Guest Reviewed by Ami
Title: Stray Hearts
Author: Jane Graves
Heroes: Kay Ramsey/Matt Forester
Genre: M/F Romantic Comedy
Length: 161 Pages
Publisher: Jane Graves
Release Date: August 12, 2013
Available at: Jane Graves, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks and Kobo
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: When Kay Ramsey catches her fiancé cheating on her, she takes revenge on him in a most creative way. She’s shocked when he sues her, and even more shocked when he actually wins. Then he tells her he’ll forget the money she owes him—if she’ll perform a hundred hours of community service at a local animal shelter. Battling an empty bank account and a childhood fear of animals, she can’t imagine a worse sentence—until she meets the sexy veterinarian in charge, Dr. Matt Forester.
Matt’s animal shelter is operating in the red and in danger of shutting down, and only with a grant arranged by Kay’s ex-fiancé will he be able to keep the doors open. His marching orders? Make Kay suffer. Soon, though, Matt realizes Kay isn’t the terrible person she’s supposed to be, and he finds himself attracted to her more every day. But with the fate of his shelter hanging in the balance, how can he even think of falling in love?
Quick trivia: After I finished this, I found out that the story had been previously released more than a decade ago (in 2000) by Harlequin under the author’s other name, Jane Sullivan. Truthfully, I have no idea if the story has been re-edited to fit this timeline, because I cannot find any ‘clues’ of it being written in early 2000.
Anyway, I enjoyed this novella – in the beginning I’m not really sure of what to think of Kay. I mean, the whole impulsive revenge by shaving her ex-fiancé’s dogs is funny, but I don’t know if I can warm up to a heroine who has aversion towards animals! Also, she seems like she wants to get out of her volunteering by taking an easy way and seems to look down on life and animals at the shelter. But, as Kay spends her time at the clinic and starts opening up to the animals, so do I. I think she genuinely starts to see these animals as something wonderful (and heck, maybe therapeutic for her issue). She also tries to find a way to get more help for the shelter.
The progress of the relationship between Kay and Matt is nice. Duly noted that Matt keeps a secret from Kay, but he does it in order to save his animal shelter – and this puts a halt on his thinking of pursuing something more with Kay. I admire Matt’s dedication though, even when he is financially challenged, with the mortgage and the costs he needs for the animals, he clearly wants it to keep operating. Gah, how can I not love a man like that?! Men with pets make me swoon.
The grand gesture in the end is lovely. Totally really liked the resolution to Matt’s problem (and Kay’s ex could go to hell *lol*). Oh, this story is low on sexual scenes; it is more on the side of sweet romance, focusing on the relationship building rather than the sexual content. AND, I fell in love with the animals in this story, especially a three-legged bulldog.
Overall Impression: I liked it
*I purchased my own, personal copy of this book for review.*