by Rachel Lacey
Series: Love to the Rescue #1
Published by Forever on October 28, 2014
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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...
Unleashed is book #1 in Rachel Lacey’s Love to the Rescue series. I was excited to read this since I loved book #3, Ever After, so much. (Although this is a series, the books can be read as standalones.) Sadly, Unleashed did not have the same effect on me as the other book and I had a lot of trouble finishing it.
Cara Medlen works as a nanny, but her passion lies with rescuing dogs and fostering them until they find forever homes. She volunteers for the local rescue in Dogwood, NC, and also lends her time taking photos of the dogs for the shelter’s website. In addition to her love for dogs, Cara adores photography and has always wanted to make it a career.
Cara’s neighbor, Matt Dumont, is a Marine turned private investigator. He and Cara have lived next door to each other for a year, but it isn’t until recently that they’ve actually interacted and realized they share a mutual attraction. The problem is, Matt is moving back to Boston to start a business with his brother. Also, Matt’s mother has been having health issues, so he wants to be closer to her to help care for her.
Cara’s in hot water with her condo’s homeowners association due to multiple complaints about her so-called aggressive foster dogs. Basically, she’s on the verge of getting evicted unless she agrees to get rid of her dogs. Cara’s last hope is to file an appeal with the HOA board, pleading with them to reconsider.
Meanwhile, Matt’s working hard on an investigation involving a cheating spouse. The situation hits close to home for him since his ex cheated on him when he was deployed to Iraq. Needless to say, Matt has trust issues when it comes to women. Because of this, Matt doesn’t want to start a relationship with Cara, even though he’s certainly smitten with her–and she seems to feel the same way. Complicating all this is the fact that Cara is a cancer survivor, but she won’t allow herself to have a serious relationship until she reaches the 10-year mark of being cancer-free.
Both Cara and Matt set up a lot of boundaries in efforts to prevent themselves from being hurt again. Due to this, their relationship is very much push and pull. They have a strong physical attraction, but their respective issues hold them back.
I really struggled to finish this book. The romance itself felt underdeveloped to me, to the point where I didn’t see why Cara and Matt were so attracted to each other, beyond the physical. I loved the scenes involving Cara’s work with the dog rescue, but many of the scenes became repetitive. Toward the end, a subplot veers the book precariously into left field and I almost gave up at that point.
This isn’t a bad book, by any means, but as I mentioned, I had high hopes going in since I enjoyed Ever After quite a bit. If I had to choose between Unleashed and Ever After, I’d say it’s safe to skip ahead. I haven’t yet read book #2 (For Keeps), but it is on my TBR list and I’ll continue reading this author in the future.
Rating: 2.5 stars