Publisher: St. Martin’s
Publish Date: 26 Aug
How I got this book: ARC from the publisher via Netgalley
For Shay Appleton, it’s love at first sight when a gorgeous stray dog is brought into the animal shelter where she works. She 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 rish his career and his best friend…to protect the woman who’s stolen his heart?
This blurb came from the author’s website.
Last month I reviewed Necessary Force the prequel novella to Ayers’s K-9 Rescue series. I was rather underwhelmed by the novella, but hoped given a longer format, those areas I felt needed expanding would have the room to grow. Unfortunately I have come to the conclusion that Ayers’s writing style isn’t working for me. I enjoyed several elements in this story but I also had several moments when things just didn’t add up for me.
I enjoyed just about every scene involving the K-9 although I had a hard time buying the plausibility of Bogart’s bonding with Shay given how he entered her life. Having said that watching them interact was a lot of fun. They developed their own routines and it appeared as if Bogart had fun with Shay while remaining alert to anything she thought was a threat. Shay demonstrated how much she cared about Bogart in return during a certain “dinner” incident. The scene ended up being both amusing and touching.
I had really mixed feelings about Shay. I liked her, then I disliked her and her choices, and then I really liked her again. I thought her interaction with Bogart as mentioned above was great. I also thought how she stood up to James and did everything she could to legally keep Bogart said a lot about who she was but it seemed as if she lost all of her gumption once he was gone. I could not understand why she did certain things and made certain choices that put her back in close proximity of the man who was harassing and physically threatening her. Then it was like she regained her sense of strength and started cleaning house. I loved how she fought back and did everything she possibly could to regain her life. But unfortunately the transitions between opposing aspects of her personality kept me from being fully immersed in her character. I kept wondering what happened to the smart vibrant Shay from the beginning and was glad to see her return but the middle piece just did not work for me.
James also resulted in mixed feelings. For a man which such a tight bond with his dog, I liked that he never gave up on trying to find him, but he also seemed to not trust his dog. I really didn’t like how he forced his way into Shay’s place and treated her like she was the criminal after watching Bogart show no signs of distress interacting with Shay. Then he obviously didn’t trust Bogart during their training sessions almost like he felt a sense of betrayal even though Bogart didn’t ask to be taken and was in fact saved by Shay. I started liking him more as he continued to interact with Shay over time but he also didn’t stay true to his characterization. Given how aggressive he was towards Shay when he went to claim Bogart and the way he handled the individual who took Bogart to begin with was rather wimpy. He also made other questionable decisions regarding the thief, which made me wonder about his priorities.
Like the previous novella this ended on a note that felt to me like a HFN or a we will try this relationship thing and see where it goes. This didn’t bother me as much because Shay and James did not have a lot of time during this story to spend together and really get to know each other so I appreciated not having to try to believe in a HEA at that moment.
I was pleased to see all of the external conflict reached some sort of resolution, however, the story became muddled and confused with ALL of the external conflict. I was able to follow through the dog theft and Shay’s initial stalker but then the conflict grew and twisted. As a result, after a while I found myself wondering what the purpose was of the additional external conflict. I already knew the dog thief was a pretty ugly person and I knew the stalker deserved whatever karma threw his way so for me the additional villain was overkill.
As I said in the beginning Irresistible Force had some things I enjoyed but also had several elements whose execution kept me from remaining immersed in the world Ayres built. As a result I found myself disappointed even with the expanded opportunities offered by the novel length. It seems as if Ayres writing style unfortunately does not work for me even though I enjoyed the premise of this story and the entire series.
I give Irresistible Force a C-