Reviewed for Hearts On Fire Reviews
Author: B.G. Thomas
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Mm Holiday
Summary: Ned Balding used to be a decent man—until the stress of seemingly countless responsibilities changes him, and he becomes cold and driven—the kind of man who considers firing an employee days before Christmas. The kind of man who kicks a dog…. But Ned’s transgressions haven’t gone unseen. A Salvation Army Santa witnesses his misdeeds and decides Ned needs to be taught a lesson.
When Ned wakes up the next morning, he’s stunned to discover he’s been transformed into a dog.
In the past year, Jake Carrara has lost his mother, a lover… even his dog. His boss came close to firing him just before the holidays. He isn’t sure he’s ready for another pet when he’s asked to foster a dog, but Jake’s good heart won’t let him refuse. Little does he know, this isn’t just any dog.
Through a twist of fate, two people with little reason to be friends might teach each other to rediscover the good—and the love—in life.
Review: Ned is a good person. He is. He just seems to have lost his way about what constitutes being a good person when balancing work, a divorce and trying to keep his head. Unfortunately, he really is just a nasty piece of work sometimes.
When he is served with divorce papers unexpectedly he becomes an even bigger jerk. Calling in his employee, Jake, to ream him for his absences at first causes him to have a little sympathy. Jake has had some trouble. But a mention of a dog – one of the reasons behind the straw that broke the camel’s back fight that made his husband leave him – causes Ned to go from jerk to inhuman. It is only the intervention of his office manager, Lillian, who also happens to be Ned’s only real friend, that saves Jake from being fired.
Okay, I’m going to come right out and say that Cliff, Jakes about to be ex-husband, had all my sympathy for putting up with a changed man, a man who is a workaholic, dreadful to be around and very uncompromising. “I was hoping..” “That you might beg me not to divorce you.” I felt so bad for him. Until later, when it comes out and then I thought, “You absolute jerk! Why did you bother with making him feel bad?” So ugh on Cliff. Do what you are gonna do but don’t try to make other people feel bad in the process. I did love Ned’s thoughts on Cliff by the end because I thought it was not only great closure, but also showed how Ned was getting back to being a good person.
Back to Ned, it is the last straw when he tries to kick a stray dog in front of a Salvation Army Santa, who is really Santa and turns his butt into a dog. Yep, you heard it, Santa’s naughty list member needs a lesson. So it turns to a different type of story and of course, who ends up with Ned the dog? Jake the sweet employee.
People aren’t too upset that Ned is missing and even less upset when his sister takes over his job at the family company. Except she does a kinder, gentler job of it. And Ned as Jake’s foster dog gets an earful (and eyeful!) of Jake, both how people view Ned and the loveliness that is Jake. Ned has to come to terms with what he’s become and how he treats people. This is a great thing to read and I kept thinking of people who maybe need to be turned into a dog and have Santa in their ear.
There is a coincidence that I didn’t love but it didn’t ruin anything for me. This is a cute story with the paranormal overtones. I liked how Ned redeems himself and felt that was true to character, both as a dog and as the reformed human.