This book will break your heart!
From the best-selling romance author of THE EDUCATION OF SEBASTIAN comes a sexy, heart-breaking and heart-warming story about one man and his dog. (Standalone)
Alex is lost and alone, with only his dog, Stan for company. He doesn’t expect kindness from anyone anymore, but sometimes hope can be found in the most unlikely places. He has a second chance at happiness, but there’s a dark side to Alex, and a reason that more than one person has called him crazy.
Single mother Dawn is doing just fine. Except that her ex- is a pain in the ass, her sister isn’t speaking to her, and her love life is on the endangered list.
At least her job as a veterinarian is going well. Until a crazy-looking guy arrives at her office accompanied by an aging dog with toothache. Or maybe Alex Winters isn’t so crazy after all, just … different.
Dawn realizes that she’s treated him the same way that all the gossips in town have treated her—people can be very cruel.
Contains scenes of an adult nature.
This is a standalone novel with no cliff-hanger.
He nodded slowly, seeming to ponder my words.
“You don’t like that word?”
His reply wasn’t acerbic, if anything, he sounded thoughtful.
“I haven’t had a whole lot of nice.”
I wondered if I should take his words as an opportunity to dig deeper, but he seemed more closed off now and a little sad, and I didn’t want to spoil such a lovely day.
“Nice is good,” I agreed evenly, and was happy when he forced a small smile. “Thank you—for everything.”
I leaned across to kiss him on the cheek, surprised by my own boldness. His eyes widened and he sucked in a quick breath.
Was the world still spinning or had time frozen as we sat there, creatures in the dark our only witnesses?
Is love a disease? An affliction? Or is it something catching? Can you catch love, can you hold it in your hands, can it be communicated like a plague? Or is it like an infectious laugh that makes your eyes water and your stomach hurt, even though the joke isn’t funny?
I’d begun to believe I was immune to love—the kind that exists between a man and a woman. Instead, I’d been gifted an ocean of love for my daughter. I thought perhaps that had filled me full, leaving no room for other love. Other loves.
My lips tingled from the roughness of his day-old stubble.
And is it love when you want someone’s smile as much as you want their body? When their laughter softens your words to a prayer?
My heart began to race.
Or is it sheer animal lust, a torrent of hormones assaulting your blood, heating you from the inside out?
He reached out to touch me, questions in his shadowed eyes as he cupped my cheek. I sighed and leaned into him, eyelids fluttering.
My mother always says it’s the softness of men that she loves most, because it’s at the center of them. Their outsides are hard with muscle; their bodies large, larger than hers—or mine—heavier, stronger. So when a man’s touch is soft, when his fingers drift across your skin like sunbeams, then you’re seeing into his soul.
I never understood. I never believed her.
So gently, so very gently, he pressed his dry lips against mine, and I wrapped my arms around his neck, kissing him back.
He tasted of coffee, and he smelled like sunshine and pine forest.
Gentleness turned to want, and want turned to need, and I thought my mother was wrong. I wanted to feel the strength of his body surrounding me, on top of me. I wanted to feel his hardness against me, inside me. I was wearied by supporting the weight of my family alone. I wanted someone to carry me. For just a little while. A single moment.
The wooden arm of the chair pressed into my ribs as I leaned across, and I tried to ignore it. But Alex lifted me onto his lap, shocking a gasp out of me that ended with a soft laugh, because maybe he’d read my mind, because maybe he wanted the same things I did. And then we were kissing again. Again and again for the longest time, hesitance turning to urgency, and long languid kisses to heated mouths and hot sighs.
My fingers fumbled to find the hem of his shirt as I floundered my way down his chest, sliding my palms across warm skin that left shivers in their wake. I started pushing the material upward, and Alex leaned forward and dragged the shirt off, tossing it to the ground impatiently.
All day, I’d longed to touch, yearned to taste, feared to want. I was tired of caution, weary of wading through life alone. If this was just one night, I’d celebrate it forever, and if it was more … well, that was a bridge still to be crossed, a land waiting for discovery.
My hands swept down his back, reading his skin with my fingers as if sight didn’t exist, while we continued to kiss, tongues tasting, learning and teaching. I gripped his biceps, my fingers digging into the ridge of muscle, shuddering with pleasure as he cupped my breast with one hand, the other anchored behind my back to stop me from falling.
I’d already fallen for Alex Winters, man of mystery, animal lover, gentle soul, wounded warrior in the battle of life. Or maybe that’s just life. We’re all survivors, one way or another.
Whitney’s Four Star Review
I knew this book was going to break my heart. I cried during the short story prequel which set the tone for a beautiful story about a guy seriously down on his luck and his trusted rescue dog companion.
I’ve enjoyed this author before so I was excited to read this. I’m a shameless lover of all things rescue dogs and broken heroes and this story has both. Alex has been through the wringer. A series of life setbacks led a breakdown and then a chance to start his life over. When he meets single mom, Dawn, sparks fly despite his stutter and his awkwardness. Dawn’s caution where Alex is concerned keeps this from insta-love and speaks to her being a good mom. As Alex’s vet, she takes care of his best friend, Stan.
Alex is far from perfect which I also enjoyed. He’s a little crazy and there were a few times I wanted to punch him in the face. But he has a big heart always redeemed himself quickly.
Stan the rescue dog plays an integral role in this story and I was surprised when I stumbled upon a chapter written from his POV. I mean, he’s a dog! At first, I didn’t like it and thought it was too cheesy. But luckily, the author only does this about 3 times and Stan’s chapters are very very short. My love of dogs won me over and I ended up being ok with his chapters included. It adds an element of sweetness and gratification after seeing how much owner and dog love each other.
As a trigger for animal lovers, be warned that there are scenes difficult to read regarding dog fighting. I had a really tough time making it through those (there aren’t many but they are an important part of the author’s message) as I’m one of those people who turn off the ASPCA commercials on TV.
Anyone who enjoys a damaged hero and animals will love this story. At it’s heart, this a sweet romance with a little sexy thrown in. There’s enough drama to keep the pages turning and both characters have pasts they work hard to overcome which is fulfilling to read. Definite recommendation!