Bestselling author Kathy Clark kicks off her Austin Heroes series with a pulse-pounding tale of two wounded souls tempted by a dangerous proposition: new love.
DEA agent Nick Archer puts his life on the line every day. A former Marine, he fears nothing . . . except commitment. Nick has no trouble finding women eager to warm his bed, and no problem sending them on their way the morning after. Relationships don’t mix with risky careers, a fact Nick learned the hard way after his marriage fell apart. He’d go it alone if it weren’t for his new K-9 partner—and the stunning trainer who makes Nick sit up and take notice.
Just like her service dogs, Jamie Chambers knows how to sniff out trouble. From the moment Nick swaggers into her kennel, she knows he’s heartbreak waiting to happen, and he wastes no time getting under her skin. Hell, he doesn’t even like dogs. As a cop’s widow, Jamie has felt the sting of loss in the line of duty, yet she recognizes something of her own pain in Nick’s smoldering gaze. Jamie knows there are no guarantees in life. But a moment of pleasure, however fleeting, holds the promise of forever—and for that, Jamie’s willing to take the plunge.
Harley completely steals the scene, and the story, what a beautiful, loyal, sweetheart of a service dog! Either was it the service dogs, or a truckload of puppies, the canine world is front and center of the story, and are just adorable.
The story has a fresh approach to the romantic suspense stories. A lot of focus in on the 'free time', the behind the scenes, what happens when the law enforcement is not on working on the case. Nick is broken, weary, from his demanding job, tired of the hurt of his failed marriage. He is reluctant to take on a new partner, even if he is a dog, but Harley earns his new status fast.
Jamie is broken as well, widow of a cop at a young age, taking care of her wounded brother, the kennel, she fills her days, but the nights are cold and lonely.
The characters are edgy, on the darker side, and Jamie is so afraid of her the new feelings inside of her, she does the pull push action, several times, until Nick is sure there's no chance for them at all.
The supporting cast and crew in the story are on the prominent place, they are well developed characters, and give much to the story, new levels, and layers of depth. If you are against a constant casual alcohol consumption and a joint every now and then, maybe this book isn't for you.
The relationship between Nick and Jamie is fragile, it was interesting to see Nick's development and growth through the tale, and reach the place of peace and understanding within himself and his feelings towards Jamie. If this wouldn't be the book one in the new series, I would have loved to see an epilogue, to give more believability to the end, but I hope in the future books, there's some insights into Nick and Jamie's life as well.
The suspense was little on the side of the story, taking a second place in the character development and the progress of the new relationship. The story was solid, Harvey stands out, and even though the book is part of the series easy to be read as a standalone novel.
~ Three Spoons and a teaspoon on the side
MY GRADING SCALE:
5 Spoons - Amazing, memorable story that I loved and want to read again. The best of the best and not given lightly
4 Spoons - Fantastic, entertaining story that I enjoyed and connected with and will gladly recommend to readers
3 Spoons - A good story, not much that stood out but I was engaged enough to spend the time to read it through
2 Spoons - A story with some issues, that were a problem to me
1 Spoon - Not for me