I love Jennifer Crusie; she writes two of my favorite books: Fast Women and Agnes and the Hitman and I thought I had just about all her books, but I found this one at the bottom of a box at the FOTL sale Saturday.
For Nina Askew, turing forty means freedom—from the ex-husband whose career always came first, from their stuffy suburban home. Freedom to have her own apartment in the city, freedom to focus on what she wants for a change. And what she wants is something her ex always vetoed—a puppy. A bouncy puppy to cheer her up. Instead she gets…Fred.
Overweight, smelly and obviously suffering from some kind of doggy depression, Fred is light years from perky. But for all his faults, he does manage to put Nina face-to-face with Alex Moore, her gorgeous, younger downstairs neighbor.
Alex looks great on paper—a sexy, seemingly sane, surprisingly single E.R. doctor who shares Fred’s abiding love for Oreos—but a ten-year difference in age, despite his devastating smile, is too wide a gap for Nina to handle. But with every silver-haired stiff she dates, the more she suspects it’s the young dog-loving doctor she wants!
It's a quick read and not her best work, but it's still a lot of fun. The show-stealer in this one is, hands-down, Fred the dog. I also really liked the way the romance centered around the older-woman/younger-man dynamic. This was the perfect read for a sunny, lazy afternoon.
At the start of July, our family adopted a canine member. We love him. He is a beagle/ doxie mix.
So, in the spirit of Alex the Dog, here are some wonderful Contemporary Romance Novels with great dogs!
My lists are never in any particular order. Enjoy!
1. Still the One byJill Shalvis
Darcy Stone is game for anything—except sexy Navy vet and physical therapist AJ Colten, the guy who’d rejected her when she’d needed him most. Now the shoe is on the other foot and he needs her to play nice and help him secure grants for his patients. Unfortunately Darcy can’t refuse. She needs the money to fund her passion project: rescuing S&R dogs and placing them with emotionally wounded soldiers.
AJ admits it—Darcy is irresistible. But he’s already been battle-scarred by a strong-willed, vivacious, adventurous woman like Darcy, and he’s not making the same mistake twice—until he and Darcy are forced to fake a relationship. Growing closer than they’d ever imagined possible, Darcy and AJ have to ask themselves: how much between them is pretend? What’s the real thing? And where does it go from here?
2. Not That Kind of Girl by Susan Donovan
oxanne Bloom is through with love. Fresh on the heels of a bad break-up, she's decided to devote all her time to her man-slamming website--and her man-hating dog, Lilith. But this pit-bull-Boxer is so good at unleashing her fury (and her owner's) that the male victims keep piling up…and now it's time to get some sensitivity training. Enter Eli Gallagher, one of the best--and hottest--canine experts in town.
The more Eli gets to know Roxie, the more he senses that she's been hurt by men in the past--just like her dog. With a little gentle prodding, and a whole lot of patience, Eli hopes to gain Roxie's trust and soothe her broken heart. Eli can see that Roxie's bark is way worse than her bite. But she's not putting her guard down just yet--even if she is falling deeply, madly, doggedly in love with him...
3. All of Me by Lori Wilde
Attorney Jillian Samuels doesn't believe in true love and never, ever wished for happily ever after. But when a searing betrayal leaves her jobless and heartbroken, a newly inherited cottage in Salvation, Colorado, seems to offer a fresh start. What she finds when she arrives shocks her: the most gorgeous and infuriating man she's ever met is living in her home!
Tuck Manning was a gifted architect who left a skyrocketing career to care for his dying wife. But the life he's made for himself in this quiet town is turned upside down when Jillian appears on his doorstep. Tuck won't go without a fight, and the two resolve to live as roommates until they can untangle who owns the cottage. Yet as Tuck and Jillian's days--and nights--heat up, they realize more than propery rights are at stake...and that sometimes, salvation comes when you least expect it.
4. Lingus by Mariana Zapata
ost people would describe Katherine Berger as a responsible girl with a big heart, a loyal friend who takes care of those close to her, and the possessor of a wicked sense of humor. There was something about her that most people didn't know. "My name is Kat Berger, and I love porn."
When twenty-five-year-old Kat is dragged to a porn convention by her best friend, she's both embarrassed and nervous. The last thing she ever expected was to meet someone who makes her laugh like no other. This is a story about acceptance and friendship, and a love born out of the most unexpected of places.
5. It Had to Be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
The Windy City isn't quite ready for Phoebe Somerville—the outrageous, curvaceous New York knockout who has just inherited the Chicago Stars football team. And Phoebe is definitely not ready for the Stars' head coach, former gridiron legend Dan Calebow, a sexist jock taskmaster with a one-track mind. Calebow is everything Phoebe abhors. And the sexy new boss is everything Dan despises—a meddling bimbo who doesn't know a pigskin from a pitcher's mound.
So why is Dan drawn to the shameless sexpot like a heat-seeking missile? And why does the coach's good ol' boy charm leave cosmopolitan Phoebe feeling awkward, tongue-tied...and ready to fight?
6. Anyone But You by Jennifer Crusie
Part basset, part beagle, all Cupid…
For Nina Askew, turning forty means freedom—from the ex-husband, freedom from their stuffy suburban home, freedom to focus on what she wants for a change. And what she wants is something her ex always vetoed—a puppy. A bouncy, adorable puppy.
Instead she gets…Fred.
Overweight, middle-aged, a bit smelly and obviously depressed, Fred is light-years from perky. But he does manage to put Nina in the path of Alex Moore, her gorgeous, younger-by-a-decade neighbor.
Alex seems perfect—he's a sexy, seemingly sane, surprisingly single E.R. doctor—but the age gap convinces Nina that anyone but Alex would be better relationship material. But with every silver-haired stiff she dates, the more she suspects it's the young, dog-loving doc she wants to sit and stay!
7. Chasing Stanley by Deirdre Martin
Professional hockey player Jason Mitchell is thrilled when he's traded to the New York Blades-the team of his dreams. There's just one problem: his pooch isn't adjusting to city life too well. Good thing he crosses paths with dog trainer Delilah Gould. And then he begins to fall for her...
Now, with the season heating up, Jason realizes he'll have to score big to win the Stanley Cup-and the woman who has tamed his dog and unleashed his heart.
8. Bare It All by Lori Foster
A cop's craving to know more about the woman next door could prove fatal in the steamy new novel from New York Times best selling author Lori Foster
As the person responsible for taking down a brutal human trafficker, Alice Appleton fears retaliation at every turn. No one knows about her past, which is exactly how she prefers it…until the sexy cop next door comes knocking.
Detective Reese Bareden thinks he knows what makes women tick, but his ever-elusive neighbor keeps him guessing like no other. Is his goal to unmask Alice's secrets? Or protect her from a dangerous new threat? One thing is certain: their chemistry is a time bomb waiting to explode. And with no one to trust but each other, Reese and Alice are soon drawn into a deadly maze of corruption, intrigue and desire—and into the line of fire….
9. The Nerd and the Marine by D.R. Grady
What does a to-the-core, orphaned Marine have in common with an introverted electronics expert with too much family? A dog named Bentley. Her sister talks Lainy Morrison, self-proclaimed nerd, into caring for Captain Mitch Monahan’s dog while he’s deployed. The pair get to know one another through e-mails, family DVDs, and pictures. Can love overcome old fears and sustain a relationship formed an ocean apart?
10. Taken with You by Shannon Stacey
Hailey Genest has seen most of her friends marry and have babies, and she's happy for them, but it was a lot easier before she hit forty. She's spent her entire life in Whitford, Maine, and if she hasn't found her Prince Charming by now, she has to accept she's probably not going to. When a new friend suggests they go on an adventure and embrace being single, Hailey agrees.
Surviving in the woods is game warden Matt Barnett's idea of a relaxing vacation. But when he meets two women in need of help, he leads them back to safety—a task that proves more fun than expected, thanks to a certain hot blonde. He can't resist pushing her buttons, even though she's made it clear that the rugged, outdoorsy type just isn't for her.
Hailey is glad to see the back of her tempting-tour-guide-slash-pain-in-the-ass. When he shows up in her life again, she's determined to avoid him, no matter how good he looks in his uniform. But that's easier said than done in Whitford, especially when he's renting the house right next door….
Did I miss a dog you love? Let me know!
Vote for your favorite on my Goodreads list: Dogs in MF Contemporary Romance
2014 was a good reading year for me, but these novels are the non-series standouts that I loved so much I know I’ll be rereading them. In no particular order:
Station Eleven--A troupe of Shakespearean actors and orchestra musicians travels between widely scattered settlements of survivors in a dangerous, gritty, post-technological world decimated by flu but not without beauty, art, love, hope and a sense of community. Left me speechless.
The Home Place--A beautifully written novel that hooked me with its haunting opening pages sample before I ever had the book in my hands. Alma had escaped as far away from her Montana home as possible but when her troubled younger sister dies in questionable circumstances she returns to the family ranch house to take care of her niece and investigate. With the austere beauty of its Big Sky Midwestern setting this book has a strong sense of place.
The Possibilities--Normally I avoid stories about children abducted or killed, but there’s an approachability to main character Sarah St. John that drew me into this novel. Sarah’s son Cully was twenty-two when he was killed in an avalanche near their Colorado hometown, and now a few months later Sarah is overwhelmed but no longer crushed by sorrow and loss. I appreciate that this book took on a difficult topic without providing formulaic answers, over simplifying, wallowing in tragedy and doom, or tying everything up too neatly and sweetly. The setting is so thoroughly integrated into the story that crisp, cold, clear mountain air practically blows off the pages. Written by the author of The Descendants.
Pioneer Girl--Featuring book-nerdy Lee Lien who’s forced to straddle the contrasting cultures and conflicting expectations of modern America, where she was born, and traditional pre-war Vietnam, where her strong-willed mother and gracious grandfather spent the earlier parts of their lives. With her academic career is on hold she becomes so obsessed by a book related incident that may connect her family’s former Saigon restaurant to the author(s) of the Little House on the Prairie series that she chases clues across the country. A book-lover’s delight.
Anyone But You--An almost magical Romeo and Juliet update with rivaling Italian restaurant families in Chicago. The authors have also written wonderful modern versions of The Tempest and Macbeth.
Northanger Abbey--Forget Darcy, Henry Tilney is now my favorite Austen hero. Plus Jane lets her wicked humor loose in this book, poking gentle (and sometimes not so gentle) fun at just about everyone’s poses, pretensions, and delusions--but as silly as Austen makes novel-drama-obsessed Catherine she still allows her to be artlessly charming and a lively joy to spend time with.
Middlemarch--Before starting Middlemarch I mistakenly thought it was a depressing novel of thwarted love and ambition, but that’s far from the case though it does address serious issues that include marriage, religion, political reform, the expectations of society, and the status of women. What I maybe treasure most about the novel is how sympathetically it is written. There are villains of a sort, vapid selfish Rosamund, mean spirited Mr. Casaubon and hypocritical Mr Bulstrode, and there are certainly characters that make very bad decisions, like Lydgate and Dorothea, but George Eliot writes with such level-headed sensibility and understanding that their troubles touched me and I couldn’t condemn or belittle any of them.