Love, like life, is not without risk.
Veterinarian Vivian Dane has purchased her uncle’s practice in the tiny town of Wales, Missouri, where most residents still doubt her ability to treat their pets. But Viv is used to being considered less-worthy than her predecessors. After all, her parents are world-renowned wildlife vets, and most everyone is unimpressed she’s chosen to not follow directly in their footsteps. Now Connor, a patient’s owner, is hot for Viv, but clearly doesn’t think she’s dating material because he has a daughter…who he believes no woman is good enough for. Being a perfect dad is EMT paramedic Connor’s life focus. He can’t seem to stay away from sexy Doctor Viv, but attraction is as far as he’ll ever let it go. His mother abandoned him, leaving him to be raised in the foster system, and then his wife abandoned both him and their daughter. He absolutely will not risk bringing another woman into his little girl’s life and having her feel the hurt of being left…again. Forfeiting is easier than attempting and failing. So why does Viv feel compelled to prove she’s a sure bet for Connor and his daughter? Can Connor trust Viv–and himself–enough to play the possibilities?
Risk Factors is the second novel I've reviewed by Calisa Rhose. Like Home, Risk Factors is a sweet romance with wonderful small town aura, although, this story is set in a more contemporary setting. The author delivers clear language and a direct storytelling style to deliver an engrossing tale of two people who overcome their differences to fall in love.
Vivian Dane is a veterinarian specialized into domestic pets who has taken over her uncle's practice. The heroine is a compassionate and courageous lady. As the story open, the reader finds her volunteering at the scene of a major auto accident, treating dogs and cattle who have been injured or traumatized. There she meets hunky hero Connor McKay, EMT paramedic, amidst the chaos.
Vivian has a quirky sense of humor, which she often uses as a self-defense mechanism. She suffers self-esteem issues thanks to the number her snotty globe-trotting wildlife vet parents have done on her. It makes her passive aggressive at times and slow to stand up for herself when she should, but she grows as the story progresses. Viv learns to value herself for what she's accomplished and provides caring medical treatment for the small town pets people bring to her practice throughout the story.
Connor is handsome, brave and committed. Daily, he puts his life on the line to rescue strangers. He is also a dedicated single father to his daughter, Janna aka Jelly Bean. The blurb description made me worry the child would be on the spoiled side but she winds up being absolutely adorable. The girl and her pet skunk, Skittles, bring a touch of whimsy to the story. I loved the child and the mother/daughter bond that formed between Janna and Vivian.
Unfortunately, Connor has some deep-seated trust issues. As a child, his mother abandoned him and then later his wife played the same dirty trick on Connor and his newborn daughter. The hero's resultant mentality turns him into an irrationally overprotective father who is determined to prevent his daughter from ever being hurt. He does so by trying to stop Janna from ever bonding with anyone other than him.
Connor and Viv's insecurities represent the internal conflict of the story, causing most of their misunderstandings and arguments. For external conflict, Rhose utilizes an eclectic mix of human and animal emergencies help drive the story and keep everything on an even kneel. The charisma between the hero and heroine sizzles even though love scenes are sweet.
Rhose delivers an extremely satisfying story for anyone interested in sweet small town romances with plenty of action. I don't hesitate to recommend Risk Factors.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Also, Risk Factors is on Authorgraph! Get your copy signed.
Calisa Rhose is an Okie, born and bred, through and through, and proud of it. While growing up, when she wasn’t on the back of a horse, she could be found with pen and paper in hand. Her writing career began with poetry in her younger days. Then she discovered Rock-n-Roll and cute musicians. Poetry turned into stories of romance and dreams. These days she lives with the same man who convinced her to take a romantic journey with him almost 30 years ago. After raising three strong daughters she spends her days loving their granddaughters, hoping for a boy someday, and writing.
When she’s not writing, you can find Calisa putting on her editor hat and working to help other published and aspiring writers. She is working on more projects with her favored contemporary cowboys, first responders and firemen.