Take the most beloved elements of any Hallmark movie ever made, and you'll get this book.
We have an intelligent woman from the big city, earning the ire of the town grump when she burns down a building filled with equipment for the town search and rescue team. We have a handsome, irritable man who is responsible for overlooking her restitution as she uses her construction skills to make amends. And we have Havoc, Penelope's K-9 trainee who would still rather go squirrel-hunting than actually work. Add in some friendly small-town folk, slowly igniting passions, a will they-won't they moment and basically, you have ALL the components for a lazy Sunday afternoon in a hayfield with a romance you just KNOW is going to work out for the best.
And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. It's a lovely story with engaging characters. There's Penelope, a ballsy, determined woman from New York and Jay, a stern yet vulnerable park ranger who is still grieving for his own dog, Zip. And of course, Havoc, the doggy who is determined to melt Jay's heart, together with moments of tension and gentle humour as well as luscious sexy times for our two characters. I read the book in two evenings and found it really hard to put down.
In short, this book is really well-written and crafted by someone who knows what readers like in a classic romance, and makes it fresh by adding the search and rescue element, which is genuinely interesting. It injects an element of suspense when the team actually need to be deployed. Will Havoc find the missing child? Will Penelope prove she has what it takes to become a professional handler? Will Jay's hardened heart soften enough to accept he is hopelessly in love? You'll have to read it and find out for yourself!
Penelope Ramos has dreamed of being a K-9 search-and-rescue handler since she was a little girl. Armed with a quick mind and her German shepherd, Havoc, she rides into Maple Falls, Vermont, determined to get her certification. She isn’t expecting the gruff, unreadable park ranger assigned to evaluate her skills.
Park ranger Jay Gosling is a pro. It’s clear to him that neither Penelope nor her unpredictable canine has what it takes…although his boss feels otherwise. Whatever. Jay will never have to work with them and he has half a mind to escort them both right out of town. But when a young boy goes missing, he doesn’t have that luxury.
Working side by side tests their tentative peace, but Jay and Penelope are together on one thing: they’ll both do whatever it takes to find the missing child—before it’s too late.