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Peek Inside In the Dog House

When Jackson is called home from the Marines to take care of his nephew, he also finds the woman he left behind. They may have hotter-than-ever chemistry, but forgetting the past isn't easy.

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Ten years ago, Jackson Hardy joined the Marines, leaving behind a woman he still dreams about. When he's called home to care for his ten-year-old nephew, no one is more shocked than he to run into Emma again. Or to still have those same feelings. But Jackson isn't looking for love, and neither is Emma, especially not with him. His precocious nephew, though, and a retriever named Bandit, are about to change that.

So what if Emma Mercer is an overachiever? She has plans to get her doctorate in psychology and create a no-kill shelter for the EST dogs she trains. Which leaves absolutely no time for romance. She's fine with a furry family—dogs don't teach you to love and then rip your heart to shreds. But young Matty's situation tugs at her heartstrings and there's no way she can't help him…and Jackson.

She may have hotter-than-ever chemistry with the soldier, but forgetting the past isn't easy.


“This is a sweet second chance love story that I just loved.” -Linda Q., Goodreads

“This is a wonderful book that will touch your heart from beginning to end.” -Yvonne C., Goodreads

“With inspiring messages and a tame rating, readers age 13 to 103 will find a lot to love in this heartwarming read.” -Book Addict

In the Dog House is a charmingly sweet romance.” Shelley B., Goodreads

In the Dog House is a heartwarming story of second chances & love.” -Pam D., Goodreads

Additional Details

ISBN: 9781640637641
Series: Appletree Cove, Book 1
Release Date: Feb 11, 2019
Page Count: 271
Imprint: bliss
Genre: contemporary, military/men in uniform
Tropes: fish out of water, overcoming odds, reunited lovers

Select Featured Reviews

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By Beth February 10, 2019

Cute, feel-good romances tackling the difficult topic of PTSD.

Take one broody, sexy, marine called home to care for his young nephew because his sister has been in a tragic accident leaving her in a coma.

Then stir in an old flame that has a heart of gold, loves animals and is passionate about her un ...more

By Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews February 15, 2019

I really enjoyed this second-chance story. It was extremely interesting and I really fell in love with the dogs and Matty. Yes, this story is about Jackson and Emma but, Matty just added so much to it.

Jackson broke Emma's heart when he just up and left. She never thought she would see him again. But ...more

By Marija February 22, 2019

I really enjoyed reading this book. It isn't just a sweet, feel good, second chance is much more and that is the reason I stayed late in the night and almost overslept in the morning. I had to finish it in almost one sitting. There is another story there, mental health, PTSD and dealing ...more

By Linda January 21, 2019

This is a sweet second chance love story that I just loved. Jackson, at age 18, dumped his high school love, Emma, and joined the marines. Ten years later, circumstances force him home to care for his nephew after his mother is in a car accident. When Jackson sees Emma again, he finds it difficult t ...more

By Ayekah February 10, 2019

I loved this story, it's so much more. Emma is the girl left behind, now working on her PhD in psychology, while training dogs for emotional support (ESD). Jackson is the battle worn man who returns home to care for his nephew Matty after his sister is in a serious car accident. Neither Emma nor Jac ...more

By shannon✨ February 07, 2019

I received a free copy via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review

4.5 stars
At first I thought this would just be another romance story, but that really was not just it. Yes, the romance aspect was present. However, mental health and dealing with setbacks also was present.
I think this book was be ...more

By Claire February 11, 2019

This was a really good’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a simple chick lit, but it discusses serious issues such as PTSD, merits of support animals and mental health. The characters of Emma and Jackson were well written and as a reader I began to really care for them. I will definitely lo ...more

By Lori January 27, 2019

What a sweet story of two people perfect for each other and their second chance. Emma is a strong woman determined to make her therapy dog shelter come true. Then her first love, Jackson, returns to her hometown. They have not lost their spark and pick up on their friendship. My heart went out to hi ...more

By Yvonne January 20, 2019

This is a wonderful book that will touch your hearts from beginning to end.
Jackson Hardy is a Marine, who has taken a leave of absence to take care of his nephew after his sister’s automobile accident. An accident that has left her in an induced coma.
Emma Mercer is the girl he left behind. Now a wom ...more

By BookAddict January 31, 2019

As heartbreaking as it is when choices and circumstances keep two soul mates apart, a second chance with the other half of your heart is a precious gift. When his sister is in a devastating auto accident, Jackson takes leave from the Marines and returns home to care for his nephew, Matthew. Home, wh ...more

By Maria February 03, 2019

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

4.5 stars.
A quote:
She never, never should have kissed Jackson Hardy. Handsome soldier, a man of integrity, hardened by war, but kind and loving toward his family. A dangerous combination for any woman ...more

By Pj February 13, 2019

This was my first book by Traci Hall. It won't be my last. I was charmed by this heartwarming tale of second chances. The characters are well developed and realistic and the dogs are adorable. I liked Emma from the get-go, admiring her devotion to the rescue dogs she trains and her determination to ...more

By Margie January 24, 2019

Emma Mercer has a Master's Degree in psychology and is very close to attaining a Ph.D. She wants to help people with mental health issues since as a child she endured a sheltered life with a mother who suffered from agoraphobia. She belives that Emotional Support Dogs provide a benefit to those with ...more

By Kaye January 22, 2019

Emma runs a center where she trains dogs to be service dogs. When she catches Matty trying to steal one, she calls his uncle, her high school sweetheart to come get him. The boy was trying to take a dog to help his uncle suffering from PTSDs. Sparks fly, and the dogs are adorable. Highly recommend t ...more

By Reading January 19, 2019

Emma and Jackson are High School sweethearts. Jackson leaves after graduation to join the marines. Years later he is forced to come home and take care of his nephew after his sisters accident. As Emma helps Jackson’s nephew they realize how much they need each other. This was a well written book it ...more

By Bec March 16, 2019

Review posted at

Ten years ago Jackson Hardy and Emma Mercer were very close, but then he decided to join the marines and left Emma with a broken heart. However, now he’s back in Appletree Cove to care for his nephew while his sister is in the hospital after a serious car accident ...more

By Jackie January 28, 2020

Loved this book!!!

I found this book very relatable with the perfect amount of romance and engaging characters! Loved this feel good read! This was just what I needed!!!! ...more

By Sara - Curvy Constellation February 12, 2019

I received this book from NetGalley and Entangled Publishing as an ARC for an honest review.

Jackson Hardy and Emma Mercer were high school sweethearts and each other's first loves. When Jackson follows through and leaves Emma to join the military, she expects that she will never see him again. Ten y ...more

By Paula February 11, 2019

In the Dog House by Traci Hall at first glance looked to be a chick lit novel. Boy, was I surprised when I began to read. This is much more than a feel good, boy gets the girl story. It is one of substance. The Mercer and the Hardy families have had more than there share of sorrow, but it is the res ...more

By Kelly February 11, 2019

A sweet and entertaining second chances story

Anyone who knows me know I’m a sucker for dogs and dog stories, so though I’m brand new to this author, the blurb for this book sucked me right in.

Emma and Jackson, what can I say—the author did a great job of engaging me with these characters. I was co ...more

By Amanda February 06, 2019


** I got this book from netgalley for my honest opinion **

This book is about Emma, a psychologist working on her doctorate and also working on training dogs to be therapy dogs focusing on anxiety. Her first love, Jackson, comes back on leave from the marines to take care of his nephew after his ...more

By Reading In Pajamas February 11, 2019

Review: IN THE DOG HOUSE by Traci Hall
Publication Date: February 11, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Reviewed by: Reading in Pajamas/ Donna
Rated 4 Stars

I enjoyed this sweet romance and the people surrounding them. Jackson’s PTSD was handled in a realistic way, including the d ...more

By Phylis February 14, 2019

Emma is working on her doctorate degree and she trains ESD dogs, she sometimes takes them to the elementary school where she shows the children what the dogs can do. While she is doing this she meets Matty who is an 11 year old. She also finds out that his Uncle is Jackson her high school sweetheart ...more

By Nicole February 14, 2019

4.5 Stars
This is a book you do not want to pass up. It's packed with heart and feels along with humor. I just fell in love with the characters in this book. They instantly pull at the heartstrings. Another thing I loved about this book is that it's a second chance love story. Jackson and Emma were h ...more

By Kristie February 11, 2019

A marine who leaves behind the girl he still thinks about. Enter a *swoon* here. Years later Jackson comes home to take care of his ten-year-old nephew. The only person more shocked than he is about coming home is *that* girl, Emma. Just when the two think they can move past feelings that are poppin ...more

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4.13 avg rating
Traci Hall

About the author

USA Today Best Selling Author

Traci Hall

With an impressive bibliography in an array of genres, USA Today bestselling author Traci Hall has garnered a notable fan base. She pens stories guaranteed to touch the heart while transporting the reader to another time and place. Her belief in happily ever after shines through, whether it's a romantic glimpse into history or a love affair for today.

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