This was a fairly terrible book, but I plodded through it because I like male protagonists who are doctors. Set in the clean, upper-middle-class town of Lucky Harbor in the Pacific Northwest, this is supposed to be a story about an overworked single father and a goofy, quirky woman on a new life path coming together to set each other's lives straight and fall in love.
Grace was a successful investment banker until office politics (and sexual harassment) led her to being out of a job and, the economy being what it is, unable to find another one in New York City. She has no savings, has lost her job, lost her fiance (a doctor who broke up with her when he moved away) and is ashamed of being a failure in the eyes of her parents. She has to learn to build a new life from scratch now, and she can't judge her success by the same standards that she used to have.
Grace is desperate for money because she's out of savings and can't find a job, and is thrilled when she accidentally gets a call from Dr. Josh Scott, a prominent, successful, and workaholic ER surgeon in Lucky Harbor. He needs a dog walker for his pug Tank, and Grace takes the job immediately because she's that hard up for cash. It turns out that Josh has problems of his own. He has a toddler son named Toby as a result of a one-night stand a long time ago, and he keeps the child with him because the mother can't be trusted with custody and Josh really loves the kid. He is overworked however, and has obligations to an annoying handicapped sister who relies on him, so he has a nanny for his son and a dog walker (Grace) for his dog. Josh is so implausibly desperate for a dog walker that he gives Grace a room to stay in apart from way too much money, but again, the reader must suspend disbelief.
Grace makes mistake after mistake, unable to walk a pug puppy responsibly at all (she keeps losing him), and yet she is so pretty and charming, and Josh is apparently so desperate for help, that he keeps forgiving her. There is a sizzling undercurrent of attraction between Grace and Josh, though they do not act on it except a little light flirting and heavy stares. When Toby's nanny quits, Josh asks Grace to take over nanny duties as well and she agrees, but also starts messing this up, almost drowning Toby in the pool and losing the house keys. It makes you wonder how she managed to work in high level finance before this. Eventually however, Grace starts to set Josh's family at least somewhat straight, even though she keeps interrupting it to flirt with Josh and make moves on him. She acts as counselor to Josh's handicapped sister, who still has a lot of residual rage and bitterness about how hers and Josh's parents died in a car accident. She brings some order and discipline eventually to Toby's life, and is there for him when he needs help with schoolwork, or to take him to the dentist, and read to him at night. Grace also calls Josh out for not being at home to attend to these little things for his son and for not spending enough time talking to his sister to make her feel like a part of the family.
However, she also makes mistakes constantly, and this endears her to Josh, along with his physical attraction for her. As they chase after a missing Toby during an evening in the park or get intimate poolside when Josh comes home from work, Grace is terrified of getting involved with another doctor because she's already been burned once and Josh thinks he is too focused on work for any relationship. Slowly, they both start learning to trust in their intuition and stop living for other people (Grace for her parents, Josh for his sister, son and dog) and think about their own needs. The growing bond frightens Grace though, especially since they are now sleeping together, but Grace keeps insisting that she doesn't want anything serious and that she plans to leave, so they both hide their emotions while the relationship develops. As Grace and Josh manage the crazy dog, the child, and work to improve Josh's relationship with sister and her boyfriend, they increasingly start to rely on each other for emotional support. When Grace starts to fall asleep, Josh takes her to bed and tucks her in. When Josh is drunk and depressed, Grace listens patiently while he vents in her ear. They get into arguments, such as when Grace calls Josh out for his inability communicate properly with his sister or be there for important moments in his son's life, but every argument leads to a deeper understanding of each other and a calm resolution. Grace begins to realize she can depend on nobody else the way she can depend on Josh, and Josh starts to realize that instead of having another responsibility to take care of in Grace, he has found someone who can share his responsibilities and take care of him. Josh takes her to dinner and asks her to marry him and be his forever. Grace, overcome with love and happiness, knowing that she loves this man and has now longed to be a mother to Toby and a sister to Anna, accepts. And they presumably live happily ever after
Best part of story, including ending:
I didn't like this story, the female character is a complete idiot and their romance is selfish at the expense of the happiness and needs of his family.
Best scene in story:
when Josh finds out that Grace almost lost his dog and chased the pug into a pool, and is conflicted when Grace emerges from the pool dripping wet. Even though he desires her, he has to send her home. It was a nice scene to build the chemistry between them.
Opinion about the main character:
I didn't really like the characters because Grace wasn't believably intelligent and Josh wasn't believably selfless like the author wanted to portray them.