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Friday, May 05, 2006:
Trust those "Animal Instincts"
I have seen this author's work a few times, and have even had some of her stories recommended to me, but this story, "Animal Instincts", is the first book I picked up, mostly because of the title, and then from the synopsis:

Animal Instincts -- May 06 In the jungle of life, only the strong survive. Naomi Delacroix isn't strong. She's always been a doormat, allowing everyone she encounters to wipe their muddy boots (and stilettos) on the rug that is her life. When she's given a copy of self-help manual, Unleashing the Tigress Within, a book that promises to transform her into an assertive, take-no-prisoners female, she attempts to follow its advice. Not an easy task at first. Go for the jugular - ouch! Leave opponent in a mentally bloody heap - what a mess! But she begins to strengthen, to become the woman she's always wanted to be. Too bad the new and improved Naomi is driving everyone away -- the boyfriend now taking applications for a wife, the step-dad who may or may not be cheating, and the mom determined to marry her off, whatever the price. What's a Tigress to do?

When I saw the cover in the bookstore, I just had to pick it up, and when I read the previous description, I was definitely intrigued. Gena Showalter has written a very funny, very entertaining love story with some poignant moments. Told in the first person, "Animal Instincts" deals with the insecurities that a broken marriage leaves behind, and how they affect a person's relationships with their future partners, their family, and their friends. A person's self-esteem can be so broken that they are unwilling to risk their heart again, and instead of trust and commitment, they see lies and deception, even from those closest to them.

But this story is not all serious and emotional. Naomi may seem like an unlikely heroine for the rich and gorgeous Royce, but she has a personality and a strength all her own, one that attracts Royce right from the get-go. Her personal experiences with counseling and her fear of flying had me laughing out loud throughout the book. Naomi is a woman worthy of love, but that's really not the issue. It's the long-term commitment she's having a problem with because it's her strongest belief that even the most stable relationship will crumble to dust eventually. So rather than wait around for the inevitable, she wants to avoid what she considers the pretense of a committed relationship. But when it comes to love, it's all a leap of faith, and a life filled with love will be worth the risk. It was a joy to watch as Naomi discovers this.

And the book is hot! Now that's not so unusual these days (see previous post), but to write a scorching love scene and not make it appear gratuitous or boring is not an easy task, yet Gena has done just that. Turn up the a/c because "Animal Instincts" is tons of sexy fun. Doesn't finding your own inner tigress just sound like so much fun?

I would recommend this book to anyone, and I plan on checking out her backlist as well as the coming attractions. Gena Showalter is one to watch :)


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