*I received a free copy of Still the One from Berkley via Netgalley. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *|
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?
Still the One has the romance, the struggle, the humor and the sweetness down pat.
My Still the One review:
Still the One features two great characters, some amazing dogs, and quite a struggle for both Darcy and AJ. Darcy usually traveled the world to write articles for a geography magazine, up until her horrible car accident, after which some doctors said she might never walk again. Stubborn as ever, though, Darcy did her physiotherapy, and AJ helped the best he could, and after a long time Darcy was able to walk once more – first using a cane, and then on her own. During her struggle to get back on her feet, she stayed with her siblings in the house they had inherited from their grand-parents in a small town where she had sometimes spent her summer as a child.
Darcy had been lusting after AJ for quite a while, she’d even managed to get him to kiss her once; and that didn’t work out so well for either of them. Darcy felt like she wasn’t good enough, and AJ only wanted to protect his battered heart from more pain. Still the One has quite a lot of frustrated romance, and it also has a lot of love, friendship, loyalty, and beautiful former rescue dogs that Darcy buys to re-assign to someone who might not be able to afford one on their own. And when AJ needs Darcy to come with him to try to help him out for a grant-application so he can continue physiotherapy with his patients after their insurance stops paying, their chemistry definitely heats up quite a bit.
All the usual contemporary romance tropes are present in Still the One, and I think that’s partly why I enjoyed it so much. I was really in the mood for a sweet, romantic read, and that’s exactly what Shalvis delivered to me. Seemingly unrequited love is something I love reading about, and when the characters try their best to not fall in love, the falling becomes all the sweeter in the end. Written in third person past tense, the readers get to know both AJ and Darcy quite well, and the unfolding of their feelings was a pleasure to follow.
Some of my favorite Still the One quotes:
Naturally, AJ was not a mess. Not that he ever was. Nope, as usual, he’d defied the odds, the rain not daring to stick to him.
She was long-legged, hotter than the sun that hadn’t bothered to show its face in weeks, and looked like the poster woman for the very best kind of trouble – trouble she could and had delivered.
She burst out laughing.
And actually so did AJ.
Darcy cocked her head up at him. “huh,” she said. “Didn’t know you could do that.”
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: