Firefighter Braden Mahoney is devastated when his beloved Weimaraner, Jelly Bean, fails the canine arson investigator test. Faced with the challenge of raising the money for advanced training, it’s Braden’s sweet grandmother and her best friend who suggest he use the services of the new event planner in town. Not that he needs a push in Cassie Santorini’s direction. Ever since she arrived, Braden has had his eye on the sassy Greek goddess…and can’t stop thinking about getting the rest of him on her, too.
Cassie has spent years putting family first, even moving to Bitter Bark when her mother falls in love with the local veterinarian. Having a huge new extended “family” is fun, especially when one smokeshow of a firefighter attends the gatherings, but Cassie has no plans to remain in this small town. She’s ready to pursue her big city dreams. But when Braden asks for an assist for his precious pup, Cassie agrees to help him set up a town-wide scavenger hunt. It isn’t exactly a hardship to be around those blue eyes and brawny shoulders, especially since they both agree everything – even the undeniable sparks that crackle between them – is temporary.
But when temporary gets complicated by feelings that might lead to forever, Braden and Cassie start to question the direction they’re headed. Should they follow their dreams…or their hearts? It’ll take a dog with a bad nose and a sweet soul, two particularly meddlesome grandmas, and some help from the clan that loves them to make sure Cassie and Braden follow the clues and find their way to each other’s arms.
Release Date: May 31, 2019
South Street Publishing
The Dogmothers #1
Review copy provided by publisher
Hot Under the Collar is the first book in The Dogmothers series of books from Roxanne St. Claire. As it is a spin off of her amazing Dogfather series, I have to say I couldn't wait to devour this book as soon as it hit my kindle, and I was completely satisfied with everything about this story!
Cassie Santorini and Braden Mahoney have been circling each other pretty much from the moment Cassie and her brothers arrived in Bitter Bark once their mom became engaged to Daniel Kilcannon, who is Braden's uncle. I have to say I was surprised that Gramma Finnie and Cassie's Yiayia were the ones to be the matchmakers, as I figured Daniel would continue as the master, yet have to say I loved Gramma and Yiayia becoming not only match makers, but best friends in this book.
Cassie and Braden team up to help him raise $10,000 to get his dog Jelly Bean in advance training so he can be a canine arson investigator after he fails the initial testing, and Cassie needs Braden's helps to figure out what is going on with her Yiayia. As Braden has relationship issues after his father's death and Cassie wants to move to the big city, they both go in their pretend relationship never thinking feelings can become real.
I loved that Cassie and Braden were actually friends first. I actually laughed out loud at how neither wanted a real relationship, yet both were extremely jealous of anyone else in their lives. Seeing them fall for one another gave me all the happy feels. I honestly was impressed with how long they held off from making love. They had amazing chemistry from the beginning and loved being together. I loved seeing Braden and Cassie explore their feelings about what was really important in their lives as they each realized their feelings for each other.
Hot Under the Collar was a great start to the new Dogmothers series from Roxanne St. Claire. Rocki has been an auto-buy author for me since I read the very first book in The Bullet Catchers series. Her stories that surround families remain my favorites. I love with the spin-off series I get to see where all the Kilcannon clan is now as well as get new stories with the Mahoneys and the Santorinis. Ms. St. Claire has totally done it again with her newest series and I can't wait to read each of the books in this newest series. I highly recommend Rocki's books to readers who love contemporary romances filled with family and lots of love and laughter.
Rating: 4.5 Stars (A-)