Declan Ward likes the quiet in his apartment. It might not be the nicest apartment ever, but it’s his and coming from the foster care system, he’s proud of his success as a painter. When a new neighbor moves in, the dog that comes with him is anything but quiet and Declan is not pleased.
Brett Coburn is a veterinarian and likes to think he’s mature. But his new gorgeous neighbor is determined to push all of his buttons. The men are on different schedules and a war of words begins between the two men through notes. Brett doesn’t appreciate the subtle threats, but he can certainly get behind the flirty banter that is working its way into these notes and the men start to look forward to the exchanges.
When the men finally meet up again in person, the sparks continue to fly and Brett and Declan appreciate more about each other than their looks. If the men can overcome their perceived differences and their rocky start, they could just have found the love they were looking for right next door.
The beginning of this book is a fun meet-cute as Declan and Brett have words through an exchange of notes. Declan works nights and when Brett moves in and has a dog that barks, keeping Declan awake, Declan is not pleased at all. Declan also has a fear of dogs that stems from a childhood incident. The men had seen each other one time briefly and once the tension settles a little, the notes take a slight flirty turn.
After that, the book went down an overly predictable path for me with a formulaic plot that seemed to be following an old school template at times. Some of the scenes were too carefully worded with “melded mouths” and “deft fingers,” for just two examples.
Declan grew up in the foster care system and is described as having a lot of emotional scars from that. He is terrified of dogs and with Brett being a veterinarian and a dog lover, this poses a significant problem. Yet, Declan’s many issues are either never fully addressed or some are handled off page. He was all fine by the end and he lacked depth for me. We never learn much about Brett other than the story of his ex and that he is a veterinarian and a dog lover and he wasn’t anchored properly to the story for my tastes. The men also fall in love almost at first sight and within hours of their official meeting are thinking of making life changes.
The book is set in the fictional city of Knights Port. The author has a few other books set in that world and there are cameos of those characters here. While there was one scene where I would have preferred to be more familiar with those characters, the book works fine on its own if you have an interest.