SOMEBODY'S BABY - Donna Alward
A Darling, VT Novel, Book 3
St. Martin's
ISBN: 978-1-250-09268-7
April 2017
Contemporary Romance

Darling, Vermont - Present Day

Oaklee Collier is Darling's public relations person and is always promoting the town on social media. Her work life is hectic, but deep down she likes it that way because being busy means no romantic entanglements. She has admired veterinarian Rory Gallagher from afar, but only knows him as her brother's best friend.  One night while driving home, Oaklee hits a dog and injures it. Devastated, she goes to the vet and it's Rory who is there. He treats the dog, but it appears to be abandoned with no place to go. Rory convinces Oaklee to take in the dog and provides her with assistance. For someone who has never had an animal, suddenly fostering a dog is a jolt to her lifestyle. And having Rory around has her fighting an attraction for him.

Rory is known as the lothario of the Gallagher family, always dating, but never committing to a romantic relationship. Something about Oaklee's vulnerability in dealing with the injured dog has him going over and above his usual duties. Rory and Oaklee strike up a tentative friendship, but when it turns to something more, both begin to back away, afraid of falling in love. Yet, neither can stop thinking about the other. Meanwhile, the dog continues to worm his way into Oaklee's life, even as she posts online requests to find the owners. But the animal has her becoming attached to him.

The Gallagher family is large and close, but most aren't aware of something that happened in Rory's past which led him to swear off romance. This affects him so much that he bounces from woman to woman and never wants to be in a committed relationship. Oaklee is his best friend's sister and appears to be out of his sphere, because she runs around in a different group of friends that includes his sisters. But the night she shows up at the vet's, he's there to help her with the injured dog. She exhibits such vulnerability that Rory bends over backwards to help her. He works closely with her and this results in a friendship, but it soon turns into something more.

While raised in a loving home, Oaklee nonetheless feels as if she isn't a homebody like her parents and acts like someone who is free-spirited and busy. Yes, her job does keep her busy, since it requires she attend lots of meetings and events outside the workplace, but once she comes home, her life is empty. She hasn't yet gotten over being abandoned at the altar a few years ago. Suddenly having a dog in her home is a serious change for her, but soon she becomes attached to the animal, despite the fact she places notices on social media looking for the true owners. Oaklee learns that Rory is not only kind and gentle, but he is a gentleman—and one she's finding herself falling for. But Oaklee and Rory have trust issues and will need to come to grips with their pasts before they can look at a future together.

A sweet, slow building romance, SOMEBODY'S BABY by Donna Alward is the third book in the Darling, VT series, and while it could be read as a standalone, it nearly parallels the last tale, SOMEONE TO LOVE. There are also numerous appearances by the characters from both prior books, which also includes SOMEBODY LIKE YOU, that it might be best to read them in order. While there is no mention of more books in the series, there are other Gallagher siblings that surely need their stories told. I'll certainly be keeping my eye out for them.

A tender romance about a man, a woman and a dog, SOMEBODY'S BABY will have you engrossed from the moment you meet all three and root as everyone has a happily-ever-after.

Patti Fischer