Successful owner of an upscale boutique in fabulous West Hollywood, Brandon Good swears by his personal edict to “live in the present.” After a bad breakup, he agrees to dog-sit to keep his mind off his ex. Never did he expect the dog to belong to a man from his past, the only man to ever truly break his heart.
When Jake Westley relocates to join the WeHo fire department, the last thing he anticipates is reuniting with his secret high school love. Thrilled with the prospect of reconnecting with Bran, Jake feels no guilt in using his charming old dog as an unwitting matchmaker. As he and Bran rekindle their friendship, it becomes clear the intense attraction they once felt is stronger than ever. But as hard as they try to leave the past behind, painful memories resurface. Bran will have to confront his fears and consider the possibility that the man he swore was absolutely the wrong one might be perfect after all.
I'm giving all the stars to Mack, the sweet 13-year-old golden retriever who stole my heart. And even more stars for the epilogue that made me sob happy tear!
Be prepared for angst. And tears. And angst.
But also for sweetness and a rekindling of a first-love, take-my-breath-away romance that's broken by one boy's desperate fear.
Love isn't a fairy tale. The real thing challenges you. It aks for your time, your faith, your understanding, and a fuckload of patience.
We only get Brandon's first-person POV in this book, and he's not an entirely reliable narrator. I desperately wanted to know what Jake was thinking!
Bran is self-conscious and so wrapped up in his insecurities, he misses what's right in front of him. Until he breaks his own rules and finally SEES.
"Why do you think I'd risk life, limb, and another perfectly good pair of Italian loafers at the fucking beach?"
There is just the right amount of love and sex in this book. It isn't overtly dirty, but it's plenty hot, sensual, and tender.
The small moments, sharing coffee, braving the beach, falling asleep on your boyfriend's shoulder at a soccer game, are everything.
The parade of ex-boyfriends, particularly Jake's ex, the beautiful, self-assured Derek, really got on my nerves. But that's ME. Once a relationship is done, I want it under lock and key. I don't keep in touch with any of my exes, and I wanted Derek and Trevor, Bran's shallow actor ex, to take a long hike to nowhere.
I didn't read the first book, and this easily holds up as a standalone.
Hayes' writing is lovely and evocative; the epilogue took my breath away.
I love dogs in real life and in books, and I appreciate the way Hayes made Mack an honorary MC. Mack is joy and life, all the good in us we have to dig deep to see.