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Review & Excerpt: Colton K-9 Target by Justine Davis

★★★ @Justine_D_Davis @HarlequinBooks #Coltons #ColtonK9Target

New to me author Ms. Davis adds to the Coltons of Grave Gulch multi-author series. I'm glad I picked up this own with adorable dogs. Book 8 in this series can be read as a standalone. This book features Annalise, a dog trainer and a K-9 Detective Brett. Their tentative romance is put through the paces with many factors.

This world building features a town call Grave Gulch somewhere in Michigan. It's easy get a up to speed with the overall story arc. This town's law enforcement is populated with many Coltons and this leads to accusations of nepotism and corruption. This specific book shows from the Colton point of view. After reading what is going on, I tend to lean towards the Coltons as being the good guys.

Annalise, our female lead is looking for Mr. Right. Unfortunately for her, her possible Mr. Right is a total con and catfishes her. With so many family members including a brother and sister on the police force, law enforcement shows up in mass to support her. The case is given to Brett. He happened to be close on site when Annalise was attacked. He isn't new to law enforcement but he is new to this small town. He left the politics and large city of Lansing for a more straightforward police work. He didn't exactly get what he thought he would... the politics of having Coltons showing up everywhere is making him question his decision.

With this backdrop, the first conflict shows up. If Brett does become interested in Annalise, would it be a career suicide because of the Coltons intertwined throughout the police force ... up to the Chief of Police. The romance of this story is a slow burn as Annalise and Brett dance around their attraction. the stars of this story are the dogs. They are adorable, loyal and great defenders. I loved them.

The actual crime in this story is all too real. Too many women are catfished on dating apps. This one is particularly insidious with not only this humiliating con, but the guy also steals from them! Heinous... only a loathsome jerk would do such a thing.

This contemporary romance is recommended to readers who dog lovers and enjoy a bit of suspense.

Excerpt of Colton K-9 Target by Justine Davis

Harlequin Romantic Suspense

Annalise stared into the darkness, hoping that forcing herself to keep her eyes open would perversely trigger the overwhelming urge to sleep. It was her last resort; she’d been lying here for two hours, unable to find a way to turn off, or at least slow down, her whirling thoughts.

And the fact that a few minutes ago Brett had come to her open doorway and lingered a moment didn’t help.

She’d heard the faint creak of a floorboard and felt a spike of that adrenaline rush before she realized it was him. That realization caused a spike of an entirely different kind until she heard him walk away and realized he’d only been checking on her.

What did you expect? That he’d climb into bed with you?

She rolled over and buried her face in her pillow, wondering why these wild thoughts kept careening into her mind. What kind of woman was she, to have been so very excited about her date tonight—never mind that it had all been a scam—yet almost simultaneously so attracted to this man who had no interest at all in her that way? Or in anything like the kind of relationship she was looking for?

I’m not looking for what you’re looking for.

He meant it. She didn’t doubt that. And she knew she should consider it fair warning. A warning some men would never bother to give. Why had he? She felt her cheeks heat at the thought that maybe he knew, how she reacted to him. Maybe she’d betrayed it somehow. That would be embarrassing. They’d always gotten on well in the joint training sessions with Ember, but her focus had been on the smart, willing dog, not on him.

Well, not any more than usual. Qualified, capable K-9 officers with a record like his weren’t thick on the ground, and he’d proven that rep well-earned in their first exercises together. That he was quietly competent and apparently unaware of his own looks were big points in his favor, in her book.

She’d assumed at first he was married, because how could he not be? He didn’t wear a ring, but some men didn’t. Then Troy had told her a week later he wasn’t and had never been.

You have to believe in love before you can give up on it.

She sighed into the darkness. That just might be the saddest thing she’d ever heard. Yet he didn’t seem sad to her. Or bitter. Just…closed off. Except with Ember. That alone told Annalise that he wasn’t completely closed off.

But that didn’t mean she should be lying here thinking about him.

And about what she would have done if he had climbed into bed with her.

“I can drive myself—”

“I know you can,” Brett said patiently to Annalise the next morning, “but I have to drop Ember off anyway.” He didn’t mention that he also didn’t want her taking off to go get lunch or something. He wanted her under observation at all times, and he’d already called Sergeant Kenwood to let him know to keep an eye on her; the man might be retired from active duty, but his instincts were as sharp as ever.

“But I’ll need my car to get home.”

“I’ll pick you up when I come get her,” he said, with a scratch of the Lab’s soft ears. “After I talk to the two other women this jerk targeted.”

“I want to take Apple and Jack,” she said. “I don’t want to leave them alone. They were scared, too.”

And that was Annalise Colton in a nutshell, he thought. “Fine. There’s room. And Ember won’t mind.”

And so he ended up with a carload of three dogs and the woman adored by them all.

Including you?

He yanked his mind off that fruitless path. He drove, trying to concentrate on mentally organizing his day.

Book Description

Man's best friend …is this cop's most trusted partner New to the Grave Gulch Police Department, K-9 detective Brett Shea feels like an outsider among its many Coltons. Even Annalise, his dog's trainer, is a Colton! But when she's attacked by a man pretending to be her date, Brett vows to track down the criminal. Though he's sworn off forever love—which is proving harder by the day—Brett will protect her at any cost.

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About the Author

Justine Davis lives on Puget Sound in Washington State, watching big ships and the occasional submarine go by, and sharing the neighborhood with assorted wildlife, including a pair of bald eagles, deer, a bear or two, and a tailless raccoon. In the few hours when she's not planning, plotting, or writing her next book, her favorite things are photography, knitting her way through a huge yarn stash, and driving her restored 1967 Corvette roadster—top down, of course.

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