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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. 

Hmmm, Didn't I See This Plot on Grey's Anatomy a Few Years Back?

Then Came You - Jill Shalvis

I'm generally not a fan of what I like to call the I-don't-wanna-love-you-because-REASONS trope. You know what I mean: those books where the lovers have great chemistry and the stars align to throw them together over and over again, and everything would be all peaches and roses except one or the other of them (or sometimes both) has some kind of bullshit mental block against commitment. I know every romance has to have some sort of conflict that must be resolved before the Happy Ever After, but I don't have a lot of patience with stories where the conflict exists solely in a character's mind.

 

In Then Came You, both the main characters have "reasons". Emily is a veterinary intern assigned to a clinic in tiny Sunshine, Idaho, which she considers a frustrating departure from her Grand Life Plan -- to make the big bucks in Beverly Hills treating the pampered pets of the rich and famous. It's not that Emily's a golddigger, exactly, but her family never had much money, and then her mother's terminal illness put them into bankruptcy, and now Emily supports not only herself but her widowed father and her underemployed sister. Because her stay in Sunshine is supposed to be temporary, she doesn't want to make long-term attachments to the people there, which proves complicated when her new supervisor, Dr. Wyatt Stone, turns out to be the guy she hooked up with in an uncharacteristic but memorable one night stand at a vet conference a few months ago.

 

Wyatt also has "reasons." His parents uprooted the family over and over again as they moved around in diplomatic service, so now that he's an adult, Wyatt wants nothing more than to put down roots and settle down. Unfortunately, he tried that already, but his last love, Caitlin, left him to take a job with Doctors Without Borders. Wyatt's tired of falling for people who only end up leaving, and since he knows Emily plans to go back to California the instant her internship ends, he doesn't want to get serious with her.

 

-Except that Wyatt and Emily can't help but get serious. They keep falling into bed together (and into Wyatt's truck, and over his desk, and...), despite their halfhearted protests that sex isn't a good idea. The whole book goes like that: they have sex, Wyatt asks, "hey, you still planning to leave?", Emily says "Yup," they agree more sex would be bad, and then they do it anyway. This wouldn't be quite so annoying if, instead of saying, "hey, you still leaving?" Wyatt said, "hey, we've got something special here, and it'd be really great if you'd stay" or if Emily countered the question with, "You know, maybe I'd stay if you gave me reason," but that level of adult communication is beyond their abilities.

 

Wyatt and Emily are both perfectly likeable, the dialogue is funny, the pacing is snappy, but the story was just kind of "meh," and maybe that's just because this particular trope is not my personal catnip.