Still The One
Animal Magnetism #6 (Aj and Darcy’s story)
by Jill Shalvis
Berkley Mass Market/Penguin 320 pages
April 7, 2015
E-Book and Mass Market Paperback
Also Audio: Narrated by Karen White| Running time 10 hrs
Book provided by publisher for review and Audio file provided by Tantor for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinion presented herein is my own except as noted.
Darcy Stone is game for anything—except sexy Navy veteran and physical therapist AJ 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.
AJ 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?
I love Jill Shalvis novels: the small town feel, the hot hook ups, the hot heroes and the situations that define what pulls the couple together in the end.
I also listened to the audio narrated by Karen White with just the right delivery of emotion and great voices for the characters of both genders. The production value was also excellent!
Darcy is very broken. Physically she is a wreck from a bad accident, and the only option for her to be comfortable in her body and not have huge medical bills would be to have a physical therapist in the family. Since there are none in her immediate family, it looks like she’ll have to marry one.
This woman’s is driven, yet she’s stuck. She’s an adventurer who doesn’t have fun. That creates a lot of tension for Jill to explore.
It seems like Jill has two series with parents who physically or emotionally abandoned their children to travel the globe, and this abandonment and, in Darcy’s case, outright rejection plays into her character. But she is pretty extreme and off balance in some ways and in others she is together. I imagine most of us are like that, but Darcy seems chemically imbalanced and extreme. She acts rashly, is quick to anger and to take offense.
AJ’s experience with his navy girlfriend left him emotionally scarred and Darcy is his BFFS’ sister. Yup, it’s the Best Friend’s Sister trope.
And, the other device in use is the “I’ve been hurt once and I will never open my heart up to love again” trope. AJ is measured, careful, loyal, and even noble. He’s the guy your folks wanted you to bring home. There is a big continuity error in AJ’s back story in both my ARC and my audio copy. I was surprised to find it had been left in the audio but apparently was changed in the digital copy and will be corrected in future editions.
Somehow, I don’t believe the hurt once trope and it has been used just too often lately, in fact I have been complaining about it a lot lately. Girls and Boys, get over your high school/college romance/crush/bad partner; life is short. Best Friend’s Sister is different – very time honored and archetypal. Usually, the best friend comes around. After all who’s better for your sister than your best friend?
I always love the way Jill incorporates animals into the story. In this case Darcy rescues companion animals who haven’t worked out in one placement, but who would be perfect in another. And, AJ has his own project to help people he couldn’t help when he was younger.
What keeps me coming back to Jill’s stories are those great small town dynamics, the animals and the love exhibited for them, and the incredibly hot hook ups she writes. Sit down with a fan and a cold drink when you read the steamy love scenes in this book. It is hard for me to see why AJ Is attracted to Darcy; it only goes to show the mysterious and inexplicable nature of love.
About the author:
Jill Shalvis is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller. She has written more than four dozen romance novels and lives in Nevada with her family.
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