Honor, Loyalty, Love
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 kennel can break through the animal's grief. That is, until dog whisperer Evelyn Jones walks into the facility...and into Atlas' heart. David 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....
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A dog with a dangerous secret
Together with 2 friends, Ex - Air Force David Cruz now trains dogs at Hope´s Crossing Kennel. His latest case, Atlas, a Belgian Malinois, draws a lot of attention with his handler killed on a military misson and the dog deeply traumatized. Suddenly Evelyn Jones, a civilian dog trainer, is sent to help him. David is suspicious but also can´t deny the chemistry between him and Lyn, as well as between Lyn and the dog. While they try to rehabilitate Atlas, a third hidden party shows strong interest in the secret the canine seems to carry since he has been discharged from active duty. The situation becomes dangerous fast and David and Atlas do their best to protect Lyn.
This is a gripping start of Piper J.Drake`s True Heros Series in the world of former military hard men, dog training, suspence and romance. It is a perfect mix indeed. Many persons appear in this story, still the author´s focus is clearly on David and Lyn and their slow growing relationship, which I found realistic and well developed. With all those long passages about military procedures and detailed dog training sessions, the emotional part seemed to be concealed somehow though. Atlas is the star during the whole story!
Daniel Thomas May and Kristin Kalbli have done a brilliant job with the narration of this complex story. They switch from chapter to chapter, following either David or Lyn´s point of view, making the storyline feel seamlessly flowing on. Mr. May´s voice is perfect for though-gruff ex-soldier David with this calm voice even in dramatic situations, a character trait I really liked on David. Kristin Kalbli´s interpretation of strong and independent Lyn hits the nail on its head, too. She makes Lyn sound so much alive, especially her frustration in conversations with her step-father. Well done!