At First Sight: For the last six years, Savannah "Van" Leone has been in love with Peter Clarke, whom she meet during her first class at university... problem is that for about four of those years he has been in love with Van's best friend Janie and the two of them just got married.
After having to serve as maid of honor in the blessed event, and after a row with Janie's mom Diane - for whom Van's mother worked - Van finds herself in possession of a sizable amount of money and trying to drown her pain in a few too many cocktails... which is how she ends up buying a dog on ebay.
But what she thought was a puppy turns out to be a huge, year old giant named Joe who only understands Slovak and has to have special food made for him.
With entirely too much on her plate - including lingering, unresolved business and resentments with both Janie and Diane, and Peter suddenly needing to call her and talk to her all the time, even while at his honeymoon - Van does not want a giant mess of a dog... but, over time, she comes to realize that Joe might be just what she needed. That and Joe's handsome veterinarian.
Second Glance: I've had Stay in my TBR pile for almost two years and now I feel bad I didn't read it sooner because it was a really sweet story. Van was very likable - even if she needed to learn to say "No" when people where pushing her around - and I LOVED seeing her develop her relationship with Joe. I'm a dog person and the bond that grows between them made my dog-loving heart happy.
And I loved Joe's vet, sure he could be a little thick headed sometimes but he was very nice and once his whole story was out in the open I went "Aww" a few times.
Peter and Janie were very hard to like most of the time but even there, the author managed to pull things together in the end, in a way that felt really organic and appropriate as the two of them and Van had to re-learn how to be friends with each other again and find a more balanced relationship rather than just the two of them leaning on Van all the time.
Peter's aunt - whom Van befriends - was a delight too.
Bottom Line: I really liked Stay. It had it's slow parts and sometimes the characters really pushed my buttons but I liked Ms Larkin's narrative and the story she told. It is more Chick Lit than Contemporary Romance, though, and the big love story here is between Van and Joe.