Thursday, January 5, 2017

Blog Tour Review: One Careful Owner by Jane Harvey-Berrick

One Careful Owner
(Love Me, Love My Dog)
by Jane Harvey-Berrick
Release Date: January 2, 2016

“Take me, all of me, broken and in pieces, or say to hell with me.”


This book will break your heart!

From the best-selling romance author of THE EDUCATION OF SEBASTIAN comes a sexy, heart-breaking and heart-warming story about one man and his dog. (Standalone)

Alex is lost and alone, with only his dog, Stan for company. He doesn’t expect kindness from anyone anymore, but sometimes hope can be found in the most unlikely places. He has a second chance at happiness, but there’s a dark side to Alex, and a reason that more than one person has called him crazy.

Single mother Dawn is doing just fine. Except that her ex- is a pain in the ass, her sister isn’t speaking to her, and her love life is on the endangered list.

At least her job as a veterinarian is going well. Until a crazy-looking guy arrives at her office accompanied by an aging dog with toothache. Or maybe Alex Winters isn’t so crazy after all, just … different.

Dawn realizes that she’s treated him the same way that all the gossips in town have treated her—people can be very cruel.

Contains scenes of an adult nature.

This is a standalone novel with no cliff-hanger.

If you are an animal lover, get ready a box of Kleenex. A box!

Is been a long time since I had a good cry over a book. This book is seriously heartbreaking and is not because of the romance. The romance was good and funny and heartfelt at times, but not sad. The sad part is about the animals, especially the dogs or specifically old Stan. I'm a softie who couldn't read about dogs, whether is happy or sad without shedding tears.

Dawn is the small town veterinarian and a single mom. Her 8 year old, Katie is a such an animated and bubbly character who constantly embarrassed her in public or specifically in front of her potential beau. 

Alex Winters had been let down by too many people - his family, his wife, his best friend. Now he rather hole up in a secluded cabin in a small town with his loyal dog, Stan and having problem in communicating with strangers meant he avoided people in general. Until he keep meeting Stan's vet, Dawn and he couldn't help but being drawn to the kind doctor who didn't judge him for his appearance and anti-social behavior. 

When Dawn first met Alex, she was scared by his appearance and then wary about his behavior and the town gossips doesn't ease her opinion of him. But after seeing him caring for his dog and rescuing wild animals she started to think he might be a good man at heart. And when her daughter, Katie was totally smitten by Alex and Stan and befriended them, Dawn was a goner. If one manage to win over her daughter, he can easily win over the mom. 

Alex is not an easy character to love, but Dawn is willing to take a chance and try to love him. He is such a lonely man that he used to only talk to his dog, but now with Dawn and Katie in the picture, Alex might just find a reason to smile again. I'm such a sap when it comes to these vulnerable hero.

But what Dawn didn't expect is to find out Alex is full of hidden secret and past that might not bode well with her mother hen nature. Is not something super bad in terms of fiction, but I can understand from a mother's perspective that anything less than normal or perfect might just trigger a mother's protective nature. Alex might had his flawed, but he is a good man with the best intention at heart. His crusade is admirable, albeit dangerous. I'm just glad they manage to get past it and find a common ground. 

In the end, despite some sad moments in the story and some parts that I rather not relive, I'm happy and relief to see Alex finally found a family of his own again.

“I had a really nice time today, Alex. We both did.”
He nodded slowly, seeming to ponder my words.
“Nice. Nice?”
“You don’t like that word?”
His reply wasn’t acerbic, if anything, he sounded thoughtful.
“I haven’t had a whole lot of nice.”
I wondered if I should take his words as an opportunity to dig deeper, but he seemed more closed off now and a little sad, and I didn’t want to spoil such a lovely day.
“Nice is good,” I agreed evenly, and was happy when he forced a small smile. “Thank you—for everything.”
I leaned across to kiss him on the cheek, surprised by my own boldness. His eyes widened and he sucked in a quick breath.
Was the world still spinning or had time frozen as we sat there, creatures in the dark our only witnesses?
Is love a disease? An affliction? Or is it something catching? Can you catch love, can you hold it in your hands, can it be communicated like a plague? Or is it like an infectious laugh that makes your eyes water and your stomach hurt, even though the joke isn’t funny?
I’d begun to believe I was immune to love—the kind that exists between a man and a woman. Instead, I’d been gifted an ocean of love for my daughter. I thought perhaps that had filled me full, leaving no room for other love. Other loves.
My lips tingled from the roughness of his day-old stubble.
And is it love when you want someone’s smile as much as you want their body? When their laughter softens your words to a prayer?
My heart began to race.
Or is it sheer animal lust, a torrent of hormones assaulting your blood, heating you from the inside out?
He reached out to touch me, questions in his shadowed eyes as he cupped my cheek. I sighed and leaned into him, eyelids fluttering.
My mother always says it’s the softness of men that she loves most, because it’s at the center of them. Their outsides are hard with muscle; their bodies large, larger than hers—or mine—heavier, stronger. So when a man’s touch is soft, when his fingers drift across your skin like sunbeams, then you’re seeing into his soul.
I never understood. I never believed her.
Until now.
So gently, so very gently, he pressed his dry lips against mine, and I wrapped my arms around his neck, kissing him back.
He tasted of coffee, and he smelled like sunshine and pine forest.
Gentleness turned to want, and want turned to need, and I thought my mother was wrong. I wanted to feel the strength of his body surrounding me, on top of me. I wanted to feel his hardness against me, inside me. I was wearied by supporting the weight of my family alone. I wanted someone to carry me. For just a little while. A single moment.
The wooden arm of the chair pressed into my ribs as I leaned across, and I tried to ignore it. But Alex lifted me onto his lap, shocking a gasp out of me that ended with a soft laugh, because maybe he’d read my mind, because maybe he wanted the same things I did. And then we were kissing again. Again and again for the longest time, hesitance turning to urgency, and long languid kisses to heated mouths and hot sighs.
My fingers fumbled to find the hem of his shirt as I floundered my way down his chest, sliding my palms across warm skin that left shivers in their wake. I started pushing the material upward, and Alex leaned forward and dragged the shirt off, tossing it to the ground impatiently.
All day, I’d longed to touch, yearned to taste, feared to want. I was tired of caution, weary of wading through life alone. If this was just one night, I’d celebrate it forever, and if it was more … well, that was a bridge still to be crossed, a land waiting for discovery.
My hands swept down his back, reading his skin with my fingers as if sight didn’t exist, while we continued to kiss, tongues tasting, learning and teaching. I gripped his biceps, my fingers digging into the ridge of muscle, shuddering with pleasure as he cupped my breast with one hand, the other anchored behind my back to stop me from falling.
Too late.
I’d already fallen for Alex Winters, man of mystery, animal lover, gentle soul, wounded warrior in the battle of life. Or maybe that’s just life. We’re all survivors, one way or another.

Jane is a writer of contemporary romance fiction, known for thoughtful stories, often touching on difficult subjects: disability (DANGEROUS TO KNOW & LOVE, SLAVE TO THE RHYTHM); mental illness (THE EDUCATION OF CAROLINE, SEMPER FI); life after prison (LIFERS); dyslexia (THE TRAVELING MAN, THE TRAVELING WOMAN).

She is also a campaigner for former military personnel to receive the support they need on leaving the services. She wrote the well-received play LATER, AFTER with former veteran Mike Speirs. ( )