by Jaci Burton
Release Date: December 12, 2023
Reviewed by PJ
After her ex took all their money and bailed, Hazel Bristow is left broke and homeless. A kind friend whose home is on the market lets Hazel and her foster dogs stay there until it sells. It’s the perfect setup, until her friend forgets to tell Hazel she’s sold the house.
Linc Kennedy is shocked to find Hazel and her pups squatting in the house he just bought, but after some negotiating—she offers to cook amazing meals for him in return for a paycheck—he agrees to let her remain while he’s renovating the place. Linc tells Hazel he’s an investor who renovates homes for fun—he just leaves out the part about being wealthy.
Hazel’s intrigued by Linc. He’s funny, sweet, ridiculously hot, and loves dogs almost as much as she does. But her track record with men? Not great. She worries her trust meter isn’t in working order.
Linc’s never met anyone like the quirky beauty who puts everyone’s needs—human and canine—before her own. He didn’t tell her about his wealth because he’s been burned by women who only wanted him for his money. But with Hazel, he’s never felt more like himself. Now he has to figure out how to tell her the truth without losing her. Because Linc realizes what he feels for her isn't puppy love—it's true love.
This sweet and steamy story kept me happily entertained from beginning to end. Burton gave me a tale that had me laughing at some points, tearing up at others, and cheering on our lead couple while they worked through issues on their way to happy endings. The overall story had a fun, upbeat vibe without sacrificing depth of emotion.
Trust (or lack thereof) was a key component of this story. Both Linc and Hazel had good reason to hold trust in reserve. I appreciated the time the author gave them to work through issues, allowing their relationship to slowly develop. Hazel, in particular, needed that time. Joyful bedroom gymnastics were one thing but after her ex's betrayal, leaving her with nothing, including her self esteem, she needed that time to find her footing before being able to move forward. Yes, there were missteps along the way but I liked that they didn't go on for too long and that clear communication, understanding, and compromise (on both sides) were used to resolve them. The strong family dynamics - on both sides - added an additional layer to the story as well as to the growth of the characters. You can tell a lot about a man by the way he treats not only his mom but also yours. And then there were the dogs...
To say Hazel's foster dogs were important characters in this book would be a massive understatement. Not only did they provide important insight into both Hazel and Linc, they stole every scene they were in and pretty much the whole darn book. Hazel adored them. Linc adored them. I adored them! I loved how Burton made each of the five dogs a unique, fully-developed character in his/her own right. Their individual personalities, quirks, and actions were vividly depicted, bringing them to life on the page. I wanted to cuddle them, play with them, and adopt the whole bunch.
Reading Housebroke was a fun way to spend an afternoon. I'm wondering if Jaci Burton plans to return to this locale for another book, say a story for Linc's younger brother? I'd be down for that!
Have you read Jaci Burton?
Do you enjoy dogs (or pets of any kind) in books?
Tell me about the furry creatures in your life.
One randomly chosen person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, December 15 will receive a print copy of Housebroke.
*Must be 18