When Sara Renault fires Rory O’Connor from his part-time job at an art museum, his reaction is nothing like anyone would expect. Instead of anger or resentment or even disappointment, he kisses her. And thus begins an adventure of a relationship.
An Irish actor and musician, Rory’s time in the United States is running out, and he’s desperate to get his green card, so he can stay. His plan is to marry a friend, but that puts an awkward kink in his budding relationship with Sara who, quite understandably, isn’t very keen on dating a married man. The only logical solution in this illogical mess is for Sara to marry him, allowing him to stay in the States and see where their relationship takes them.
But... Rory is the narrator, and while his telling of the story is entertaining, his voice is rather manic and erratic, so it took some getting used to. At first, I was a bit irritated with him, wondering how I was supposed to like someone who came across as terribly impulsive and rushing through each emotion, but as I got to know him, he began to make more sense. I can’t say I ever completely warmed to him, but he wasn’t so bad after all.
The Verdict: It’s no secret that dogs are my favorite people, and my life has revolved around one furry child after another for decades. So it should come as no surprise that I didn’t hesitate to grab a book about a woman so crazy about her dog that it impacts her relationships. That sort of thing just makes sense to me.
With Rory’s residency in jeopardy, he finds himself unemployed, still waiting for his big Hollywood break, and falling fast for the woman who fired him. It’s absolutely the worst time to be worried about having to return home an ocean away from everything he’s ever wanted. The only feasible solution, it seems, is to marry Sara, whom he likes an awful lot but still doesn’t know incredibly well. Before long, they’re living together in a marriage of convenience while exploring the beginnings of the relationship they have formed.
Sara, however, is more than a little attached to her dog Cody, and it doesn’t take long for that to become a point of contention. With his green card in hand and the lead role in a new TV pilot, though, things seem to be going mostly Rory’s way. But just as he and Sara are planning their big move to L.A., Cody disappears, the four-legged victim of a kidnapping that turns out to be all Rory’s fault.
Obviously Sara is furious and devastated and completely lost without the dog she loves so much, and Rory is desperate to redeem himself and fix everything for her. What follows is an adventure of a chase halfway across the country in pursuit of Cody and so much further in their own relationship. Their journey is filled with emotion, humor, and some truly wonderful secondary characters. Stepdog is one read I’d absolutely recommend to any romance lover who’s ever been nuts about a dog.