Love Bites by Lila Bruce is a sweet, second chance, romance novel that hits all the familiar notes I expect in a romance. Love Bites is NOT a paranormal vampire romance. Now that we have that sorted out, let’s get to the review.

Twelve years is a long time to nurse a broken heart, but when Ashley Baldwin parted ways with her college girlfriend, Peyton Maxwell, it was explosive. There was shouting, tears and thrown pottery. The last person Ashley thought she would see when she brought her dog, Moose, to the Ridgeview Animal Clinic was the breathtaking ex-love-of-her-life.

Peyton Maxwell has returned to her hometown after being away for more than a decade. A lot has changed in those years. Most notably, she has a seven-year-old daughter, Daisy. Just as Peyton is settling in at the veterinary clinic, in walks Ashley. Peyton thought that Ashley was forever a part of her past; especially after their final fight when she told Ashley she would never want children. One look at Ashley and Peyton realizes walking away from the woman she’d known since high school was the biggest mistake of her life.

Ashley has waited a long time for closure. She is full of questions, but she doesn’t know if she wants to risk getting close enough to Peyton to ask them. In pursuing a platonic friendship will Ashley and Peyton find out that the feelings they shared for each other never really went away?

The Characters

Both Ashley and Peyton were well written and likable. On the outside, Peyton is still the confident and charmingly egotistical young woman she was in college, but becoming a mother has definitely changed her priorities. Ashley is a bit less hopefull than her younger self due to comparing every woman she has tried dating to Peyton. Once their worlds collide they each seem to wake up from a long hibernation. They become wittier and more outgoing. It was fun to see them behaving like awkward teenagers as they worked at becoming friends.

The Writing Style

The best thing about the novel is the third character who gets his own point of view and that’s Moose, Ashley’s pet dachshund. Every chapter includes his version of what’s going on and he has some pretty strong opinions on just about everything, especially Dr. Maxwell. He senses Ashley’s overwhelming, emotional reaction when they first meet at the veterinarian clinic and he instantly dislikes the woman in the white coat. First, Peyton puts him on a diet. When she makes him wear the “cone of shame” after a procedure, he realizes he has met his nemesis. His observations on humans and his conversations with his four legged friends are what make this novel stand out.

The Pros

Not only is Moose a great character, but Bruce has also written two notable side characters. Ashley’s best friend Cassie and Peyton’s mother, Jolene are two sides of the same coin. Neither one of them minces words and they keep Ashley and Peyton grounded. Without these two women, Ashley and Peyton would have bolted in opposite directions after their first few awkward interactions.

The Cons

For me, the book was a little predictable, but that’s probably because I go through romance novels the same way I go through a bag of dark chocolate peanut clusters; quickly and in one sitting.

The Conclusion

If you are looking for a light read to keep you company next to the pool or in front of a roaring fire (depending on which hemisphere you happen to be in) then this might be a good fit. If you are a dog lover, what are you waiting for?

Excerpt from Love Bites by Lila Bruce

Shivering at the sensations the movement of Peyton’s thumb was causing, Ashley felt her cheeks begin to burn. “Oh Lord, I’d almost forgotten about that.” She smiled in spite of herself at the memory of their first meeting. Ashley had been a junior in high school when Peyton transferred in midway through the school year. “But then, you were that weird new girl from Atlanta who almost killed me on her first day.”

“Oh please,” Peyton said, pulling back from Ashley and crossing her arms in mock outrage. “You were the one who had two left feet.” She leaned to one side as if checking under the table. “Still do for all I know.”

“I noticed you didn’t argue the ‘weird’ portion of that sentence.”

“I wasn’t weird.” She looked thoughtful for a second and then, with a wry grin, leveled her gaze at Ashley. “Okay, I was a little weird. But, I seem to recall a certain someone finding my ‘weirdness’ hot.”

Shaking her head, Ashley returned the smile. “First of all, I don’t think weirdness is even a real word, is it? And secondly, I have never said you were hot.”

“Ashley Marie Baldwin!” Peyton pushed her chair back from the table. “Let me get out of the way before the lightning strikes.”

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Bits and Bobs

  • ISBN number: 9781519219220

Lila Bruce Online

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