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Heidi Hart

By day, I'm a domestic violence prosecutor. By night, I read romance to restore my faith in love, relationships, and humanity in general. 

"Nobody but You" by Jill Shalvis

Nobody But You (Cedar Ridge) - Jill Shalvis

Jill Shalvis' contemporary romances are like your favorite junk food. Reliably satisfying, exactly what you're expecting, but often a little disappointing when you get to the end and realize you've squandered your calorie allotment and could have made better choices. 


Nobody but You, like most Shalvis books, features a tough alpha hero with a soft, gooey center, and a perky, quirky heroine who's down-on-her-luck at the moment. Jacob is home on leave from the military, recovering from the combat death of his best friend. Sophie is getting over an ugly divorce. They plan for their sexual relationship to be a no-pressure, no-future rebound thing, but of course they both develop Feelings. 


While I enjoyed this book, I was disappointed by how superficial it was (though that's pretty typical for Shalvis). Both main characters are going through a lot, but Jacob in particular, and I would have liked to see more emotional growth as he worked through his grief over his buddy's death and as he negotiated the relationships with his mother, stepmother, and siblings -- relationships he has neglected for close to a decade. Instead, the author did too much telling us what the characters felt and very little showing us. I think my disappointment was heightened because Jacob's homecoming was heavily foreshadowed in the previous books in the series (which focus on his brothers), so to have his reunion with his family so airbrushed here was anticlimactic. 


I also thought there were several plot twists toward the end of the book that felt inauthentic, and struck me as lazy coincidences meant to move the story along rather than something that would actually happen. Things like, when the conflict between the couple lags, Shalvis stirs it up by having them have a sudden fight that could have been avoided if they talked to each other like adults. And then when it's time to make up, she manufactures a crisis big enough to make the fight seem insignificant (which, in fact, if they'd known how to communicate, it would have been). 


But, you know, it's Shalvis. If she keeps writing, I'll keep reading... because she's like my favorite junk food.