"Incredible! You'll be on the edge of your seat to see if the heroine can make it out alive."-Catherine Coulter, New York Times bestselling author
When adrenaline runs high, so does the force of desire...
For Shay Appleton, it's love at first sight when a gorgeous stray dog is brought into the animal shelter where she works. She just knows he'll make a terrific watch dog-and with an abusive ex who won't let go, she needs all the protection she can get. But Shay never suspected that her new pet is actually a trained police K-9 named Bogart-until Bogart's even more gorgeous, human partner shows up on her doorstep.
IRRESISTIBLE FORCE by D.D. Ayres
Officer James Cannon is one tall, strong alpha male who's convinced that Shay stole his dog. But once he gets closer to the suspect, he realizes that this stubborn, independent woman not only needs a guard dog, she needs James as well. It seems that someone from her past is stalking her, and threatening her life. When danger meets desire, will James risk his career and his best friend...to protect the woman who's stolen his heart?
About the Author
D. D. Ayres loves men in uniforms and dogs, making this new series with St. Martin's Press a dream come true. She currently lives in Texas where she's at work on her next novel.
Read an Excerpt
Surveillance was simpler in the South in autumn. It was hunting season in North Carolina. A man dressed in camouflage and carrying a rifle in the woods didn’t rate a second glance. The thick canopy of summer had yielded a blanket of damp leaves that made soft whispery sounds underfoot. Sparse branches improved viewing range, even in the darkness. Forecasters had predicted that by dawn, the frost would give way to the promise of an Indian summer day.
It was just the sort of weather James Cannon enjoyed on his day off from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. However, tonight he was on the job, alone in an unfamiliar area, and closing in on what might be a desperate character.
James’s alertness level ratcheted up as he came to the edge of the woods he had been passing through. The absence of Bogart gnawed at his focus. They were always on duty together, had been until a month ago. That’s because James’s law enforcement partner had been kidnapped. The cabin in the clearing just ahead was the purported location where he was being held.
Ever since his partner had been taken, he’d spent a hellish amount of time tracking down useless leads. He’d been afraid, as the days stretched out, that Bogart was dead.
He jerked his thoughts back from that murky water-under-the-bridge reality to the present. Now he had his first good lead, and it had led him here.
He slowed as he reached the clearing. The cabin stood alone and dark in the distance. He’d been told that the woman who rented it lived alone. But he never relied on hearsay when it counted. Two years in the military police plus four years on the job made him cautious. He needed facts. He’d come here, in the wee hours, to check things out for himself.
He eased down into a crouched position to survey the terrain. Almost immediately, something at the edge of his vision caught his eye. It was the absolute stillness of an object amid the natural stirrings of a rural night. He turned his head to discover he wasn’t the only one doing surveillance on the property.
Fifteen feet away, a truck sat in the deep shadows at the edge of the tree line on the unpaved track that ran through the forest. Had James not been on foot, he and the driver might have met in the woods.
James rose and moved in a little closer to try to get a better look at the vehicle to determine if it was occupied. It was. A man in dark clothing, unlike James’s hunting gear, sat behind the wheel.
Something about the furtiveness of his actions, the way he just sat with headlights and engine off, increased James’s suspicion that something illegal was going on here. He wondered if the driver was standing guard. Or, perhaps, waiting for someone?
Even as he pondered his options, a light flared and drew his attention back to the cabin.
A woman had stepped out of the cabin onto the porch. She didn’t bother to turn on the porch light, nor did she carry a flashlight. She was simply a slight figure in silhouette for the instant she was backlit by the open doorway. Then a dark furry animal shot past her out the door. The dog was moving at full throttle, coming straight toward the woods, and James.
One bark was all it took to confirm the identification. James’s heart squeezed tight, and though he would have denied it to his own mother, he had to blink away the threat of a watery leak in his left eye.
It was Bogart! He was unharmed! He was in good voice. Recovering his partner was going to be easier than he’d thought possible.
James stood to call the dog to him but the sound was lost when the truck’s engine suddenly roared to life. Headlights caught Bogart in their full flare but the dog did not hesitate. He was after the truck and his barking increased, signaling that he had found his prey.
“Prince! No! Come here!” The plaintive cry of the woman who’d been on the porch diverted James’s attention. She’d left the porch and was running toward the woods. “Come, Prince! Heel! Heel, boy!”
The dog paused uncertainly and turned to look back at the woman just as she entered the circle of the truck’s headlights. She was dressed in sweatpants and a hoodie but her feet were bare.
“Heel! Heel, Prince!” Her voice was strained with emotion as she bent down to scoop up something.
Even as the driver threw the truck into reverse and floored the pedal, she stood up.
“Bastard!” She launched what must have been a rock or a heavy piece of a tree limb at her Peeping Tom.
James couldn’t help but admire her strength and aim. The missile bounced off the hood of the truck even as it blasted backward.
“Heel! Heel, Prince!” She began running back toward the cabin.
This time Bogart didn’t hesitate, he sprang after her, easily catching up and circling her with excited barks as she made her way to the porch. The pair were through the door in an instant, and then it was shut behind them with a force that reverberated through the night.
“What the fuck?” James sat back on his haunches as the sounds of the truck tearing back through the forest became ever fainter, and let his thoughts sort themselves out. First things first.
He’d seen Bogart! Knew he was okay. That was a huge relief.
But now he had other complications to deal with. Something else was going on besides the dog-napping of his K-9 partner. Something he didn’t understand. But whatever the something was, he meant to get to the bottom of it.
One thing was certain. Regardless of the events of the night, the woman in the cabin was the prime suspect in the abduction of his K-9.
He should report what he’d discovered to the sheriff of this North Carolina county and ask for help. But after weeks of searching, he wanted the pleasure of confronting the suspect himself. That wasn’t exactly legal procedure. Any way he factored it, he was way the hell out of his jurisdiction.
James slid a hand down his face. By nature he was a by-the-book guy, professional, methodical, reasonable. But something had snapped when Bogart went missing. The job of finding him became a personal quest. And he was going to see it through. So then, how best to confront the woman holding his dog hostage?
Maybe the woman who had his dog had abducted him herself, or maybe she had had help. No way to judge that from here.
He had learned long ago that “female” did not equal “easy to best,” and certainly not “harmless.” Unlike the truck driver, he wasn’t going to give her the chance to get the better of him, or escape. He was going in full force and with overwhelming strength, to teach her a lesson she wouldn’t soon forget.
He was just going to wait for full light.
* * *
Shay Appleton jumped up when her dog, sprawled at her feet, suddenly lifted his head to listen. “What is it, Prince?” She stared into the shiny, alert gaze of her pet with an intensity equal to his. “Do you hear something?”
Prince made a soft nasally sound but his tail did an unperturbed thump on the floor.
Shay glanced at her front door. The bolts were still shoved into place. Was that enough?
For eight heavy heartbeats she stared at the doorknob of her rental cabin, burnished by years of use. It did not turn.
Shay exhaled audibly. Okay, so maybe nothing. Of course it was nothing. Prince wasn’t behaving the way he had last night when there had been a real problem.
Not until Prince lowered his head back to his paws did the warmth of spilled coffee permeate Shay’s awareness the way it had her jogging shorts.
“Oh damn!” She fumbled to right her mug and grabbed for napkins to catch the steaming liquid dripping over the edge of the kitchen table.
When she was done cleaning, she picked up her empty cup and stared into its depths. She hadn’t had enough sleep. And now she couldn’t even blame the caffeine she had yet to drink for her nerves.
Hypervigilance. Her condition even had a name. Her doctor assured her that this latest episode would pass. Many women felt unnerved after a nasty breakup. Especially if the ex-boyfriend continued to harass her with text messages and middle-of-the-night phone calls. She was told to ignore the calls and delete the messages unread. Within a few weeks most men moved on.
Unfortunately, that prognosis hadn’t made her less anxious for long. Though she had tossed away her disposable cell and bought another so that Eric could not reach her, she could not get rid of the feeling that she was being watched. Again her doctor assured her that only hypervigilance plagued her and it would subside with time.
That was a month ago.
Shay shook her head tightly. Not when it had become freakin’ obvious, after last night, that there was a very real reason for it to continue!
Eric Coates wasn’t most men. He had not sent angry messages or threats. He was more clever than that.
Eric had found her. Alone.
Who else would have been lurking in the woods watching this place? How had he found her?
Did it matter? He was out there, waiting.
Eric didn’t know about the cabin. No one in her present life knew about this place up on the state line. It had been her refuge since age fourteen, the one safe place in the broken world of her teenage years. That was a past she had run from, and was still running from. Even now, she’d do almost anything to protect herself from it.
Shay shook her head to dispel the band of fear threatening to tighten into a headache. She was an idiot to have left the city for an off-season cabin in the woods. She’d just provided him with the perfect place—
“No.” She raised both hands as if she could physically chase away the negative thoughts. “No!”
The shock of a wet nose poking her behind the knee jolted her.
She glanced down as Prince pushed his weight against her leg and stared up at her in question, alert to every nuance of her feelings. Her world righted.
She wasn’t alone. She had Prince.
Relief slid through her as she bent and scratched her new pet behind the ears.
The fairy tales were right. There was a Prince Charming out there for her. He’d arrived in her life the day after she broke up with Eric.
And like in all fairy tales, he’d come into her life from an unexpected place, the animal shelter, in an unexpected guise, wearing a black mask with black ears, and sporting a thick black and golden doggy pelt.
They’d bonded immediately. He was extraordinarily attuned to her moods. While she didn’t always trust her own reactions these days, she quickly came to trust Prince’s without question. If he responded to sounds in the night, as he did last night, then she knew it wasn’t just her anxiety. She needed that assurance badly.
“Good boy.” She rubbed his back affectionately a couple of times before straightening up. Prince was the best thing to happen to her, maybe ever. As long as she had him she was safe.
She picked up her cup and moved to put it in the sink. She hadn’t been able to force herself to return to bed after her night visitor had been chased away. Instead, she’d curled up beneath a throw on the sofa, where she could sleep with one hand on Prince’s back as he lay on the rug beside her, and hold her cell phone in the other in case she needed to call for help. If the sheriff’s office would believe her. The Raleigh police hadn’t.
The cup rattled hard against the porcelain sink, an indication that the adrenaline-charged anxiety attack had yet to recede. Shame splashed through her at the realization that after all this time, her body could still betray her in this way.
She should have recognized the signs sooner. From the beginning of their year-long relationship she was often uncomfortable in Eric’s presence. Yet, she’d never told anyone about her uncertainties concerning him. Life had long ago taught her to doubt herself. Besides, who would believe her? Eric could be outrageously generous and so charming. She was a lowly temp. She was lucky to have attracted the attention of a man with money and good looks, who took her on secret glamorous vacations.
Yet Eric could go from charming guy to complete asshole in the time it took to knock back a few tequila shots. Gradually, he became critical of her, avoided her friends, seldom took her out in public after the first few weeks of their relationship. She gave in more and more to his point of view because it was easier than facing his stern disapproval. But there was a deep well of resentment growing inside her that she hadn’t realized was there until a few weeks ago. Even she had a limit.
Rough sex, he’d called it.
Shay clamped her teeth over her lower lip to stop its trembling.
She couldn’t quite believe what was happening. Afterward, she’d locked herself in his bathroom and called the police. That brought the next shock.
Eric was so quick to confess that he’d gotten a little carried away, and apologized so convincingly, she could tell the police began to doubt her version of deliberate assault. Still, they said they would take her in for testing and she could file charges and take him to court.
Court. In her fury and outrage, she had forgotten. The last thing she wanted was to go to court where her personal history might be pulled up again for public view. No, her life would be ruined all over again. Mortified, she had recanted her story.
Shay shivered, recalling her feelings of helplessness and outrage.
It was the sight of Eric’s smug expression, knowing he was going to get away with what he’d done, that spurred her to blurt out that their relationship was over, right there in front of the two law enforcement officers who could not help her.
Eric didn’t respond but she saw the cold fury in his expression that no one else seemed to notice. There’d been a promise in his last look, and it terrified her. She knew in her bones that he was going to get even. When she let her guard down. When she stopped worrying. When she was most vulnerable.
Shay looked out the window above the sink at the morning light reflecting off the silver surface of the lake. Its serenity didn’t calm her this morning.
Since that night a month ago, she couldn’t shake the panicky feelings of being followed and watched. Anxiety had her running from her own shadow. Checking and rechecking the locks. Glancing repeatedly over her shoulder until her friends became concerned by her increasingly paranoid behavior. One morning she couldn’t even force herself to leave for work until Angie came and got her. Unable to explain the cause of her panic attack, she watched Angie’s sympathy turn into concern for her sanity. Two days ago, she had fled Raleigh, seeking refuge in the one place where Eric wouldn’t know to look for her.
Yet he had found her.
Shay closed her eyes and took a deep trembling breath.
She had known the drill from age fourteen. Self-control, that was the answer, not meds, to conquer her attacks. Time and self-awareness, those were the keys to control. She mustn’t allow small things to get the better of her. She needed to think, be reasonable, and logical. Consider that she was jumping to conclusions.
She let out her breath as a quiver of apprehension rippled over her skin. She resisted it, forcing herself instead to make a mental list of other possible answers for the presence of her night visitor.
She was so certain it was Eric. What if she was wrong? The person in the truck outside her cabin could have been anyone: a camper, a hunter, even a Peeping Tom. Besides, Prince had scared whoever it was away. If he came again, she’d call the sheriff’s office. Even if they didn’t believe her, someone would show up.
Shay breathed in again, slower and steadier.
Today was Saturday. She’d have to go back to work on Monday. She couldn’t afford to lose her position in a job market that wasn’t exactly overflowing with prospects.
Get your act together, Shayla Lynn Appleton.
Shay exhaled, longer and easier this time. She could feel her heart begin to slow. She was going to be fine. She just needed to believe it. Or fake it until she could make it a reality.
A sharp, high-pitched bark made her open her eyes.
Prince had come into the kitchen and was watching her from the threshold.
As she walked over to him, his tail began wagging. Then his head swung toward the front door, head cocked as if to listen.
Shay’s heart skipped as she followed his gaze. Then she spied his leash hanging by the door. “Oh, you’re just trying to remind me it’s time for our morning walk.”
Prince shot forward with a yelp of excitement.
It was clear that her pet was better trained than she was. He was trying his best to show her what he needed, but she still often misunderstood. Yet he’d acted without her direction last night, knowing instinctively that she was afraid of whatever was out there in the dark. She really did need to get them both to the doggy-training class she’d looked into, and soon. But not a fancy place like that Harmonie Kennels in Virginia that Angie had suggested she call.
“He’s got the attitude of a professional canine. Maybe he’s, like, a drug dog that’s been retired,” Angie had said after meeting Prince.
Angie, her one real friend, was like that, always seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary. Even so, Angie could be very persuasive. She kept mentioning this kennel she’d read about, supposedly the top place in the mid-Atlantic states. So, after arriving at the lake, Shay had called just to find out how much the training would cost.
The woman who answered had been much too nosy for Shay’s liking, asking if her shelter dog had any distinguishing markings or ID tag. That’s when it hit her that the woman who had brought Prince to the shelter might not have been entirely honest. If something was amiss, she might lose him. So she had hung up quickly, sorry she’d made the call.
As Shay came up behind him, Prince began pawing at the door, making little excited whimpering sounds.
“Fine, but you’ll have to slow your pace this time.” She pulled back the dead bolts then reached for the doorknob with one hand and his leash with the other. “Yesterday you nearly— Oh!”
One moment she and Prince were alone. The next she was staring into the gaze of one very stern-looking man in camo.
Copyright © 2014 by D.D. Ayres
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Liked the plot. Fast paced story.
Good romantic suspense boom for dog lovers. The humans were likable too.
Irresistible Force swept me into danger and romance. James is looking for his missing partner, a K-9 named Bogart, and he runs cross Shay. These two have a little exchange and soon he’s drawn into her life and danger. I LOVED Bogart. He stole my heart and James was perfect. Dogs have a way of pulling at your emotions and making you love them. I loved the relationship James has with his pup and seeing how he helps Shay, sweet. James was easy to like. Shay was ok, but she had a few to many hang-ups for me to fully like her. The story was fast-paced and I had fun with the story and leads. Theirs no shortage of action, suspense, and yummy bedroom scenes. My only issues is that Shay and James sleep together on the first day they meet. I prefer reading about a couple that has spent sometime together before hopping into bed. Other then that, I had a delightful time and look forward to the next installment. Rated: 3.5 Stars
Very exciting and very well written.
Fantastic Contemporary Romantic Suspense North Carolina When a gorgeous stray dog is brought into the animal shelter where Shay Appleton works it is love at first sight. She needs all the protection she can get from an abusive ex that won’t let her go and she is sure that the dog will make the perfect watch dog for her. What she never expected was to find out that her new pet is actually a trained police K-9 named Bogart. Then the human partner of Bogart shows up on her doorstep. James Cannon is an alpha male that is also an officer who is convinced that Shay stole his dog. Once he gets closer to his suspect he quickly realizes that while Shay is independent and stubborn she also needs more than just a guard dog. She needs him too. Someone from Shay’s past is stalking her and threatening her life. James will have to decide what he is willing to risk for the woman that has stolen his heart. Is he willing to risk not only his best friend but also his career? This is start of series that if it continues to be as good as this story will prove to be an excellent series. The characters keep the story moving along and figuring out just what exactly is going on will keep the reader guessing until the very end of the book. The K-9 aspect of the series makes for some books that are uniquely their own and really makes them stand out in this genre. The suspense goes full throttle until the end of the story.
Different take on romance novels. I liked the inclusion of the K-9. I felt as if Shay's story was missing critical details though. I know she changed her name and was trying to get away from her past but I kept thinking I was going to get more than just her short story to James that one night. It did seem there were some holes. I couldn't help but think she might be a little psycho after she confessed her past life and after we learned more about her work environment. All in all, I would continue to read the rest of the books in the series.
The first book in the K-9 Rescue Series, I absolutely fell in love with Bogart the K-9! What a sweet boy he is! But, this story isn’t about him. It’s about his partner, James, and Shay. James thinks Shay stole his dog, but she really found him when he was brought into the animal shelter where she works. Bogart brought these two together and for a good reason. Shay is being stalked by an ex-boyfriend and James decides that she needs protection and he is the man to provide it. I love James and his protective alpha nature. Shay seemed like a hot mess, but she grew on me after a while. Their connection was incredibly sexy – so much so that I swore I felt flames coming out of my Kindle! This is a fantastic beginning to this sexy, suspenseful, series! Great job to the author! I received a complimentary copy for review.
The blurb to this book sounded really intriguing to me. An adorable guard dog that’s really a highly trained K-9 dog, with a hot partner that comes after him? Uhhhh…sign me up!!! Shay adopts a very sweet and special dog from the shelter. She figures she’s not only saving the dog from being euthanized, but also saving herself from her crazy ex by gaining a dog to protect her. The problem is that her dog Prince is actually Bogart, a K-9 dog whose partner wants him back. Officer James Cannon is the partner, and he’s convinced that Shay is the one who took his dog. After handcuffing Shay, he calms down enough to listen to her story. He realizes she isn’t the one who took the dog, but he unfortunately ends up taking Prince/Bogart away from Shay, leaving her heartbroken. James isn’t a complete jerk though, and he decides to pass by her cabin to make sure she’s ok. What he finds is Shay being accosted by her stalker ex…and the story just takes off from there. Can Shay overcome her past and her fears? Can Shay and James (and Bogart) have a happily ever after? Well, this was certainly an action packed tale, and because of that I found it to be a very fast read. I was quickly engrossed in the storyline and the characters. Of course, the best character for me was the dog…because dogs are perfect in every way imaginable. But, James was a close second. Sexy cop with a big heart that he tries to hide away…how could you not love that? I also liked Shay. She had her issues but underneath it all was a far stronger woman than she gave herself credit for. My only complaint about the book is that SO much goes on with the drama that the focus gets shifted a bit from the central relationship in the book between Shay and James. I really would have liked to have seen more in that department. I mean, I’m reading a romance, after all…I want the romance! Overall, I did enjoy this book though! Definitely a fun and interesting read that will entertain. 4 stars. Reviewed by Sara Squared for Crystal’s Many Reviewers *Copy Provided for review*
New author for me and I really enjoyed the book. She has a great story and her characters are put in situations that just draws you deeper into the story. Loved the relationship that Bogart and James had and even enjoyed reading what Bogart did to the ex's things. All of the listed is what dogs do... I loved Shay and liked how she brought in her past. There was some romance, laughter, a little anger and some dog love what more can you ask for in a story. Can't wait to read the next book.
Hot guy and cool dog! This book kept me turning pages and I was engrossed by the suspense. Can't wait for the next book in the series
Liked this book a great read,this is James and abe Shays story.James is a K9 handler and his dog Bogart has gone missing.James investigation leads him to a cabin in the woods,where he thinks his dog is,he does find him.The only thing James was a little too Alpha male in the beginning with Shay,but he was trying to get to the bottom of why he was there.Loved Shay and loved Bogart,oh did I mention 2 very crazy ex's?? Wow if you like stories with action,suspense and romance,you need to read this!!believeable storyline,characters are well done love it and you will too!!
James is part of a K-9 unit and when his partner, Bogart, ends up missing, it's his job to find him. In the midst of surveillance, he ends up confronting the woman he thinks nabbed his dog, Bogart. As the evidence starts to present itself, so do all the other problems this woman, Shay, seems to have. James can't help wanting to protect her, but also knows there's a whole lot more to this story. At least now he has Bogart back, and it appears that he'll be seeing Shay again. James can't decide if that's good or bad, but he's about to find out. Shay has always had obstacles to overcome in her life and now is no different. She thought she'd adopted the perfect dog from the shelter and now he's gone too. How much more will she have to deal with in the midst of keeping her ex out of her life? Could James somehow help her with that or would he just think she's crazy? I really had a good time reading Irresistible Force. I was doting on James with all his protective instincts, above and beyond that of a cop helping a citizen. He treated Shay with kid gloves, but on the other hand, he couldn't seem to keep his desire for her out of the picture for long. It gave me the warm-and-fuzzies and I was almost purring for this particular hero! The storyline kept me intrigued, and even kept the heroine herself trying to keep up with things as they progressed. I was tickled pink with Bogart, Jame's K-9 partner, and he was always at the top of his game and completely adorable, yet strong and in charge (just like the hero of this story). I was happy to see Shay's ex finally get himself in trouble and that was a lovely bonus to make the story more complete. Without question, I will be on the lookout for more from D. D. Ayres. Irresistible Force was an easy read, with action, intrigue and romance to the hilt. Don't miss it!
Beware of Cop! If you knowingly or accidentally get a hold of his K-9 dog and keep him, you are in for a heck of a lot of trouble. They are partners at the job and on a personal level. The bond between them is strong and cannot be broken without consequences! This is how the whole thing begins. Poor Shay was just saving a dog's life ... he was to smart and gorgeous to euthanize. Working as a volunteer at a rescue shelter one day, someone brought this dog in to be euthanized. One thing led to the other... Shay ended up taking the dog home and naming him Prince. Enter our Dudley-Do-Right cop... James. Ha! This man is a by the book cop and is relentless. This is why he is one of the top handlers on the K-9 unit. Once he finds his dog is with this woman, he is no hold barred to getting his dog back. The rest is history as they say. This story is a complex study about guilt, appearances, and most of all, standing up for what is right. I loved reading it and recommend it to all who love a well written book... and of course, dogs!
* I received an ARC of this book courtesy of St. Martin's Press, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review* 4 1/2 stars James Cannon Bogart Shay Appleton has had her share of tough breaks lately. So when she meets the man of her dreams in the form of 4 legs and a black & tan coat, she knows he came into her life for a reason. Taking home her new best friend from the shelter she works at she thinks he is the answer to her prayers for company and protection from her abusive ex that can't seem to accept it's over. When a 6 foot something of gorgeous accosts her blaming her for stealing his K-9 partner, she's not prepared for the feelings she can't afford on top of everything else. Officer James Cannon is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to getting Bogart back, and he will stop at nothing. He's sure the spitfire dognapped his partner and best friend. But what he discovers beyond her innocence sends them both on a ride of if it can go bad it will. Sure James was gorgeous with abs you could hurt your hand on but Bogart totally stole the show in this story. I'm an avid animal lover and the addition of the K-9 sidekick brought this one out of the romantic suspense pile to stand on it's on for me. Ayres brought him to life in a way only a fellow animal lover could, giving him just as much personality as his 2 legged co-stars. I guess I should get back to James though, because I really did love the man. Gorgeous, a little stubborn, protective, and lacking a fear of living in dog hair, he brought everything I like to the table. Shay was a little hard headed but her reasons were thoroughly explained and valid so I ended up enjoying her as she let James break through her defenses. The story kept a fast pace with craziness at every turn that didn't let you catch a breath until the end. Chemistry was heavy between the two and adding Bogart wrapped them up into the perfect match. The suspense left you asking what could possibly happen now and hanging onto the edge of your seat. I haven't read the novella, although now I want to, so I wouldn't say it has to be read to enjoy this one.
I am a sucker for a good animal story. That is what initially drew me into this series with the prequel, Necessary Force. My biggest complaint then? Not enough about the dog. That was so not a problem with this book. Thank goodness I went ahead and requested it from Netgalley. The story opens with James Cannon out in the woods looking out at this tiny cabin. He suspects that the person(s) responsible for the dog-napping of his K-9 partner Bogart are staying in the cabin. But just as he is spying on the cabin, so is someone else. James is shocked down to his boots when Bogart comes out of the cabin barking and scaring off the intruder with the truck. More shocks keep coming when the woman calls Bogart to heel as Prince. He doesn't know what is going on, but he is sure of one thing, he is going to get his partner back. Shay Appleton has not had an easy life. Finding Prince while volunteering in an animal shelter seemed like a dream. He has literally become her Prince in Shining Armour, with the way he protects her and gives her unconditional love. When Shay finds out that Prince is really the other half of a trained K-9 unit and she will have to give him up, it breaks her heart to have to say goodbye. And with Prince no longer there to protect her, she is in danger from her abusive ex-boyfriend. Thankfully as James is driving past her cabin on his way out of town, Bogart senses a problem and they manage to scare him off. For now. Shay has huge amounts of baggage when this book starts. James wasn't perfect by any means, but didn't act the jerk beyond the first couple scenes. I liked that their relationship took some time to develop and they didn't jump in with insta-love, but let their shared love of Bogart, be the foundation for the relationship. Shay grew quite a bit in this book, especially once she had someone to believe in her. I will admit in the beginning, I didn't really like her, but she grew on me. I was so glad to see the K-9 have a much bigger role in this book than the last. Bogart is a Belgian Malinois, similar in shape and coloring to a German Shepard, but a completely different breed. I really enjoyed learning about the breed as well as the different types of training that goes into being a K-9 unit, for both partners. If we can expect more books, comparable to this one, this series should be a very enjoyable read. I gave this book 3 stars.
3-3.5 stars I was so looking forward to the first full length novel in this series after reading the introductory novella. I love the idea of a suspenseful romance involving a K-9 law enforcement team and this book had all the desired elements for a great read. I thought this book was well written with all loose ends tied up and the twists and turns were easy to follow. The hero and heroine meet in unusual circumstances and i liked the premise of the story, the way they met and then how their stories were intertwined. Both brought baggage with them to the relationship and there was plenty of mystery and suspense involved. I just thought that at times there was too much going on, too many twists and sub-plots in the one book, which did distract me from their relationship. I would have loved a bit more building of James and Shays romantic and emotional connection so I could connect better to them as a couple. There were some sexy love scenes, they were full of intense passion, and I did feel their attraction to each other. The hero, James Cannon and his partner Bogart were my favourite characters of this story. I loved reading about how a crack K-9 team trains and works together. Learning the dynamics of this relationship really interested me. The connection between the two was evident and they really added a unique element to this type of story. James was swoon-worthy, alpha protective but caring and gentle with Shay's emotions. I could easily relate to his emotions and reactions. Shay has had such a traumatic past that she is scared by her memories and it takes a strong and patient person like James to break down her walls. Her ongoing issues and the way they were dealt with showed growth of her character. She really did have a lot to overcome. I just didn't connect to her as much as I would have liked. I couldn't relate to some of her decisions and actions, not saying that they weren't valid, but I haven't gone through any of what she has, so I found it hard to understand where she was coming from sometimes. There are some pretty tough scenes involving Shay which could be triggers for some people where violence and abuse is concerned. Overall I really like the premise of this whole series and am looking forward to book #2. This author shows great promise in writing suspenseful, romance stories
When adrenaline runs high, so does the force of desire… For Shay Appleton, it’s love at first sight when a gorgeous stray dog is brought into the animal shelter where she works. She just knows he’ll make a terrific watch dog—and with an abusive ex who won’t let go, she needs all the protection she can get. But Shay never suspected that her new pet is actually a trained police K-9 named Bogart—until Bogart’s even more gorgeous, human partner shows up on her doorstep. Officer James Cannon is one tall, strong alpha male who’s convinced that Shay stole his dog. But once he gets closer to the suspect, he realizes that this stubborn, independent woman not only needs a guard dog, she needs James as well. It seems that someone from her past is stalking her, and threatening her life. When danger meets desire, will James risk his career and his best friend…to protect the woman who’s stolen his heart? Review: Hunky police officer with dog for a partner, who could want more??? well, throw in a damsel in distress and you have a great story. This is a great story and a new to me Author, who I cannot wait to read more of. I liked the concept of building stories around officers and their K-9 partners. Now, there is a novella before this story but I did not get a chance to read it yet (but definitely will), I did not feel like I missed anything by not reading them in order. I thought the mystery was well done and there were lots of suspects that I did not guess who some of the things were being done by. I really liked Shay and thought that even after getting the shaft for most of her life, she was strong and independent. I think James was exactly what Shay needed in her life, besides having a dog they both cared for, he has her back and believes her when almost everyone else does not see beyond her past. The ending was intense and kept me on the edge of my seat. A great read and cannot wait for the next story! 4Stars