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“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”  ― Winston Churchill

If You Were Mine: The Sullivans, Book 5 (Contemporary Romance)

If You Were Mine - Bella Andre Dog trainer Heather Linsey distrusts men because her father repeatedly cheated on her mother (they are still married, though) which caused the teenage Heather to cut herself. Love is a lie, Heather decided, and she wants no part of it.

Zach Sullivan is an automotive genius who restores vintage cars, races other cars, and owns a lucrative chain of auto repair shops. Zach is a middle child in the large and prolific Sullivan family, all of whom apparently are interesting enough to have their own book, but he is the one son who most resembles the late, beloved father who tragically dropped dead of an aneurysm when Zach was seven. Zach even gets headaches like his father. So Zach decided that he, too, will probably drop dead early and therefore has resolved to never form a lasting relationship because of the pain his passing would inflict on his survivors.

Two weeks later, these two are declaring "I love yous." (Oh, c'mon, it's a romance novel. If you think that's a spoiler, then why are you reading reviews of romance novels when you obviously know nothing of the genre?)

And thus my problem with the book. For all the belly-aching the hero and heroine engage in regarding their resistance to love, they get over it really quick. The emotional obstacles are leapt over with a single desultory hop. Heather's cheating father is dealt with in one quick scene; Zach acts like a spoiled brat and is oh so surprised when Heather reacts badly to his behavior, but his mother straightens him out with one short conversation and voila! Happy ever after.

I just couldn't make myself care. Nor did I think the San Francisco setting was used to its full advantage; this book could be set in Any Town, USA, and indeed, it felt waaaay more like a small town romance than set in one of the US's most distinctive urban centers.

The dogs were cute, however. And I liked the glimpses I got of Zach's family. Maybe I started the series with the wrong Sullivan.

Perfectly adequate, but not a keeper. If this had been a paper book, it would be on top of the pile of books to donate.