June 9, 2023

Tails of Love

Romance is in the air and there are some animals who have their hearts set on seeing their people happy in TAILS OF LOVE!

Lori Foster kicks off the anthology with Man’s Best Friend. Erin Schuler can’t resist rescuing the bedraggled puppy she stumbles over in the park. But who will rescue her when her car won’t start during the torrential rainstorm? She’s forced to turn to SBC fighter, Gary Rutledge. Erin has known Gary since they were both kids but does she know he’s been waiting for her?

Lori Foster is one of the masters of romance, whether a full length novel or a short story and Man’s Best Friend is yet another example of why her stories are so loved. Who couldn’t help but lose their heart to the abandoned puppy and the two main characters willing to rescue him? Readers will note that Man’s Best Friend is part of the SBC Fighter series but one can easily read it without any knowledge of the series. However, be warned that once you get this tiny taste of the world of the SBC, you’ll likely want more!

A Knotty Tail by Stella Cameron is told partially from the viewpoint of two recently adopted dogs and a cat. Madeleine and Dickens are determined to remain living with their new owner, Rose Gibb. Can they also help her find love with her neighbor, Simon? Clawdia the cat has a plan….

Stella Cameron pens a story with an interesting twist. Seeing the story unfold from the perspective of the pets adds a unique flavor to the story. I can’t help but laugh at the conversations between Madeleine, Dickens, and Clawdia as it is easy to envision the scenes as they unfold. I’m almost sorry that Rose and Simon get a happily-ever-after as I would love to see these feisty pets appear again in another story!

Kate Angell’s Norah’s Arc brings together the owner of a petting zoo with the owner of a construction company. Norah is determined to provide the best environments for her animals but one lively goat named Houdini keeps living up to his name. Mike is fed up with Houdini but he can’t help but admire Norah. Can two such different people stand a chance at love?

I have to admit I was a bit skeptical about a story involving a goat. Boy, was I ever wrong! Houdini steals the show entirely as this goat has character! The romance between Mike and Norah builds in a believable fashion as Kate Angell always writes a solid romance story. But oh, do I ever love Houdini!

In The Pursuit of Happiness by Dianne Castell, Rex offers up the ultimate challenge to Jane regarding their love. Is Jane just accustomed to his steady presence or will she truly love him regardless of any circumstance? Rex is about to find out….

Dianne Castell puts an interesting spin on the romance between Jane and Rex. In fact, The Pursuit of Happiness has perhaps the most intriguing and unexpected twist of any of the stories found in TAILS OF LOVE. I won’t give away any spoilers but I sure hope that we will see more stories from her with some of the secondary characters as the entire concept is fascinating.

Ann Christopher’s Atticus Saves Lisa shows a woman caught between her love for two men, her brother and his best friend. Lisa Evans is used to blocking out her emotions and doing her duty, most recently as caregiver for her brother Keenan, but Cruz Shaw demands more than that. He wants her love. Can a therapy pet named Atticus make Lisa see the error of her ways?

Ann Christopher writes a deeply emotional tale that tugs at the reader’s heart. It’s hard not to feel Lisa’s inner pain and guilt as she struggles between her perceived duties and the desires of her heart. Ms. Christopher does an excellent job at capturing some very dark emotions as she tackles a sensitive subject. Atticus provides just the right touch of humor to make this happily-ever-after work.

Rescue Me by Marcia James is a story of second chances. Little does Adam Baumgardner realize when he rescues Buddy that he’ll find Dr. Claire Mendelsohn once again. Their relationship ended disastrously ten years ago but can Buddy bring them back together?

Marcia James’ story is a sweet romance that shows the power of love surviving time. Neither Adam nor Claire has lost the magic that sparkled between them but time has matured them both. Marcia James makes an excellent point about the importance of love over money or possessions as Adam now learns just how powerful love can be.

In Lord Hairy by Donna MacMeans, Hannah Waverly is tired of her stepmother’s constant berating of her. All her stepmother wants is to see her married off to someone like Lord Ashton. Instead, Hannah rescues a large dog feared by many for his appearance, jokingly naming him Lord Hairy Ashton. But will Lord Hairy lead her to true love?

Donna MacMeans uses the theme of the wicked stepmother to produce an amusing tale that transcends time. The clever twists are well done but it is the character of Hannah herself that makes Lord Hairy such a success. Hannah is kind to everyone and the reader can’t help but cheer for her as the story unfolds. Excellent!

Danny’s Dog by Sarah McCarty is a story of two people torn apart. Kathy works as a volunteer rescuing animals and she can’t let this one dog die…not even if it means begging her estranged husband, Walt, for help. Can Sebastian help Walt and Kathy heal and reunite them together again?

Sarah McCarty made me cry. Danny’s Dog is heart-wrenching, to the point I was practically sobbing. Sarah McCarty tackles the sensitive issues of grief and guilt to craft a powerful story. Words alone cannot convey the emotional depth of this story, particularly the ending. Danny’s Dog is one of those stories that remain in your memory long past when it is read as it is stunning.

Patricia Sargeant’s Scaredy Cat lives up to its name! Kendra Willis is willing to conquer her fear of heights in order to rescue her cat, Tom, but her boyfriend, Harvey Sievers, is unwilling to lift a finger to help. A nearby neighbor, Paul Strahan, offers help. Can Tom also conquer his own fears to help unite Paul and Kendra?

Patricia Sargeant captures the personality of Tom perfectly! I can easily envision this feisty cat defiantly facing his fears. Kendra’s willingness to recognize Tom’s heart of gold despite her overbearing boyfriend’s objections is a nice touch to the story and I cheered as she tossed him out. Bravo, Ms. Sargeant for writing such strong characters!

Sue-Ellen Welfonder concludes the anthology with A Man, A Woman, and Haggis. Jilly Pepper is visiting Scotland when she hears a voice telling her to order the haggis. She listens and finds herself entangled with Kieran and his dog named Haggis. Is Jilly seeing ghosts? Will she find a love to last all time in Scotland?

Sue-Ellen Welfonder does an excellent job at using haggis, both the food and the dog, to craft a mystical and beautiful tale of love.  I still laugh at Jilly’s reaction to the plate of haggis but even funnier is her reaction to Haggis the dog. A Man, A Woman, and Haggis is a tale in which love truly transcends time.

TAILS OF LOVE is one of those special anthologies in which each story touches your heart. Each author offers a story of love intertwined with some very special animals. Readers who love tales of romance that include meddling pets will find TAILS OF LOVE to be a true delight. Highly recommended!

Reviewed by Debbie