Primal Force (K-9 Rescue #3)
by D.D. Ayres
Passion is always worth fighting for…
Jori Garrison trains dogs for Warrior Wolf Pack, which provides service animals for disabled veterans. Four years ago, she was wrongly convicted of a crime—thanks to her no-good ex-fiancé. Now she just wants to live her life in peace with her beloved dogs. No men, no complications. But it’s hard to play it cool when a lethally hot male is on her tail—and the attraction is fierce, mutual, and dangerous…
Lauray "Law" Batisse is a Military Police veteran who was wounded in Afghanistan. Haunted by the loss of his K-9 partner in combat, he’s reluctant to accept a service dog named Samantha into his life. But once he meets her trainer—the gorgeous Jori Garrison—he can’t fight his primal instincts. And neither can Jori. This sexy alpha male might be the only man strong enough to unleash her desires. And when unseen enemies start hunting them down, he and his new K-9 partner might be her only hope… to survive.
Themes: K-9 Cops, contemporaryRating: 4.5 stars
Ok I have to say, I did not like this story in the beginning. I have enjoyed the previous stories in this series, but the characters and the storyline took a darker and slightly uncomfortable turn with this installment. The character backstories were a lot more complicated and there were some real tragedies in their pasts, but it was the way that Law let that past affect him so greatly that made me really dislike him in the beginning. If you enjoy reading suspenseful authors such as Pamela Clare or stories with hints of humor from the animals that share these couples’ lives like Jill Shalvis novels, you will probably enjoy this series. Having read the entire story now I will say that it ended well and the writing was done considerably well, but I still didn’t care all that much for Law until he pulled himself together, but that is the beauty of these types of “heroes”—they don’t always begin as the most likeable characters but in the end you find yourself invested in their lives and rooting for them to get the girl. Those this is part of a series, each of these stories truly are stand-alone novels with only a loose thread in them, though this one hits closer to home for those that have enjoyed the entire series.
Jori and Law have been thrown together at a time in their lives where neither are very trusting of the opposite sex, or really humanity in general. Jori has just been paroled after serving years in prison for a crime she never committed and Law is recovering from a tragedy during service that has left him feeling incomplete and enraged. Jori is doing her best to try to understand this man that has attracted her from the very beginning, but though they have the physical chemistry needed in a relationship, she cannot break through his walls to find the man she knows has been buried under the trauma of his past. When Jori becomes the center of an investigation, Law decides that keeping her close and helping her clear her name is a good way to be able to have a relationship with her, but he has no intentions of opening up to her—and certainly doesn’t plan to fall in love with her impulsive and loving nature. In the end their difference far outnumber their similarities, but love really can conquer all, and with the help of Law’s new k-9 partner, Sam, they just might find a way to save their own lives and be together.
Law was an asshole in the beginning of this story, let’s be honest. He was rude and combative to everyone, including his sister Yardley and especially to Jori. Perfectly willing to bed her and disappear, Law never intended for Jori to become part of his life, but when she kept ending up in his space he began to see that being with her makes him a better man and just maybe he should shape up so he can keep her. He really transformed as he came to terms with his past and his feelings for Jori, and Sam to an extent, proving that the love of a good woman and dog are all a man really needs in life. Jori similarly finds her ability to trust again and the love of her family when Law forces her to confront her past and find out the truth. I like Jori a lot, even though she had a few hang-ups of her own, and was glad that she finally found a man that could keep her safe and that she would complete. She was the kind of woman that shines from the inside once she finds her strength and courage. Seeing Law and Jori interacting at different points in the story we see how they grow individually as well as a couple and ultimately as a family.
Primal Force was one of those stories that I really had to stick with to get to the parts I enjoyed. The beginning was a bit too choppy for my liking, but once the plot became clearer and we got to see Law and Jori together the story improved greatly for me. Law was one of those guys that have to grow on you, like a fungus, before you can appreciate how good a guy he really is. The traumas of his past shaped him and left him feeling like he could never return to his top grade, but accepting that sometimes the new version is better than the last Law finds a way to accept the changes in his life and embrace his new destiny. Jori has finally found her independence and she is determined that nothing will ever tear her down and leave her trapped again, especially not a man. Jori strangely is the more likeable of the two even though she is more closed off emotionally, but seeing them come together and find a way to be their best selves together is what makes their relationship so realistic and great to be a part of. Not to be forgotten, one of the most interesting and important characters in this story is Samantha, aka Sam, the service dog that brought Jori and Law into one another’s lives. Her POV is addressed a few times and we get to see her be the hero as well as the healer in this story, making you want to go out and hug your own furry loved ones. Not the best story in this series, but a solid addition to the shelf and one that gives us a tighter thread to the other stories through Yardley, Law’s sister and the trainer we’ve met in previous stories, and I’m wondering when/if she’ll be getting her own story. Looking forward to whatever comes next and meeting the k-9 hero in their story.
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review. No compensation was provided.