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 suggested 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 smoke show 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 that 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.

Titles in The Dogmothers series include — Hot Under the Collar – Three Dog Night –

The Dogmothers is a spin-off from The Dogfather series – a listing of those titles and links to review posts can be found on our Roxanne St. Claire page.

Title:  Hot Under the Collar
Series:  The Dogmothers #1
Author:  Roxanne St. Claire
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Published:  May 31, 2019
Publisher:  South Street Publishing
My Rating:  5 stars

If you’ve read and loved (like I have) The Dogfather series by Roxanne St. Claire you are going to fall in love with The Dogmothers spin-off series without a doubt.  Daniel has found his second chance at love with Katie and has pretty much retired his matchmaking ways, plus his children have each found happy ever after mates.  Yet there is now a larger combination of families to make up an extended Kilcannon clan which now includes the Mahoney and the Santorini families as well.  Life has just gotten a bit complicated, extended and certainly lively in Bitter Bark.

Braden Mahoney noticed Cassie Santorini the moment they met.  Maybe it was a lightning bolt moment if he believed in such things, but even this man with a never going to have a long relationship mantra knew that this woman was something special in his life.  But he’s experienced the devastation of losing a firefighter when his father died in a fire and he’s determined to never put a woman through what he and his mom went through.  He’s wrong, but he cannot see that, only the still lingering grief and resolve.

Cassie Santorini has a life plan, one that focuses on leaving Bitter Bark now that her mom has found happiness with Daniel.  She’s put off her dreams to live, work and breathe in a big city for so long that she’s not about to shelf that dream because of an amazing set of shoulders, sparkling blue eyes and a personality that fits her just perfectly.  But Braden is charming, fun-loving and everything she’d want in a man… if she was staying, which she is not.  A short-term fling to get him out of her system and make some memories – that she could do.

Yet two grandmothers who seem the polar opposite of each other in personality have other plans for this couple.  Daniel may have given up his matchmaking schemes, but Finnie and Yiayia are definitely willing, able and ready to take up that mantle from him.  And the fun and the shenanigans are about to begin anew.

Watching Braden and Cassie work their way to each other through misconceptions, stubbornness, the antics of not only the grandmothers but one of my favorite younger characters, Pru, was simply an emotional journey that grabbed my heart and never let go.  Jelly Bean’s troubles gave this story an additional emotional punch and JB is in just about every scene and stole each one.  And elegant Jazz, oh how I loved both of these dogs for different reasons.

Right now it looks like there are about nine novels, a few novellas planned out for The Dogmothers series that will take delighted fans well into 2021 to enjoy them all.  The Dogfather is nine novels and a few novellas long as well.  So to be frank with those readers who cannot afford to pick up the first series now – I certainly know that the book budget only goes so far – it’s possible to begin The Dogmothers right now with the first title, HOT UNDER THE COLLAR and move forward.  You will experience the shenanigans of the various members of this extended clan and meet the earlier couples through the spin-off as now secondary characters.  If you can, then yes grab, read them both because the stories within The Dogfather series are simply amazing.

This review has gone on far longer than I intended (without spoilers) but I could talk about this one for even longer so… I would recommend HOT UNDER THE COLLAR for any Romance reader who loves a good, solid story, dogs in any form and all their uniqueness, interfering families with the best of intentions, and a couple you will want to see find their happy ever after.  I’m hooked once again and waiting for the next book in The Dogmothers series.

I own a Kindle edition of HOT UNDER THE COLLAR.

Available for the Kindle