I’m excited to chat about my pick for Self-Published Book Week in our Reading Challenge Month because I really liked this story. That doesn’t always happen in self published books for me, unless it’s an author I’m rather familiar with—and I can’t say I’ve read much from H.L. Day in the past.
Zachary Cole is a successful web designer, running his own company and likely spending too much time doing it. He does long for a good man to spend time with, but it’s hard to find a man who will challenge him and keep his interest. Meeting his new personal shopper, Edgar, is a rude awakening—and I mean rude. Edgar is a pink-haired mess, dressed in ripped up jeans, and taking Zachary to a common mall in London, not the bespoke tailors he’s generally frequented. No, Edgar’s not like anyone Zack has ever met. What sort of personal shopper picks up a car full of dogs on the way back from the mall?
Edgar is a manipulative person. He has a way of making things turn out right…for him. He’s in his early twenties, but he’s not traditionally successful. He hated uni, and he got into walking dogs as a side gig. The thing is, it’s the only gig he can hang on to. Edgar loathes office politics and he’s rather outre in general. When he shows up to the personal shopper interview, the woman hired him probationally—and insisted he change his platinum blonde hair into something “suitable.” It wasn’t his fault it turned pink. And, well, he’s not sure why Zack would reach out to him after their disastrous shopping excursion.
When Zack finds Edgar’s business card in the hired car, he can’t help trying to arrange a meeting. He learns Edgar wasn’t kept on as a personal shopper and begs his pregnant sister to contract Edgar’s dog walking services so he can casually “bump” into Edgar again. Zack’s hopeless at chatting Edgar up, and Edgar isn’t cutting him any slack. Edgar’s tired of men who like him as a novelty, but don’t stick around because he has so little to offer professionally.
The book blurb warns us there will be dogs. And, it lives up to the hype. Zack takes some of his well-deserved free time to join Edgar on impossibly long walks with a mini-herd of pups that all have fun and funky personalities of their own. Zack’s sister is a great confidante, even if she can’t see how mean her partner has become toward Zack. Edgar isn’t a man to tolerate bad behavior in others, and his insight does help mend some fences. Zack and Edgar become close, much to Edgar’s initial dismay—he’s sure Zack will be off soon, looking for a better catch. He doesn’t want to have his heart broken again. It was so endearing, actually, how Edgar made Zack promise to talk to him directly if they were going to break things off. His past lovers just wandered off and changed their Facebook statuses without a backward glance.
This is a fun and sweet romance, with so much liveliness as Zack learns to let go of his restraint and Edgar learns to trust in the love of another. I liked how we had alternating points of view, so we could fully comprehend the depth of Edgar’s machinations—and how Zack built his resolve to be the stand-up guy that Edgar needed. The way each man falls hard, and picks the other up, was something special to watch. Zack’s compassion for Edgar’s grief in the case of a close loss really drew me in. He was sure Edgar was blowing him off, yet Zack’s tenacity saved both of them a lot of heartache. There’s a guaranteed HEA, with doggy hugs and kisses and a little bit of sexytimes. If you like books with odd-couple relationships, this might be a good one for you.
This review is part of our Reading Challenge Month for Self-Published Book Week! Leave a relevant comment below and you will be entered to win one of the great prize packs of self-published books donated by some very generous authors. Commenters will also be entered to win our amazing grand prize sponsored by Dreamspinner Press (a Kindle Fire filled with Dreamspun Desires/Beyond books, plus a 3-month subscription!). You can get more information on our Challenge Month here, and more details on Self-Published Book Week here, including a list of all the books in this week’s prize.