4 out of 5 stars ★★★★☆
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?
Jill Shalvis has a formula that just works. Sexy, humorous, sweet. Just plain ol’ cute. Heroines that are quirky and strong. Heroes that are just yummy. She manages somehow to keep things feeling fresh every time. It’s what made me fall for her Lucky Harbor series (which I miss. A lot. Can we get with get a short story with Jax, Sawyer, and Ford babysitting or something?). The Animal Magnetism series is great for filling that void, though. And there are puppies! There are other adorable fur babies too, but PUPPIES!
What I really love about Still the One is that it’s Darcy who’s relationship shy and needs convincing, rather than the guy being in the role as usual. Though A.J. too has his own demons of relationships past to wrestle with. And it’s A.J. who has competition rather than the villainous other-woman trope. And the possible other woman? She’s actually nice and rooting for our couple!
Who cares if contemporary romances are the basically the same story over and over again? Just makes it easier to plug yourself in as the heroine. That’s what it’s all about anyway; living out the fantasy. And if Jill Shalvis is writing it, I’m reading it.