Unleased by Rachel Lacey

919ZQu3kEtL._SL1500_Title: Unleashed

Series: Love to the Rescue #1

Author: Rachel Lacey

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blurb: What happens when you find the right one at the wrong time?

Cara Medlen has a serious case of animal attraction. And it’s not because of all the foster dogs she’s rescued. She’s got it bad for her incredibly sexy neighbor. Her one rule: Don’t get attached. It’s served her well with the dogs she’s given to good homes and the children she’s nannied. Yet the temptation of Matt’s sexy smile might just convince her that some rules are made to be broken.

Matt Dumont doesn’t need his skills as a private investigator to detect disaster on the horizon. Cara is everything he thought he’d never find-gorgeous, funny, and caring. But there’s no way he can start a relationship just as he’s about to move to another state. Talk about bad timing. As their attraction sizzles too hot to deny, they’ll have to make a decision: forget the consequences and let loose, or forget each other and let go…

Thoughts: I am a huge fan of paranormal romance and erotica (generally separately), but every once in a while you need a sweet romance that just lets your heart sigh.  This is a good one for that.  Cara is passionate about her rescue dogs, but avoids having any attachments.  She has been in remission for 8 years and her doctor told her that at 10 years the chances of the cancer coming back was 5%.  She’s basically been waiting for the 10 year mark to start living.  She fosters rescue dogs, but she won’t keep them.  On the rare occasion that she dates, she’ll only go out with men that she has no chemistry with.  She doesn’t post pictures of herself at her house and she won’t even go after the career she really wants.  She even avoids being friendly with the her neighbors (especially the hot guy next door)to save herself from being attached.  At the beginning of the book, a girl that she beat cancer with as a teenage has died.  Her friend was in remission, got married and had a child only to have her cancer come back.  This only cemented Cara’s feelings about avoiding commitments.

Matt is Cara’s next door neighbor and he notices that she avoids him.  His mother has become ill and he’s moving back to Boston to take care of her and open a business with his brother.  When he sees Cara in her back yard and it looks like she’s getting her dogs to fight, he has to step in.  His gorgeous and innocent looking neighbor doesn’t seem like the type to do that, but he’s seen it all in his line of work as a PI.  When he introduces himself to Cara, she combats her attraction by being angry and defensive, but she doesn’t tell Matt what she’s really doing.  That just makes Matt all the more interested.  When he finally figures out what she’s actually up to, he can’t seem to get her out of him mind.  He tries to avoid Cara and tries to be just friendly, but he’s drawn to her like he’s never been before.

When the Homeowner’s Association tells Cara she can’t keep foster dogs anymore due to complaints they’ve received and she loses her job as a nanny, Cara has trouble coping with it.  She tried to fight the HOA, but she’s never been too friendly with the neighbors.  Cara focuses her efforts on rescuing 2 dogs that are being mistreated and saving another dog with cancer from being euthanized.  Matt has to step in and help her with both situations and one of them leads to being stuck in the snow overnight then staying the weekend in the mountains.  Matt and Cara have tried hard to fight their attraction and they’re both open about the fact that this can’t go anywhere, but the pull is just too strong.

What will happen when Matt has to leave North Carolina to go home to Boston?

Matt was pretty darn perfect.  His only “flaw” was his overwhelming sense of responsibility and very rigid sense of right and wrong.  Matt really struggled when Cara made a decision that he felt was wrong.  These are pretty minor things compared to this former marine, athletic, mom and dog-loving, neat and successful alpha male’s positive attributes.

Cara was an interesting character.  I wouldn’t expect to be able to relate to a character so different that I am, but I did.  I could understand the fear holding her back and how she tried to protect people from getting too close to her just in case she died on them.  It was frustrating at times to hear her thoughts, because she saw it as more of a life plan than avoiding life.  She couldn’t control herself or her heart with Matt, though, and he was able to break through some of her misconceptions.

While I totally respect the author’s stance on saving dogs, animal shelters, etc., I did feel at times that some of Cara and Merry’s thoughts and actions seemed like those of a PETA member.  I’m not bashing PETA or condoning animal cruelty, but I felt like there was a just as much (if not more) emphasis on the animal part as the romance.  Personally, I felt like it distracted some from the enjoyment of the romance and went on a bit too long because of it.  That’s just my opinion and you may love it all the more for the animal rights angle.

I had to say that I was extremely happy with the ending.  I really didn’t know how the story was going to play out and I really wanted to check the end of the book a few times to see if they ended up together.  I didn’t though and I won’t tell you what happens either.  Read it.  You won’t be disappointed.

Grade: A-




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