It’s not long before their pet-centric arrangement sparks a person-centric desire…
Simon Burke has always preferred animals to people. When the countdown to adopting his own dog is unexpectedly put on hold, Simon turns to the PetShare app to find the fluffy TLC he’s been missing. Meeting a grumpy children’s book illustrator who needs a dog walker isn’t easy for the man whose persistent anxiety has colored his whole life, but Jack Matheson’s menagerie is just what Simon needs.
Four dogs, three cats and counting. Jack’s pack of rescue pets is the only company he needs. But when a bad fall leaves him with a broken leg, Jack is forced to admit he needs help. That the help comes in the form of the most beautiful man he’s ever seen is a complicated, glorious surprise.
Being with Jack—talking, walking, making out—is a game changer for Simon. And Simon’s company certainly…eases the pain of recovery for Jack. But making a real relationship work once Jack’s cast comes off will mean compromise, understanding and lots of love.
Carina Adores is home to highly romantic contemporary love stories where LGBTQ+ characters find their happily-ever-afters.
It’s no secret that I am a big fan of Roan Parrish. The Remaking of Corbin Wale is on my favorites list. So I was really excited for this release. It definitely had the same sort of vibe as Corbin Wale (as opposed to her Riven series or her Small Change series) and it was really good.
Jack is a loner, a children’s book illustrator who lost his art after his partner and collaborator stole an idea from him. For nearly a year he has been home, unable to draw, with only his pack of dogs and cats as company. And his well meaning brother who checks on him. Until he breaks his leg and can’t walk his dogs- the highlight of his day. So he goes online and finds someone willing to walk his pack twice a day. No easy feat as some of the animals are neurotic with their own little quirks.
Simon adores animals, but living with his grandmother who is highly allergic means he can’t have his own. So he is eager to help out this stranger and his dogs. Not so eager to have to talk to him though because of debilitating social anxiety.
After a few missteps, Jack and Simon find their groove. Simon loves the dogs, the dogs love him. But Jack is totally miserable and lonely and intrigued by Simon.
Their slow dance to come together is one of my favorite things about how Roan Parrish writes. It is so lyrical they way they develop a language together that doesn’t necessarily use words. Looks and touches and movements. It’s a ballet.
The dogs themselves- the pack- are their own individual characters. They add to the story instead of just being there. With them as a buffer, Simon slowly comes to trust Jack. Without them, I don’t know that Simon would have ever come out of his shell.
Simon’s grandmother is hilarious and adorable. Jack’s brother is broody and sweet and I definitely want more of his story.
There is an awesome easter egg that made me smile.
This book is up there with Corbin Wale in my favorites.
4.5 pieces of eye candy
Okay, I will start with, I am the opposite of Erin in this. I haven’t read anything yet by Roan Parrish. I’ve been meaning to, and as I researched this review, I found that last Christmas Day, I purchased The Remaking of Corbin Wale. (As a side note, I am fairly certain I have a couple other books by this author on my purchased but yet to read list.) I did notice as I was reading Better Than People, the reference to Corbin Wale, and knew that it must have referred back to that…so on that note, I will be for sure reading it this holiday season! I’m also very sorry that it’s taken me this long to get on board!
The characters in this book were so distinctive. Even now, several days later, there are so many distinguishing characteristics in all the characters, both MC and side characters that stick out to me. Simon with his extreme shyness, Jack with his grumpiness, Puddles the dog who’s afraid of almost everything, Pirate the Cat who is the leader of a pack of dogs and cats, Grandma who is kooky, and caring, and grieving. This band of…well Pirates lol, really stuck with me.
The two MC’s took some time to find their way. Getting past Simon’s extreme shyness took perseverance by Jack, even when he didn’t know why Simon just grabbed the dog leashes and ran out the door. He didn’t judge Simon, just waited. Meanwhile, Simon berated himself for what has always been an issue for him. Jack was patience, didn’t make any assumptions, and found a way to get through to Simon.
As an aside…this author can write some seriously HAWT scenes…just saying…
I really enjoyed the journey this book took me on. Simon didn’t have to “fix” himself for Jack. Jack had to learn what he could live with, and what was important to him, his pack, which grew to include Simon, as well as even his own brother. (I’d sure like to see a story with Jack’s brother…if anyone is asking…there is definitely some backstory there.)
I am going to have to do some backlist reading now, so you’ll excuse me. 🙂
4 pieces of eye candy