Dominic Morenzo lost his wife to cancer two years ago, and he’s finally getting back on his feet. The grief is no longer all consuming, but though he’s begun trying to date again, Dom hasn’t felt a spark with any of the women he’s taken out. When his best friend suggests he adopt a pet to give him more purpose, Dom jumps at the idea. Since he is overwhelmed with being a new pet parent, the shelter offers to match him up with an adoption partner to show him the ropes.
Micha Jones trusted the wrong man and his life came crashing down at an early age. Now he’s got his life back on track, owns his own dog grooming service, and still volunteers at the shelter that helped save his life. He’s more than happy to work with Dom to get him ready to take the dog, Maggie, home. But he doesn’t expect the spark of attraction, and considering Dom mentioned losing his wife, is hesitant to return Dom’s apparent interest. Micha’s been burned before and he doesn’t want a repeat.
Dom has never been attracted to men before, but then again, he fell in love and married his high school sweetheart. There’s no denying his attraction to Micha, though. The younger man is kind, thoughtful, and so full of life. While both men try to keep things platonic, it’s a losing battle. They quickly find exactly what they need in each other, but Micha is still scared to trust fully. When he’s confronted with conflict in the form of a vindictive woman, Micha bolts. Dom is hurt, having no idea what’s gone wrong. It’ll take some honest communication to get things back on track.
The blurb on this one drew me in, and since I’m a sucker for hurt/comfort and bisexual awakening, I was quick to pick it up. Unfortunately, for me this story didn’t work well. While the MCs on their own were cute and well-drawn, and the base plot worked, overall, other issues kept me from fully enjoying the story.
As I said, I liked the MCs. Micha is a sparkly fabulous force of nature, but he has insecurities when it comes to believing anyone could love him. Dom is a shell of his former self, but he’s coming back to life. Micha’s light definitely helps. Micha is fun and flirty, and Dom responds to that in a positive way. And I appreciated that there was no big existential crisis on Dom’s part when he realized he was attracted to men. Or at least Micha. Even the way Micha handled his reaction to Dom’s deceased wife was great and exactly as it should be. There’s definite chemistry between the MCs, and this story is a great depiction of sweet with heat.
But on the other hand, the story moved sluggishly in some parts, especially as Micha dithered back and forth about whether or not to give Dom a real chance. This got frustrating for me, as he would seem to decide to do it, and then still hold back, rethinking the same things over and over. Instead of feeling natural, it felt like the author was just dragging out the story. Then, the pacing picked up in the last couple of chapters and went a little too fast, not giving enough time to the appropriate matters. Dom, for his part, was a little more steady. But I never felt like his “moving on” was appropriately dealt with. It was like a switch was flipped and he was good to go, with perhaps two to three moments of questioning it. Considering this was Dom’s first real relationship after his wife’s death, I would have liked to see this explored more for me to really believe it.
And while we’re speaking of the ending, I have to admit that I found it wholly unsatisfying. The big misunderstanding was at the hands of an “evil woman” who barely had any page time prior to this, and was only mentioned on a few occasions. Then, Micha’s reaction was extreme with a capital E. While I understand he’d been hurt in the past, it seemed to me as far too much, and out of character for what had been building between the MCs. It didn’t work for me at all and felt contrived and forced.
On top of that, there were numerous punctuation errors throughout the book, in particular a bunch of missing commas, as well as a few grammatical errors. While this may seem nitpicky, it detracted from the book as they were glaring errors, and my mind was constantly correcting them, which drew attention to the mistakes. I only mention it because it was yet another thing that lessened my enjoyment.
Overall, this book had potential, but it ultimately missed the mark for me. I liked the characters, and I’m definitely a fan of sweet with heat. But the errors coupled with the lackluster plot didn’t work for me.