Series: Paradise Animal Clinic (Book 1)
Sit, Stay…Fall In Love?
Veterinary technician Jillian Everett has met plenty of canines -- and some men who deserve "dog" tags. But when millionaire hotelier Nic Caruso strides into Paradise Animal Clinic, a scruffy border collie muddying his designer suit, Jillian has to sit up and take notice. Nic might be gorgeous, but she's had more than enough heartbreak for one lifetime in dog years.
Nic doesn't expect to fall for a dog in need -- or his beautiful caretaker! The big-city bachelor is on Paradise Isle to wreak havoc on the town Jillian loves so much. For the first time in forever, Nic realizes there's more to life than work…and love might be worth a shot. But can Jillian tame this stray for good? Or will Nic remain a lone wolf forever?
Very good book. Nic is on his way to Paradise Isle on business when he comes across an injured dog. He can't just leave the animal to fend for itself, so he scoops it up and takes it to the Paradise Animal Clinic, intending to just drop it off. Sympathy for the dog and one look at vet tech Jillian have him revising his plan. Jillian is immediately drawn to this gorgeous man who also has a soft side. But there is more than she knows about his presence on the island.
I loved both Nic and Jillian. They bonded quickly over the dog and his care, enough that Nic made sure to find a way to see her again the next day. They spent a marvelous time together, but the more time he spent with her, the more he realized that there were some rather significant obstacles to anything more than what they have right at that moment.
Jillian was orphaned as a toddler and grew up in multiple foster homes. She learned early in life not to count on anyone other than herself. She doesn't trust that anyone will stay in her life for long, so instead she has lavished the love in her heart on her town and her friends. She loves the small town life, with the way that she knows almost everyone and everyone watches out for each other. She belongs to the Island Preservation Society, which works hard to maintain the island's charm. When she finds out that Nic is on the island to purchase the Sandpiper Inn, with plans to tear it down and build a fancy resort there, she feels hurt and betrayed.
Nic is in charge of acquisitions for his family's hotel business. As the oldest in the family, he has always felt a huge responsibility to them. He has put his personal life on hold in order to do whatever is necessary. He's tired of the travel and not having a place that feels like home. He's also become cynical about the women he dates, all of who seem far more interested in what he can give them than in who he is as a person. But in Jillian's case, his job is far more likely to keep them apart.
I ached for both of them as their feelings for each other grew. Nic wanted to be with Jillian, but the conflict between what he has to do for the family business and what he wants for Jillian is tearing him apart. He finds himself re-evaluating what he wants from life. I loved the various conversations he had with family members as they helped him straighten out his priorities. I figured out the solution pretty early, but I really enjoyed seeing Nic's journey to it.
Jillian had fallen in love with Nic, but couldn't find a way to reconcile her feelings for him with her love of the island. I got a little frustrated with the way that she kept pushing him away. She had good support from her friends and I loved the way that they tried to help her with what she wanted to do while at the same time showing her what she really needed.
I loved how Nic refused to give up on his relationship with Jillian. There were several really sweet scenes where Nic's feelings for her really came through, especially the one the night they were supposed to go out to dinner. The way he ended up using Murphy the dog in order to get Jillian to talk to him at the end was pretty clever.