A stray kitten and a rambunctious poodle bring together a small-town bachelor and a single mother in the latest romance set in Bluff Point, Maine.
Bluff Point brewery owner Zachary Caine wants nothing to do with commitment. His wild bachelor lifestyle suits him perfectly—until a foster kitten named Chaos makes him a reluctant hero. Now he’s BFFs with the kitten’s two little girls and finds himself falling for their gorgeous mother, who couldn’t think less of him.
Divorced mother Jessie Connelly wants nothing to do with men like Zach. He’s sexy and charismatic and bad news, just like her ex. But her girls adore him, and he’s doing a good job filling in for their deadbeat dad. Then a snowstorm brings out the best in both neighbors, who, it turns out, have more in common than their mutual attraction...
So when Jessie’s past threatens her and her girls, Zach is determined to do whatever it takes to protect them—and live happily ever after with this family he has made his own.
About the Author
Former librarian Jenn McKinlay is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Bluff Point Romances, including Every Dog Has His Day, Barking Up the Wrong Tree, and About a Dog, as well as the Library Lover’s Mysteries, the Cupcake Bakery Mysteries, and the Hat Shop Mysteries. Jenn lives in sunny Arizona in a house that is overrun with kids, pets, and her husband’s guitars.
Read an Excerpt
***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected copy proof***
Copyright © 2018 Jenn McKinlay
Ugh. Zachary Caine was pretty sure the seizure-inducing caterwauling that was harshing his mellow was annoying enough to reanimate the dead, of which he was one.
He was lying on his overstuffed blue leather recliner couch, affectionately known as Big Bertha, which he’d had since his college days, while watching Sunday playoff football on mute because the unexpected houseguests he had were still asleep upstairs in all three of his bedrooms.
In what had seemed like a singular act of good manners at the time, he had insisted his company take the beds in his house while he took the couch. Now, having spent a sleepless night on Big Bertha because she had a dip in her middle the size of the Grand Canyon, he was sure his spine had been reconfigured into a serpentine S curve of pain. Clearly, chivalry was overrated.
Generally a cheerful, happy-go-lucky sort, Zach was feeling a tad surly. He glared at his couch mate Rufus, the cinnamon standard poodle he was dog sitting for a friend, who looked at him from beneath the poof of curly hair on his head as if trying to determine whether Zach wanted him to bark or not. Zach met his gaze and watched as Rufus rolled over and fell back asleep.
“Really?” Zach asked the dog, who ignored him. “Isn’t it your job to investigate strange noises or at the very least bark at them?”
Rufus yawned and Zach watched as his eyes rolled back into his head.
Crap! What was making such a racket? Zach rolled onto his side, flinching through the back pain, and pulled a pillow over his head.
Argh! The wailing cut right through the fluffy pillow and now he could hear the sound of voices outside his front door, too. No, no, no! Go away! Seriously, if it was a door-to-door salesman, he might punch the guy in the throat on principle. His doorbell rang.
That did it! Zach threw the pillow across the room and pushed himself up to his feet. His back muscles protested by clenching into a hot ball of pain. He huffed out a breath and forced himself to shuffle to the door.
It was Sunday. Wasn’t it supposed to be a day of rest? Why were people forcing him to be upright? And moving? It was just so wrong!
He unlocked the door and yanked it wide. He opened his mouth to bark at the rude people on his porch, since Rufus clearly wasn’t going to do it, but the words never left his lips. Standing in front of him were two little cherubs with pink cheeks and tousled curls poking out from under their woolen hats, looking up at him with big blue imploring eyes. Uh-oh!
“Hey, mister,” the littler one said. “We need your help.”
Zach squinted at her. If this was a Girl Scout cookie dealer, he was all in. Those little round yummies of caramel coconut chewy goodness were his crack.
Zach clapped his hands over his ears. There it was, that hideous noise again, only louder.
“Oh, no, he’s getting upset!” The taller girl hurried off his porch and back down his walkway. She stopped a few feet away and stared up at his roof. “It’s okay, boy, it’s okay. We’re getting help.”
What the . . .? Zach shoved his feet into the Timberland boots he’d discarded by his front door and strode across his porch, down the steps, and onto the walk. The icy cold air of January in Maine felt like a closed-fist punch in the face, making him wince, but at least it was a new pain and distracted him from the ache in his back.
He stood beside the girl in the purple coat and glanced up. Peering at him over the lip of the narrow porch roof was a tiny orange tabby not much bigger than his fist.
The smaller girl in a blue coat joined them. She glanced up and looked exasperated. Then she wagged her pointer finger at the feline and said, “You are a naughty kitty.”
“Can you get him down for us, sir, please?” the girl in purple asked. “He’s just a baby. He might freeze to death.”
For a little guy, he sure had decent lung capacity. For a wide variety of reasons, not the least of which was to end the cat’s howling, Zach knew there was no way he was getting out of this without getting the kitten down.
“What’s his name? Kitty?” he asked.
“No.” The younger one shook her head. She gave him an exasperated look. “We call him Chaos.”
Zach looked at her droll little face and laughed.
“Of course you do,” he said. “Good name.”
The frigid winter air started to seep into his underdressed hide and he shivered. Flannel pajama bottoms and a thermal shirt were no match for temperatures in the twenties.
“Wait here and keep an eye on him,” he said. “I’m going to get my ladder.”
The girls looked so relieved he almost felt heroic. Glancing up at the kitten, who continued yowling, he figured he’d better save the self-congratulations until after he got the little furball down.
As he strode back into the house, Rufus passed him, looking fierce. He barked, low and deep, and Zach shook his head at him.
“Too little too late, my friend,” he said.
Rufus ignored him and bounded toward the girls. The older one looked nervous and backed up, but the young girl opened her arms wide.
“You have a dog?” she cried, as if this were the greatest news ever.
“Sort of,” he said. “I’m temporarily dog sitting him. Don’t worry, he loves kids.”
As if to prove Zach right, Rufus dropped onto his back in the snow at the girls’ feet, offering his belly for rubs. Both girls laughed and Zach hurried inside, grabbed a thick chambray shirt off the back of a chair, and drew it on without bothering to button it. He then took the shortcut through the small house to the garage door.
He lifted the ladder off its wall brackets and opened the side door that let him back out into his front yard. He didn’t want to raise the garage door for fear he’d scare the kitten into doing something stupid. Although one could argue that climbing onto his roof was pretty dumb to begin with, especially on a day when the high temperature was twenty-seven degrees and the ground still had a few feet of snow on it from the icy dumping they’d gotten yesterday. How had the little scrapper gotten up there anyway?
He set the base of the ladder on the ground and propped the top against the porch roof. It took some adjusting, but when it felt steady he began to climb. Not a fan of heights, Zach wasn’t surprised when the world did one swift revolution, forcing him to grip the sides of the ladder. He closed his eyes for a second, allowing the vertigo to pass before he attempted to continue on.
“Hurry, mister, he’s stopped crying. I think his voice is frozen,” the little one ordered.
“Please hurry,” the older one added.
Zach opened his eyes and kept going. He was almost at the roof when a shriek sounded from next door. Dang, this had to be the loudest Sunday in the history of the neighborhood.
“Maddie! Gracie! Where are you?” a woman’s voice cried.
“Over here, Momma,” the younger one answered. She waved as if her mother needed the visual to notice the man on the ladder just twenty yards from where she stood, looking bug-eyed and frantic.
The woman looked as disheveled as Zach felt as she raced across the two yards to grab her girls close.
“What are you doing over here?” she cried. “Girls, you know the rules. You are never to leave the backyard without me. I went inside for a tissue and when I came out, you were both gone! You scared me to death!”
She kissed one head and then the other, as if to reassure herself that they were fine.
“Yeooooooow!” Clearly put out that he didn’t have everyone’s attention, Chaos let loose his loudest, most grating yowl yet.
Zach was pretty sure his ears had started to bleed. He gritted his teeth and climbed to the top, determined to get this cat and his people away from his Sunday sanctuary of playoff football, nachos, and naps.
“We found Chaos, Momma, he’s on this man’s roof,” the older one said.
“Oh, hi, Zach,” she said. She glanced up and when her gaze met his, her face turned bright red. “I’m sorry. You don’t have to do that. I can climb up there.”
Jessie Connelly. Zach had met her a few months ago when he’d brought his friend’s foul-mouthed parrot into the local veterinary office where Jessie worked. He’d made the mistake of calling her “sweetheart,” and she had let him have it. He was pretty sure he still had scars from the tongue lashing she’d given him.
At the time, he’d had no idea that they were neighbors. Jessie had been all too aware that he lived next door and she had a lot to say about how she assumed he lived his life. Being a live and let live sort, Zach had steered clear of her ever since.
He must have done a heck of a job avoiding her, because up until now he’d had no idea that she had two daughters. He wondered if she was feeling badly about their last meeting now that he was saving her daughters’ kitten.
Feeling mischievous, he almost called her “sweetheart” or “honey” or “baby girl” just to see if she’d rip into him again.
Luckily, the kitten was keeping him on task. He turned back to the cat, calling over his shoulder, “Don’t worry. I’ve got this.”
He trudged up the ladder. When he was nose to nose with the cat, he paused to figure out the best way to grab it. The orange tabby with pale green eyes looked cold and miserable and Zach realized if anyone was having a worse Sunday than he, it was this cat. He held out his hand, thinking the cat would be grateful to climb aboard. The cat took a swipe at him. Okay, then.
“Really?” he asked it. “I’m trying to help you out here.”
The cat hissed and his little back arched. The critter had spunk, Zach would give him that. He’d been out here a while now and it was bone-achingly cold. How the little guy hadn’t turned into a furry ice cube Zach couldn’t fathom.
He reached out again, trying to coax the feisty feline with reassuring words.
“It’s okay, little fella,” he said. “I’m not going to hurt you. I’m just going to get you off the roof so you can go home with your people.”
He held his hand still and Chaos cautiously sniffed his cold skin. Zach didn’t know how much longer he could stay out here without gloves and not lose his fingers. He silently willed the cat to trust him.
When Chaos put a cautious paw on his hand and Zach reached out with his other hand to grab the kitten, Rufus let out a bark of encouragement. A loud one. The cat jumped and hissed, causing Zach to jump and his ladder to wobble. Still, he managed to grab the cat by the scruff of the neck.
He hauled the little furball into his chest, clutching him close with both hands. When he tried to step down without the use of his hands, he felt the bottom of the ladder shift from all of the movement above. As if in slow motion, the ladder tipped away from the roof of the porch.
“Oh, no, mister, look out!” one of the girls cried.
It was too late. Zach couldn’t grab the roof without dropping the cat. He couldn’t risk the little guy like that, so he tucked him into his chest and just relaxed his body into the fall. The ladder slid, wobbled, slid again, and the next thing Zach knew he was free-falling toward the ground.
Having no idea what he was going to land on, Zach had to revise his earlier assessment. He was most definitely having a worse Sunday than the cat.
Thump! Zach felt his body drop into a soft cushion of freezing cold snow. The icy, wet chill engulfed his entire body and snow fell in on top of him, burying him in the large snowdrift. Chilly, but at least his head hadn’t split like a big cantaloupe on his paved driveway.
“Oh, my god! Are you all right?” Jessie cried as she hurried forward.
Zach popped his eyes open to find her staring down at him. Her big blue eyes were filled with alarm and she was uselessly flapping her bare hands at her sides as if she was trying to achieve liftoff. Her green puffy coat was unzipped and her woolen hat with the oversize pom-pom, earflaps, and braids was askew, allowing a chunk of two-tone bangs to drape over her forehead, almost covering her eyes.
Before he could answer her, she dropped to her knees beside him and began to brush him off, digging him out of the pile of snow.
“Chaos, see what happens when you wander off?” the younger girl chastised the cat as her older sister scooped him off Zach’s chest and held him close.
Rufus sniffed the kitten, who ignored him and burrowed into the girl’s coat.
“Thanks, mister.” The younger sister joined her mother in the snowbank and grabbed Zach’s hands with one of her icy cold mittens, not that Zach could feel anything as his fingers were pretty much numb. She tried to pull him up but he was still half buried.
“We need to get you inside,” Jessie said. She began to brush the snow off his pajama bottoms. “You’re frozen.”
“No, no, I’m fine,” he protested. With Jessie’s hands brushing off all of his body, he was suddenly relieved that he was numb from the chest down. His teeth began chattering as he tried to roll to his feet without success. “J-j-just g-glad you have y-your cat back. You should p-probably t-take him home now.”
“We’ll help you inside first,” she insisted.
Jessie braced her feet against the icy part of the snowbank and used her body weight to haul him to his feet. She was stronger than she looked and he fell against her, slipping on the icy ground as he tried to get his balance. He flailed and one hand landed on her shoulder while the other latched onto the front of her coat. It took him a second to realize he was clutching her boob and he jumped back, dropping his hand and skidding on a patch of ice in his effort to get away from her.
“Sorry, sorry,” he said. He raised his hands in the air as if trying to prove he hadn’t been trying to cop a feel.
Jessie looked startled and then like she was trying not to laugh as his feet scrabbled on the slippery ground and his arms windmilled as he tried to get his balance. She pursed her lips and stepped forward, catching him about the waist and pulling one of his arms over her shoulder.
“Come on,” she said. “Before you damage something permanently.”
“No worries. My dignity has already been frozen off,” he said.
This time she did laugh.
“Maddie, go get the door for us, sweetie,” she said.
The younger girl in the blue coat scampered up the steps and pushed open his front door. Jessie half carried, half dragged him up the steps with Rufus and the other girl—whom she had called Gracie—bringing up the rear, still holding Chaos the kitten.
Zach did a quick scan to make sure his sparsely decorated bachelor pad didn’t have any stray underwear or socks kicking around or anything else that might damage a young girl’s psyche. Other than an empty pizza box on the counter and a newspaper on the coffee table, the place was clear. The game was still on and he glanced at the screen to catch the score. His Cowboys were up. Amen!
Living in Patriot country, he knew his love of the Texas team was blasphemy, so he tried to keep it on the down-low, but he had fallen hard for the team during his childhood in California, playing youth football during Dallas’s Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith reign, and he’d never given them up.
Jessie helped him over to the couch and he resumed his seat. She grabbed the thick black and gray afghan his mother had knitted him and tucked it around him.
“Do you want some coffee?” she asked. “Tea? Hot chocolate?”
“Hot chocolate!” Maddie cried.
“I wasn’t asking you,” Jessie said. “I was asking . . .”
“Mister,” Maddie said. “I call him mister.”
Zach smiled despite his shivers. “My name is Zachary Caine, but my friends call me Zach.”
“Am I your friend?” Maddie asked. She hit him with a steady blue gaze and he noticed that her sister stood motionless behind her, watching their interaction.
“We’re neighbors,” he said. “I think it’s mandatory that we become friends, don’t you?”
A blindingly bright smile lit Maddie’s face and she nodded. He glanced at Gracie and was pleased to see a small smile tip the corners of her lips.
“You’re right,” Jessie said. “I know the last time we met, I was not at my best. Please forgive me?”
Zach stared into her big blue eyes full of beguiling warmth and humor and felt her working the same magic on him that her daughters had when they’d pleaded for their cat’s rescue. He could no more refuse her than he could her girls. It occurred to him then that these women were dangerous to his peace and tranquility; still, he’d been raised hip deep in women and it was ingrained in him to look after them.
“Of course,” he said.
“Thank you,” she said. “Please call me Jessie, and these are my daughters, Maddie and Gracie.”
“Pleased to meet you,” Zach said. He gave the girls his most winning smile. Maddie smiled back while Gracie turned a faint shade of pink and buried her nose in her cat’s fur.
“So, do neighbors have hot chocolate together?” Maddie asked. Her look was sly and Zach almost laughed.
“Yes, I think they do,” he said. He started to get up but Jessie waved for him to sit.
“Sit. Warm up,” she said. “I’ll get it.”
The bottom floor of Zach’s house was an open floor plan, so while he visited with the girls, Jessie crossed the room into his kitchen area. She stood in the center as if trying to figure out where everything would be without having to open every cupboard.
“Mugs are in the cabinet over the coffee maker, hot chocolate is on the top shelf of the pantry to the right of the fridge, milk is in the fridge, and the microwave is on the counter,” he called.
“Got it.” Jessie gave him a thumbs-up and set to work.
“How’s Chaos doing?” Zach asked Gracie. He was a little worried that the cat might have gotten hurt in their fall. He had tried to cushion him as best as he could but the kitten was tiny and had smacked his chest hard when they landed.
Gracie unzipped her jacket and took the kitten out. He had curled up into a sleepy little ball and when she opened her coat, he mewled in protest.
Maddie reached up and gently stroked his head and the kitten stretched out under the attention, letting them see that he was just fine.
“Chaos is a tough kitty,” Maddie said. “We think he’s going to grow up to be a real live tiger.”
Zach raised his eyebrows. “Really?”
Maddie held up her hands and made claws out of her fingers. “Roar!”
“Impressive,” Zach said.
“I’ve been teaching him,” Maddie said with the assurance only a child still in the single digits in age could muster when speaking of the improbable.
“Is that you?” Gracie asked.
Zach turned his head to see her pointing to a series of photographs that hung on the wall in his dining alcove.
“Not just me,” he said. “Rufus, too.”
Gracie busted out a belly laugh. Zach felt his lips tip up in the corners. As the quieter of the two, he suspected Gracie didn’t share her emotions as easily as her younger sister. Making her laugh felt like an achievement.
“What’s so funny?” Maddie asked. She crossed the room to join her sister. She glanced from the framed portraits to Zach and Rufus, who was once again sprawled on his portion of the couch, and back to the pictures. Then she, too, started to laugh. It was a good sound.
“Girls, what’s the racket?” Jessie asked as she came into the living room with four mugs of cocoa, two handles in each hand.
“Mommy, Zach and Rufus . . .” Gracie couldn’t go on. She pressed a hand to her stomach and laughed some more.
Jessie quirked an eyebrow at Zach in question but he just shrugged. She put the mugs down on the newspaper on the coffee table and joined her girls. She pressed her fingers to her mouth, which only forced the laugh out of her nose in a snort.
Her eyes went wide with embarrassment, but the sound made the girls laugh harder, and she dropped her hand and joined them. She ushered the girls back into the living room and passed out the mugs of cocoa.
“Explain, please,” she said as she handed Zach his mug.
“Where to begin?” he mused.
“The matching outfits?” Jessie suggested. Her big blue eyes, the same ones her daughters had trained on him, twinkled.
“The Fourth of July,” Gracie said.
“No, Thanksgiving,” Maddie said.
Zach glanced at Rufus. As if he knew he was the topic of conversation, the dog sat up on the couch and struck a pose, sitting at attention like he was in on the conversation. Zach was only surprised he didn’t demand his own mug of cocoa.
“Rufus’s mom person used to work for me at the Bluff Point brewery,” he began.
“What’s a brewery?” Maddie asked.
“It’s where they make beer,” Gracie said.
“Just so.” Zach nodded at her. Then he narrowed his eyes. “How old are you?”
“Seven,” Gracie said. “She’s five. They don’t know as much.”
“Do, too,” Maddie huffed. She gave her older sister an outraged look and muttered, “I know more than you do.”
“Do not,” Gracie said.
Before they began the squabble they were winding up for, Jessie said, “Girls, do you want to know about Zach and Rufus and the matching outfits?” They both nodded, and Jessie said, “Then maybe we should let Zach speak.”
“Sorry,” Gracie said.
“Sorry, mist . . . er . . . Zach,” Maddie said. She picked up her mug, imitating her mother’s dainty hold on her cup, and gave him her full attention.
Zach had always liked kids; his friends speculated that it was because he was so in touch with his inner child, but he found their honesty and zest for life refreshing. He suppressed a grin and took a sip.
He looked at Jessie in surprise. This was not the cocoa from the box of premeasured pouches in his cupboard. She had clearly done some magical voodoo mojo in his kitchen when he wasn’t looking. The cocoa, which when he made it usually had a thick coating of powder floating on top, was rich and creamy and had a tiny kick of heat to it.
“Secret recipe,” Jessie said. She winked at him and Zach blinked. Had Jessie Connelly always been this adorable?
She pushed her hat off of her head and he noticed that since he’d last run into her, she’d cut her long blonde hair and now it was a much darker shade, but with a couple of inches of the lighter blonde still on the tips. It was styled in a messy shoulder-length hairdo that framed her heart-shaped face becomingly, making her look as if she were barely out of high school.
“Story, Mister Zach,” Maddie said. Her voice was so demanding he was surprised she didn’t snap her fingers in his face.
“Maddie,” Jessie’s voice held a note of censure.
Maddie sighed and said, “Story, please, Mister Zach.”
She looked as if she would expire on the spot if he didn’t tell the story right now. Zach nodded. He got that.
“Here, let me show you,” he said. “Rufus, come here, boy.”
Rufus bounded across the couch to sit beside Zach. He looped his arm around the dog and put his head next to Rufus’s. Despite the difference in their hair color, they had a marked similarity of expression which had started the whole dressing-as-twins-and-having-pictures-taken thing.
“Look at our faces,” Zach said. “We could be twins, am I right?”
All three women stared at them, glancing back and forth as they assessed their features. Gracie nodded and spoke first, saying, “You have the same nose and eyebrows.”
“And fuzzy faces,” Maddie said. She patted Zach’s unshaven chin and then Rufus’s.
“It’s uncanny,” Jessie said. She quickly took a sip of her cocoa so Zach couldn’t tell if she was hiding her smile in her mug or not.
“Rufus’s person, Amanda Willoughby, was the brewery accountant, and she always brought Rufus to work with her. Since everyone said Rufus and I look alike, I decided to take a picture of the two of us dressed in matching outfits for her birthday. Her birthday is March fifteenth, so I went with togas and laurel wreaths,” Zach said.
“The Ides of March.” Jessie nodded. “Togas were the natural choice.”
“Right?” Zach asked. He grinned. Cute and smart and a helluva cocoa maker, there was clearly more to Jessie Connelly than he had figured. He took a sip of his hot chocolate. He liked the spice. “Anyway, Amanda thought it was hilarious so she sent it to our social media team to use and they blasted it out there and the next thing I knew, Rufus and I had our own following, so now we dress up for laughs and use it to promote the brewery.”
“Does Amanda live here?” Gracie asked.
“No,” Zach said. “She’s in England. Her husband got transferred and she went with him. They couldn’t take Rufus so I offered to keep him until they decide if they are staying in England or not.”
“You’re fostering Rufus like we’re fostering Chaos,” Maddie said. “Except I don’t want to foster him; I want to keep him.”
“We’ve talked about this, Maddie,” Jessie said. Her voice was mild but firm. “Pets are a lot of responsibility and Chaos, well, he gets into things.”
Judging by the kitten’s ability to get onto Zach’s roof, he had to figure this was the understatement of the century. He met Jessie’s gaze and they shared a look of complete understanding.
“Hey, Zach, sorry to be a pest but do you have an extra toothbrush?”
Zach whipped his head in the direction of the doorway. Standing there, wearing nothing butof his oversizedsweatshirts and a pair of leggings, was Savannah Kelly, one of his field marketers.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is a great series about members of the "Maine Crew" living in Bluff Point, Maine. Each book is the romance of a different character, so it is not necessary to read the other books to enjoy this one. This book finds Zach, the playboy of the group, falling for his neighbour Jessie and her two little girls. The story does not go smoothly, as there are roadblocks in the way both emotionally and from Jessie's ex-father-in-law. We do meet Jessie in the last book where she makes it very clear she wants nothing to do with her playboy neighbour, but when they meet up under different circumstances, things change. Zach is more of a father to her children than their real father and the promise he makes to her has the rest of the crew making bets with one another. The characters in this book are wonderful. I love how the friends are there for each other, through thick and thin. They spend a lot of time together and when they think Jessie and Zach are a good match, you know they are going to do what they need to, in order to help them get together. Once again it is the pets that help bring them together as well as adding some fun to the story. This book is funny, romantic, sweet, humorous making it fun to read. I can't wait for the series to continue so I can see what is in store for Jillian, at least I hope it is not finished. I recommend this series to romance lovers and pet lovers. Although there are some sex scenes, they are not too heavy or erotic. As I said above, you do not have to have read the other Bluff Point books to enjoy this series, but I recommend you read them because it is good series.
Divorced mom Jessie Connolly has blinders on when it comes to handsome neighbors, but when her two daughters ask Brewery owner and next door neighbor Zach to help get their kitten off his roof her eyes are opened to what a great guy he is. This was one of those novels where the kids are adorable and funny and their interaction with the hero is heartwarming. Zach and Jessie had great chemistry but his interaction with her children made me fall in love with him too. Zach is totally laid back, charming and has that childish joie de vivre. BUT he was also grown up enough to see what was in front of his face and know that he wanted it forever. Jessie had been through a bad divorce and her ex was a deadbeat dad which made her a little gunshy in the romance department. Zach kept coming through for she and her daughters and that love of life that may have looked childish to other women actually made him perfect in her eyes. The comparison to her ex was so disparate that she couldn’t help wanting him around permanently. Every Dog Has His Day is one of those books you want to curl up on the couch with when the weather outside is cold and nasty. It warms you from within and reminds you that a little fun in a romance is a wonderful thing. I have not read the other books in this series but really enjoyed Jenn McKinlay’s style of writing and will definitely be checking those out.
Review written by Marie for Ever After Book Reviews! 4.5 Stars! I fell in love Jenn McKinlay’s books years ago. There’s something so sweet about her stories, I can’t stay away. Every Dog Has His Day is the third book in her Bluff Point series, but can be read as a standalone without any issue. It brings together Zach, a local brewery owner that has a commitment phobia, and Jessie, his divorced neighbor with two kids. What I loved about this book wasn’t just the romance between Zach and Jessie, but the relationship that Zach developed with Jessie’s two little girls, Maddie and Gracie. With their father not in the picture, Zach very easily and naturally filled that void, which made he and Jessie’s romance transition almost perfectly. Of course, all new relationships aren’t without hesitation or hiccups, and the two of them have to overcome a few minor ones in order to discover that their happily ever after is right in front of their faces. Ms. McKinlay once again delivered with Every Dog Has His Day. It’s smart, funny, heartwarming and absolutely adorable. If you’re looking for a romance that will make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, this is the book (and series) for you. ***I voluntarily read a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and feelings are my own***
Every book in this series is better than the last!! I didn't think I would want to read Jessie's story. The introduction to her wasn't exactly a positive one but the more she was shown in About A Dog and Barking Up the Wrong Tree, the more I realized that she's a great person and I wanted to see her get her HEA. Now, Jessie and Zach's book is my favorite in this series!! It seems like everything about them is fate, from them being neighbors, to him saving their cat from his roof, and the snowstorm that forced them to spend so much time together. The similarities between them were surprising and it made me root for them even more than I already was. I love visiting Bluff Point and I'm really looking forward to what comes next.
The Bluff Point series is quickly turning into a must read for me. It’s been so fun reading about all these quirky characters and the bonds they all share as a core group. This time we got a very interesting pairing of characters. Jessie is actually someone most would originally hate on a first impression. She actually stole one of the previous MC’s groom on their wedding day. Yup, Jessie helped the groom make a mad dash at his own wedding and then turned around and married him herself. So, right there I was not a fan of her. Who steals someone else’s fiance? However, you soon realize that she’s not that young entitled woman she used to be. She’s older, mature, wiser, a mother, and has battled a hardship of a marriage with her ex-husband. So in a way, she sort of saved Mac from a horrible marriage by stealing the guy in the first place. Then you have Zach who appears to be a complete player, but is actually a sweet guy. He just doesn’t like to get attached because things never work out and he’s just tired of being discarded goods. So, when these two meet it was electric, and not in the good way. One thing I really liked about this story was Zach. He was someone who went through the foster system and got moved around a lot. His fiance left him, only to marry another man a handful of months later. He acts like things don’t bother him, but he’s really self-conscious. So, when he gets wrangled into helping Jessie and her girls out, he finds himself becoming attached to not only her, but the girls as well. He starts finding little excuses to be around them and is there whenever they need him. I just loved that he wasn’t intimidated by the fact that she was a mother of two little girls. I have really enjoyed this series so far. I love that it mixes romance with animals. Mainly because I’m a sucker for animals and I love romance novels. So, when you mix the two together you have the perfect combo. I do wish the covers were done differently to reflect the actual characters within the pages. For instance, our main guy is supposed to be in his 30’s. For some reason, the guy on the cover reminds me of Richard Gere. However, the story itself is great. The author was able to take a character that may be a bit hard to like, and made you instantly fall in love with her. I loved their easy relationship, the humor the girls added, and getting to see all the previous characters again. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.
Every Dog Has His Day is a delicious romance. The story is filled with likeable character who pulled key into the story. I love Jessie's girls and Chaos, the kitten and Rufus, the dog. The romance between Zachary Caine and Jessie Connelly sizzles. These two are meant to be together. I couldn't put this book down. Her father-in-law added so much drama. He wasn't my favorite. This story is filled with both humor and romance. Zach is a keeper. I loved how protective he was. Jenn McKinlay made me laugh and cry with this book. I like all the people of Bluff Point and always enjoy visiting here to catch up with what's happening.
This book is listed as #3 in the Bluff Point series, but I read it as a standalone and understood everything. This was an adorable contemporary romance. If you are a lover of a cutesy romance and animals, I would absolutely recommend this book to you! The chemistry in this book was enough to make me swoon, so as an avid contemporary romance reader, read this book!! The first thing that I really enjoyed about this book were the characters. I loved the two little girls in the beginning. They were so cute and innocent. When I got further into this book, I realized that I had fallen in love with Zach's character. He was adorable and capturing from the beginning. There were a few times where his character pulled on my heart strings. His home life was interesting to learn about. I've rarely read a book with a foster child, so it was great to learn about the experience. The chemistry between Zach and Jessie was very hard not to notice. Jenn McKinlay did a great job with showing just how well these two worked together. From the beginning, I was rooting for them. I liked how just like in every relationship, there were points of angst and it shows that even in romance novels, not every relationship is perfect. Again, contemporary romance lovers, read this!! I couldn't say it enough that you will fall in love with this story. As an animal lover and romance reader, this was easily a great book. It's short, sweet, and has a great narrative. I would love to give Jenn McKinlay's other books in the Bluff Point series a read!
Every Dog Has His Day is the third book in Jenn McKinlay’s Bluff Point series. Although the characters and relationships have been fully established in the prior two books, I had no probably getting into the story or the characters without having read them. Neighbors Jessie Connelly and Zachary Caine don’t have the best reputations. One is known as a player and the other as a relationship-wrecker. It takes Jessie’s adorable daughters and a stranded kitten to throw these two together. Their budding relationship progresses pretty quickly. Both Zach and Jessie profess their desire to remain unattached, but it only takes a snowstorm and a couple days without power for the two of them to hook up and fall into coupledom. As they get to know one another, so does the reader, and their individual backgrounds make it clear why they make the perfect couple. For me, the highlight of the book was not the romance, but Jessie’s adorable daughters. They hooked Zach just as quickly as me! Jessie's prior lack of sexual satisfaction didn't add anything to the story for me, and her instant bond with Zach's female friends felt unrealistic. Jessie’s ex-father-in-law is a horrible man who wields threats to mask his disappointment and sadness. The angst and conflict he creates could have been further developed for meatier drama, but it is fairly easily resolved. For fans of sweet, light romances, Every Dog Has His Day will be a hit. The plot is simple and straightforward, the characters are well developed, and the story flows nicely. Refreshingly, Ms. McKinlay has created truly normal characters—no dominating alpha males, no subordinate, pin-up girl bombshells. Who could resist adorable animals, cute-incarnate kids, a little humor, and a heart-felt romance? 3.5 stars
I lovely romance that will definitely tug at your heart strings. We are introduced to Zachary who owns a brewery and doesn't have the word commitment in his vocabulary. Then there is Jessie, a mother of two, who is deeply committed to being the best mother that she can be. Zachary and Jessie are neighbors but have never met. When a kitten named Chaos and two little girls decide to have an adventure the two are thrown together. Both are a bit unsure of the other and opinions begin to form. Jessie doesn't realize that you can't judge a book by its cover, or by past relationships. Will she open her heart to trust and let things happen naturally before judging Zachary? Will Zachary be open to commitment or is he the playboy Jessie thinks he is and has been all his life? With a blend of great characters McKinlay is able to create a story filled with a pinch of sadness, lots of laughs and an abundance of love. I laughed, cried and smiled throughout and was deeply moved emotionally but this charming book.
Review: EVERY DOG HAS HIS DAY by Jenn McKinlay Publication Date: January 2, 2018 Genre: Contemporary Romance Reviewed by: Reading in Pajamas/ Donna Rated 5 Stars This is such a delightful story, each character added a realistic and heartfelt aspect to the romance. Zach was just wonderful and sweet, especially to Jessie’s little girls. It wasn’t just a sexy little romance, it was also a heartwarming story of two little girls finding joy as well. This quick read truly touched my heart. *Review copy provided by Penguin in exchange for an honest review.
Jessie and Zach are neighbors. Jessie is a single mother of two little girls, Maddie and Gracie. Zach likes his bachelor lifestyle and is perfectly happy with the company of his dog Rufus. When Maddie and Gracie ask Zach to help them with their foster kitten Chaos he's being welcomed into their lives and discovers he loves spending time with the two girls and their mother and likes being part of a family. Is this the start of something beautiful? It's cold and snowstorms are making it necessary for people to help each other out. Jessie and Zach need each other to survive the extreme winter weather. This means they have the chance to spend a lot of time together. Jessie isn't looking for love after being with a man who made her and her daughters miserable, but Zach slowly melts her heart. He's great with the girls and kind to animals. Will Zach be able to convince Jessie to give him a chance? Every Dog Has His Day is a wonderful romantic story. Zach and Jessie are both good and gentle people and it's clear from the start that they belong together. I loved their connection straight away. There are plenty of sparks and there's a friendship on a deeper level, which is a combination I'm a big fan of. I couldn't wait to find out if they'd have a chance together. Zach is a wonderful person and he's a natural with Jessie's cheeky girls. Maddie and Gracie are adorable and I had fun reading about their adventures. Jenn McKinlay writes about them in an endearing believable way that made my heart melt. I love stories about families and this is definitely a precious one. Every Dog Has His Day is a story about people and animals. I love the loving and thorough way Jenn McKinlay describes all of her main characters and reading about Rufus and Chaos put a big smile on my face. I also liked the setting very much, two houses in the snow, it doesn't get any cosier than that. The choice of cold weather is perfect for the romance that unfolds, it really suits the story. I was immediately captivated by Every Dog Has His Day. It's charming, entertaining and cute. I absolutely loved this amazing book.
I really loved this book! When reading the blurb and the word kitten was mentioned I knew I had to read this one. I'm so glad I did. You know it's good because while reading this one made me want to read the previous two books in the series. This book had me hooked right from the beginning. Zach is just dreamy. He's definitely moved onto my top book boyfriends list. I loved the way he treats Jessie and her girls. That won me over, but his aid with little kitty Chaos sealed the deal. Jessie's girls are just too cute and adorable. I loved everything about this book. They story line itself was great then add in the characters and pets it's just delightful. Jenn McKinaly has gained a new reader for sure!
So I liked this one quite a bit. This group of friend in Bluff Point, Maine are starting to feel like old friends already. I was pulled into this romance from the very start and enjoyed it until the very end. This book had the perfect combination of cute animals, darling kids, and a couple destined to be together. Zach doesn't know what to expect when he finds two adorable little girls at his door. They need his help because their kitten, Chaos, is currently sitting on the roof of Zach's house. Being the nice guy he is, he jumps into help right away saving the kitten and landing in a big pile of snow. I thought the set up of this story was great but things got even better when Zach decided to make sure his neighbor and her two girls are okay during the blizzard that hit the area. I thought the characters in this book were wonderful. At the start of the series, Jessie seemed like the bad guy but things have changed as the series has progressed. Once I got the chance to spend a few moments in her head during this story, I completely changed my opinion of her. She really is a great character and has had a lot of things in her life go horribly wrong. Zach was such a good guy. He really was perfect with Jessie's girls and worked hard to be what they needed him to be. I loved Zach and Jessie as a couple. They had so much fun together from the very start and the chemistry between them was amazing. Zach's relationship with both of her girls was equally well done. I really liked how both Jessie and Zach keep their focus on the girls and their best interest. It really did feel like this group of people belonged with each other. It was really refreshing to see the kids play such an important role in the book but don't worry there are plenty of steamy moments to balance everything out. The book was really good but I did have couple of issues. I thought that some of the interactions with the larger group were a bit immature. I thought it was rather odd that a grown woman would go into another room during a situation to ask her friends for advice in a group chat. This group of friends didn't hesitate to share some pretty personal details. I kept thinking that if Zach and Jessie would just be that open with each other it would solve a lot of problems. The other issue I had concerned a situation with the girls' grandfather. He was really a difficult man and I thought that his complete change of heart seemed a bit unrealistic. These were really very minor issues that didn't lessen my enjoyment of the book. I would highly recommend this book to fans of contemporary romance. This is the third book in the series but it could easily be read as a stand alone. Readers of the series will enjoy spending time with characters featured in the earlier books. I can't wait to read more from this talented author very soon. I received an advanced reader edition of this book from Berkley Publishing Group via NetGalley.
A stray kitten and a rambunctious poodle bring together a small-town bachelor and a single mother in the latest romance set in Bluff Point, Maine. Bluff Point brewery owner Zachary Caine wants nothing to do with commitment. His wild bachelor lifestyle suits him perfectly—until a foster kitten named Chaos makes him a reluctant hero. Now he’s BFFs with the kitten’s two little girls and finds himself falling for their gorgeous mother, who couldn’t think less of him. Divorced mother Jessie Connelly wants nothing to do with men like Zach. He’s sexy and charismatic and bad news, just like her ex. But her girls adore him, and he’s doing a good job filling in for their deadbeat dad. Then a snowstorm brings out the best in both neighbors, who, it turns out, have more in common than their mutual attraction... So when Jessie’s past threatens her and her girls, Zach is determined to do whatever it takes to protect them—and live happily ever after with this family he has made his own.
Jenn McKinlay has once again released a sweet, heartwarming and super fun story. Every Dog Has His Day is book #3 in her absolutely delightful Bluff Pointe, Maine series. Zack Caine, brewery owner, is happy with his life. He has the brewery, his Maine crew of friends and interactions with ladies he meets when he feels attracted, as long as all parties agree that getting together is a "no-strings-attached" thing. Zack is the ultimate commitment-phobe. He also has a dog companion in the cinnamon colored standard poodle, Rufus - at least for now as he is doing long-term dog sitting for a friend. Jessie Connelly is happy to be free from her alcoholic, cheating ex-husband. Since she has two sweet, wonderful daughters she is determined to be the best mother for them and she also has a great job as office manager for town vet, Gavin Tolliver. So life is good even considering having to keep up with the overactive kitten, Chaos that she and her girls are fostering. Then Choas gets stuck on Zack's roof and as he is such a good neighbor and hero it's Zack to the rescue. Thus the fun begins! The author does an excellent job with her storyline, plot and dialogue. She writes a believeable conflict and resolution. Along the way she keeps her readers attention and "funny bone" tickled with animal antics, cute kiddie scenes and super fun adult interactions. The conversations among the Maine crew friends are hilarious. How many differnt terms do you know for orgasm and intimate female body parts? The reader will laugh at those boy vs girl phrase competitions. The reader will also get to see who ends up packing to run away, who ends up wearing a purple pirate hat complete with plume and how a talent show ends up. I have loved all the books in this series so far! Every Dog Has His Day is no exception. I highly recommend this book! I voluntarilarly read an ARC provided by NetGalley for an honest review.
Enjoyed the way this family found their way together