When Zach Mason, former army sergeant turned veterinarian for war-wounded animals, returns home, the decision to stay is easy. But convincing the only other vet in town to hire him is a good deal harder. It doesn’t help that the beautiful, intelligent, and stubborn Stella Lane is determined to make his life hell.
Stella doesn’t take outside help easily—she’s been let down in the past, most recently by her ex, just as she’d begun to plan their wedding. Trusting Zach with her animals is one thing, but trusting him with more is a hard pass. Too bad the handsome vet is nothing but temptation. And her new roommate...
Each book in the Love Unexpected series is STANDALONE:
* Let It Be Me
* Never Expected You
* Story of Us
The Perfect Team
Zach returns home after ten years of running, trying to prove himself. Zach has very few happy memories of home as he was son to an alcolhic, abusive father who spent all their money on booze. Zach was labeled the "poor" kid at school and bullied endlessly. Then he meets Travis. Travis and Zach were best friends until tragedy struck, sending Zach running. Zach enlisted in the Army and became a veterinarian to animals injured in war. Zach spent ten years saving and investing his money wisely so that he could someday come home to work alongside Dr. Lane--the man who was more of a father to him than his own. Instead, Zach finds Ms. Dr. Lane...
Stella Lane left town to become a veterinarian in hopes of someday working alongside her father. Instead, Stella is drowning in the debt her father left after passing away unexpectedly. The equipment at the clinic is outdated and in need of repairs. Customers come in without making appointments, then want to pay for services rendered with a casserole or pie, not cash. What Stella lacks in business sense, she more than makes up for with her love of the animals. When presented with the opportunity for a way out of debt via a new partner, Zach, Stella allows her stubborn streak and pride to overrule good sense. She turns Zach, but for how long?
This was my first Jody Holford novel and I loved it! It had all the feels. I loved how Zach was able to turn his bad experiences as a young child into something positive and productive. I enjoyed how Zach was able to tear down Stella's walls enough to allow her to grieve the loss of her father. Zach allowed Stella to breathe and let go. Zach showed Stella that her dad was "not the building or his home or his office, but was in her heart. In return, Stella was there to help Zach grieve the loss of his friend so that he could let go of all his anger. As a team, they're unstoppable--until Zach's mistake. While I truly loved this novel, Stella's inability to forgive bothered me--especially after all Zach did for her. Zach's intentions were good, not malicious. With that said, this story does give you a HEA! I read a gifted copy and all opinions stated are my own.
The whole time I was reading Let It Be Me, Love Unexpected Book 1, I wanted Stella's story. I wanted to know everything about her.
Stella is back home trying to keep her father's vet practice alive while keeping everyone around her at an arm's length. Zach is back home and wants nothing more than to join the practice of the man who was always there for him. Stella and Zach really needed each other. Both need someone who can shoulder a load and still stand and both proved to be more than capable of doing just that.
This book is sweet and endearing. I loved Zach so much. I really like Stella but her standoffishness kept me from connecting to her as much as I wanted to. I am really enjoying this series and am keeping my fingers crossed that Declan get his HEA!
*This is my voluntary review of an advanced reader copy*
Good small town romance
Never Expected You is based in a small town setting around Stella and Zach who grew up there, went away after school and both coming back home to settle down. Usually these small town settings are like the Hallmark channel where everyone is friendly and help each other out. While we did have that, I also like that the author threw a bit of reality into this one.
Zach was bullied as a kid and the effects it had on him as an adult coming home was part of his struggles in his character. He enlisted in the army right out of high school. He's grown up into a very capable man. He's bigger, stronger and not that helpless boy anymore despite the memories that haunt him.
Stella is the daughter of the town vet. She followed her fathers footsteps but not before getting her heart crushed by her ex-fiance who also happens to have been her mentor in her own veterinary studies. She's also dealing with her father's recent passing and the piling of debt from his veterinary practice. Both of our main characters are dealing with a lot of baggage.
I love the storyline. I love how they meet, start working together and needing to rely on each other. The attraction between these two was there from the start but both resisted. Stella because she refuses to get burned again and Zach because he doesn't want mess up the business opportunity. Due to this, this was a nice slow burn romance.
Zach's character is very charming and likable. Despite his baggage, he was more open and willing. Stella, not so much. She was closed up tighter than a vault. She was my only issue with the story. She was way too guarded, fighting even the small things. It was pretty frustrating as a reader and yet I still liked her. I just wish she fought a bit less.
Overall this was a feel good, small town romance. We got to see characters from a previous standalone book and I wonder if we will get Declan's story. He was an intriguing side character that would make a great hero. ARC provided by NetGalley.