Tag Archives: Animal Magnetism

Don’t Miss It! New and Upcoming Books, Fun Stuff, and Great Deals You Might Have Missed

4 May

New and Upcoming Books

Paranormal doyenne N. J. Walters has recently published the first in her new Salvation Pack series, Wolf at the Door, about a paranormal writer who in the process of getting information about werewolves discovers that they are actually…gasp…real. When the werewolf hero realizes that this woman he’s supposed to silence is his mate, he also is aware that the head of the rival pack – who is also his father – will do anything to get rid of her.

Any reader who enjoys steamy category romance is familiar with the wonderful writing of Leslie Kelly, so they’ll be pleased to hear that she’s recently published another wonderful book under Harlequin Blaze’s “Unrated” label (mrrrroooowwww), Double Take. When a sex therapist gains way to much media attention, she retreats to an island off the coast of Michigan as a substitute teacher hoping to not even think about sex for a while. That intention is blown out of the water upon meeting former Chicago cop Mike Santori who came to this safe small island to settle down and avoid danger. Falling for a hot teacher who is more than she appears was not part of the plan, but he’ll do everything he can – and use every one of her naughty toys – at his disposal to strip her of her defenses.

Kaylea Cross is one of the best military romance writers out there, so I was elated to discover that the most recent book in her outstanding Bagram Ops series is out. Danger Close has Army nurse Lt. Erin Kelly ready for her well-deserved leave back home in Montana, but plans go awry when a strange man unintentionally puts her in the way of the American-born terrorist currently enemy number one. This places her in tremendous danger and, now that his cover has been blown, CIA Operative Wade Sandberg isn’t about to leave Erin’s safety in anyone else’s hands, particularly as the man he once guarded hunts them down.

As historical romance fans wait for Erin Knightley‘s next full-length novel to come out, they will be elated knowing that she’s given readers a terrific novella, Deceived by a Duke, as the next installment in her All’s Fair in Love series. Published this past Friday, this 97 page morsel of goodness has a responsible duke who takes his dissolute younger brother to Spain with the caveat that if he agrees to live minus their station for a month, his debts will be paid. What no one expected was the English beauty who helps them with the local language, but what will happen when she realizes that her heart which has been captured has been deceived by a duke? At only $.99, there’s no mistaking this novella as a great bargain, so grab it now while you wait for The Baron Next Door, her Prelude to a Kiss novel, to be published on June 3rd.

Harlequin is embarking on another glamorous multi-author series, this time centering on a decadent Monte Carlo hotel, The Chatsfield (the name of the series as well as the surname of the billionaire family who owns it). First up is Lucy Monroe with Sheikh’s Scandal, about a ruler who is jilted in the hotel, only to find solace in a beautiful chambermaid who he promptly whisks back to his home country when circumstances arise that their night together may result in pregnancy. Published on May 1st, the next sequel will be Playboy’s Lesson (debuting on June 1st) by Melanie Milburne and then the gothic sounding Billionaire’s Secret by Chantelle Shaw due out in August.

Everyone knows how much I adore M. L. Buchman, so I’m thrilled that his new spin-off series, Firehawks, debuts this coming Tuesday, May 6th, with Pure Heat. Fans who enjoyed his incredible Night Stalkers series know that our favorite couple in those books have taken the news of their pregnancy and decided to turn civilian, flying helicopters in dangerous fire-fighting situations. In this opening novel, an emotionally shut down forest fire specialist who has lost loved ones in the line of duty is assigned as a co-pilot to a hot former smokejumper. When they discover a terrorist threat in the wilderness, it’s hard to determine what’s hotter, they’re attraction to each other or the fire they are desperate to conquer.

If you love animals, hot men and Jill Shalvis (and who doesn’t?) you must adore this contemporary author’s Animal Magnetism series, set in a small Western town where hot vets seem to be a speciality. You can chalk up one more citizen who fits this description as her latest book, Then Came You, focuses on a veterinary intern fulfilling her vet school scholarship by serving a year in a clinic in the middle-of-nowhere Idaho, only to come face to face with her hot one night stand at the Reno veterinary conference she attended. The problem? He’s her boss. Unfortunately we’re going to have to wait until July 1st for this one, but I have a feeling the summer is going to be a little bit hotter! FYI, be sure to enter the Goodreads giveaway before May 9th to see if you can win a copy. 🙂

Lauren Dane’s long-awaited Hurley Boys series is driving the anticipation higher with both the cover release for The Best Kind of Trouble, the first book in the series, which will debut on August 26th in print and September 1st in ebook form (it’s an annoying Harlequin thing) as well as the pre-order page for the second book, Broken Open, going live despite its November 25th release date. Having met these sexy rock stars who stay close to their small-town Hood River, Oregon roots in Dane’s fabulous book Lush, we’ve been chomping at the bit waiting for all their stories. The Best Kind of Trouble focuses on the town’s librarian, a once wild girl in her youth, who has mastered self-control and now has her life going to plan…that is, until Paddy Hurley, the musician with whom she once spent two unbelievable weeks returns to tempt her.

Whether you love them for the amazing writing, Victorian Era Highlanders (who are NOT as tame as their English counterparts) or the loving mess of the Mackenzie family, any installment of Jennifer Ashley’s Highland Pleasures series is a must-read. Fans of quality historical romance will be thrilled to note the next book in the series, Rules for a Proper Governess, is available for pre-order, with a release date of October 7, 2014.  This book focuses on one of the McBride men (related to the Mackenzies via the sister who married Lord Cameron), the brilliant barrister Sinclair whose widowed status has led to an amazing career but two hellion children. When a thief manages to tame his wayward offspring, he offers her a job as their governess, but pocket watches aren’t the only thing she knows how to steal, and Sinclair begins to realize that his heart is in danger as well.

Contests and Giveaways

RT Book Reviews magazine has a terrific giveaway featuring the first novel of M. L. Buchman’s Firehawks series (his spin off from his successful – and amazing – Night Stalkers books, see above description in “Upcoming Books”), Pure Heat, as well as Julie Ann Walker‘s latest Black Knights Inc. book, Hell for Leather. That’s a lot of muscled alpha male, but I know you can handle it, so enter their Rafflecopter giveaway before May 8th for your chance to win!

Susan Mallery has an incredibly successful series with her long-running Fool’s Gold collection, and now you can win the fourteenth book, Before We Kiss, in a Goodreads giveaway. With a former pro-football player with terrible luck with woman and the one night stand he runs from when he discovers a room filled with wedding gowns, this is classic Mallery, so readers will enjoy this journey to a happily ever after. Be sure to enter by May 6th for your chance to win!

Kat Latham and Ashley LeMar are doing a wonderful giveaway for the month of May in honor of Memorial Day’s focus on our nation’s men and women in the military. Entitled 2014 Read, White and Blue, it’s goal is to raise money for the Semper Fi Fund, which provides assistance to military personnel (and their families) who have have been injured or are coping with illness. It’s a great cause and helping out and promoting the giveaway enters you to win the grand prize, a Kindle, donated ebooks, custom coffee mugs, a cozy blanket and a $20 Starbucks gift card! Enter before May 31st and make your Memorial Day about more than a great cookout with friends and family.

Western romance fans instantly recognize Linda Lael Miller‘s name, so they’ll be pleased to discover that she has a new series, The Brides of Bliss County, debuting at the end of May and the first book, The Marriage Pact, is available as a prize in a Goodreads giveaway for readers who hustle over and enter before May 6th. Considering this has a best friend’s little sister, a divorced hero who once saved the heroine from making a bad marriage and heat that cannot be denied, I’ll be reading this one whether or not I win!

Fun Stuff

Anyone needing a blast from romance novels past should check out BuzzFeed’s hilarious “19 Things Fabio Is Really Thinking on Romance Novel Covers.” Readers who lived through the bodice ripper days of the 1980s will recognize more than a few of these covers!!

If you’ve got a honey bunny who needs a love card, romance enthusiasts need look no further than Meow Kapow shop on Etsy and their hilarious (to the library geeks among us) “checking you out” card. Be sure to look at their other delightfully retro and quirky offerings – there are more than few stocking stuffers and hostess gifts in this great shop!

Great Deals

Pirate fans will want to take a look at Pleasing the Pirate by Sharon Cullen which features a spunky Highland miss determined to save her brother from imprisonment so he can take over the management of their lands. Unfortunately, she has to seek help from a handsome Sassenach buccaner who has little use for her money, but plenty for her body. That her brother is exactly the person the crown has asked him to apprehend is an unexpected bonus, but his obligations prove less and less appealing the more time he spends with this Scottish beauty. Only $.99 for 261 pages on Amazon!

Shifter and romantic suspense fans will want to take note that Wolf Protector by Milly Taiden (part of her Federal Paranormal Unit series) is also currently only $.99. I enjoyed this book tremendously as it stars a psychic heroine who keeps herself tightly under control, particularly around her devastatingly handsome coworker, who she has labeled trouble of the player variety. The hero, a wolf shifter, knows this woman is who he’s been waiting for but his patience is reaching its limit as she continues to ignore him. When a gruesome serial killer has them both working together, no one is denying the fiery attraction between them. But does their love come too late? With the next book in the series, Dangerous Protector, just out this past Friday, this is a great opportunity to see if you want to commit yourself to the series (which I think you will!).

Erotic author Jasmine Haynes has the first of her Open Invitation series, Invitation to Seduction, available for free right now on Amazon. With an artist heroine low on confidence, a bachelorette party at an exclusive club and a hero whose fallen for the heroine from afar and will do anything to get her now that he’s seen her in person, we’ve reached “fan yourself” territory. Grab it now as a present to yourself.

We’ve got to feature at least one awesome book bundle, and this one is a doozy! If you haven’t yet picked up Dark and Deadly: Eight Bad Boys of Paranormal Romance, get on it, as it gives you quite a line-up of authors for only $.99! With Jennifer Ashley’s Bodyguard (a fabulous novella from her Shifters Unbound series) heading the list, the bundle also features powerhouse writers like Alyssa Day, Felicity Heaton, Erin Kellison, Laurie London, Erin Quinn, Bonnie Vanak and Caris Roane. WOW!

May means the advent of romance authors everywhere raising money for Brenda Novak’s Online Auction to benefit Diabetes Research and this amazing book bundle, A Sweet Life Boxed Set, has fourteen contemporary romances from best-selling authors with all proceeds headed straight to that charity. At only $.99 for 1500 pages of great writing, it’s not just the research that’s benefiting, particularly with authors like Bella Andre, Barbara Freethy, Heather Graham, Susan Mallery, Brenda Novak (the fundraiser herself!), Susan Wiggs, and Debbie Macomber among others. Don’t let the “sweet” in the title fool you either – there’s a variety of sensuality levels from steamy to sweet between these covers.

Happy reading! 🙂

Sunday Reflections: Upcoming Books, Fun Stuff and Great Deals You Might Have Missed, Week of October 20, 2013

20 Oct

Upcoming Books and New Releases

It’s no secret that I adore Lauren Dane’s writing, so I was thrilled to see that she’s partnering with author Megan Hart to publish a duology (is that what you call an anthology with two stories?) on December 3rd entitled There All Along. The stories sound amazing, but even more intriguing that (despite the cover – not that I’m complaining) these stories are set in futuristic worlds. Considering Dane nailed science fiction romance in her jaw-droppingly awesome Federation Chronicles series, I feel like I’m in good hands. As usual.

Rock star romance seemed wicked hot right now, and the feedback for Crash Into Me by Tracy Wolff tells me this particular author is one to watch. Based around the band Shaken Dirty (mrrroooww), this series will work through the sexy romances of its members, with the first book focusing on the lead singer of the sister of another one of the band’s members. Bring on the music, people.

If you’re beginning to think about holiday romance, you might want to take a closer look at the Fiction River anthology Christmas Ghosts, featuring stories from romance authors like M. L. Buchman, Mary Jo Putney, Kristine Grayson and Kathryn Rusch. Combining holiday romance with a dash of the paranormal sounds like a great idea to me (that is what Dickens capitalized on after all), so I want this under the Christmas tree (or at least the virtual one on my Kindle).

While this could totally go in my “Great Deals” section, it is so awesome (and won’t be published until November 10th) that I wanted to feature it here. For only a week (and I think that’s ending soon!), the 10 book bundle of Dangerous Attraction, featuring award-winning authors like Kaylea Cross, Jill Sanders, and Rebecca York is only $.99 on Amazon. Pre-order it at this great price and lock in an amazing value while perhaps finding a new favorite author (Kaylea Cross won’t steer you wrong, I promise!).

Filing also under the “holy crap what a great deal!” and the recent releases category is the Dark and Dangerous: Six-in-One Hot Paranormal Romances collection – also for only $.99 right now. This would be an amazing price for just Jennifer Ashley’s Hard Mated, one of her fantastic Shifters Unbound novels but that it also has books from Bonnie Vanak and Laurie London (and other authors I’m dying to explore) pushes this into the instant “click to buy” territory.

I love Tawny Weber and her Blaze books with Harlequin are always a must-buy for me, including her upcoming holiday novel, Naughty Christmas Nights. Two competitors in the sexy lingerie business go head-to-head to win an important department store account but find themselves just as intrigued to try out the merchandise…with each other.

Contests and Giveaways

Romance readers don’t often get a lot of dystopian offerings, so interested parties might want to check out Ellen Connor’s paranormal dystopian Dark Age Dawning trilogy, particularly since the first book, Nightfall, is part of a Goodreads giveaway if you enter prior to October 21st.  When the daughter of a prophet is kidnapped and taken to a remote cabin in the Pacific Northwest, she does not expect that the ex-Marine who cares for her can be a believer in her father’s ravings when she is not. But as the world changes exactly as her dad anticipated, these two people must ride out the Change together, and see if they can forge a new future in a world gone wild. Interesting to note that Ellen Connor is the pen name for two wonderful, established authors, Ann Aguirre and Carrie Lofty, so you should definitely take a chance on this one!

Are you in the Atlanta area at the end of March? If so, you might want to enter the contest for The Novel Experience Event Giveaway where you could win a multi-day VIP pass to the author events and signings to be held at the Hyatt Regency March 28-30th. Sponsored by Romance Ink, the same literary nonprofit that brings you the popular Authors After Dark conference. With authors like Carrie Ann Ryan, Melissa Schroeder and Joey W. Hill, this conference has me wishing Georgia was a little closer!

Nora Roberts fans are busy awaiting the first book in her paranormal romance The Cousins O’Dwyer trilogy, Dark Witch, which has an appropriate debut date of October 29th, but did you know you might be able to win a copy? Enter the Goodreads giveaway before October 21st to see if you can get a free copy of this anticipated novel. With Roberts’ trademark wonderful characters, an Irish setting complete with castle, and a dark evil that wants to deny love when it takes root, this is bound to be a worthy read for the dark nights surrounding Halloween.

With only three days left, historical fiction fans will want to enter the FictionVixen rafflecopter giveaway for several upcoming releases, including Elizabeth Hoyt’s Duke of Midnight, Eileen Dreyer’s Once a Rake, Jennifer Delamere’s A Lady Most Lovely, Anne Barton’s Once She Was Tempted, and Lily Dalton’s Never Desire a Duke. Entering couldn’t be easier and the payoff is tremendous.

Fans of the TV show Once Upon a Time or readers who love reinterpreted fairy tales should take a look at Jessica Aspen’s novel The Dark Huntsman. A witch trying to save her family from a murderous queen is pursued by the queen’s enslaved huntsman, who soon decides that he can break free of the queen by using this young woman’s power. But his commitment to freedom is soon surpassed by his feelings for the brave woman attempting to do the right thing and he must decide between his life and hers. Enter before October 22nd for a chance to win.

Harlequin’s Paranormal Romance blog is having a giveaway of five of their recent books, including The Night is Forever by Heather Graham, Sleep with the Lights On by Maggie Shayne, Claimed by the Demon by Doranna Durgin, Out of the Night by Trish Milburn, Spy Glass by Maria V. Snyder. Just leave a comment letting them know what magical power you’d love to have and why by October 28th at midnight and you’ll have entered!

Fun Stuff

Maybe because I have Jill Shalvis on the brain (see Great Deals) but like books, movies that feature animals in any capacity always draw me. But what happens when said animal meets an unfortunate end? (I hysterically sobbed for about an hour after I Am Legend because I did not see that coming!). Luckily for me, the website Does the Dog Die? The Most Important Movie Question exists. With icons hinting at the content (happy dog face for every animal is okay, crying face for you know what, and troubled face for the in-between), the reviews solely let you know what happens to the animal(s) in the movie. And the animal does not have to be the focus of the film. The synopsis for Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004) is “Ron Burgundy’s dog, Baxter, is punted off of a bridge. He eventually shows up again, having miraculously survived.” Why do you need to know more?

Great Deals

In anticipation of the upcoming new release in her Animal Magnetism series, Rumor Has It (November 5th) fans of Jill Shalvis will be pleased to note that the third book, Rescue My Heart, is on sale on Amazon for only $1.99. Since this is the book that precedes the one about to come out (and the heroine of Rumor Has It is introduced in this book), this bargain is both fabulous and practical to get you all caught up.

OMG. Cynthia Eden‘s fantastic paranormal series, Bound, has been bundled as Forever Bound so you can get the first four books for a mere $.99. What a deal!! I love all these books but Bound in Sin (#3) about the werewolf who thinks his teenage love has been killed only to see her return years later – as a vampire, his mortal enemy – is heart-wrenchingly awesome. Be sure to take advantage of this wonderful bargain. This deal is supposedly for only one week (and I’m not sure of the start date) so act quickly.

Delilah Marvelle’s Mistress of Pleasure historical romance is currently discounted to $2.42 (which seems like a weird price, but who am I to judge?). Featuring the granddaughter of a courtesan and the duke to whom she succumbs, this novel seems to have some intriguing twists and turns worth exploring, particularly at that price!

The ever-funny Molly Harper’s The Care and Feeding of Vampires is discounted right now to a mere $1.99. Considering this is the first in her Half Moon Hollow series, it might be a nice way to introduce yourself to this outstanding paranormal author known for her mix of sensuality and humor. Consider it a Halloween present to yourself.

Carla Cassidy’s Western (with a dash of suspense) Cowboy with a Cause is free for download on Amazon right now and it’s worth checking out. A former dancer with health issues and a sexy tenant is a hot combination, but the suspense element and the fact that the heroine is in a wheelchair take this story into interesting territory.

Fever by Joan Swan got rave reviews when it came out last year, but if you missed this thrill-a-minute tale of a wronged convict and the woman he kidnaps, you can grab it at Amazon for the discounted price of $1.99 right now.

That’s it for this week. Happy Reading, everyone! 🙂

Jill Shalvis Gives Us Strong Men and Sweet Animals in her Animal Magnetism Series

20 Nov

Animal Magnetism (Animal Magnetism #1 – Lilah and Brady’s story) by Jill Shalvis (Berkley, February 1, 2011)

Jill Shalvis has incredible writing strengths which make her one of my favorite contemporary romance authors. She writes strong, damaged heroes, sexy heroines often as funny as they are beautiful, and always gives us a strong sense of place, usually a terrific small town where everyone is in each other’s business. After reading her Lucky Harbor series this summer, I went on a MAJOR Jill Shalvis binge (Don’t believe me? Take a look at my Goodreads account), digging up her other series and Harlequin single titles to devour. One of the best series in her ouvre is, without question, the Animal Magnetism series.

“Come for the cover, stay for the writing” could be tagline of this group of terrific romance novels. Every cover has a hot, bare-chested man and/or an adorable animal – how many women could resist that? But this series offers readers plenty of content between the covers, never fear.

After ex-military men forming a security company, the next best series trope in romance is a sibling group. Sometimes they are related by blood and sometimes they are fostered siblings, but the bond between adults who grew up in rough circumstances, economic or emotional, cannot be broken. It also lays a good foundation for the pending romantic attachment; even the most damaged hero or heroine stands a chance at love if they can have a relationship with a sibling.

In the Animal Magnetism series, we have three foster brothers, Adam, Dell and Brady, living in a small town called Sunshine in the Bitterroot Mountains area of Idaho. All of them had troubled childhoods before being placed with the same caring rancher who offered them the stable home and firm discipline they’d been lacking. While they’ve gone away, they eventually return to Sunshine, a few of them putting down more roots than others.

This is what the Bitterroot Mountains area of Idaho looks like – I can understand why the characters never want to leave it!

In the first book, Animal Magnetism, Brady has finally returned to Sunshine to visit his brothers, Dell and Adam. Dell owns the veterinary clinic in town and splits his time between lavishing love and attention on needy animals and doing the same with the female population of Idaho. Adam, who served a stint in the National Guard, returned home after a terrible mission in which half his team was lost. He’s wrestled in stoic silence with the PTSD from that event but has channeled his talents into a successful dog training venture specializing in Search & Rescue. Brady was Special Forces, with his talent being flying helicopters into highly dangerous situations, but he’s back to being a civilian and has taken some time off from the company that sends him all over the world to fly at a moment’s notice.

When Brady’s parked car gets rear-ended by a flustered young woman, he’s more interested in her big eyes and the way her utilitarian Carhart pants pull across her lovely bottom. The fact that she’s got a potbellied pig, a duck and two puppies in her truck is an intriguing element in the mix. Lilah Young can’t get over how a bad a day she’s having. Her kennel business is paying the bills, but she’s been staying up studying for her online classes and she just paid the price when she plowed into the truck belonging to the total hottie visiting town. His truck seemed to have little damage but hers is the worse for wear and it’s not like she has the money to fix it. Brady is kind enough to drive her home to her cabin next to the kennels so she can give him her insurance information and she impulsively kisses him, thinking she’ll never see him again. Imagine her surprise when she finds him in Dell’s veterinary clinic and Adam introduces Brady as the other foster brother she’d never met.

Brady is just as surprised to see this compelling woman joking with his two brothers, who clearly consider her part of the family. When his brothers bribe him with the tempting offer of rehabbing a sweet helicopter so they can use it for their business, it’s the vision of Lilah as much as spending time with them and the bird that has him agreeing to stay a month. Although he’s made it clear that anything between them is temporary, Lilah decides to seize life with both hands and let this fling with Brady evolve to what it will be. Brady finds himself addicted to Lilah, seeing the way she cares for everyone and everything, all the while maintaining her independence. As the days tick by, he’s unsure he’ll be able to let her go and maintain his personal policy of not getting involved.

Animal Attraction (Animal Magnetism #2 – Dell & Jade’s story) by Jill Shalvis (Berkley, October 4, 2011)

Of the three books in the series, the first is my favorite, largely due to Lilah. This is the woman you want as your best friend – she’s open, funny, and honestly acknowledges her feelings (at least to herself). Watching her fall for every animal in her care and weep bitter tears when she gives them away to a good home because she knows it’s what best for them, gives you a clear sense of how she’s going to approach a relationship. Brady is smoking hot, but he’s also got a heart that instantly recognizes Lilah is something special. Seeing him reveal his playful side and his emotions to Lilah is one of the most heartwarming parts of this book. Setting the stage for all three volumes in this series, the secondary characters of the animals are nothing short of fabulous – little did I realize I would be so captivated by the antics of a duck and a lamb!

In Animal Attraction, we get insight into the fact that there’s more between Dell and his gorgeous redhead receptionist, Jade, than meets the eye. She’s the one woman whose never fallen at his feet, but over the last eighteen months of her running his office with incredible efficiency, she has managed to become an intrinsic part of the family he, Adam, and Brady have created. Her announcement that she’s returning to Chicago in a month has Dell a little panicky, particularly after they share an unexpected kiss in his truck that puts Fourth of July fireworks to shame.

When Dell sees Jade frightened out of her cool exterior by a kid in a Halloween mask, and PTSD surface, he and Adam realize something horrible has happened to her in her past. Helping her is a given, and he convinces her that she’ll feel more in control if she begins to learn self-defense. She agrees to do it, dedicating herself to wrestling control of her life back into her own hands. Being regularly in Dell’s arms doesn’t hurt anything and as they draw closer, she’s worried she can’t keep her feelings at bay. But Dell is a playboy who doesn’t let any woman in, ever, so how can she take a chance on him?

Dell is a fabulous character – warm and charming, he nevertheless has a ton of intelligence and deep feelings, with Shalvis drawing him so three-dimensionally you’d believe it if he walked off the page. Jade is frustrating in her self-containment but since we have insight as to why she is that way (and what she is afraid of) she’s simultaneously incredibly sympathetic. The real joy in this novel is watching Dell and Jade reveal the innermost parts of themselves to each other, because you know that these two private people are not in the habit of letting anyone in to their emotions or past. Some of the final scenes in Chicago had me cheering, and it wasn’t due to the s’mores that Jade was making!

Rescue My Heart (Animal Magnetism #3 – Adam & Holly’s story) by Jill Shalvis (Berkley, November 6, 2012)

It was hard not to wait with an impatient toe tapping for the third book in the series since you knew it was going to focus on the silent Adam and the rich, blond who seemed to drive him crazy, Holly. I was disconcerted to find out two pieces of information that I didn’t know from the previous books: 1) that Adam and Holly had been secretly together when they were teenagers and that 2) everyone believed Holly to be married the whole time she was storming in and out of Adam’s life with her rancher father’s golden retriever puppies.

That information definitely set the stage for the story. Holly and Adam are two of the most frustrating hero/heroines you’ve ever rooted to get together. Stubborn and remote are adjectives that can apply to both of them, in spades. When the story opens, Adam is coming off a rough and search and rescue, his rambunctious yellow lab, Milo, in tow and thinking about how he just wants a hot shower and to sleep for a couple of days. The last thing he expects to be confronted with is a scared married bombshell by the name of Holly, worried that her aging father is not answering his phone after three days of camping by himself. The only person she trusts to track him is Adam, who finds himself moved by Holly’s transparent fear.

She insists on coming with him and, with just the two of them and Milo looking in her father’s favorite haunts, layers get stripped off Adam and Holly (and I don’t just mean their clothes) as they find out truths about their respective pasts. To say that Adam is emotionally remote is almost British in its understatement, and I sided with Holly that she should be frustrated that every pushy male in her life – her father, her brother and Adam – all had made decisions for “her” benefit without every consulting her. Argghh!

Holly is almost always angry and indignant, mostly as a shield against Adam, for whom she has never stopped having feelings. It exhausted me listening to her internal conflict as she realizes she still has feelings (physical and emotional) for Adam and determines not to succumb to them. Adam is equally as strangle-eligible as Holly is the one woman who really lights his fire – the only one he ever has loved – yet he is so convinced of his inability to love anyone that he offers her no encouragement. It felt like it took two-thirds of the book for these two to work through the initial bulk of their feelings in order to reach a point where they would entertain the thought that there could be a chance things would work.

My mental image of the wonderful Search & Rescue dog, Milo.

Thank heavens for our previous characters and for the dogs, Adam’s Search & Rescue dog, Milo, especially (although Holly’s father fosters S&R puppies and Thing 1 and Thing 2 are pretty terrific). The presence of the two very happy couples of Brady/Lilah and Dell/Jade, who knew that Adam and Holly were meant to be together, kept me from committing character homicide a couple of times. I can’t say that I got totally into this book like I did the first two, but I was happy to see them work through their issues. You can’t argue that once Adam is in, he’s in. Nothing halfway for Adam! Part of my reluctance to embrace them is a personal prejudice I have – I’m just not a fan of the rekindled or second chance romance.

I did love the introduction of Holly’s brother, Grif, who regularly skyped her from his military post, as well as Holly’s grade-school teacher (and socially awkward) best friend. The next book in the series, entitled Rumor Has It, will focus on this unlikely pairing and I’m already looking forward to August 2013 because of it. Jill Shalvis is a terrific author with characterization and a talent for creating a small-town setting that has you calling a mover, you are so in love with the place. Try the Animal Magnetism series and enjoy both her two and four-legged characters in these terrific romances!

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