Samhain Publishing, $4.50, ISBN 978-1-61923-025-5
Romantic Suspense, 2015
Evie Tate is an award-winning dog trainer, but she can’t get her own dog to behave. Then again, she can’t even break up with Brad, a man who wants to marry her when she clearly doesn’t feel the same way about him. When she has to deal with Brad, she dithers and hesitates, and when a new client requests her presence, she takes off. This lady really needs to read one of those self-help articles they keep publishing in women’s magazines, I tell you. Her client, Luke Kovacs is grumpy and arrogant, but he’s hot, so yes, husband material alert. He needs help with the dog he has inherited from an aunt. Conveniently, he’s also a cop, that comes in handy when Brad ends up dead and Evie is shaping up to be the prime suspect.
The plot seems like a hardcore romantic suspense thing, but the suspense is actually on the lightweight side. Evie frequently takes things a little too casually to be believable, considering that she may be facing murder charges if things don’t go her way, and she seems more concerned about her and Luke. This is actually a missed opportunity, considering that the suspense element is actually pretty well structured compared to some of the more heavy-duty romantic suspense titles out there.
Love Will Always Find You is at its core a readable story. The narrative is clean and easy to read, and, when viewed as a whole, this is an okay story. At the same time, there are many small things that, by themselves, aren’t serious flaws, but they all add up to make this story feel rather contrived and even artificial.
It takes a while for me to warm up to the romance, mostly because the heroine thinks and speaks like a teenage girl. The author seems to know this, as Evie states later in the story that she and her cousin need to start talking like adults, but that doesn’t change the fact that the humor here often feels like the author is trying a little too hard. Evie is also too passive for my liking, preferring to let things happen instead of actively changing things when they are not going the way she likes them to. Her inability to break up with Brad is one plot element that I’m not so sure about. On one hand, I like that she feels some degree of pity for him and his mother, but on the other hand, the whole plot seems to me like an excuse to show me that Brad is not whom Evie thinks he is so she’s not that awful a person for stringing the poor man and his mother along for months. It’s like a story in which the hero’s dead wife turns out to be nowhere as perfect as the new wife – I can’t help feeling that we could have at least let the poor guy die with some semblance of dignity without being used as a plot device to prop up the hero and the heroine. He was murdered, after all, and to be honest, he could have easily been murdered just fine without the author having to smudge the poor man’s character further even after he’s dead. Okay, the last sentence came out wrong, but I’m sure you get what I’m saying. Hopefully.
Oh, and trust me, Evie has no problems grabbing Brad right where it counts. This only proves that Mum is right, boys and girls – when they hesitate and say things like they are not ready to get married, what they are really saying is that they don’t want to marry you.
At the end of the day, Love Will Always Find You – yes, tell that to Brad – has some elements of being a good romance, but somehow things never come together as well as they should be. The heroine and the hero don’t seem well-developed enough to make their emotions and the romance believable, the suspense elements could have been good but things only really come together in the last few chapters, and for a long time the story can’t seem to decide whether it’d like to be a romantic suspense or straightforward romance. A part of me thinks that I’d rather read about Luke’s hilariously rude cop partner or Ticks the dog.