Series: K-9 Rescue
Author: D.D. Ayres
Read copy: eBook (Kindle)
Published: September 1, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Passion is always worth fighting for...
Jori Garrison trains dogs for Warrior Wolf Pack, which provides service animals for disabled veterans. Four years ago, she was wrongly convicted of a crime—thanks to her no-good ex-fiancé. Now she just wants to live her life in peace with her beloved dogs. No men, no complications. But it’s hard to play it cool when a lethally hot male is on her tail—and the attraction is fierce, mutual, and dangerous...
Lauray "Law" Batisse is a Military Police veteran who was wounded in Afghanistan. Haunted by the loss of his K-9 partner in combat, he’s reluctant to accept a service dog named Samantha into his life. But once he meets her trainer—the gorgeous Jori Garrison—he can’t fight his primal instincts. And neither can Jori. This sexy alpha male might be the only man strong enough to unleash her desires. And when unseen enemies start hunting them down, he and his new K-9 partner might be her only hope...to survive.
Lauray "Law" Batisse is a mess. His last tour in Afghanistan resulted in him missing a leg and developing one hell of a case of PTSD. Such a case that he needs a service dog that's an utter embarrassment for a tough guy like him. The only thing that makes walking around with a girly dog he's saddled with, is the dog's trainer, easy on the eyes, sexy as all hell, Jori Garrison. Pity the girl keeps him at arms length...As if she knew his motto about loving them and leaving them.
That's not Jori's problem. Having fallen for the wrong guy before resulted in her being an ex-con, and although she knows Law isn't such bad news, he's bad news for her nevertheless. The man is irresistible, and he knows it. He's also unreachable and unattainable, and she knows it. Buy maybe, just maybe, she could have him on his terms...If only her damn heart would listen to reason.
Having read some of the reviews for this story, I was rather apprehensive given Law's behavior and attitude toward relationships with the fairer sex. Imagine my surprise, when I didn't see the asshole everybody was describing. He was a player (or he used to be, before he met Jori), but he wasn't the bastard I feared he would be. He had his moment of jackassery, but he never pretended to be a saint or someone he wasn't and he did warn Jori of what to expect from the start. Whatever happened next was a mutual decision between two adults in (more or less) their right minds and in possession of all their faculties...Although I did like the fact Law was the one a little more out of his depth in their relationships.
I also didn't detect a specific doormat behavior on Jori's part. She was a woman who knew what she wanted, wasn't afraid of going after it, and once she saw a goal, she went after it no matter the obstacles. She stuck it out, and she made her man see reason (no matter how long it took).
I loved the two of them together, I loved their relationship and how it progressed from one-day-stand to something more serious. And even though, as is customary with this series, that "more serious" never got established as love and HEA, it didn't bother me as it did in its predecessor. It went perfectly with who and what we read Jori and Law were as characters.
The suspense was a bit on the mellower side, with the relationships between Jori and Law and Law and Sam (which to me was the main relationship in the book) taking top spot, without much intrigue and mystery, since it was pretty much all in the open. The suspense-light plot bothered me a little, as did the occasional misstep in the pacing department; sometimes the story lost its flow and momentum, resulting in a few slightly dull moments.
Despite these last two hiccups, this was yet another well-written story with a good plot and even better characters (of the human and canine variety—Sam was so utterly adorable and had such a big heart and miles of courage she's definitely my favorite characters in the story) and relationships between them.