I have several friends that have read and enjoyed Jaci Burton’s Play by Play novels so when I saw that she was starting a new contemporary series and was offered an ARC in August for review, I decided to give it a shot. (The initial publication was scheduled for September but for whatever reason was bumped to January 2014.) I’m a dog lover, so the premise of a heroine as a veterinarian intrigued me. Add a hot police officer hero and I was pretty much sold. Unfortunately after the first eight chapters, I was not engaged enough in the storyline or the characters to continue.
Emma Burnett has moved back to her home town of Hope and is now the new owner of the local vet clinic. Officer Luke McCormack meets Emma when he brings his police dog, Boomer, in with an injured leg. Emma is definitely attracted to Luke’s hot body as well as his care and concern for Boomer but her inner dialogue constantly reminds her she does not need a man or a relationship that includes one. Luke finds Emma attractive as well but after a failed marriage, he is gun-shy about women and prefers one-night-stands to relationships.
It was obvious that Emma had a bad relationship in her past that resulted in her lack of dating (for years) or desire for a man. It was also evident to Luke that Emma was not the type of woman who engaged in one-night-stands. Therefore, he determined that was not an option. When both hit it off as friends and voice a mutual understanding that neither one are interested in a relationship, they decide to have a “non-date” without expectations. After their first “non-date” to a baseball game and then dinner at Emma’s house they fall into a passionate kiss and then into bed. Once the sex is over, Emma kicks him out claiming she has to be up early to clean her house and catch up on paperwork on her day off. Luke claims he’s not offended as he wouldn’t have stayed anyway. And this is where I stopped reading.
For Luke to claim he and Emma had “off-the-charts chemistry” I never felt it. In fact, Emma appeared so detached from anything other than her dogs and work, I was floored that she jumped into the sack with Luke after the first “non-date”. It was clear she did not do “casual sex” so when it came out of nowhere and then she didn’t even want to cuddle, I was dumbfounded.
Overall, I just found the start of the relationship unbelievable giving the contradictory nature of the character’s actions and I did not feel enough chemistry to look beyond it and continue on. – Final Grade: DNF