Hot under the collarRating: 3 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novella

This novella is part of a new collection called Love Off Leash, which features gay men who love dogs finding love.

Sam Trevisani is a young attorney working for his Uncle Ricky’s law firm in a small Wisconsin town of Clayton. He’s already fed up with his assignments, though, because he’s always representing the interests of a bitter, litigious old codger Mr. Fitch. It is on this client’s behalf that Sam stands for the second time in a city council meeting to block the founding of a dog park. It particularly upsets the tall, sexy veterinarian that’s spearheaded the dog park project.

Dan Bailey is the new vet in this small town, and somehow he’s managed to cross Mr. Fitch, likely because Dan is gay. He’s not exactly a standard-bearer, but he’s not going to hide his sexuality, either. Still, why is this slick lawyer banging on his door in the middle of the night? And, why is Dan letting him in?

The story is brief, and has some cute bits—like how Sam is infectiously cheerful about his plans to hook up with Dan, and how Dan’s pack of misfit dogs seem to adore Sam. For me, though, there was a disconnect between the upbeat Sam and the world-weary downtrodden Sam, because he’s way bubbly with Dan, and then not so bubbly with his uncle. I liked how Dan and Sam connected over their grief—both lost parents young. But I was stumped regarding the explanation of Sam’s parents’ death and how he dealt with this whole situation. The (possibly homophobic) Mr. Fitch is a grouch of the first order, but he felt like a caricature, and Ricky seemed way too flighty for a top attorney.

There’s a bit of steam that didn’t quite ring all my bells, mostly because Dan was so reluctant. He seemed mystified all the time regarding his attraction to Sam. It’s an enemies-to-lovers scenario and I can’t say it worked. The switch from adversaries to bedmates was too abrupt, and mostly hinged on proximity, from what I could tell. That might work is some stories, but it felt so out of character for Dan, who vows he’s hook-up averse.

For people who like dogs and enemies-to-lover stories, this one might scratch your itch; I didn’t feel the warmest of fuzzies.

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