Title: Animal Magnetism
Author: Jill Shalvis
Reading Level: Adult
May Contain Spoilers
Co-owner of the town’s only kennel, Lilah Young has lived in Sunshine, Idaho, all her life. Pilot-for-hire Brady Miller is just passing through. But he soon has Lilah abandoning her instincts and giving in to a primal desire.
It’s Brady’s nature to resist being tied down, but there’s something about Lilah and her menagerie that keeps him coming back for more.
Animal Magnetism is a book that I picked up on impulse at a Borders’ closeout sale. One look at the woe-be-gone puppy cuddled to the cover model’s chest, and I had to have it. I didn’t even read the synopsis on the back of the book. I have been challenging myself to read books outside of my normal comfort zone, so I scooped this up, thinking that the puppy couldn’t steer me wrong. He didn’t!
Due to preconceived, and highly erroneous, impressions I had about the line, I have avoided any Berkley Sensation titles. I am not sure why or when I started to view them in such a negative light, because I have never actually read one, but for the record, my idea of what they are like was so far off base it’s not even funny. This is a fun, humorous contemporary romance with engaging characters and an added cast of critters to complicate the protagonists’ lives.
Lilah makes a bad first impression with Brady Miller when she crashes into his truck. Oops! It was really the duck’s fault, but trying to explain that would make her sound absolutely nuts. Lilah is lucky that Brady turns out to be a nice guy, because she has a carload of animals to ferry back to her kennel. Instead of leaving her hanging out to dry, he offers to chauffeur her, and her charges, home. Before you can say “Quack!” they share a mutual attraction, but as Brady makes it quite clear, he’s only in town for a short time to visit his foster brothers, and then he’s hitting the highway again.
And this brings me to the reason I gave the book a slightly lower grade than I would have otherwise. Lilah pursues a fling with Brady, knowing that there is no future for them. She accepts that he isn’t going to be a permanent addition to her life, and she wants to get him and her blazing attraction to him out of her system. This is my second least favorite romance trope, with the dreaded destined mate trope edging out in front. I’ve only been reading romances again for a short while, and several of the book have featured this plotline. Sigh. (Rant off)
Lilah isn’t the kind of girl to be content with a wild fling, regardless of how satisfying the sex is. She takes her relationships very seriously. She isn’t the love ‘em and leave ‘em kind of girl. She values how other people feel, and that’s what I loved about her. She grows attached to everything, even the stray animals she shelters for a short time. It eats away at her every time she has to give them up, even knowing that she has found a wonderful, forever home for her furry charges. I was a little resentful of Brady for what I saw as almost taking advantage of her. He knows what she’s like, and he still agrees to a no-strings attached relationship. Sometimes somebody has to be the adult and just walk away from a situation before someone else gets hurt. When it started to look like his feathers were going to get singed, too, I forgave him.
The sparks fly between Lilah and Brady, and steam almost rises off of the pages. While their relationship is riveting (and hot!), it’s the secondary characters who give this book its soul. Lilah lives in a small town, and everyone knows everything about everybody else. When a sexy stranger drifts into town and makes a temporary home above the animal clinic, every woman from miles around is drawn to openly drool over the very eligible bachelor. Better yet, the staff running the clinic is made up of two more hotties, and I am left to wonder if the practice would be as profitable if Dell and Adam resembled some of their four-legged clients. Dell, Adam, and even Jade quickly won me over with their humor. All of these tough guys (and one snarky girl) are caring and concerned about the people around them. I love people who will go out on a limb to give their friends a hand. I am so happy that there will be more books featuring them, and am counting down the days until I can visit with them again and learn more about them.
There were a few places where I felt the plot was spiraling a teeny bit out of control, and I wondered at Lilah’s swift healing abilities, but I quickly shrugged these off and boosted up my suspense of belief barrier. This is a quick, fun read, perfect for a little escape from reality.
Review copy purchased at Borders