A NEW LEASH ON LOVE by Debbie Burns


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A no-kill animal shelter in St. Louis is the setting for a clash between its spunky, bighearted director and a grieving businessman who needs rescue himself.

In Burns’ debut contemporary romance, Craig Williams is a wealthy businessman father who has lost one of his young children and, subsequently, his marriage. He’s worried for the emotional well-being of his two remaining children but can’t seem to escape his own numbness and isolation. When he meets Megan Anderson, acting director of a St. Louis no-kill shelter, sparks fly, but not necessarily in a good way. Craig is reluctantly surrendering a Christmas puppy which was just too much to handle. Megan, a bit overwhelmed with the unexpected directorship and having a judgmental streak she tries to contain, at first writes him off as an arrogant jerk. But when Craig makes a donation to the underfunded shelter, they get to know one another, and their mutual attraction grows. Megan and Craig navigate the children, the ex-wife, his recovery from trauma, and her reluctance to open her heart to a guy who seems well out of her league. Burns doesn’t demonize the ex-wife, although the genre probably doesn’t need yet another contrast between the down-to-earth, messy ponytailed young woman and her cool, mature, and overly polished rival. Megan is passive and awkwardly insecure throughout. Craig is defined too much by trauma, and his children are distractingly mature for their ages. While the couple's sexual appeal to one another is emphasized, the intimate scenes are rote, and Craig seems interested mostly in Megan’s ability to mother his children.

An appealing setup and plot can’t overcome dull characterization and lack of sizzle.

Pub Date: July 4th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-4926-5083-6
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2017


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