Title: Caring for Riggs (Love Off the Leash Series)
Author: Bonnie Dee
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: May 16, 2017
Page Count: ~100
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.0 stars out of 5
Love dogs and smoking hot men? The Love Off Leash series is for you. Different authors. Unrelated stories. Shared theme of new love and pets.
Love, loss and finding a forever home.
After years abroad, Kyle Skelton returns to New York to plan his grandfather’s funeral. Weighed down by guilt about neglecting the prickly old man who once looked after him, Kyle is determined to find a good home for Gramps’s senior dog. The last thing he needs as he confronts his complicated past is the distraction of the handsome next door neighbor who’s been taking care of Riggs.
Darrell Baines is prepared to despise his neighbor’s grandson on sight. He believes this stranger is only interested in valuable things Vince may have left behind. But after witnessing the renewed bond between Kyle and Riggs and learning more about the unhappy teenager who fled New York years earlier, Darrell’s hard stance softens. It’s easier to forgive when Kyle is heaping blame on himself.
Darrell is almost too comfortable in his quiet routine, while Kyle has never found a place that felt like home. As these opposites walk their dogs together, unexpected friendship grows. A late night adventure adds passionate fuel to the fire, but Kyle is only passing through so a chance for anything more than a fling seems impossible.
When Kyle’s never-met father arrives for the funeral and Rigg’s health takes a turn for the worse, Kyle’s emotional turmoil reaches critical mass. Will his fragile new bond with Darrell be the powerful lifeline he has always needed?
Blurb is almost as long as the story itself, so I won’t rehash.
My warning, you will need a box of tissues handy.
This is about first impressions aren’t always right, building trust, and finding a forever home – for people and the furry four-legged buddies.
Darrell and Kyle are both content with their lives, until they are brought together with the passing of Kyle’s grandfather, Vince. While it’s not said outright, I think Darrell needed to take care of Vince, that while Darrell had a strong, supportive, loving family, there was still a void. The passing of Vince and appearance of Kyle, emphasized that loneliness.
Kyle, raised by a drug-addict mother, a crochety grandfather, he’s high-school drop-out, gay, had his knocks in life and managed to pull himself up by the bootstraps and make a name for himself as an event coordinator. While making other people happy, the passing of Vince makes Kyle realize he’s more alone than ever – until he meets Darrell.
My one complaint with the story was the some of the repetition – for example, I think I counted Kyle describing how Rigg’s came home with him and Vince about three times. There were several other items that were repeated, and I would have liked to have read other aspects of Kyle, Vince’s or Darrell’s lives as character builders rather than something that was already said.
I’ll maintain, short stories are some of the more difficult things to write, because you have a limited number of pages to pack in a lot. I think Dee succeeded. The sadness in both guys is present, the dogs…oh my gosh, yes, dogs that will make you chuckle, roll your eyes, and cry; Dogs really can bring out the best in us, and they do so in spades in this story.
This came to mind: “Dogs come into our lives to teach us about love. They depart to teach us about loss. A new dog never replaces an old dog, it merely expands the heart.”