Josie Shepherd loves running free, with no one and nothing to tie her down—until a new job at a kennel introduces her to both an unexpected friend and a vicious, abused dog named Cain.
When Josie stumbles upon the body of a murdered woman, she runs to Deputy Gordon Wolfe, a disfigured man hiding behind his badge. His shy smile and affection for dogs make her reconsider what she’s running from.
Now she’s on the run from a serial killer and her own heart. But when her friend is abducted and Cain appears to be the murder weapon, Josie’s attempt to save them both lands her in the killer’s lair. Josie’s strength and Cain’s loyalty are tested to the limit as they fight for their lives. Facing a killer is one thing, but facing her love for Gordon is Josie’s greatest challenge.
Can Josie and Gordon help each other undo the lessons learned in their youth?
Josie is a complicated woman. Her childhood was very rough and left her with serious trust and commitment issues. Consequently, Josie keeps everyone at arm’s length. The only family she has left is her dog, Fletcher. Josie’s first instinct when she’s around people is to protect herself, but I loved watching her with dogs. She’s shares a bond with them that is absolutely beautiful and wonderful to watch. When Josie runs from a disastrous relationship, she ends up in Rockglen, a picturesque small town. Josie gets a great job working with dogs and makes some new friends. She even begins to fall in love for the first time when she meets Gordon. Just as she’s finally beginning to feel at home, her happiness is marred by the presence of a serial killer who has made Josie his latest obsession. Cain, an enormous and abused dog, is the only link to the killer. Can Josie use her unique bond with Cain to solve the murders, or will she become the next victim? I must warn readers that this book contains graphic violence that is very hard to read.
Josie and Gordon are a sweet couple. While their childhood experiences were drastically different, they are both very damaged. Josie grew up learning that love is a trap. Gordon believes no one can look past his physical appearance and truly love him. I thoroughly enjoyed watching them learn to open their hearts to each other. There were a few setbacks, but that made their journey feel all the more real. I have no doubt that they are well on their way to a beautiful future.
As much as I loved watching Josie and Gordon, I believe Cain is the heart of this story. My heart broke for the poor abused dog. Cain has spent years being physically and emotionally tortured, and yet when he meets Josie, I could see glimmers of the majestic, loyal, and playful dog he could have been had he been taken care of properly. I cannot give away all the details, but I will say that readers, especially anyone who has ever loved a dog, should have a box of tissues on hand when they reach the conclusion of this book. I sure needed them.
Courageous Cain is an intense and emotional tale. I loved watching Josie forge true and lasting bonds of friendship with humans and dogs alike. Readers looking for a powerful suspense would do well to pick up a copy of Courageous Cain.
originally posted at Long and Short Reviews