Paws for Love
by Mara Wells
Release Date: February 23, 2021
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Book #3 in the Fur Haven Dog Park series
Number of Pages: 360
Source: NetGalley ARC
Contemporary Romance M/F
Read 2/21/21 to 2/24/21
Danielle Morrow works tirelessly for the greyhound rescue as an adoption coordinator, rehabilitating retired racing dogs and helping them find forever homes. She guards her heart as vigilantly as her three adopted greyhounds guard her home. One heartbreak per lifetime is enough for any woman, and no one she’s met since her high school boyfriend dumped her to join the military has ever tempted her enough to risk love again.
Knox Donovan expected to be career military, but an injury has resulted in an honorable discharge that leaves him uncertain of his future. When his brothers ask him to come back to Miami to help manage their new condo conversion, he figures he can at least advise them about security systems before declining the job. He has no intention of staying in the city that has so many bad memories for him.
Knox is reminded that not all his memories of growing up in Miami Beach are bad when he sees Danielle again at the monthly Adoption Day celebration his brothers host at the local dog park. Fourteen years haven’t softened the pain of their breakup. But Knox is different now, more hard-edged and suspicious, and when he bonds with the retired racing greyhound, Sarge, Danielle’s cool reserve begins to melt. Sarge needs special care after the injuries that ended his racing career, and it’s not long before Danielle realizes that Knox does too. Can Danielle trust her heart to the one man who’s ever broken it?
Somehow, I once again accepted an ARC of a book that is part of a series without realizing it was part of series. In this case, while it may have been nice to know a bit more about the different personalities of Knox’s brothers and their spouses, I don’t think it was detrimental that I didn’t read the previous books. By far, Knox is my favorite character in this book. I would have loved to understand Danielle a bit better, but it doesn’t seem she was really a significant presence in those other stories, so it most likely wouldn’t have mattered if I had read them.
I liked this story, but it had quite a few slow spots for me. There were definitely places in the middle where I wanted Danielle and Knox to get on with it already. It wasn’t even what I would call a slow burn. It was just an unlit candle. There was decent chemistry between Knox and Danielle, but the will they/won’t they got a bit overplayed.
Danielle is a wonderful a person. I don’t want you to think she’s a terrible character or anything like that. She really has a huge heart, but she’s more comfortable with animals than humans. Danielle has never really felt as though she fit in with those around her. As much as I liked her, I also felt she was all over the map with Knox. Was she mad at him or not? Had she forgiven him or not? Was she going to randomly through the past in his face when it didn’t seem that was even the issue? It made me feel as though the author didn’t know where to take this character, and that bummed me out.
Knox had his issues, too. He is really quite a terrible communicator. Plus, the man is beyond stubborn. It seemed only his brothers felt they could put him in his place. And since nobody else ever did, he still had very unrealistic expectations for how his life was going to play out.
While Knox and Danielle had some chemistry, I also felt that I was often being told and shown when it came to their relationship. There are plenty of words given to the inner workings of both of their brains, but far too few scenes where they have any sort of meaningful conversations to help me to believe they are rebuilding their relationship and not just stepping into their old shoes that they’ve grown out of.
There is definitely a lot of potential here. The author does a beautiful job with her descriptions of the dogs and their emotions. I’m not even a dog person, but I enjoyed all of the fur-babies in this story. I felt like I got to know their personalities. There was just a lack of cohesion where I felt the story sort of meandered for a while as it was trying to figure out which direction to take. Then, when it was time for the emotions, it was quickly tied up in a neat bow. I believe I’ll give this new-to-me author another try if ever the chance comes up again.
**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**