Martin has created an enjoyable sports community with quirky characters and lots of humorous dialogue. While several of the secondary characters prove increasingly irksome, both leads remain likable and generally sympathetic throughout. You'll cheer as Delilah and Jason slowly overcome their fears and
the obstacles keeping them apart.
New York City dog trainer Delilah Gould has a bit of a split personality. In dealing with dogs and their owners, she's commanding and outspoken, but when topics turn personal,
she becomes socially awkward. When Delilah meets an adorable but disobedient Newfoundland, she falls in love with the canine, despite his naughty behavior. The dog's hunky owner,
however, poses special challenges.
Pro hockey player Jason Mitchell
has just been traded from Minnesota to New York, but neither he nor his dog Stanley are used to living in the big city. Extroverted Jason needs someone to train and board his pooch while he's playing out-of-town games, partying with friends and striving to win The Cup. He figures Delilah is the best gal for the task but doesn't count on getting so attached to her. Differing religions, opposing temperaments and clashing work schedules, however, threaten their burgeoning relationship. (BERKLEY SENSATION, Feb., 357 pp., $6.99)