Animal Magnetism

Jill Shalvis
February 2011, Contemporary Romance
Berkley Sensation, $7.99, 304 pages, Amazon ASIN 0425239810

Grade: B
Sensuality: Hot

Long-time fans will be happy to find that Jill Shalvis’ signature light tone and terrific sense of humor are alive and well in her latest novel. Those and a hot former soldier who melts the sidewalk wherever he goes and an irresistible, competent woman who lights up the lives of the people around her make this book a delight to read.

Sunshine, Idaho kennel co-owner Lilah Young is having one of those days when it seems nothing goes right. Carrying dogs, a duck, and a pot-bellied pig in her Jeep definitely doesn’t make her a more careful driver as she hits pilot-for-hire Brady Miller’s truck.

Brady has returned to Sunshine to the only home he’s ever known in order to visit the other two guys who were placed in the same foster home with him. Brothers Dell and Adam want Brady to join their veterinary center as a helicopter pilot so they can get around the state more easily. Brady’s not so sure he wants to put down roots anywhere, much less in tiny Sunshine.

However, Brady is intrigued with the impulsive Lilah, and gives her a blazing hot kiss in the middle of town, a kiss that buzzes through the gossip lines quickly. Since Lilah is the town’s sweetheart and Brady appears to be one burning hunk of a man, everyone wishes them well and predicts a HEA ending for them.

Because Brady is the quintessential Mr. Non-commitment who’s finally met his match with the big-hearted, loving Lilah, sparks fly between them. Lilah has been burned before, so she’s happy to accept Brady as a lover, but not as her other half.

In fact, Lilah delights in bedeviling Brady, at one point sticking him with an abandoned puppy. On his side, Brady resists being tied down even as he gets to know more about her than he’s ever known about any other woman.

The story is short on actual conflict and long on sexual attraction – animal magnetism if you will. To Brady’s consternation and salvation, Lilah shows him what true love is all about, and Brady responds by opening himself to emotions he never thought he had.

Shalvis has never been an auto-read for me before, but after enjoying this one, I’m going to have to glom her previous books and put her on my alert list.

-- Pat Henshaw

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