Can a lovable dog bring two opposites together?

Following an uproarious debacle with a client’s fussy pomsky dog, New York City lawyer Laila Arquette is forced to lay low in the picturesque town of Rutter’s Point on the coast of Maine. Pressed into helping handsome and compassionate veterinarian Josh Rowin with the town’s summer festival dog adoption fair, Laila hides both her fear of dogs and her growing attraction to Josh.

When Josh discovers Laila’s secret, he and Butch, a big, scruffy mix-breed of a dog, are determined to cure her fear. Her feelings for Josh intensify while she forms a special bond with Butch.

But her newfound joy comes at a price – a choice between Josh and the career opportunity of a lifetime.

Title:  Kiss Me in the Summer
Series:
Author:  Barbara Dunlop
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Published:  May 18, 2020
Publisher:  Tule Publishing
My Rating:  4.5 stars

‘Kiss Me in the Summer’ gave me exactly what I needed right now – a funny, charming, laugh-out-loud romance with a small-town, country feel, and characters who came alive on the page.

Laila is deathly afraid of dogs, and she may have a good reason but try explaining that to a dog-loving client that she’s just… well, let’s say highly insulted and infuriated.  Taking a vacation seemed the best move right now as in an ‘out of sight maybe I won’t get fired’ type of vacation.  Things continue to throw a wrench into her life as her car breaks down on the outskirts of a small town.  Yet maybe that wrench is a blessing in disguise – in so many different ways.  She’s a long, long way from New York City now, and just maybe she’s liking this slower pace of life… not to mention the attraction building between Laila and Josh, a local veterinarian and his big, goofy, lovable dog, Butch.  Joss, definitely yes – Butch, well, he might grow on her, as this overgrown pup seems to be an expert at matchmaking the two humans he wants in his life.  Yet there is always a price to be paid, and Laila must make a choice between the man she’s come to love and the career she’s worked so hard for.

Give me a romance with a dog (or cat) as an almost main character, and you have me involved from the first page.  ‘Kiss Me in the Summer’ shows how an intense fear can be overcome with kindness, patience, and caring.  As much as she tried to hide that fear it didn’t take much for Josh to figure it out.  Watching Laila and Josh overcome her fear, get beyond the past, and fall in love was a delightful journey.  And Butch really is a huge teddy bear of a matchmaking dog.  Add to that mix some interesting secondary characters, a sweet small-town atmosphere and I’m in love.

I have never met a Barbara Dunlop novel that I haven’t enjoyed and that record stands with ‘Kiss Me in the Summer’.  As always the writing is smooth, the characters and the situations believable, and just enough outside tensions to make the outcome not always guaranteed.  I had a blast with this romance, and if you’re in the need of a bit of enjoyable reading escape then you should be checking this one out as soon as possible.

*I received an e-ARC of this novel from Tule Publishing. That does not change what I think of this story.  It is my choice to leave a review giving my personal opinion about this book.*

Available for your favorite e-reader (mine is the Kindle)