Take a Chance on Me
St. Martin's, 2003 (2003)
Reviewed by Martina Bexte
ndercover investigator Thomas Tobin is certain the little dog he discovered cowering at the side of a murdered informant knows who killed his master. So sure in fact, that he'll stake his career on Hairy, the
(about the ugliest mutt he's ever clapped eyes on), breaking Thomas's latest case. Unfortunately Hairy is still so traumatized by the whole ugly affair that Thomas is at his wit's end trying to deal with the Crested's often-psychotic behavior. He consults Emma Jenkins, a vet/animal behaviorist, hoping she'll be able to help stressed out Hairy. She's all business and, much to Thomas's dismay after his heart stops hammering a hundred miles an hour, the first woman to seriously attract him since his fiancée dumped him.
mma's first reaction to Thomas Tobin and the quivering creature at his side, is that the man knows absolutely nothing about dogs and has no business owning a pet. After sternly prescribing simple changes in feeding, walking and other daily doggie routines, she decides that the unsmiling and too serious
is much too attractive for her own good. Hadn't she just come out of a devastating divorce and sworn off men forever after having given her heart, soul and most of her life's savings to her no-account ex-husband? Why did this big, blond and obviously issue-laden man have to walk into her office out of the blue and have this annoying effect on her hormones? Though Emma decides not to see Thomas again, he has other ideas especially after Hairy's miraculous overnight improvement. Thomas hires Emma to help him finesse Hairy into identifying a killer who is still at large -- a killer who is closer to Emma than anyone realises.
usan Donovan writes with wit, charm, spice, great insight into her characters - and maybe even a bit of animal psychology as well. Thomas and Emma are appealing, believable lead characters. Their loud denials about the possibility of falling in love again make their uncontrollable attraction even more engaging, poignant, and often laugh out loud funny. A cast of appealing secondaries makes the story that much more fun. And Hairy, the Chinese Crested, is a real scene-stealer, especially when Donovan switches to short passages from Hairy's point of view, in which he directs his doggie courting suggestions to '
Take a Chance on Me
is a breath of fresh air in the contemporary romance genre. Don't miss it!
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