their future. All of that was sweet and completely awesome. I loved how Derek used Matty to get Gage into his bed (not for sex, mind you, but for snuggling and cuddling). So sweet.
However, when it came to the guys themselves separate from dogs, well, I admit that it took quite a while for me to connect with either man. I feel that I would have enjoyed this much more if both Derek and Gage were more fleshed out more in ways outside their connection to dogs.
Derek came across as haughty and aloof at first, and while we get to see later that it’s due to his having been hurt before—well, there wasn’t enough backstory of that to make me feel enough for him to truly understand why/how a man of his looks and station in life would so readily pull away from wanting a real relationship and begin to act as he was. I mean, hell, we all get hurt. That’s life.
Gage’s loss of Gunner, his military dog was poignant—the visit he makes to the military dog memorial had me close to tears. But there was little background on Gage himself, really. And while it was mentioned that Gunner had helped Gage with the nightmares (obviously due to PTSD), the details on what incident or incidents started them were missing.
The build up of sexual tension and chemistry developing between the two worked well, but I felt let down when the actual sexy bits arrive. For me, they felt rushed, almost skimmed over, which kept them from being as hot as I’d hoped for.
Overall, this is a sweet story that any dog lover should enjoy. Aptly showing how the love a dog can enhance and change our lives.
Sales Link: Amazon
Kindle Edition, 142 pages
Published September 14th 2015