Monthly Key Word Challenge: A New Leash on Life by C. Callenreese
The US Recession of 2007 stole Orion Hathaway's job, his property value, and his savings. With nothing left, he lost something even more important: his mental health. No longer able to afford the fees to his favorite BDSM club, he becomes a hermit, retreating further into depression and the cocoon of his bed until his friends stage an intervention. They have the perfect solution to get Master O back on his feet. Despite his initial reservations, Orion discovers canine therapy might be just what he needs to become human again.
Roan Matthews is used to flaky Masters weirded out by by his pup fetish. Deep down, he desires what all dogs want--a forever home. Unwilling participant Orion Hathaway seems an unlikely candidate at first, but Roan realizes if he can help pull Orion out of his depression , perhaps they can make a new home together.
What a wonderful novella! Orion Hathaway is trapped inside his huge house that he can no longer afford but which he is unable to financially get free from, sleeping away his days and sinking further and further into depression. His days consist of living in a fog, trying to find a job, and sleeping when it all gets to be too much--which is often. When his friends from the club he can no longer afford to attend (and at which he had a psychotic break landing him in the hospital), he is in no mood to entertain their ideas or to engage their pity. What he doesn't know, is that their visit will be the best thing that has happened to him in a long time and the first step on the path to lead him to a future in which he can truly live and not just exist.
When his friends present him with Roan, or as he is knows as a puppy, Pepper's, leash, Orion is not interested and is actually almost afraid. But Pepper knows a good man when he sees one and pretty soon he has wormed his way into Orion's life. Before Orion knows it, he is thinking about Pepper and what is best for him, allowing Orion to finally get outside of his head (and bed) long enough to begin regaining his energy and interest in the world around him. Pepper and Orion are super cute together but more than that, they are very necessary to each other. Pepper gives Orion a purpose while Orion allows Pepper to sink into his pup head space. By being able to trust Orion to meet his needs and keep him safe, Roan is able to live the simple life of a pup which he desperately needs to balance out his high-stress job of assisting pediatric surgeons with operations that don't always have a happy outcome.
While this novella leaves us with an HFN, I truly believe it will grow into an HEA after watching these two change from two individuals with very specific needs to a unit that is supportive, loving, and balanced. I will be on the lookout for more by C. Callenreese because the writing drew me in right from the beginning as it was sharp, emotional, and not a single word was wasted. This is the type of story that makes me want to immediately start all over again from page one as soon as I have finished it. I can see this going on my list of comfort reads to reread again and again.