REVIEW: Unguarded – Jay Hogan

Unguarded - Jay Hogan - Vino & Veritas

Genre: Contemporary

LGBTQ+ Category: Gay

Reviewer: Maryann

Get It On Amazon

About The Book

I fled Boston and my cheating jerk of an ex with three hundred dollars and a lip gloss in my pocket. Waking up the next day in Burlington, Vermont, with a crick in my back and a frozen ass wasn’t exactly in the plan. If there was one. Which there wasn’t. Story of my life.

Three hours later and I’ve been hired as temporary help in the local veterinary and grooming clinic, which is kind of impressive since I know zip about animals and even less about grooming. But one thing I doknow—I’m crushing hard on the sexy, absent-minded vet I work for.

My life is a hot mess. The last thing I need is another relationship. Emmett pushes all my buttons, but he isn’t out. He’s overwhelmed with a business to run and a son to look after and the kind of domestic life I never thought I wanted.

I should walk away.

But Emmett believes in me, and I might just be starting to believe in myself. As different as we are, is it possible we’re exactly what the other needs?

The Review

Tai Samuels had it all, as long as he didn’t use his brain. He was arm candy and a pretty face for his scum-sucking, cheating boyfriend of three years.

After breaking away from his bad situation, he thinks about returning home to New Zealand, but first he needs a job. All he has to his name is three hundred dollars and a raggedy car. The club clothes on his back are not going to suffice for the freezing cold in the laid-back town of Burlington, Vermont. 

Tai is smart, but he let his ex berate him and fell into the trap of believing he wasn’t worth anything and just was plain useless.

After spending the night in his car, he gets lucky when he’s spotted by Briar, who invites him into his book store, where he’ll have a place to get warm.  

Four years before, Emmett Moore and his young son Leo suffered a great loss. It’s taken both of them a long time to adjust and barely get back to normal. During their time of grief Emmett hasn’t even realized that his veterinarian business has suffered. His office assistant left, and things are overwhelming.

He gets some help in Ivy, part owner as dog groomer. She does what she can to assist Emmett too.  Emmett is sort of in the closet – people don’t need to know his personal business. Ivy and his friend Jasper both provide emotional support. 

Tai has a plan, but he knows he needs to get a job if he want’s to get out of Burlington. Briar helps him out and gets him an interview at the vet’s office. Emmett is impressed with Tai and hires him as a temp. Tai fakes his way through the job, assisting Emmett, following instructions even though it’s not something he feels comfortable with. He also helps his new friend Ivy.

Tai has a mind for finances, and makes some important discoveries.  

When sparks start to fly between Tai and the vet, they have to be very careful, as there’s Emmet’s son Leo to be worry about. But Leo has already stolen Tai’s heart.

Tai brings a lot of comedy to the story with his sassy ways, and proves to be both resilient and intelligent. Both he and Emmett show their love and caring for Leo, and are always cautious with his feelings.

I really liked Ivy too – she takes over as a mother figure for Emmett and Leo, and later for Tai too.  She always has good advice to share.

Tai’s Mom and Dad were an outstanding addition to the story as well – they had so much to offer Tai.  

And of course, I loved Sassy, Gus and Max.

Many of the other characters that pop-up throughout the story are interesting in their own right, including Jasper, Briar, Tanner, and Jon.  They all have a stand-alone stories of their own in the “Vino Veritas” collection, if you want to reads more. 

Unguarded is filled with all types of emotions, mental and physical abuse, heartbreaking moments, family drama, adorable animals and welcome moments of humor. Hogan never fails to create well written, entertaining, sizzling, romantic stories, and this book is no exception.

The Reviewer

Hi, I’m Maryann, I started life in New York, moved to New Hampshire and in 1965 uprooted again to Sacramento, California.  Once I retired I moved to West Palm Beach, Florida in 2011 and just moved back to Sacramento in March of 2018.  My son, his wife and step-daughter flew out to Florida and we road tripped back so they got to see sights they have never seen.  New Orleans and the Grand Canyon were the highlights. Now I am back on the west coast again to stay! From a young age Ialways liked to read.

I remember going to the library and reading the “Doctor Dolittle” books by Hugh Lofting. Much later on became a big fan of the classics, Edgar Alan Poe, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and as time went by Agatha Christie, Ray Bradbury and Stephen Kingand many other authors.

My first M/M shifter book I read was written by Jan Irving the “Uncommon Cowboys” series from 2012.  She was the first author I ever contacted and sent an email to letting her know how much I liked this series.  Sometime along the way I read “Zero to the Bone”by Jane Seville, I think just about everyone has read this book! 

As it stands right now I’m really into mysteries, grit, gore and “triggers” don’t bother me. But if a blurb piques my interest I will read the book.

My kindle collection eclectic and over three thousand books and my Audible collection is slowly growing.  I have both the kindle and audible apps on my ipod, ipads, and MAC. So there is never an excuse not to be listening or reading.

I joined Goodreads around 2012 and started posting reviews.  One day a wonderful lady, Lisa Horan of The Novel Approach, sent me an email to see if I wanted to join her review group.  Joining her site was such an eye opener.  I got introduce to so many new authors that write for the LGBTQ genre. Needless to say, it was heart breaking when it ended.

But I found a really great site, QRI and it’s right here in Sacramento. Last year at QSAC I actually got to meet Scott Coatsworth, Amy Lane and Jeff Adams.

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