IT HAPPENED ON LOVE STREET – Lia Riley
An Everland, Georgia, Novel
Grand Central's Forever
Everland, Georgia – Present Day
Pepper Knight moved to Everland from New York City to take a court clerking job, but when she arrives, she learns that the offer has been given to someone because of nepotism. Now stuck in a small town with no job or friends, she is not sure what to do, especially since she used all her money to move. Then she runs into her next-door neighbor, Rhett Valentine, who is the town veterinarian. Rhett is soon helping Pepper get a job as a dog walker. Anything will do for the cash poor Pepper, but for someone who has a fear of dogs, is she flirting with disaster?
Rhett is used to being the object of the town's attention despite his trying to stay out of the limelight. His claim to “fame” is being jilted at the altar years ago and, since then, he's avoided a committed relationship like it's the plague. But Pepper intrigues him, and he goes out of his way to help her whenever he can. Pepper and Rhett become good friends and are soon locking lips, plus much more. They're hoping to keep their fling a secret, but with an elderly neighbor popping up in unexpected places to spy on them, it's hard to do. While a short affair seems perfect for commitment phobia Rhett, how will he react if Pepper moves away?
Pepper grew up in a small town in Maine, but escaped to New York City, where she obtained a law degree and a low paying job. She jumped at a chance to work in a small town in Georgia without even visiting it. Alas, the job offer was withdrawn, and she's suddenly penniless and stuck in Everland. Pepper also is deathly afraid of dogs, and it appears just about everyone here has at least one dog. She meets Rhett, and he's very neighborly towards her, even helping to get her a job walking dogs. While her “charge” is small, the job requires that she visit a dog park where there are huge dogs. Pepper grows out of her fear of dogs and gets even closer to Dr. Hottie.
Rhett feels as if his life has been about unexpected losses, as he lost his mother to an allergic reaction to a bee sting, and his fiancée didn't tell him that she outgrew him until the day they were supposed to marry. As such, it has left Rhett having a hard time with female relationships, but once he meets Pepper, he wants more than a one-night fling. While Rhett is a vet in IT HAPPENED ON LOVE STREET, readers don't see too much of him in the clinic, as most of his interaction revolves around Pepper and his friend, Beau, as well as with the other townsfolks in Everland.
Just as things heat up for Rhett and Pepper in IT HAPPENED ON LOVE STREET, her sister, Tuesday, shows up and is immediately an interloper in her sister's hot affair with the vet. It also doesn't take long for Tuesday to lock horns with Beau, and I suspect their tale is the next one in the Everland, Georgia series.
One thing that did puzzle me in this story is Pepper's aversion to dogs. Yes, it's explained, but her “cure” is almost immediate. For someone who has feared dogs since she was a child, she suddenly grows attached to them, and even gets one of her own. I felt that this left a bit of a disconnection in the tale.
IT HAPPENED ON LOVE STREET is a cute, funny tale that wraps up fairly quickly after Rhett and Pepper not only realize they love one another, but can't live without the other. If you like cute stories with dogs and a happily-ever-after, then grab a copy of IT HAPPENED ON LOVE STREET.