Publish Date: Out Now
How I got this book: NetGalley
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?
*Blurb from Goodreads*
I adore Shalvis, her writing just makes me happy. The Animal Magnetism series is a favorite of mine, so everytime a new one comes out, I jump for joy.
Darcy was in a horrific accident and has been working with physical therapist, AJ. He rejected her once, and despite the little dance her hormones do every time he comes near, Darcy is determined to keep him at an arm’s length. But, AJ needs her help getting funding for his center and Darcy can’t refuse.
AJ has wanted Darcy for a long time, but he refuses to let himself fall for another scarred woman. But as their fake relationship grows, so does their real bond. Neither one can deny the attraction, and as time goes on, they realize they might be better together than apart.
I thought the premise for this book was adorable. I’m a big fan of marriage of convenience and similar tropes, so this one was right up my alley. However, I did start to get a little burnt out on the fact that AJ and Darcy were both so obviously in love with each other, and kept pushing each other away. I wanted their relationship to progress faster, because they were so great together. The anguish they put on themselves and their relationship got to be a little too much for me, despite the fact that I adored them as a couple.
AJ was such a wonderful hero. I wish we would have had more scenes from his POV, because he was just amazing. He was so caring and sweet and had a heart of gold. His utter devotion and passion for his clients and his work was so great to read, and I loved that Shalvis didn’t hesitate to show what a sensitive guy he was. He was bossy and surly, but he had such a soft side. I couldn’t help but fall for him.
Like AJ, Darcy was also a super softy. Her passion for matching wounded heroes with search and rescue dogs that needed rescuing of their own made me melt. I’ve never thought of what happens to service animals when they aren’t able to serve anymore, and I love that Shalvis took the time to shine a light on the subject. I wanted to help Darcy save all the dogs, and wish I could!! But when it came to romance, Darcy was STUBBORN. When AJ rejected her once, she was hell bent on keeping her heart safe from him, even when it became clear he was all in.
I hope that Shalvis continues to write books within the Animal Magnetism series, because I absolutely love this cast of characters as well as the animal tie in. Having dogs and cats and other furry friends play such an active role in each book makes me so happy.
All in all I really enjoyed this book. AJ and Darcy were such wonderful characters that were perfect for each other, despite the fact it took them forever to see it. There were some great secondary characters in this book that I hope we get to see have their own HEA. I can’t wait to see what Shalvis has in store for us next.
I give Still the One a B