Review: Caring for Riggs (Love off Leash #1) by Bonnie Dee

Love dogs and smoking hot men? The Love Off Leash series is for you. Different authors. Unrelated stories. Shared theme of new love and pets.

Love, loss and finding a forever home.

After years abroad, Kyle Skelton returns to New York to plan his grandfather’s funeral. Weighed down by guilt about neglecting the prickly old man who once looked after him, Kyle is determined to find a good home for Gramps’s senior dog. The last thing he needs as he confronts his complicated past is the distraction of the handsome next door neighbor who’s been taking care of Riggs.

Darrell Baines is prepared to despise his neighbor’s grandson on sight. He believes this stranger is only interested in valuable things Vince may have left behind. But after witnessing the renewed bond between Kyle and Riggs and learning more about the unhappy teenager who fled New York years earlier, Darrell’s hard stance softens. It’s easier to forgive when Kyle is heaping blame on himself.

Darrell is almost too comfortable in his quiet routine, while Kyle has never found a place that felt like home. As these opposites walk their dogs together, unexpected friendship grows. A late night adventure adds passionate fuel to the fire, but Kyle is only passing through so a chance for anything more than a fling seems impossible.

When Kyle’s never-met father arrives for the funeral and Rigg’s health takes a turn for the worse, Kyle’s emotional turmoil reaches critical mass. Will his fragile new bond with Darrell be the powerful lifeline he has always needed?

I do love a love story where the catalyst for the MC’s is the love of pets, it adds a purity to the tale before I even read a word. I was expecting a sweet, somewhat lighthearted, opposites-attract kind of thing. It was that, but it also was so much more. There were some very touching moments and bittersweetness that made the story read so real and took it from escapist fluff to a story that gave me sincere feels and an honest interest in the future of the MC’s and their furry loved ones.

Kyle has always been a rolling stone and when he comes “home” after his Grandpa’s passing to deal with the mechanics of death of a loved one he dealt with all the inevitable feelings of guilt, loss, etc. He had regrets for not coming home sooner, not being more available which were completely legit and normal feelings. Kyle has never really had roots because his parents weren’t the kind that provided that, but his grandfather took him in and loved him and provided for him the best he could.

When Kyle gets the chance to take off and see the world, there’s no reason he shouldn’t and his grandfather never seemed to begrudge him the opportunity he took advantage of. Grandpa is gone before we begin but the author did a great job of making him a presence throughout the story. Riggs is Kyle’s gramps elderly pup and Kyle loves him dearly as he’s known Riggs most of his life. Gramps neighbor Darrell has been watching over Riggs and in the beginning he doesn’t have the best of opinions of Kyle. Darrell has been feeling pretty protective of Grandpa (Vince) and Riggs and only sees Kyle as the flighty, wayward grandson.

While Kyle is a man without roots, Darrell is a man with very deep ones. They were opposites in many ways but in a complementary way that becomes more apparent as they get to know one another. I love reading books where the relationship evolves that way. Caring for Riggs is a quiet book in that it focuses on the growth of the characters feelings within themselves and for each other rather than any overt actions that move the story along.

The sweetness between these guys grows slowly making it easy to believe especially with everything that Kyle is going through. Darrell is a natural caretaker and Kyle really needs that is his life right now. They may not have come together during the happiest of times, but it was very opportune anyway. Given the solemnity of the reason the two met, the book is pretty angst free in the romance department and man is it refreshing to read about two grown ass men acting like grown ass men. They communicated and took care of business. All of the answers didn’t come easy but there was no manufactured drama to take away from the organic relationship that was building.

There were a lot of great “moments” in Caring for Riggs and I can’t recommend it enough for a sincere feel good read. You’ll get the lovely fluff you need with an added dose of authenticity that makes it all the better.

**a copy of this story was provided for an honest review**

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