No One Like You
I have had this book for months and started reading it several times, then put it down for something more interesting. Then my daughter decided to get married and I had an excuse to leave it in my TBR pile. Well my daughter is safely wed and my excuses are no longer valid, so I knuckled under and finished this book. I actually think I am being a bit generous in my grading because I think there are readers out there who will get this book, but I am just not one of them.
Beth Avery is on the run from her old life and has landed on the sunny shores of Barefoot William, Florida. With little more than the clothes on her back and a car whose odometer saw 100K several thousand miles back, she is a little desperate for a job. When the book opens, she has had her first interview with Roanoke Rogues baseball player Rylan Cates who needs a temporary personal assistant while the team is in Barefoot William for eight weeks of spring training. Rylan has four rather unruly dogs (especially Atlas the Great Dane) and his PA must pass the dog test before he will hire her. Beth passes Atlas’ test – barely – and she is hired.
Rylan Cates is a homegrown town hero. The Cates family owns half of the businesses in Barefoot William and while he loves coming home for spring camp, he is not looking forward to babysitting his much younger teammates. With his personal assistant out on maternity leave, he needs a replacement during his Florida stay. To say that Ry is a dog nut is an understatement. Not only is he very health conscious himself, his dogs’ food and snacks must be homemade, healthy and organic. Therefore, any PA he hires has to deal with his dogs and the doggie cookbooks. He hires Beth with a combination of pity and dog instinct. Atlas takes to her and Ry is pretty sure she has nowhere else to go. The position requires that she live in his house, so hiring her will give her a place to stay. But one of her first duties is to call the woman who did not get the PA job for a date with Ry, and then make restaurant reservations for the occasion. The attraction is not at first sight.
Where to start…I am giving my age away with this analogy but it is the one that kept running through my head throughout the book. When I was a child, my father and brothers would watch The Three Stooges and laugh uproariously. I never understood why. I did not and do not to this day understand why they are funny. Similarly, humor was spread liberally throughout the book, but I just did not find it very funny. I felt like the author was trying too hard. This was the main reason for not giving this book a lower grade. Other readers found this book hilarious and since humor is definitely a personal preference, I gave the author the benefit of the doubt.
However, my largest peeve with this book was the unprofessional behavior of the heroine. She wore a crop top with her bra showing and cut-off booty shorts for the second part of her “interview.” Then she allows her boss to buy her presents (some of which were clothing not job-related) and is in his bed within a week. According to the author, Beth was pretty confident at her previous job which required tremendous organizational skills, but she just seemed entirely inept at this one.
Then we have the dogs. The four dogs are secondary characters in this book and if you are not a slavishly devotee of dogs/pets, then their performance might grate a little bit. I love my dog. I love my cats. I feed them nutritious food and take them to the vet for check-ups and shots. But the dog storyline was just a bit over-the-top for my tastes.
The teammates Halo and Landon are also secondary characters and embody every negative stereotype surrounding pro athlete culture. The minute I read, “I’d do her,” I cringed. To make another old school analogy, think Laurel and Hardy.
THEN…descriptions. The author described things like she was reading a laundry list. Ry’s grandfather is living in a retirement community and Ry and Beth end up taking two elderly ladies who are his neighbors to a bargain store. We find out every single item they purchase with their five dollars. Every ingredient is listed that goes into the dog food and snacks. Atlas drools after every meal and we certainly know the drool rag is used liberally. My husband and I took turns reading chapter books to our children when they were young. They loved it with the exception of one book. My children actually hid 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea from him because of the propensity of Jules Verne to make copious lists of every scientific name and objects found along the journey. Descriptions when overdone can be tedious.
So why the C- grade? Generosity on my part is one reason, but the generous nature of the hero is another. Rylan kept this book from being a total flop for me. He was one notch down from a great beta hero and he truly cared about his friends, family and hometown. He gave of himself and his time liberally for his profession and never acted like his celebrity was a burden. If you love animals and treat your own as human and slapstick comedy is to your tastes, then this book just might be a lovely little escape. Unfortunately, that was not the case with me.