By day, I'm a domestic violence prosecutor. By night, I read romance to restore my faith in love, relationships, and humanity in general.
Even when I don't love Jill Shalvis, and even as I acknowledge there's a sameness to so many of her small town contemporaries, her books are still miles above and beyond so much of the others in the contemporary romance subgenre. She has a gift for snappy dialogue, well-paced story, and emotional nuance that makes her romances compelling even when they are a tad formulaic.
Still the One is the latest in Shalvis' Animal Magnetism series set in Sunshine, Idaho. The heroine, Darcy, is the younger sister of Wyatt, whom readers may recall as the hero of Then Came You (the previous book in the series). Darcy is recovering from a severe car accident that nearly left her unable to walk. The hero, AJ, is the physical therapist who kept working with Darcy even after her insurance ran out, and who is thus largely responsible for her recovery. AJ has had a thing for Darcy since well before her accident, but she has childhood abandonment issues that make her resist love and commitment.
Nothing really stood out for me in this read as new or different or particularly earth-shattering, but what I'm coming to appreciate about Shalvis (as I search for other contemporary artists and series to enjoy) is how effortlessly entertaining her books are. The characters are almost always likeable, the conflict is always sympathetic and believable, the plot doesn't drag or skate, and the romance is almost universally satisfying.