Nom de Plume Rating: ★★★★★
Reading Time: 5 minutes
*FTC Disclaimer: I received a copy of Puppy Love from Kelly Moran in exchange for an honest review. I have in no way been influenced by the author and/or publisher’s generosity. You can’t fake these stars, baby!
After a passionless marriage under the scrutiny of high society, Avery Stowe is taking back her life. All she wants is a little privacy and a quiet place to raise her autistic daughter, Hailey. Redwood Ridge, Oregon, seems to offer all the right ingredients.
Except for the problem of the local sexy veterinarian. The last thing she needs in her life is to fall for his irresistible allure, even if he is a nice guy who keeps doing her favors. But the well-meaning patrons of her new hometown have other ideas, and it appears playing Cupid is one of them.
Cade O’Grady has never met a woman he couldn’t handle, but when Avery Stowe walks into his office late one night cradling an injured puppy, he’s struck stupid. Which might explain her total lack of interest in him. But now that she’s working for his family’s clinic, he doesn’t have to lust from a distance.
He might just have a chance at convincing Avery–and her too-guarded heart–that falling for the right man isn’t a mistake . . .
First Line: “Avery Stowe squinted and leaned closer to the steering wheel, trying to see past the fat white snowflakes blanketing a dark, quiet Redwood Ridge.”
Oregon. Oregon. Oregon.
If you’ve ever spent an evening in the state of Oregon, then you have witnessed what I like to call The Black Hole. Streetlights are sparse, and the air is so thick with moisture it disseminates sound to where you can’t even hear your own footsteps.
Even in the dark we can sense the presence of others. We see silhouettes dancing against a mask of midnight, and hear shapes move. In Oregon? Not a chance.
On the first page, Kelly Moran sent me to The Black Hole and I relived all my memories spent there. Yes, you read that correctly: the first page. The roads, the trees, how people tuck themselves away from the darkness. Can you say déjà vu? Let’s not even begin to discuss the imagery! Puppy Love is just that good.
We are first introduced to Avery and her young autistic daughter, Hailey, as they drive the narrow streets of Redwood Ridge, Oregon. Avery has come to terms with the fact that she will never hear her daughter speak; she longs to hear her daughter say the words “I love you.” Because of Hailey’s condition, she likes to explore the house at night. While Avery is asleep, the Oregon night feeds Hailey’s curiosity and pulls her into the woods. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with a little adventure, right?
When Avery wakes, she frantically searches for her missing daughter only to find Hailey outside sitting in a pool of blood. Assuming the worst, she evaluates her little girl and finds that she is ok… then she sees the small puppy wrapped in her jacket; the sweet little preciouses hurt.
Looks to me like they need to see a vet! Incoming: Dr. Cade O’Grady. ?⚕
Cade is not having a good day. Here comes this idiot tourist who obviously doesn’t care enough about her dog to prevent it from stepping into a bear trap. Heck, she can’t even tell him how long the poor thing was left outside in 20 degree weather. Cade is bitter and unkind. To Cade, this woman is pond scum.
My friends, the only thing worse than pond scum is whale poo at the bottom of the ocean. ?? I think it is safe to assume that Cade does not like Avery.
Once Cade realizes that Avery and Hailey had actually saved a stray in the wilderness (unlike his original thoughts), he decides to apologize to the pond scum. Err–I mean the girls. Of course, an apology leads to Avery double swooning over Cade’s charms. That leads to Cade interacting with Hailey and showing her how to care for this new puppy in their life… good with animals and kids, eh doc? Warm up that pot of lust soup because you have a fever and it ain’t goin’ away!
You’re not my dirty little secret, and I won’t treat you like one… Anything else? Do I need to bark at the moon if I want to hold your hand or throw smoke signals if I want to see you?
Oh yes, our Cade is a charmer indeed.
Avery has the perfect man right in front of her FACE, but (and there is always a but) her doubts of the past are not allowing her to say yes. She’s closed off, and that’s a messy recipe. Cade’s developing relationship with Hailey is the best undertone in this book and inevitably presents Avery with a choice. Is she going to choose her bubble of safety that she’s become so attached to? Or is she going to let this man love her and her daughter like they deserve? Up to this point, Avery has not been very good with her choices… so may the odds be ever in her favor.
None of my previous lovers made me want more… More time, more mornings like this or nights like last night. Just… more. Give me more.
Umm. Gentlemen, read and learn.
Puppy Love is light hearted, absolutely endearing, and hot hot hot. There is also a beautiful shift from dark to light as Avery concurrently moves from a state of doubt to trust. Let’s just pray she trusts in time, because no man is as perfect (and dreamy, kind, loving, caring…) as Cade. Kelly’s ability to give places and objects life has no bounds. With every step leading Avery and Hailey to Cade, The Black Hole begins to collect fragments of color and life; whether this was intentional or not, it is brilliant.
“Eye. Heart. You.” – Hailey