Monthly Motif Reading Challenge: Extreme Honor by Piper J Drake
David Cruz is good at two things: war and training dogs The ex-soldier's toughest case is Atlas, a Belgian Malinois whose handler died in combat. Nobody at Hope's Crossing Kennels can break through the animal's grief. That is, until dog whisperer Evelyn Jones walks into the facility...and into Atlas's heart. Dave hates to admit that the curvy blonde's mesmerizing effect isn't limited to canines. But when Lyn's work with Atlas puts her in danger, David will do anything to protect her.
Lyn realizes that David's own battle scars make him uniquely qualified for his job as a trainer. Tough as nails yet gentle when it counts, he's gotten closer to Atlas than anyone else--and he's willing to put his hardwired suspicion aside to let her do the same. But someone desperate enough to kill doesn't want Lyn working with Atlas. Now only teamwork, trust, and courage can save two troubled hearts and the dog who loves them both...
I really wanted to like this one...but I really felt more "meh" than anything else when I finally finished it. I even came close to DNFing it a time or two but something kept me reading, and that something was Atlas. Atlas was a great character! Unfortunately, Lyn and David, while okay, didn't hold my attention like Atlas did. Lyn's first impression is that of an overbearing harpy and I did not like her at first. David was much more personable and I was pleased with how he tried to handle Lyn--he didn't get in her face, but rather tried to work around her until he knew what was really going on with her. When at one point she literally plasters herself against his door to try to eavesdrop while he calls to check her references, any idea of her professionalism is thrown out the window. A weak excuse that she is used to having to be a ball-buster to be taken seriously didn't cut it with me...
Luckily she isn't this stupid or irritating through the rest of the book but she and David act more like teenagers than adults with their should we/shouldn't we stance on committing to a relationship...when David tries to give Lyn space after she is physically attacked she takes it personally. Later, when Lyn makes it clear that she is ready to commit to David, he tells her she can't possibly know her mind with all that has gone on and that she should leave for a while to make sure she is really sure about her next steps. Also, the suspense portion of the story concerning Calhoun's death doesn't really go anywhere and at the end of the book we don't know a whole lot more than we did at the beginning...don't get me wrong, you find out why he was killed but it isn't wrapped up in this book.
There is some action towards the beginning of the book and again at the end with the middle acting as a long, dry section that doesn't really go anywhere. Thank goodness for Atlas--his scenes were great and I was silently hoping that he would find the will to begin living again after his handler's death. His kind of loyalty doesn't come easily and I just wanted him to have an owner who would love him like he deserved to be loved. Overall, this book left me wanting a lot more, and yet there were so many places when I though something promising was about to happen and then it just wouldn't. I read the teaser for the second book and based on it, I will definitely be giving Piper Drake another chance, but if the next installment is as big of a letdown as this one, I'll be calling it quits.
I read this book as my February Monthly Motif selection. The topic: New Release.