GET WILD . .. AND THEN GET WILDER . . .
Accountant Katie Kramer is a quintessential good girl – working hard, recycling diligently, all the while trying to ignore the feeling that she doesn’t fit in anywhere. That’s all she wants. Well, that – and amazing sex, and the kind of daredevil escapade she can look back on when she’s crunching numbers in a dusty cubicle. Which explains why she just took a job in Wishful, California, working for Wilder Adventures and Expeditions. Waking up to find a magnificently built stranger towering over her bed – that part defies explanation . . .
If you visit my blog regularly, then you know I have a huge girl crush on Jill Shalvis and her writing. If you don't, well, now you know. And with her latest book, "Instant Attraction", Jill once again reigns supreme.
And just so you know, this book is more than the back cover blurb suggests. Much more, imo. Katie may have had a neat and orderly life at one time, but something happens to make her re-evaluate the safe choices she's made, and she realizes that life is an adventure to experience and savor, not to merely tip-toe through without experiencing all the world has to offer.
This realization brings her miles away from her life as an accountant in L.A.; it leads to a temporary job in Wishful, a beautiful town in the Sierras. Totally out of her element but loving it, Katie is working for Wilder Adventures, setting up hikes and winter events. There's snow, and cold, and darkness, but also clean air, and falling stars. And then there's Cam Wilder.
Cam has just returned home after a year away. Traveling the world in an effort to find something, anything to make him feel again after his accident, his journey finally brings him back to Wishful, where he finds a sleepy Katie in his bed. Under normal circumstances he'd welcome her with open arms, but he's dead tired, and doesn't need the complication right now. If he only knew...
Katie is intrigued by Cam, and the way he's handled his accident; so different than herself. Katie is determined to really live life, to face head-on all those things that scared her in the past, while Cam tends to avoid the truth and runs when things get tough. But despite that, she's drawn to him, and the two become closer as they work together. Cam finds himself helping Katie when she sets out to do all the things that she's never tried, things that Cam used to do himself without a fear in the world. He sees things for the first time through her eyes, and slowly, he begins to feel again. He's amazed by her strength, and he finds her optimism to be incredibly sexy. But he's convinced he should stay away from her. Partly because after a month, she'll be gone, but also because he knows she's not the one-night stand he thinks he wants. And when she finally leaves, he's not sure if he'll ever be the same...
Jill's books are always sexy and fun, but this one was a bit more poignant that some of her previous stories. I found myself running through a gamut of emotion while reading "Instant Attraction", and that's a very good thing. I wanted to reach out and hug both Katie and Cam for being so brave and real. Facing their demons helped heal the wounds they've been carrying around, and while they could have survived just fine on their own, together they were stronger, happier, and that's what it's all about.
What's very evident here is Jill's obvious love of the Sierra Mountains, and despite the cold and snow, it almost made me want to experience it for myself. I could smell the crisp, stinging chill in the air, imagine the foggy breath, hear the abundant silence, and felt at peace picturing myself in Katie's footsteps. Here was a woman who knew how to play it safe, and now was learning now to have real adventures. Instead of giving up and curling into a ball, Katie wanted more than that for herself. She'd been given a second chance, and she wasn't going to screw it up.
Cam himself was trying to put his life back together after losing the exciting career that mattered the world to him. What he didn't expect was having that life turned upside-down by a cute and spirited whirlwind willing to take a chance on him, flaws and all. For the first time ever, Cam didn't think he could walk away this time, and that scared him more than anything. Losing was not an option this time.
What I loved about these characters is that they were real, human, flawed works-in-progress. Even coming to the realization that it was time to start living, Katie didn't have it all together. There were still issues she was dealing with, and not always very well. But she tried,and she didn't give up. I loved that she wasn't a quitter, even when it hurt. Unlike Cam, who panicked when things got a little tough. But eventually he can run anymore, and after a time, he figures out that he doesn't want to. He wants to face the hard stuff, because what he can have with Katie is more real than anything he's ever known, and in order to hold onto it, he has to let himself feel.
If you're already a fan of Jill's books, this is a must-read. If you've never tried her stories, well then this is a great place to start. It's sexy, charming, touching, and one that will surprisingly stay with you after you read that last page. I'm so glad to know that we'll be visiting this world again when the next installment, "Instant Gratification" is released in July. I can't wait!
Rating: ***** out of *****
And coming in July....
THE DOCTOR IS IN DEEP
Wishful, California, is 3000 miles from Dr. Emma Sinclair’s last job in a New York City ER. It may as well be another galaxy. Here, running her father’s clinic for a summer, Emma treats bee stings, stomach flu, and the occasional pet cat. Plus, she has to contend with patients like Stone Wilder: gorgeous, laid-back, and irritating beyond belief. The man laughs at her. A lot. And Emma loathes him. All except that tiny part of her that wants to throw him on her examining table and break every doctor-patient rule in the book…
When Stone tries to help Emma learn to loosen up a bit, he pictures white-water rafting or scenic mountain hikes. Not a mind-blowing affair that shakes them both to the core. Emma’s sure she has no place in a town like Wishful, but Stone knows different. Emma belongs here—in this town, in his life. And convincing this strong-minded, stubborn, sexy woman of that fact will be a challenge no Wilder man could resist…