Title: A Hero to Love
Author: Gail Chianese
Series: Changing Tides #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
A military police officer on the verge of a new beginning. A beautiful woman devoted to her career and her dream of putting down roots. The hardest thing they’ll ever do is to take a chance on love . . .
Navy Chief Master at Arms Jackson “Jax” Faraday is at a crossroads. He has to decide whether to reenlist or get out while he’s young enough to make a difference in the civilian world. Either choice could mean leaving behind his girl: his K-9 partner, Bella. But when she’s injured during a training session, Jax’s only concern is making sure she’s okay.
As the Navy base veterinarian, town local Risa Reynolds is right where she belongs: close to her parents in a farmhouse full of animals—with room to grow. She’s seen enough to put military men are on her “not happening” list, because they always leave.
But when a tall, hazel-eyed sailor arrives in her clinic with his dog in his arms, Risa finds herself falling hard. And all kinds of rules will get broken when Jax, a man who sticks to the straight and narrow, learns that there’s no predicting the twists and turns of the heart . . .
Source: ARC from Lyrical Shine (Kensington) via NetGalley
After finding the first book in this series (Love Runs Deep) an enjoyable if unexpected read, I was curious to see how this one turned out. Plus it has a dog – I’m sold. Firstly, if you haven’t read the first book, don’t worry, this stands alone absolutely fine. There’s a very brief blink and you’ll miss it reference to Jax’s role in the first book, but that’s it. Secondly, if you’re reading for the dog, Bella starts off as an important character but is quickly sidelined until she vanishes altogether. Third and finally, this book turned out once again to be quite a bit different than I expected, but sadly not in a good way.
But let’s start with the good: Jax. Loved him. His bond with Bella is a lovely thing, and he’s really sweet and respectful when it comes to Risa. Sure, a bit more communication from him might have been good at times, but he handles thing much more maturely than she ever does.
Which leads me to my biggest issue with this book: Risa. I just couldn’t like her. She has all the hallmarks that should have made her an instant hit with me – her love of animals, mainly – but her behaviour irritated me constantly. She’s unprofessional when it comes to Jax and what she expects him to do with Bella. She’s annoying in the way she flirts and draws him in, only to push him away again when she remembers his job. Then she seeks him out, because she can’t help it even if she won’t accept a date. Then when they do get closer, she doesn’t ask the important questions, and instead runs away and hides when the obvious and inevitable happens. Yes, Jax and she should have had a conversation about why she won’t date Navy men, and they both share responsibility for that, but her childish behaviour is completely her own fault.
On top of all of this, I never really felt any chemistry between them. This might have been because I didn’t like Risa, but the pair of them together was never convincing to me. Sure, they have a love of animals in common, but… I don’t know. Maybe it was because they never addressed Risa’s legitimate reasons for not dating Navy men, but the pacing felt a little too rushed for me.
Then there’s the weird suspense plot, which was sadly a bit predictable, and ended in a damp squib. I would have loved to have known what exactly it was that clued Jax in right at the end, but maybe I wasn’t reading closely enough to catch it.
So in all, sadly, this one just didn’t work for me. However, judging by the majority of the reviews I’m in the minority here. I guess it all depends on how annoying you find Risa and whether Jax’s loveliness can overcome it. Alas, not even Jax and Bella combined could win this one for me.
A Hero to Love is Out Now.
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