Sara Wright loves her job training dog handlers for police forces and the like, and she’s one of the best in the business. Sure, she doesn’t have much in the way of a personal life, but that’s fine. Besides, she’s learned the hard way that getting involved with anyone at work is a bad idea, so Sara keeps her head down and makes sure to send the best handler/dog pairs out into the world to keep everyone safe from the bad guys.
All of her good intentions are blown to smithereens when a last-minute NYPD addition is made to her newest crop of trainees. Isabel Marquez is incredibly sweet, sexy, and smart. Even more, Isabel immediately bonds with Chase, a brilliant eighty-pound German shepherd and does whatever it takes to prove to Sara that she can handle the large dog despite being on the smaller side. Sara tries to keep Izzy at arm’s length, but it proves harder than she’d expected since they have to work so closely together.
Can Sara set her rules aside for once and grab on to a chance at true love?
Izzy and Sara are both really easy to connect with. Izzy is incredibly likeable, so it’s not hard to see why Sara can’t resist her. They’re also both excellent at their jobs, and I love reading about highly competent women, so this totally worked for me.
Also, Izzy gets not one, but two perfect partners in this story. Chase might be a dog, but he’s a fully fleshed out character too! Seeing Izzy and Chase interact, becoming partners, is another highlight because they are adorable together.
The Writing Style
I sank right into Perfect Partners and was hooked until the end.
Melissa Sternenberg did a great job with the narration on this one. She differentiated everyone well and brought the right sense of urgency and drama when needed.
The characters, the chemistry between Izzy and Sara, and every scene with Chase. All of these were excellent and kept me listening as much as I could.
There’s a whole thing to do with Sara’s ex that didn’t really do it for me. Yes, it throws adversity at Sara and Izzy, but every time she came into the story I was like “can we please get back to everything else?” so I’m not sure how much it added.
Do you like romances about police officers or dogs, or police officers with dogs? Good news! This is 100% the book for you. It’s also just an all-around enjoyable romance. I recommend checking it out, especially in audio.
Excerpt from Perfect Partners by Maggie Cummings
She was lost in her fantasy, a successful do-over where she didn’t act like a bumbling idiot, when her doorbell rang, bringing her back to reality. She glanced at the clock on the microwave. Who would be at her house at eleven o’clock on a Friday morning? No one she’d invited, that was for sure. And whether it was a religious missionary or a salesperson didn’t matter. Uninvited solicitors were a nuisance, regardless the cause. She marched to her front door and ripped it open, ready to dole out her standard lecture on common courtesy.
“You know, if I came to your house,” she started, before making direct eye contact with Sara Wright. She stopped midsentence, frozen still in the open doorway, her mouth agape. On cue, the breeze swirled by, sending goose bumps up her forearms and under her thin shirt.
“It would be so weird if you came to my house.” Sara crinkled her eyebrows and offered a small grin. She tilted her head dramatically to the side. “I’m going to go ahead and guess you did not get the message I was coming to do your home inspection.”
Izzy racked her brain, trying to remember the details of her back and forth with Sergeant Smith. There had been a slew of changes regarding the appointment, but last she’d heard, Agent Dixon had a conflict today. When there’d been no mention of an alternate visit planned for the weekend, she’d assumed it was something that would be ironed out during the first week of training.
“I can come back,” Sara said, cutting through the silence. “We’ll reschedule. It’s not a big deal.” Her shrug was pleasant. “Clearly you have a house. The rest is pretty much self-explanatory. If I have any questions, I’ll find you during class.”
“No, no, no.” Izzy waved her off. “You’re here. Come in. Please.”
Sara looked past her. “I hate to interrupt if you’re busy.”
“Not at all.” Izzy stepped to the side, giving Sara access and closing her eyes as she got a full whiff of Sara’s musky scent when she passed. “I just need to change,” she said, backing away. “Give me one second. Make yourself comfortable.”
Less than a minute later Izzy returned, having switched out her PJ pants for leggings, a bulky fire department sweatshirt she’d swiped from her brother covering her tank. “Sorry about that,” she said, pulling her hair up in a loose bun. “Can I interest you in coffee? It’s fresh.”
“No, thank you. I feel pretty terrible that I surprised you.” Sara sat down at a tall kitchen stool and unzipped her light jacket. “It seems the universe is messing with us.” Sara raised her eyebrows. “First I don’t know you’ve been added to the roster. Now you have no idea I’m stopping by,” she said in a kind of disbelief, a tiny pensive laugh coupling her thought.
Izzy didn’t even feel bad when a loud harrumph escaped her. “I’m pretty sure the universe wants me to look like an ass.” She added a smile so Sara would know she wasn’t really bothered. She took a sip of her lukewarm coffee. “Despite all of our interactions to date, I’m actually a fairly responsible person.” She looked around, silently thanking God she was a neat freak. At least her place was spotless.
“No doubt.” Sara’s voice was serious and she nodded at the iPad she’d set on the kitchen island. “Actually, by all accounts you are extremely levelheaded, dependable, and honest. Your supervisors and colleagues have nothing but good things to say about you.”
“Yes!” Izzy whispered out the faux cheer, making fists with both hands for emphasis. “The payoffs are working.” She looked over and saw Sara’s smile reach all the way to her eyes. It made her relax on the spot. She dumped her tepid coffee in the sink and poured a fresh refill from the carafe. “Are you sure you don’t want coffee?” Izzy grabbed a second mug. “I mean, how else am I supposed to bribe you for a good score on this part of the process?”
“Good point.” Sara narrowed her eyes. “Better make it light and sweet, then, if you want an A.”
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Bits and Bobs
ISBN number: 978-1635553635
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Audiobook Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Narrator: Melissa Sternenberg
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