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Love at First Bark

(Rescue Me #4)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  62 ratings  ·  37 reviews

"This heartstring-tugger is certain to win fans." —Publishers Weekly STARRED Review for A New Leash on Love

Animal portrait painter Mia Chambers and architect Ben Thomas have volunteered at the High Grove Animal Shelter for years, and they share a complicated history. Ben has secretly loved Mia all this time, but she was married to his best friend. Now she's newly widowed

Mass Market Paperback, 1st edition, 352 pages
Published July 30th 2019 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
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3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  62 ratings  ·  37 reviews

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Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews
Love at First Bark is a complex romance story with the added charm of family and rescued animals. Mia Chambers world has been upended by her husband Brad’s infidelity and sudden death. Now a widow she is trying to make ends meet for her and her 7-year-old son Ollie. There to help is Ben Thomas, Brad’s best friend and Ollie’s godfather. Ben has been in love with Mia for 8 years and hopes this time he can let his feeling be known. Is it too soon to tell her? And what about the secret Brad told him ...more
Lots and lots of puppies, need I say more?

Mia is recently widowed, with a young son. She is in a transition position in life and not quite sure what to make of the unexpected changes. Focusing on her son and working at the local shelter have given her the stability she needs to keep her footing in life.

Ben was her husband’s best friend but has secretly held a torch for Mia. He is there for Mia and her son but feels extremely conflicted about his roles in both their lives.

The best way to describ
Jun 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have rated all the previous three books in this series highly, they are what draw me to contemporary romance. Love at First Bark is another stellar entry with a hero to die for. Ben is a good man, a good friend, good godfather and finally gets the woman he has love from afar seeing her struggle in a bad marriage.

Our heroine is a widow, one who doesn't feel like one because she was finally on the verge of letting go of a bad marriage before her husband passed. She is dealing with a lot of worri
Leslie aka StoreyBook Reviews
Jul 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, books-to-review
I have enjoyed each book in this series for the story but mostly for the dogs.  The series centers around a shelter in St Louis and the various employees and volunteers.  I love how the shelter is very proactive in getting pets adopted and roping in local celebrities to help in their mission.  It doesn't hurt that some of those well known local names find love in several of these books.

This book is a little sadder than others at least to start.  It focuses on Mia who is a recent widow.  She has
Sheena ☆ Oh, the Sheenanigans!

Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5 Stars)
Title: Love At First Bark
Author(s): Debbie Burns
Mia Chambers: 30 years old, Brunette, Blue Eyed
Ben Thomas: 30 years old, Brown Eyed
Setting: Minnesota
Tag(s): Romance, Contemporary
Content Rating: PG-13
POV: Third Person
Smexy Level: Warm
Favorite Quote(s):
― "Sometimes I swear you’re the only person in the world who really sees me."
Overall Opinion:
"Love At First Bark" was a cute romance that could easily tug at anyone's heart strings. The story focus on the
Jun 23, 2019 rated it liked it
I really enjoy how dogs play such a big part in these books and this book was no different. From the herd of dogs let loose at the start, to a few of those dogs being adopted, they were fun to read about as were the humans that took care of them.

This one was a bit different, sort of a melancholy tone. Mia was in an odd spot in her life, not really sure what to think and learning new things seemed to throw her in a tail spin. Luckily she had her son and the shelter to focus on, to steady and grou
Erin Lewis
Jul 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 Review of Love At First Bark (Rescue Me #4) by Debbie Burns

Debbie Burns is a new author to me so I haven’t read any previous books in the series based around the High Grove Animal Shelter.
This is Mia Chambers and Ben Thomas’s story.

Ben has been in love with Mia for years even though she married his best friend; in fact he is her son’s godfather.

When her estranged husband dies, Ben steps in to help out. This is a story of love, romance and friendship. Throw in some cute animals and you are i
Marsha Spohn
Reviewed at Keeper Bookshelf

I have had such an emotional, joyful time with the Rescue Me series by Debbie Burns, and the fourth title, LOVE AT FIRST BARK was no exception to that ongoing rule of awesome stories, people and animals.

Mia and Ben have had a connection for nearly a decade. Ben was captivated by a speech she gave in college and his best friend, Brad was to set up a meeting between them. Unfortunately, Ben’s dad became ill and he had to miss that meeting – leaving the way open for Brad
Vikki Vaught
Jul 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Love at First Bark is the fourth book in Rescue Me series and a delightful addition. Thanks goes to the publisher, via Net-Galley, for a chance to read and review an advance reader copy of this book. My opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way.

I thoroughly enjoyed the story from start to finish. The plot is about a woman who, while in the midst of divorcing her husband, never makes it to divorce court because he dies. He leaves her with a ton of debt and a grieving seven-year-old so
Barb Lie
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Love at First Bark by Debbie Burns is the 4th book in her Rescue Me series. We return to High Grove Animal Shelter, revisiting many people we met in the previous books. Mia Chambers, our heroine, works at the shelter and also paints animal pictures. Mia is recently widowed (though she was in the middle of a divorce) and has an adorable 7 year old son, Ollie.

Ben Thomas, our hero, has always been in love with Mia, but she was married to his best friend. Ben does everything he can to help Mia and h
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
After reading the previous book in this series, I was eager to get a chance to read this book early. Once again, Burns delivers a heartfelt, poignant read full of emotion. When the four-legged characters are done well, they have a way of stealing the scene, and these rescue pups definitely hold their own. Mia's son, Ollie, is adorable, and his playful, sweet interactions with the hero, Ben, are what really steal the show.

Everyone is still reeling from Brad’s death. Although he and Mia were in th
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read the rest of the series, but I'm seriously adding it to my wish list for future reading. I mean first of all, we have the cutesy title...just try and tell me you didn't smile when you read/said it. Second, that cover! An adorable pupper, the snowy scene, and our potential couple walking through the drifts...can't you just feel the love? Last on the "why should I read this" roster, the story!

Really, the story is what brings the greatest joy here. The characters, both the two and fo
Kate Mclaughlin
Jul 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
A delightful fourth installment to Debbie Burns’ Rescue Me series

⭐⭐⭐⭐ Puppies!!!
For that reason alone, I knew I would love this story, having them be Border Collies was the icing on the cake. They are my favourite breed of dog and Debbie got their renowned characteristics, especially for Sadie and Turbo down to the ground.

You might think I’m mad for highlighting the dogs in my review, but it speaks a lot to the author's ability to write about characters if they can make you see an animals expres
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Mia and her young son, Ollie, have lost a husband and a father. Mia’s loss was before Brad’s untimely death though and dealing with the pain of betrayal while keeping it together for her son is tough. If it weren’t for Ben, Brad’s long-time friend and Oliver’s godfather, things would be impossible at times.
Ben has a secret, though, one that could change so much. It’s a matter of waiting, caring, and being patient. Like the shelter pets that Mia, Ollie, and Ben become involved with, everyone has
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Love at First Bark is the fourth book in Debbie Burns's Rescue Me series. We met both main characters briefly in previous books in the series.

Mia Chambers, a volunteer at the shelter, and Ben Thomas, an architect, have known each other for over 8 years. Mia was previously married to Ben's best friend, Brad. Ben is also Mia's son's godfather. We find out quickly that Brad passed away unexpectedly during divorce proceedings. This story follows Mia and Ben and how they both deal with their feeling
Jul 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's a sweet and engrossing story, entertaining and well written.
I appreciated the fleshed out characters, the plot that flows without any issue and the setting.
I look forward to reading other books by this author.
Many thanks to the publisher for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
Angel Hatfield
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was ok
Ben had been craving the escape of the mountains for the last three weeks. He yearned for the rigorous challenge and solitude. Climbing was ben’s biggest passion and it was the activity that would successfully quiet his thoughts, the only time he could shut out the world. He’d lost his oldest friend-Brad- That meant Mia Chambers was available the only woman Ben had ever loved. Ben had an obligation to his small architect company and to mia and her son- his godson-Ollie. He wasn’t going to let th ...more
Sharon Tyler
Jul 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Love at First Bark is the fourth book in the Rescue Me series by Debbie Burns. It is currently scheduled for release on July 30 2019. You do not have to have read all the books, or the books in order, to enjoy them. They can each stand up well on their own.

Animal portrait painter Mia Chambers and architect Ben Thomas have volunteered at the High Grove Animal Shelter for years, and they share a complicated history. Ben has secretly loved Mia all this time, but she was married to his best friend.
Aug 11, 2019 rated it liked it

Ben Thomas is an architect and a climbing buff. Mia Chambers have an online business as a pet portrait artist, she's the mother of a seven-year-old boy and now a widow. Ben and Mia both volunteer at the High Grove Animal Shelter but they also have a complicated history. He was in love with her, she didn't know and she married his best friend. But Ben still stayed in her life as a friend and as a godfather to little Ollie, being even more present for him than his father was. Her husband had hi
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mia Chambers has taken her son Ollie and left her husband Brad after he cheated on her. While in the process of divorcing him he dies. Their friend Ben Thomas, who was not only Brad's best friend but also Ollie's godfather, has been instrumental in helping Mia get through Brad's funeral. He continues to be her hero by still being there to help her where he can and also help with Ollie. Mia volunteers at High Grove Animal Shelter as does Ben. They both participate in the rescue mission when twelv ...more
This is the fourth book in the Rescue Me series. I have read the first book but I haven't read the second or third (yet) and don't think that it is necessary to read them in order. You'd miss a bit of backstory, but nothing serious. Like the other book in the series that I did read, I love that there is a lot of on screen time for the animals and time is spent exploring both the fun, as well as the work involved in adopting a rescue animal. Also like the first book in the series, the book explor ...more
Aug 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars - I was given a copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads.

I love all the dogs in this book! This a slow burn second chance romance. When we first meet them, Mia and Ben are likeable characters with a decade of baggage hanging heavily between them. As godfather to Mia’s son, Ben is a constant in her life after her husband’s death but Mia doesn’t realise how long Ben has had feelings for her.

Parts of this story are quite dark. Mia’s marriage was complicated and she’s strugg
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jackie Wright
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5 Stars for Love at First Bark
This is only the second book I have read in this series and I need to go back and read books 1 and 2 because I’m falling in love with everything about these books, I love the plots, I love that they are set around rescue shelters and I love the characters and what about the puppies who can forget them....
This book starts off a bit sadder than the previous book I have read, Mia is recently widowed bringing up her 7 year old son Ollie and she finds herself turning
Jul 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have not read the previous books in this series but I really enjoyed this story because I love dogs, rescues and love. This is a new to me author and I will definitely read her again. This is a fast read with a sweet story that even though at times was emotional, all ended well. Mia and Ben are attracted to each other and have known each other for a long time. The problem, she was married to his best friend who died and now he is in turmoil with his emotions because he has always had a thing f ...more
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this return to the High Grove Animal Shelter. Mia and Ben are wonderful characters, looking to move forward after the death of Mia’s estranged husband/Ben’s best friend. Figuring out what that looks like for the two of them is the tricky part. Add in Mia’s seven year old son (who is Ben’s godson), Mia’s mother, her former in-laws (who resent Mia and her decisions), the delightful friends from the animal shelter, and adorable dogs, and you get a captivating story of friendship, moving bey ...more
Kathleen Gray
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Mia's coping and helping her 7 year old son Ollie cope with the sudden death of Brad, her husband and Ollie's dad. Ben, Brad's best friend, has always been a little in love with her. He's also carrying the weight of Brad's death so he's doing his best to help her out. Both of them volunteer at the animal shelter and it's there that they both begin to heal. The need to rescue 12 border collie pups and get them fostered brings these two together in a different way. You know, don't you, that both ( ...more
Jul 07, 2019 rated it liked it
This author has quite the following so I thought I would give this book a try. The blurb sounded pretty good and the cover looks nice...
I felt it was a bit too cutesy for me though. I couldn’t get into it. The plot itself sounded good, it was maybe just too tame (is that the word???) for me.
Others might enjoy this one... It just wasn’t for me.
Nicole Pinto
Jun 24, 2019 rated it liked it
I thought this was a very cute, engaging story. My only pet peeve was some editorial things I noticed such as the realtors name- the author said Ava but then referred to her as Monica. Thank you to netgalley for the arc!
Tina Christopher
Jun 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: animals, contemporary
Another cute story set in this wonderful shelter, but at times it was a little too angsty for me. I enjoyed the emotional journey between Mia and Thomas, just wish at times the characters didn't jump back and forth quite as much.
I look forward to the next story set in this world.
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Though she still dreams of country life, Debbie Burns currently lives in a gingerbread house in Saint Louis along with her family, two phenomenal rescue dogs, and a somewhat tetchy Maine Coon cat who everyone loves anyway. Her hobbies include hiking, gardening, and daydreaming, which of course always leads to new story ideas.

Debbie’s writing commendations include a starred review from Publisher’s

Other books in the series

Rescue Me (4 books)
  • A New Leash on Love (Rescue Me, #1)
  • Sit, Stay, Love (Rescue Me #2)
  • My Forever Home (Rescue Me #3)