Man’s Best Friend by P.A. Brown

New Mexico, the land of enchantment weaves a spell of love around Todd Richards and Dr. Keith Anderson as they struggle to make their love work amid terrible loss, betrayal and rustlers and make their dream of a bed and breakfast in Santa Fe a reality.

His dog brought Todd Richards and a new vet Dr. Keith Anderson together. Could their love overcome Keith’s loss and Todd’s betrayal? In this funny and touching love story two men, both innocents at love, come together over an injured dog. The heat between them is immediate and unmistakable, but can it carry them through it all? A hot romance that begins in the streets of San Francisco and ends on a lovely ranch on the outskirts of Santa Fe, New Mexico where enchantment is real and no one’s heart can survive unscathed.

Todd Richards meets veterinarian Dr. Keith Anderson when he takes his injured Doberman to the clinic to have him checked out. There’s an instant mutual attraction and Todd and Keith waste virtually little time in getting together. Although Keith is a virgin and Todd isn’t that much more experienced in the affairs of the heart, Todd believes that he’s found someone with which to share his life. They both love animals, especially dogs, are compatible on most fronts, the sex is fantastic and they’ve fallen in love.

Their relationship seems to be progressing with future promise when a family tragedy strikes Keith and as he falls apart so does their relationship. Keith takes a hiatus from San Francisco and Todd and returns to his hometown in New Mexico to deal with the family crisis, figure out what he wants to do and whether Todd is part of his future. Todd is devastated and seeks comfort through anonymous sex, but one brief encounter is enough for him to realize that Keith is the only man for him.

Keith eventually returns to San Francisco to ask Todd for a second chance. As they attempt to rebuild their relationship, Keith and Todd move to New Mexico to open a gay-friendly Bed and Breakfast managed by Todd, raise some horses and for Keith to operate a small vet practice. But small town New Mexico is a far cry from San Francisco. As their plans for the B & B and ranch are coming together, Keith and Scott are faced with small-town homophobia, potential horse thieves and other dangerous challenges that not only threaten their livelihood but also their lives.

Man’s Best Friend by P.A. Brown starts off with a promising story premise and characters. The initial meeting and getting together of Todd and Keith was interesting enough for me to settle into what I anticipated was going to be a nice reading escape. While there were some interesting aspects to the story and the characters, unfortunately, I feel that it fell slightly short of its promise.

What did work for me was the overall story arc. I usually enjoy reading stories that span over longer periods of time. In this respect I appreciated the various episodes in the lives of Todd and Keith – the beginning and evolution of their relationship, the period of angst and uncertainty when they are apart, the transition to their new life together in New Mexico and the challenges they face.

Although somewhat underdeveloped, I did find the characters to be sympathetic and appreciated the dynamics of their relationship – lovers, partners and best friends. Finally, as a reader, I don’t mind stories written in the first person and felt that the author did a relatively good job in writing the story in the first person, exclusively via Todd’s point of view.

What I felt was a key shortcoming in this story was the over-detailed descriptions of the things and happenings in the lives of Todd and Keith. There was too much detail in Todd’s narrative throughout the story, so much so that it kept stealing my attention and interest away and detracted from the primary and secondary plots and characters.

Man’s Best Friend by P.A. Brown was a good enough read for me that I believe with some tighter writing it would have lived up to its fuller promise of a good or even great story in terms of both plot and characters.

Man’s Best Friend by P.A. Brown is available at MLR Press and at Amazon.

NOTE: This review was originally published online by Rainbow Reviews.

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