Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Keeping Guard by Sandra Owens
Series: Operation K-9 Brothers #2
Published by Carina Press on May 11, 2021
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble, Apple
Navy SEAL Noah Alba is on extended leave after a terrible mistake resulted in the loss of his K-9 partner. He arrives in Asheville, North Carolina, hoping to get his head on straight before he returns overseas. When an old friend recruits him to train service dogs for veterans, he doesn’t feel ready. Still, rambunctious rescue dog Lucky is awfully hard to resist—as is the drop-dead stunning bride Noah encounters while hiking.
When she finds out her fiancé is only marrying her to gain control of her family’s brewery, Peyton Sutton’s I do turns into a hard pass real quick. But Peyton’s father and now-jilted ex are determined to force the match at any cost. Running away can only get her so far, until Noah—and his adorably fierce canine companion—step in as an unlikely protector.
Guarding a runaway bride in the close quarters of her downtown loft is no way to avoid a simmering attraction. But Peyton can’t outrun her ex, and Noah can’t outrun his past; they’ll have to find a way to move forward together, or risk making another terrible mistake.
I love K-9 stories and really enjoyed the first book in this Operation K-9 Brothers series. I requested Keeping Guard right away. Somehow it fell off my radar and I missed getting it reviewed when it released and I hate that. I have improved my radar system.
The guys are Navy SEALs in both cases so far, transitioning to civilian life due to injuries. The setting is Asheville, North Carolina which isn’t too far from me. Jack, from the first story, has set up a facility to train companion and therapy dogs. Both books are a romantic suspense drama where the woman are facing stalkers, which rouses the SEAL protective instincts.
Noah is not interested in having a dog or having a relationship, but after an injury he was sent to work with Jack. A runaway bride stumbles upon him and they help each other. He protects her and she makes him laugh. They are kind to each other and build a good relationship. Noah makes progress on his issues and Peyton learns to fight for what she wants and value her own worth.
There are plenty of dogs in the story but mostly as companions, rather than doing much work. We don’t get to see a lot of the training. There is some but I always would like more. In the beginning, Noah has a tendency to not take his dog, Lucky with him. By the time he is deployed again, he’d like to keep the dog and stay in Asheville. But what can he do outside of the military and in Asheville? He really doesn’t want to train dogs.
I love how Noah supports Peyton in resolving her problems and she lets him work through what he wants. We are getting quite the circle of friends and comradery of a support group. The next book, Mountain Rescue, has a short excerpt at the end and it looks like we have another SEAL visiting NC to get his head on straight and protect a woman in trouble.
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