Elizabeth “Lizzie” O’Reilly risked her heart once, now she was using her head. Ian Lassiter is living the high life in Manhattan and loving it. He’s a successful artist and sculptor and has just adopted an adorable Mantle Great Dane named Ozzie from his sister, Callie. The bachelor life suits him until he gets a load of AlphaGroup’s newest client. Lizzie has applied to them for a loan to keep her art school for the deaf open and with Ian’s artistic background, it’s up to him to handle the case. Lizzie’s working on saving her school and a bachelor, even a hunky one, will not deter her from her mission. With a deadline looming to come up with the cash, Ian discovers that her clever Border Collie, Georgia paints amazing huge abstract flowers. Going commercial with her talented pet wasn’t at the top of her list but Ian pulls out the charm. When something goes terribly wrong, will the trust she was building in Ian get tested? Can a confirmed bachelor lose his resolve and can a woman gain back her trust in love?
Source: ARC from author
My Rating: 4½/5 stars
I won’t even lie, I was scared sh&$^ess to dive into this book and series. I LOVED the original Going to the Dogs series and wasn’t sure round two, The Alphas would be able to compete with the ladies. I am beyond happy to report, not only does The Alphas compete, but they are here to play!!
Piggy Bank Blues delivers on every level including damn good writing, plot, naughty bits, and characters. I know, all the places a book should be good, right?? Here’s the skinny:
Writing: Zoe Dawson has never failed me in this area. Her writing style is clear, concise, intelligent, and funny. I rarely ever find a mistake of any kind and find it easy to fall right into Dawson’s stories.
Plot: This one is all kinds of messed up with heartbreak, double-crossing, miscommunication, a dog-napping, a love story, an art show like you wouldn’t believe, and a well-deserved HEA. The read opens with Lizzie facing two completely devastating events including a sleazy boyfriend who not only cheats on her but is kicking her out of her home and business. Lizzie’s business just happens to be an art school for deaf children. Yeah, her ex is that kind of sleazy. In order to keep her home and her business, Lizzie has to come up with an extraordinary amount of money which leads her to apply for a grant from AlphaGroup. AlphaGroup doesn’t just bring cash flow but also, Ian Lassiter, notorious bad boy, confirmed bachelor who is just too damn hard to resist.
In a very short amount of time, Ian and Lizzie find themselves knee-deep in a plan to save Lizzie’s school. Even with AlphaGroup’s money, Lizzie still needs the other half of the payment which leads Ian to a stroke of genius. With works produced by Lizzie, her younger brother, and her doggie, Ian plans to make enough money to not only save Lizzie’s school but get her ex out of her life forever. Lizzie is on board with the plan but she is hesitant to get in too deep with Ian. He’s hot, he’s kind, he’s talented, he’s excellent in bed, but there’s his reputation. . . . If either wants things to work out, there is going to have to be one ginormous leap of faith, a whole lot of trust, and more than a bit of patience.
Naughty bits: Y’all know I loves me some naughty bits and Piggy Bank Blues has them in spades. Ian and Lizzie are all kinds of hot together. There isn’t anything wild or crazy to their private moments just sweet, sexy time that fits both characters perfectly.
The characters: Ultimately, Piggy Bank Blues is all about the characters for me and particularly, Ian. Sure, Ian has a fairly bad reputation for loving ‘em and leaving ‘em but he has never lied to any woman he has been with, never. Lizzie is the first woman to ever make Ian think about forever but she is vulnerable, hurting, and quite wary. Ian can talk all he wants but Lizzie needs action and once Ian determines he wants to be with her, his actions support his words at every turn. Lizzie is so very hurt yet she is determined to save what she has worked so hard for. She can’t do it alone and Ian makes himself so very available and willing to help. Lizzie and Ian have an intense and deep connection that does eventually save the day but not before each goes down at least one highway in hell. (If I meant the song, I would have said TO) All along the highway (to hell; now I meant the song!) are characters, both old and new that I am so happy to have back and so excited to see what’s in their future. Even the minor characters are fleshed out enough to be real and everyone brings something to the table.
The Bottom Line: Shame on me for worrying about this series not being able to compare to its predecessor. Piggy Bank Blues has everything I love in a read including truly fantastic characters (and one seriously wretched character that should die a horrible death!) an awesome plot that has some seriously twisted bits, a sweet and sassy love story, and, of course, two delightful puppies. As it stands, there are at least six books remaining in this series and I now have absolutely no doubt, this series is going to, like its predecessor, kick ass!!
About the author and where to find her:
Zoe Dawson is the alter ego of Karen Anders, award winning, multi-published author. Her writing journey started with poetry and branched out into fiction. With a couple of college English courses under her belt, she penned a historical, then moved onto contemporary romance fiction. Today, she is happy producing romantic suspense, romantic mystery, urban fantasy and paranormal novels. The words feed her soul and the happily ever afters feed her heart.