Title: Taking Love’s Lead
Author: H.L. Day
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: July 9, 2018
Genre(s): Contemporary, Humor
Page Count: ~200
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.0 stars out of 5
Zachary Cole’s new personal shopper is stunning in more ways than one. Gone is the staid, professional Jonathan. In his place is sexy, whirlwind Edgar, whose methods and lifestyle are less than orthodox. Still reeling from the experience, Zack can’t get him out of his head. He needs to see him again. Even if it does involve dragging his heavily pregnant sister and her dalmatian into his cunning plan.
Sick of being dumped yet again, dog-walker Edgar’s pledged to stay single and put energy into finding a career more suited to an adult instead. Zack might be extremely tempting…and just happen to pop up wherever he goes, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to change his mind. He’s got bigger priorities in life than a website designer who’s after a brief walk on the wild side. Edgar’s heart has taken enough of a bruising. He’s not prepared to get dumped again.
Zack wants love. Edgar only wants friendship. Can the two men find common ground amid the chaos of Edgar’s life? Or is Zack going to find that no matter what he does, there’s no happy ending and he’ll have to walk away?
Warning: This story contains dogs. Lots of dogs. Big ones. Small ones. Naughty ones. Ones that like ducks, squirrels and lakes and ones that like to be carried. No dogs were harmed in the writing of this book.
Blurb sums up the book fairly well so I won’t rehash much. Edgar and Zachary meet during Edgar’s brief stint as a personal shopper. They meet again (and again) through a series of carefully contrived “accidental” meetings, which leaves each man perplexed and flummoxed as to what they feel.
Edgar assumes Zach is like the rest – a guy who finds Edgar unconventional, fun for a while, and then dump-able over the phone. He is tired of the dating carousel and he’s taking a firm stance (for him) to be friends with Zach even though he knows Zach is going to great lengths for more.
Zach is caught up in all the charisma and energy that is Edgar and his dog Daisy. Zach is getting mixed signals from Edgar, and he doesn’t know what to do about it other than to keep putting himself out there in the hope that Edgar will come around and say “yes”.
This is a fun, low-angst, sweet read. It has just enough seriousness to keep the sweet from tipping over into saccharine. We learn that Zach has a very rocky relationship with his sister’s girlfriend/partner, we see that Edgar – despite his outward appearance of confidence – is full of insecurities. I personally enjoyed the (relatively) slower dating pace and how each man came to trust the other through small actions that emotionally meant a lot before they fell into bed.
A couple items detracted for me: Edgar’s behavior as the personal shopper was too much and over the top. Yes, it established the baseline for the rest of the story but for someone (Zach) to say, “I need a suit,” and to be so completely and utterly ignored didn’t sit well. Zach also uses a hired car at the beginning, presumably to establish his character and status as a head of a web design company, but that is the only time we see (other than the reference to the office with a window) that display of supposed wealth. It felt incongruous with the rest of the book.
I also didn’t care for the double female bestie each man had going – Edgar had Ella and her twin sister Emma. Zach had his sister Alina and her spouse Karen. Wasn’t a fan and would have preferred one bestie to have been a guy. But that is entirely my quirk.
Finally we come round to the best part – the DOGS! OMGosh! Pawsitively a blast! The amorous German Shepherd Sergeant, Princess the Dalmatian and object of Sergeants affections, Daisy the jack Russel terrier, a poodle, beagle, bulldogs and more. The dogs really provided the bridge between Zach and Edgar and the dogs characters were so well done.
As I noted at the start of the review, this is a sweet read. The plot is light, it moves right along, some great humor, and is perfect for when you need an emotional pick-me-up.