Welcome to the last first book in the Arcadia Valley Romance multi-author series! Annalisa Daughety’s novel On Board for Romance released recently, and I know you’ll love it.
Annalisa Daughety’s novella in Romance Grows in Arcadia Valley, A Romance Rekindled, introduced us to the Arcadia Valley Farmers Market manager, Kate Groves, and her cousins Riley, Olivia, and Brooke. We rejoiced as Kate was reunited with her high school sweetheart, contractor Drew Harrison, and got the farmers market on a firm footing again after the death of her father. That was a pass-the-tissues read for sure.
I loved Kate’s animal-loving cousin, Riley Jennings, so much I gave her a supporting role in my AVR novel, Sprouts of Love! So it was with great pleasure I settled in to read On Board for Romance, watching her wend her way to her own happily-ever-after. She turned out to have some backstory I hadn’t guessed from her parts in A Romance Rekindled, which, of course, is a good thing!
Here’s the official description of On Board for Romance:
Riley Jennings has spent most of her life rescuing and caring for animals. From her work with a dog rescue organization to her newly opened pet boarding business, she’s focused on animals the majority of the time. Even her weekends are spent at the Arcadia Valley Farmers Market selling her homemade dog biscuits and educating the public about fostering and adopting dogs in need. Riley keeps herself so busy she has little time for anything else—especially dating. Her sisters claim she’s hiding behind her work so she won’t have time for a social life. Chronically introverted Riley much prefers a quiet night at home with her animals than making awkward small talk on a first date. But when a handsome newcomer arrives to town and needs help establishing a pet therapy program, she can’t help but be drawn to him.
Blake Taylor came to Arcadia Valley for a fresh start after a troubled past. He’s found a dream job at the local nursing home where his beloved grandfather is a resident. When he meets Riley, he’s excited about the future for the first time in a long time. But when his past follows him to town, his hope for a fresh start is crushed and Blake worries his new life is over before it even began.
Can Riley let her guard down long enough to get to know Blake? And will Blake ever be able to leave the past behind? If they can learn to trust each other, they may find that there’s a better plan in store than either of them ever could have imagined.
Here’s an excerpt:
Riley bit her lip and contemplated her options. “Look, ma’am. I understand that there are rules and that you are only doing your job, but I had multiple messages from Mr. Farley today specifically requesting that I bring Dottie to see him. I would be glad to go put Dottie in the car and go get Mr. Farley myself.”
The woman looked at her with disdain. “I’ve already told you. The head nurse—”
Riley cut her off by holding up a hand. “I know. But don’t you think that sometimes the love and companionship of a pet can be good medicine for someone not feeling well?”
They regarded each other for a long moment and Riley was sure she’d won the battle.
“No.” The woman shook her head. “Come back tomorrow.”
“I want to speak to your supervisor.” If her sisters could see her now, they’d freak out. Assertiveness wasn’t exactly one of Riley’s primary traits. But her passion for animals took over sometimes.
The receptionist glared. “It won’t do you any good.”
“I’d like to try anyway.”
The woman dramatically pushed away from her desk and stomped toward a closed door behind the reception area.
Riley glanced down the hallway and then back to the empty reception desk, considering her options.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” an amused male voice said from behind her. “I’m pretty sure she’ll put the whole place on lockdown if she comes back and you aren’t still standing here.”
Riley turned slowly toward the voice, her cheeks flaming, and found herself staring into the most gorgeous amber eyes she’d ever seen.