Good Boy (2017) by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy is an example of a book where the title and cover have very little, if anything, to do with the actual story. There is mention of a dog and one puppy, but it is definitely not the center of the story. I’m a fan of Sarina Bowen, and I’ve mostly enjoyed her romance novels involving professional hockey players. Even though there were a couple plot points that had me shaking my head, this was another fun, entertaining, escapist read.
Jess Canning is planning the wedding of her brother, a professional hockey player, and his new husband. She thinks of herself as the loser of the family, and she is determined to get things right. The best man and fellow professional hockey player, Blake Riley, makes that slightly more difficult. Blake and Jess had slept together before, and Blake wants to take advantage of the close proximity of the wedding.
I honestly can’t remember exactly what happens at the wedding between Blake and Jess. However, Jess has an epiphany and decides that party planning is not for her. She wants to help people; she wants to become a nurse. Her parents do not have the funds or interest to fund another scheme of Jess’s. She ends up at a cheaper nursing school in Canada, barely scraping by. Fortunately, it also happens to be the city where her brother and Blake play professional hockey.
Blake and Jess start spending more time together. When Blake needs a date for an awkward family party, Jess agrees to go if he promises to take her to a concert she really wants to see. What starts out as a scam, slowly turns into a real friendship and a real romance. It’s a little difficult to explain this transition to friends and family, but everything eventually works out. I did really enjoy the scene when Jess finds herself sitting next to Blake’s mother at one of his hockey games. The idea was that Blake would tell his family that he and Jess broke up after the party, but she’s not sure if he’d done it yet or not.
The part of the plot that I didn’t love involved Blake’s ex-fiance. They had dated for years and they were planning on getting married. She was also a good friend of Blake’s sister. But somehow the pressure of Blake being a sought-after hockey player got to her. In order to keep Blake by her side–the man who showed no interest or inclination to cheat and had asked her to marry him–she faked a pregnancy. When Blake discovered that he’d been lied to, he broke up with her. In order to stay in good stead with his sister and family, she told his family that she’d had a miscarriage. Blake allows her to tell this lie. She remains a friend of the family and is constantly showing up at family parties. First, faking pregnancies to keep a man is kind of horrible, and in this case it’s not even necessary. Second, why would Blake let his family think he ditched his fiance after she just lost her baby? I guess it was interesting, but the entire situation felt annoying and unrealistic.
Anyway, this was still fun and worth reading. I’m sure I’ll be reading more in the future.
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