Irresistible Force (K-9 Rescue #1)
by D.D. Ayres
For Shay Appleton, it’s love at first sight when a gorgeous stray dog is brought into the animal shelter where she works. She just knows he’ll make a terrific watch dog—and with an abusive ex who won’t let go, she needs all the protection she can get. But Shay never suspected that her new pet is actually a trained police K-9 named Bogart—until Bogart’s even more gorgeous, human partner shows up on her doorstep.
Officer James Cannon is one tall, strong alpha male who’s convinced that Shay stole his dog. But once he gets closer to the suspect, he realizes that this stubborn, independent woman not only needs a guard dog, she needs James as well. It seems that someone from her past is stalking her, and threatening her life. When danger meets desire, will James risk his career and his best friend…to protect the woman who’s stolen his heart?
Themes: police, k-9s, contemporary
Rating: 3.75 stars
And an all new series begins. I am a huge fan of romance stories revolving around animal lovers and stories about policemen are even better, but combining the two… YUM! This series revolves around different k-9 police officers in different areas and different branches, but all carrying through the theme of sexy, strong, alpha guys that are animal lovers and will kick any man’s ass that threatens their women. Honestly who could beat that? The novella that acted as a prologue to this story, Necessary Force, was a pretty great story, set in DC, and involving an FBI k-9 cop and a renowned photo journalist. This first full length novel takes us to the south and introduces us to a sexy small town k-9 cop and the woman that has stolen his dog—and quite possibly his heart. These are the only two stories I have read by this author and I really enjoyed her plots and relationships, even though her writing was a bit choppy at times. I will definitely be reading the next in the series to see what kind of k-9 cop we’ll meet next.
James has traveled to a small hidden cabin in the south, following a tip that will lead him to his stolen k-9 partner, but he never realized that waiting along with the dog is his future. When he sees Shay with his dog, Bogart (who she calls Prince), he is surprised to discover that she isn’t the nefarious scoundrel he expected, but is instead a tired and fearful woman, driven to find a way to overcome her past and keep herself safe from the world around her. Shay instantly triggers his cop instinct and James cannot resist the chance to learn more about her, but when they give into their passions, instead of bringing them closer, Shay is determined even more to push him away. Overcoming her fears and insecurities might just pose the biggest challenge this overachieving badass has ever faced, but with the help of his trusty side-kick there’s nothing that can stand in the way of making Shay his woman.
Though it might seem that James is the most important character in this story, being the k-9 cop that the series revolves around, Shay is really the character that drives this story and brings the most plot challenges for readers. To begin, she is obviously scared of her ex and finds herself at a crossroads trying to keep him from taking over her life. Then there is the added layer of her fears based on past life experiences and the truth of her past that just might be too much for many men to handle. When her walls begin to come down, we get to see the soft and loving woman that she is, but it doesn’t negate the true survivor she has become. You can tell from the beginning that she has a core of steel and nothing will break her, not even her own insecurities when it comes to falling for James. There was also an obvious sweetness in the way she interacted with Bogart/Prince, even before she begins to show that sweetness to the humans around her as well. I could honestly say I would love to have a friend like her and was thrilled to see her find her love with James.
So, though he’s not the driving characters of this story, James is of course not to be overlooked seeing as he is the hero. James is a strong male character that is obviously the type of guy that every woman wishes she could find. Compassionate, sweet, caring, and strong, there is nothing that can defeat James once he puts his mind to something. Once James accepts his desire for Shay, even long after that initial desire is quenched, there is no way he will give up a chance to really get to know and love this woman that has captured his attention. Using his skills and intelligence to keep her safe, and offering her the emotional support she really needs, James is able to draw Shay out of her shell and give her the confidence to realize she is falling in love right alongside him. They say the best way to tell a person’s true mettle is how they treat an animal, which makes it obvious to all that James is a true white knight with all the character and strength needed to keep the world safe.
Irresistible Force was a very enjoyable read, with a few interesting developments, plot twists that were just the tiniest bit predictable, but still great to read, and characters that you can connect with on a deeper level. I loved Bogart/Prince and it is obvious to the readers that Ayres has a true understanding of the greatness of dogs and the love that comes with being loved by these amazing creatures. James and Shay have their differences and their hurdles to overcome, but seeing them working together it becomes evident how great a team they could make, far into the future. Shay is a woman that has been beaten down by others and her own past, but she is definitely not broken by any means. Once she finds her inner strength and the confidence to fight for herself we get to see her take some interesting chances and ultimately become her own hero in the end. James, while definitely a nosey man, is determined to keep Shay safe and show her how good they could be together if she’d stop fighting. I enjoyed the story as a whole, and the heat between James and Shay was palpable through most of the story. My only issue was that the story seemed to be a bit erratic in the writing, with the POV switching mid stream and sometimes the changes in the minds of the characters being somewhat abrupt. I am looking forward to seeing more in this series and seeing the writing develop and mature.
p.s. I suggest that after reading this story you take the opportunity to visit you local shelter and donate either time or money to the cause, or even consider adopting or just becoming a foster family for all the animals trapped in shelters like Bogart might have been without Shay’s intervention. Just my little soapbox rant! :) Enjoy the story.
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review. No compensation was provided.