Rhett Santos keeps his gym as a refuge for his former-military brothers and to sweat out his own issues. He’s ready to let the funny redhead join, but unprepared for the way she wiggles past his hard-won defenses.
When their dog rescue is threatened, the sisters fight to protect it. And they need all the help they can get. As Rhett and Constance slowly open up to each other, they’ll find that no one is past rescuing; what they need is the right person—or dog—to save them.
Comment: I saw a positive review of the sequel of this book and decided to add it to my TBR. Then, because why not, I also checked the blurb for this one and was convinced I might like it too, and reading in order is always advisable so here I am.
In this book we meet Constance, a physical therapist who also specialized in massages and when the story begins, Constance is working alongside her sister Sunny, who rescues dogs and is part of an association which is helped by the community. Constance is coming from a tiring break up and is regrouping and that includes finding her love for sport again, which she gets slowly back into by joining a gym. His owner is Rhett Santos, an ex army who brought his own pain and heartbreaking memories but is determined to put them aside. When these two meet, chemistry seemed perfect but both were wary and neither thinks about starting anything but companionship and friendship can be good starting points...
This is a slow burn novel and the focus isn't only on Rhett and Constance but I must say I was really interested in seeing how these two would develop their relationship. Things start simple and friendly like but as they get to know one another, they start realizing the other embodies many of the things they like in a partner and it was a real treat to see it happen.
This is the first book I try by this author but I liked the tone and style, things are simple but I feel the author was able to convey enough emotion and tension in the interactions between characters. Although there are more characters being developed, of course my main interest was in Rhett and Constance. I was rooting for them and really liked how things develop between them, especially because it's believable... after all, they both have some emotional trouble and as they deal with that, they start rusting and helping each other, it was really romantic to see.
Constance is a good heroine and part of her interests has always been dedicated to sports, mostly running. This aspect is thoroughly developed not only because it's one more element to make her get closer to Rhett, who also likes sports and physical activity, but also because it's part of her self renewal and increasing self esteem. There are many scenes with this, with them training, of them at the gym...some people have said this was too much but I honestly didn't mind because it was a way to see them spending time together and I really liked that.
This is a romance but a heavy part of it is also emotional healing, for both had had some things happening which affected them very strongly. I think the author did a good job with this theme, things didn't get to be too heavy that this would turn into a drama, but enough to make me glad when the couple started to confide in each other and that meant self healing too.
There is another theme which complements the plot a lot and that's the rescue activity and the dogs' activities. On one hand this was amazing because Constance also massages dogs - never heard of it, so something to learn - and they suffer as much trauma as humans, but I must say Sunny's actions regarding her rescues sometimes felt a bit too much like and agenda and I doubt her methods would be seen by all as proper. This is used to backfire and to add conflict with a neighbor who mistreats dogs but it does seem too convenient and unlikely some situations would develop as described.
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