tl;dr: too much going on and not enough explanation in this dirty talk explosion
Our story begins with Teresa Valentini, aspiring filmmaker and petty criminal, realizing that her younger brother has somehow gotten tied up in the seedy underbelly that had once claimed their father. Both of their parents are deceased, but while they were alive, they moved the family from New York to Los Angeles, escaping their shady past and starting over.
Teresa hops on a plane to rescue her brother, but Silas, the kingpin mafia don boss or whatever, refuses to let Nicholas go back to his former life. He instead makes a deal with her: she can retrieve his wayward son Will who took off on a road trip with his Great Dane, bring him back to New York, and only then will he allow Nicholas to leave his employ. Teresa feels she doesn’t have much choice, although she’s disturbed by Silas’ intimation that she’ll basically sex the son up enough to drag him home.
However, when she meets up with Will in a Texas town, she realizes that she’s totally hot for him. And when she finds out that the dog is dying, she’s even more sympathetic. She tries to resist his advances, but finds that it’s nigh impossible.
I was really disappointed by this book. So much of it felt like a first draft and did not work for me. Firstly. I didn’t follow why or how Nicky ended up with the evil Silas. I don’t even know what Silas did or why he was evil. Just that he offed people and there was money involved. Will’s reasons for skipping town made more sense, but the way he pushed himself on Teresa at every turn gave me the creeps. Their relationship made more sense as they got to know each other better and began to enjoy each other’s company more, but the beginning scenes were really over the top.
I also felt like the dirty talk was too much. It went from 0 to 60 and stayed there, and was just overwhelming in its dirtiness. It felt gratuitous. I didn’t find that much of the sexual kink aspects of the story added anything to it. There was too much happening and it was all spread too thinly.
This is probably a very unpopular opinion, but the miraculous healing of the dog near the last third of the book actually didn’t work for me. I don’t love books where the animal meets an untimely death, but the fact is that large dogs do end up with cancers and illnesses when they seem quite young. If you want a 20 year old pooch, get a chihuahua. According to Google, Great Danes generally live about 7-10 years, depending on how well bred and cared for they are. Dealing with loss is something that happens to people. Why would we always invoke a miracle when sometimes writing the truth leads to better storytelling?
Overall, this story didn’t grab me. I found myself skimming through a lot of the excessive dirty talk and I felt like there was next to no context for the Big Bad Criminal aspect. I didn’t like how pushy Will was. He didn’t want to wait for enthusiastic consent and that drives me a little crazy. Also, Teresa’s character was slightly ill-defined. She waffled between feisty brass balls lady and quivering flower.
This book is being self-published and as of yet is unavailable at libraries. Check it out here for your favorite retailer!
Looking for other books with dogs? Tempting Fate by Pamela Clare has a wolf (!) as a pseudo-pet, and A New Leash on Love by Debbie Burns has a whole shelter full!