“Barking Up the Wrong Tree” is the third installment of Sawyer Bennett’s Sex and Sweet Tea series by Juliette Poe. This series is Sexy Lite as in lots of steam but not much fiery description. None the less this series is top-notch and fun to read. Sawyer/Juliette creates charming and intriguing characters and a small town setting allowing for a colorful background and compelling storylines. “Barking Up the Wrong Tree” follows Mancinkus sibling Laken the town’s veterinarian. Anyway the Hero is former pro-football player, multi-millionaire businessman, and now gentleman farmer, Jake McDaniel. The novel is told in multiple alternating POVs. Laken, Jake, Pap (Laken’s grandfather), and Herman (Laken’s dog). We meet Jake’s ex-sister-in-law, Darby, who is going to be a new Whynot resident. This third book in the Sex and Sweet Tea series hits every emotional button and is a true gem!
Laken Mancinkus is a life-long resident of Whynot, NC. She, her twin Larkin, and the rest of her siblings, have all settled close to home. Laken tried big city living however an unscrupulous ex-boyfriend she discovered that she’s a small town girl through and through. Since then she hasn’t risked her heart even though she’s enjoyed a lot of male companionship over the years. Laken has a bit of a reputation as being a “Lady Player”.
Jake McDaniel bought a farm in Whynot as a “tax break”. He has no plans to move to the middle-of-nowhere town. Jake plans to have his ex-sister-in-law, Darby, live there while he resides in Chicago. However his first experience in town brings him into contact with Laken, her twin, Larkin, and her grandfather Pap. Jake’s goats have escaped, his farm foreman had quit, and he has no idea what he’s doing. He cares enough that he doesn’t want the animals to get hurt so he goes looking for the town vet.
Jake ends up having to spend an extended period of time in Whynot. A newly born goat imprints on him and won’t take milk from anyone but him. Either Jake stays in town or the baby goat will die. Fortunately he and Laken hit it off as they work together to get his goat farm running smoothly. Neither want a long-term commitment so a only physical relationship with a expiration date works perfectly for them. Until Jake realizes that what they have is more than “just sex”. Laken stubbornly tries to deny their boyfriend/girlfriend status until she can’t. However Jake’s company runs out of its Chicago headquarters and Laken’s family, and business are both in Whynot. They are at a stalemate. Someone has to give.
Sawyer Bennett is a delight as her alter-ego Juliette Poe; she’s funny, sexy, emotional, and a complete romantic. “Barking Up the Wrong Tree” is amusing with an irresistible storyline, engaging storytellers, and addictive characters. The romance between Jake and Laken is wild and willful as well as filled with conflict and complexities. The animals in the book are delightful. Although I might have been able to live without Herman (the dog’s) POV chapters. Yet, they were fun as well as enlightening. Truly an animal loving man is a Sexy Beast, indeed. If the Sex and Sweet Tea series continues as wonderfully as the first three installments it’ll be a hands-down Winner.
I’m giving “Barking Up the Wrong Tree” 5 Lightning Bolts and a Small Craft Advisory.
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This novel was provided, voluntarily read, and honestly reviewed.