Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Still the One (Animal Magnetism #6) by Jill Shalvis

Darcy Stone is game for anything — except sexy Navy veteran and physical therapist A.J. Colten, the guy who'd rejected her when she'd needed him most. Now the shoe is on the other foot and he needs her to play nice and help him secure grants for his patients. Unfortunately, Darcy can't refuse. She needs the money to fund her passion project: rescuing S&R dogs and placing them with emotionally wounded soldiers.

A.J. admits it — Darcy is irresistible. But he's already been battle-scarred by a strong-willed, vivacious, adventurous woman like Darcy, and he's not making the same mistake twice—until he and Darcy are forced to fake a relationship. Growing closer than they'd ever imagined possible, Darcy and AJ have to ask themselves: how much between them is pretend? What's the real thing? And where does it go from here?

Type: Contemporary Romance
Heat: 3 out of 5
Rating: 4 out of 5

Amazon | (check) All Romance | Book Depository | BAM | Goodreads
Oh yeah. That's the stuff. *nods* Basically...I'm smitten with Shalvis. Won't even lie to yall. She's my crack and so puts me in my happy place. Still the One...totally devoured it. And loved it. And want to move into this town and hang out with this crew. And pet the puppies and the man candies. Yeah. Pretty much. Smitten. lol

The quick of it is that Darcy and AJ have known each other for a while. He's best friends with her siblings and was her physical therapist after she nearly died in a car accident. And there might have been some attraction between them but, whew, that was set on the back burner when he turned her down and she got her back up not realizing he turned her down all those months ago not because he wasn't interested but because he wanted to be more than just a quickie for her. Ahhh. And now...the two are having to pretend to be a couple to help win a grant for the PT facility. <bwahahas a little>
Word around town was that he and Darcy were just friends, but there was nothing that said "just friends" in Xander's gaze whenever he looked at Darcy. Nope, he looked at her like she was lunch.

Not that it mattered to AJ.

Except it did.

The truth was that even though he had absolutely no intention of making a move on Darcy, he didn't want Xander to, either. He realized this made him a complete and total dick, but he could live with that.

"Thanks for watching him for me, babe." Xander said.

"No problem," Darcy said. "I--" She broke off to send AJ a startled look. "Did you just...growl?"

"No." Shit, he totally had.

Above her head Xander smirked at him. Asshole."
Darcy and AJ. Heh. I love when characters butt heads, drive each other nuts and have that little bit of grrr arrg! at each other and these two have it in spades when things off. It was excellent. Though really under all that grumble and ahhh-don't-make-me-shake-you was some killer chemistry and attraction. Even. Better.

Darcy's definitely a handful. She's a little prickly and head strong and definitely has some sass to her. She's been hurt a lot in life and has trouble letting people close. She's also a freaking fighter. She nearly died in an accident and fought her way back and out of a wheel chair to walk again. I loved her will to live and that she wasn't 'perfect'. She still has scars and trouble with her injuries but she doesn't let it stop her or go the easy route. She's strong willed for sure. Has a heart of gold saving therapy dogs and placing them with people who can't afford to buy them. Just pretty stand up even if she can be...difficult and ornery.

And AJ was hot and patient and dedicated to what he does. Which, yeah, hella sexy. I loved him and that even though he'd been hurt by a past relationship he really cared about Darcy even if he tried to deny it on the romance front.  He's just a good guy and totally swoon-worthy.
You should use the facilities first," he said. "We won't be stopping again."

"Even if I irritate you?"

"You won't."

"How do you know?"

"Because I hold the Gummy Bears. Which means I've got you right where I want you."

She studied him for a long beat. Then sent him a smile that made him nervous as hell before leaving the truck.
They were really great together. They each had some issue to work with--abandonment and disappointment and some stubbornness thrown into the mix. I loved that they had history and a connection between them. And whew the connection! They had fire! In and out of the bedroom. All that fire between them definitely payed off once they let down their walls during their road trip with each other to woo his potential donator. It was fun watching the two deal with each other, annoy each other and really turn each other on.

All in all...a damn good time. Shalvis knows how to make a girl smile. Romance, humor, a growly sexy alpha male and a determined and feisty heroine. Still the One? Just a damn good time that'll have you falling in love and completely smitten.

Have you read Shalvis? Have a favorite?
Do you like characters that have a past connection?


More Shalvis on herding cats

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