I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Park of Sunset Dreams by Ava Miles
Series: Dare Valley #6
Published by Self Published on May 14, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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Jane Wilcox has a secret. She’s been the incognito poker scout to a rock star poker player dressed as a smoking hot poker babe. Now that role is over, and she’s living in small town Dare Valley, working as a dog walker—or so everyone thinks. Without her Jimmy Choo heels and Prada gowns, she’s trying to find her new sexy Inner Swan and a fairytale romance, but she’s afraid she might have turned back into “Plain Jane” until she meets Matt Hale in the dog park.
The sexy lawyer has a rambunctious dog that needs her Dog Whisperer skills and slowly they move from friends to lovers. Matt is one of the good guys, a hero, totally boy-next-door material. He’s returned to his hometown after experiencing a tragedy. He was unable to find justice for the woman in his last legal case, and now she’s passed away and given him her dog. He’s vowed to give Henry a good home and right the wrongs in the system, so he’s running for mayor of Dare Valley.
Jane and Matt fall in love during sunset walks in the dog park, but soon Jane’s secret past comes back to haunt her and harms Matt’s bid for mayor. Can Jane and Matt’s love survive the controversy?
Up until recently, Jane Wilcox was one of Rhett Blaylock’s two “poker babes” who were disguised as sexy, flamboyant distractions. As Raven, she was actually a Harvard MBA-educated poker scout who, along with her partner Vixen, astutely measured the competition before and during tournaments. Jane’s now retired, bearing no resemblance to her secret alter ego. Enter Matt Hale of the town’s newspaper dynasty. He’s a successful lawyer who’s returned home to escape the rat race of big city living. He’s also inherited dog Henry, an adorable but poorly behaved pooch that creates the opportunity for Jane and Matt to meet in the park.
Jane has many reasons for keeping her poker babe past a secret and it’s not just her involvement at risk. She comes from a political family and vowed she’d never go down that path again. When Matt decides to run for town mayor, her resolve is tested on several fronts.
What I loved
Jane’s relationship with Matt began with their meetings in the park when he observed her well behaved pooch, Annie. The romance develops so naturally with their pets an important part of the relationship, providing comic relief and precious moments. I loved them as a couple and both were well developed characters individually. Jane’s secret past impacted many others so it wasn’t a simple issue between the two of them. It was a complicated and thorny issue that didn’t have easy answers, which put meat on the bones of the conflict.
Family plays a strong role in the story, both those biological and those borne from long term relationships. It’s a theme of this series that is Miles’ signature and it resonates throughout.
The bottom line
Two wonderfully crafted characters, a lovely adult romance, charming pooches and a small town with all the right dynamics make this another winning story in the series. I’ve yet to be disappointed and can’t wait to devour the next one. I love Dare Valley and Ava Miles’ stories. She can’t write them fast enough for me.
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