BOOK REVIEW: Underdog (In Vino Veritas #4) by L.A. WittUnderdog (In Vino Veritas #4)
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Synopsis:

Life in foster care wasn’t easy. Life after prison? Unforgiving. But I’m determined to stay out of trouble, and I’m gaining a foothold on the closest I’ve ever known to normal.

Then, thanks to a pair of escape artist dogs from the sanctuary where I’ve found work, I cross paths with my boss’s neighbor, Ty Adams. He’s a horse trainer, and winter is his quiet season. It’s also the season when he gets restless and lonely—two things I know all about. He’s not interested in love or romance. I’m just happy someone’s interested in me at all, even if emotions are strictly forbidden.

When we’re not together, I’m thinking about him. When we are together… Well, I’m definitely thinking about what he does to me and what I want to do with him.

As we keep each other warm through the Vermont winter, this feels a lot more than physical. Somehow he soothes my pain, and I wonder if I’m touching something deep inside him too. But Ty won’t let himself love anyone. I never had a chance. And now, with my past closing in, I could lose the one man I hoped I could count on. The one I thought might be different.

When his present and my history collide, is it too much to hope he’ll choose me?

CW: Sick horse and a minor accident involving a horse—no animal deaths or serious injuries/illnesses.

Review

Ahhhhh I feel terrible that it took me so long to review this but I felt like death last week/ this weekend and just…couldn’t.

Anyway, I was so excited to get Ty and Landon’s story after we got a few little tidbits here and there from Luke meeting and texting with Landon during Unmanageable. Gosh I am just such a sucker for these series that interconnect even if you don’t HAVE to read all of the books in order. I was immediately drawn in by the animals in this book. Blain and Houdini really stole the show for me hehe those little trouble making escape artists. Also!!! The horses! As a Millennial I’m pretty sure I can speak for most of my generation when I say that it was impossible to grow up and not be a horse girl for at least a small chunk of time. I read all of the horse books I could get my hands on and wanted one for myself until I was able to ride one at a local county fair and it actually scared the hell out of me, LOLLL but I digress. The animals were a special part of this book and I really, really enjoyed that element.

On to the characters and relationship. ONCE AGAIN, the immediate chemistry that Ty and Landon had was off the charts. I’m not sure how this has happened so consistently in every book this series has given us so far but I am a huge fan. Ty lived and breathed horse training and boarding and competitions. That was his family’s whole world and he continued on the legacy after his parents decided to retire. Because that was such a demanding and time consuming lifestyle, he has always tried to keep relationships low key and simple. Landon on the other hand has recently gotten out of almost a decades worth of time in jail/prison. He didn’t have an easy or stable childhood which led to him getting into a lot of bad situations that he just couldn’t seem to get himself out of. That has all changed though. This time around he is determined to live life the “right” way and stay as far away from trouble as he possibly can. Through a work rehabilitation program, he was hired by Brent and Jon (MCs of Aftermath in the Vino and Veritas series) to work for Second Chances Animal Sanctuary and eventually started working for Ty at Lost Acres Farm after Ty learned he had experience with horses and was good with animals.

As you might expect this book deals a lot with the aftermath of Landon being a released prisoner and how other people perceive him because of that. Oof my heart. The BEST part of this how this specific theme played out in this book was how, for the most part anyway, Ty trusted Landon with his whole gut and gave him so many more opportunities than most people would. That’s all it takes sometimes. People who have spent time imprisoned can’t hope to reintegrate with society if they don’t have people at their back, encouraging them and actually helping them live a normal life again. This book definitely brought up a lot of things I never would have thought about before and I know I will be keeping them in mind for the future….On the opposite end of that there are also parts of this book that feature many people mistrusting Landon and even trying their best to get him to screw up because they assume that’s all he’s capable of. That hurt to read. L.A. Witt is definitely a pro at tugging on heartstrings in a very real way, let me tell you.

Seriously this is one you aren’t going to want to miss!

Huge thanks to Heart Eyes Press for allowing me to read an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest review!

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