Last Summer/Fall I binged on Jill Shalvis’ Lucky Harbor series, and although I didn’t love the later books in the series as much as the original three, they are all very solid small town romances. I am not exactly sure why I didn’t give the Animal Magnetism series a try when I ran out of Lucky Harbor books to read. I suspect that since I am not much of a pet person, the photo-shopped pets on the covers just didn’t appeal to me. What did appeal to me about Then Came You was the blurb. I love fish out of water stories, and I love it when one-night stands don’t stay anonymous.
Emily has a master plan for her life. Finish Veterinary School, land a posh internship in Beverly Hills Clinic, get a great start on lucrative career in her hometown of LA and maybe reconnect with her old study buddy, John when she has time to date again. Romance is way down on her priority list. Despite her careful planing things are just not working out as she intended. Instead of the easy Beverly Hills internship she had her eye on, she ends up assigned to busy practice in Sunshine, Idaho that serves the neighboring ranching and farming communities. Emily is professional however, and while this it is not what she had in mind she always lives up to her commitments. What throws her for a loop is that one of her supervisors is Wyatt, her one one-night stand. What Wyatt and Emily shared at a Reno Vet convention earlier in the year was the hottest & best sex she ever had, but Wyatt is just not on part of her plan. Wyatt however is thrilled to see Emily again. While he has not been pining away or actively doing anything to track her down, he can’t deny that they have a chemistry he would love to keep exploring.
What I loved: Both Wyatt and Emily are very responsible, hard working people. Neither of them are actually very casual about sex, but they had no regrets/angst about their one-night stand. They love their work, they love their families (however difficult they are), and they go out of their way to take care of those around them. Despite appearances (Wyatt is easy-going and seemingly laid-back and Emily is driven and obsessive planner) this was not an opposite-attracts story. Both Wyatt and Emily have made choices about how they run their lives in reaction to their families of origin so while on the surface they seem quite different they have more in common than they expect.
Emily’s parents made emotional choices, that led to financial and emotional instability. Wyatt’s parents dragged him and his siblings all around the world and as result Wyatt learned early not to get attached and to never expect anyone to change their plans for his benefit. While Emily’s obsession with sticking to her life-plan seems like the biggest obstacle in their relationship it was Wyatt’s no-pressure laid-back approach that proved to be the most dangerous.
What didn’t work for me: The resolution of the dog-in-peril subplot. Early on in the novel Emily find mysteriously injured dog. Her attachment to this dog and other animals she starts rescuing put lie to the notion that she is making purely rational decisions about her life. However three-quarters of the way into the book, this secondary plot takes center stage. While this plot worked to heat up Emily and Wyatt’s relationship, I didn’t like that the surprise out of nowhere evil-villain turn by one of the supporting characters.
Although Then Came You was book five in the Animal Magnetism series, it works to read as stand-alone. While previous couples make appearances their presence never overpowers or distracts from the main characters. I will definitely be looking to pick up the previous books when I next have hankering for small-town romances.
4 out 5 stars
A e-copy of Then Came You was provided by PENGUIN GROUP Berkley, NAL / Signet Romance, DAW for review purposes.
Publication Date July 1st.