Review – Necessary Force (K-9 Rescue #0.5) by D.D. Ayers

Necessary Force cover image

Publisher: St. Martin’s
Publish Date: Out now
How I got this book: ARC from the publisher via Netgalley

As a favor for a friend, photojournalist Georgiana Flynn agrees to do a photo shoot for a sexy calendar to raise money for retired K-9 animals. A favor she’s reluctant to do, even though she can’t take her eyes off one of gorgeous participants. Breaking all her personal rules, Georgie jumps into bed with him. Despite the powerful connection between them, she is relieved that they won’t be seeing one another again. But when she’s targeted by a stalker the FBI suspects is the would-be bomber they have been looking for, Georgie finds that her gorgeous one-night stand is the only one who can help.

Brad Lawson is a FBI operative who’s never had any scruples about that he needs to do to get his job done. That was before he met Georgie Flynn and broke his personal moral code: never mix business with pleasure. When he and his K-9 Bomb sniffing partner Zander are assigned to protect the pretty photographer, he’s determined to keep things professional. He just didn’t count on the explosive connection rekindling.
This blurb came from the author’s website.

I actually saw the novel, Irresistible Force first and was considering it, but worried about something bad happening to the dog. Then I spotted this prequel novella. Between my concerns about the dog and my “must read in series order OCD,” I went ahead and requested the novella. I am glad to say out front that nothing bad happened to the dog. I found Necessary Force a somewhat cute novella that suffered from uneven pacing and some gaps in characterization.

Usually the back cover blurb gives me an idea of the story and what I can expect, it doesn’t give me part of the story I would never have known. In this particular case, I learned things about both Georgie and Brad through the blurb that sadly were not evident in the story. I needed to see those pieces develop to really gain a sense of who Brad and Georgie were. The story started off with Georgie and Brad finishing up their very enjoyable one-night stand, then there was a flashback to the photo shoot, followed by a leap forward when Georgie first started learning Brad was not who she thought he was. Then her place was burglarized and her nightmare began.

I understood the physical attraction Brad and Georgie shared, but I never got a sense of a connection between them to build more of a relationship on. Granted Ayers did not end this novella with a HEA, but with what seemed like the intent for Georgie and Brad to try and discover what existed beyond the physical. Unfortunately, some of what I needed to see resolved between Brad and Georgie to buy their attempt at a relationship wasn’t present. Brad never quite explained his initial deception to Georgie, nor did she explain why she did a certain event which led to the climax of the suspense portion of this story. I am trying to avoid extreme spoilers so this will remain vague.

I was also left unsatisfied by the conclusion of the suspense. There was an individual identified as the villain, but no reason or attribution for the actions that individual was suspected of doing. The radical change in behavior made me wonder if it really was a single individual or if there were two people targeting Georgie. I was left wondering if the “villain” was really responsible for everything. While I could agree with the excuse Georgie told herself, Ayers didn’t provide anything to back it up.

As much as the uneven pacing and gaps in characterization bothered me, I did enjoy the dog and the opening and closing scenes with Brad and Georgie. I also thought Brad showed some nice caring moments when Georgie was about to lose it. However, they didn’t have as much impact because I never really saw his unscrupulous side as was mentioned in the blurb. I am curious to see if Ayers is able to live up to the promise this novella had in the longer novel format so I will be giving this series another try–just with a bit of caution.

I give Necessary Force a C-

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