Book: Hot Under the Collar
Publication date: May 15, 2017
Length: 103 pages
Reviewed by Meredith
Love dogs and smoking hot men? The Love Off Leash series is for you. Different authors. Unrelated stories. Shared theme of new love and pets.
Attorney Sam Trevisani never thought he’d play the bad guy, but now his job makes him the enemy of every dog owner in town—and whenever he meets his main opponent, Dan Bailey, the vet gives him the evil eye. Tired of playing for the wrong side, Sam has to find a solution. Maybe the tempting Dr. Bailey can help him find a solution for his restless need for change. Or maybe it’s his attraction to the vet that pushes Sam to pay a late-night visit.
Tired of town politics and manipulative games, Dan has no interest in helping the flashy lawyer. Yet Sam's dogged interest in him proves oddly appealing. Dan reluctantly allows the attractive lawyer into his house, and sparks fly. Sam doesn't mind hookups, but Dan doesn't do them--yet in one night, they both change their minds.
Determined to keep Dan from running away from something promising between them, Sam has to get past his attorney uncle, Dan's pack of misfit dogs, and a powerful but unpleasant client who could end not only the town's chance for a dog park but any chance of romance between the lawyer and the vet.
This is a quick, fun, sweet, humorous story. It was light and filled with laughter. Sam was by far my favorite character. His whole personality held a sort of schoolboy mentality. I don’t know if he was truly as clueless as he sounded at times or he was just that adorable. Maybe a little of both.
This is an enemies to lovers story without a doubt. When Sam and Dan first meet they are on opposite sides of the fence. Sam is a lawyer for a tightwad and Dan wants a dog park on the land that the tightwad owns. You can see where this is problematic.
We follow the two guys as they explore what they want. Dan with his tons of dogs and laid back attitude. Sam with no dogs and a very lonely life. It is very fast paced, maybe too fast at times. I wanted more time with Sam and Dan to truly feel the chemistry. It was there but slight. I wanted more because they were so lovely.
This is a no angst book. Next to no conflict. A truly feel good book that just puts a smile on your face. Summer Devon's writing is as lovely as ever and I'm always a fan of her style.
The dogs scrabbled at the door as Dan unlocked it. The barking continued and then got louder when the canine crew realized they didn’t know the person at the door.
Dan did. “What the hell are you doing here?”
Sam Trevisani showed all those pearly whites. “May I come in?”
Dan sighed. “Yo, guys, back off,” he bellowed. Everyone went quiet except Howard, the chi mix, who seemed incapable of shutting up. The dogs awkwardly reversed, scrabbling backward, and let Sam in the door.
The lawyer cringed and drew his hands up to bunny position, the international signal for a non-dog person. With his hands like that, the dogs thought that meant he was holding something interesting and began to surge around again. A few rose up on their hind legs.
Dan considered letting them intimidate Sam enough to chase him away, but that wasn’t good for discipline. “Off,” Dan ordered.
The dogs dropped to all fours, gave a few sniffs, swirled a bit more, then went off to look for something more entertaining. Howard held his ground, growling.
Dan looked Sam up and down. He was still in his good suit, but he seemed rumpled now. His hair looked as if he’d just gotten out of bed. Oh no, not going there.
“What do you want?” he asked.
“Do you have some coffee or something?”
“It’s almost ten at night. Why do you want coffee?”
“Because I’m a lightweight, and I just drank two scotches.”
“Coffee doesn’t really sober you up. But if you want a cup of coffee, may I recommend the all-night diner? That would not be me, by the way.”
“Okay, no coffee, that’s fine,” Sam said cheerfully. He nodded down the short hall. “Kitchen this way?”
Dan nodded before realizing that might be taken as permission to do a walkabout in his house.
“What the fuck do you want?” Dan trailed after him into the kitchen. Now that the humans had moved to the best room of the house, the dogs rejoined them. Sam seemed less worried about them. He stood in the middle of the floor and shoved at his hair, pushing that fancy cut back into place.
Dan paused in the doorway. “Why are you here? I have to get up in about five hours.” More like seven, but he didn’t mind lying to a goddamn lawyer.
“I want to apologize.”
Dan considered that for a few moments. “No, you don’t.”
“Sure I do.” For the first time, Sam seemed mildly ruffled. He wet his lips. “Really.”
“Well. You were doing your job, right? You knew what you were doing going in. Why the sudden remorse?”
Now he really looked uncomfortable. “I don’t think I should talk about it. But take my word for it, I’m sorry.”
“Shouldn’t talk about it or don’t want to?”
“Both.” The grin was back. “But mostly shouldn’t.”
“If you don’t want to talk about it, why the hell are you here?”
Sam walked to the rickety kitchen table and pulled out a chair.
“Don’t settle in for a long stay,” Dan warned.
“Just a few minutes. I biked here, and I’m out of shape.”
That was a lie, Dan suspected. “Biking is better than driving when you’re drunk.” He pulled out another chair and sat. “Go on, apologize.”
Sam looked down at his leg. “What does this dog want?”
Howard stood on his hind legs, pawing at Sam’s thigh and growling.
“He wants you to pick him up so he can bark in your face.”
“Nice. I’m surprised a vet lets his animals…” He let his words die away.
“Yeah, that’s right. Come in my house without an invitation and start criticizing my dogs. That’s not much of an apology,” Dan said, but then he snapped his fingers and pointed at the floor. “Knock it off, Howard.”
The dog lowered himself back to the ground. He gave one last growl and tossed a sneering look at Dan before trotting out of the kitchen, probably off to find one of the two cats to hassle.
Sam pulled off his jacket, revealing, of course, suspenders. He bent his arms, one at a time, to undo his cuff links.
Dan watched. Sam’s arms were well muscled, and his elbows under the cloth seemed large and square. Dan was in bad shape if he was going to notice a guy’s elbows. Particularly this guy.
“No big surprise you’re a suspenders-and-cuff-link type. Why do people wear cuff links anyway?” Dan asked.
Sam grinned as if Dan had made a joke. He dropped the flat gold rectangle cuff links on the table, clink, clink. “I like the feel of them, the weight. But I figure it’s kind of a way to get into my role.”
“What, as an asshole?”
He didn’t get pissed off and leave in a huff as Dan half hoped he would. Sam pursed his lips and said, “If I were a butcher, I’d wear an apron, and if I were a mechanic, I’d put on coveralls. You wear a white coat, right? So this is what I put on to do my job.”
“Those things you mention protect the people from the grubby shit at their work. So you’re saying you have a nice layer of money as a shield between you and the crap you produce?”
“Damn, if I’d known I’d was going to face some sort of anti-lawyer argument, I would have been better prepared. Know any bad lawyer jokes?” Sam still smiled at him.
There was nothing more annoying than trying to anger someone who refused to cooperate.
“What are you talking about? Why I object to you has nothing to do with being a lawyer and everything to do with the moron who’s after me and you work for. By the way, I’m still waiting for the apology.”
“I’m sorry,” Sam immediately responded. “I mean, I’m sorry about the dog park.”
That didn’t soothe Dan’s feelings. He went to the sink and got himself a glass of water. He considered offering Sam something, particularly when he noticed the man watch him drink. But the greedy look in his eyes might have nothing to do with water. Really, he needed to go. The strange visit, all this…made Dan itchy in a way he’d prefer to ignore.
Since Gary had moved back to Springfield, he’d lived alone and had too much to do to entertain visitors in his house. Having another person in the house, particularly this person, made him feel on edge.
“You’ve apologized and apparently stripped out of your lawyer persona. Are we done yet? Or are you here to tell me why your client is after me?”
“I already said I can’t talk about that, even with the cuff links off.” He stretched his arms up over his head. Patches of perspiration showed in his crisp light blue shirt. Dan wondered if he were actually nervous, then remembered he’d biked over.
Not offering the guy water seemed childish. He sighed and held up his glass. “Want water?”
“Yes, please!” Sam couldn’t sound more excited if Dan had offered him a glass of hundred-year-old whiskey, so it must have been thirst for water that had made Sam’s dark eyes glint with excitement at the sight of Dan drinking.
Dan got another glass from the rickety cupboard, filled it, and handed it over. He tried not to watch the way Sam’s throat moved as he drank down the water eagerly, then wiped his wet lips on the back of his hand. Yeah, the lawyer had vanished, and now a man sat at his table. A man in suspenders, he reminded himself.
About Summer Devon
Kate has worked as a service manager/parts runner in a Saab garage, an artists' model, a day care center child care provider, a sales clerk, a bartender in an Irish bar in Boston (green beer on St. Patrick's day), a reporter, a feature writer, a food prep chef (3 days), a cross-stitch kit instructions writer, a publisher and editor of a newspaper for children, a substitute teacher (for about a month). She has two undergraduate degrees from two colleges.
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