Rescue My Heart

Jill Shalvis
November 2012, Contemporary Romance
Berkley Sensation, $7.99, 304 pages, Amazon ASIN 0425255816
Part of a series

Grade: B
Sensuality: Warm

Itís always tricky starting a series without reading earlier entries. Will I care about the hero and heroine? Will appearances by past heroes and heroines make sense? And most importantly, will the book work as a standalone? Fortunately, the answer to all three of these questions for me is a resounding ďyes.Ē I thoroughly enjoyed Rescue My Heart, the third in the authorís Animal Magnetism and the first Iíve read.

Adam Connelly is back in Sunshine, Idaho after being on active duty in the National Guard. In addition to running an animal clinic with his brothers, heís the Search and Rescue coordinator for the region and is heavily involved with leading and training other volunteers. But two years after some horrific experiences in Afghanistan, the actual rescues are a major problem for Adam. Although his panic attacks and nightmares have lessened, Adam still suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. Heís not ready, and feels he may never be, for a serious relationship. And he especially wants nothing to do with Holly Reid.

Holly grew up in New York, but first met Adam as a teenager when she spent a summer on one of her fatherís ranches in Sunshine. Adam was wild and reckless and he was Hollyís first love and the first man to break her heart. Given their past, Holly wants nothing to do with Adam, but she needs him. Her father went on a hunting trip three days earlier and hasnít returned.

Holly manages to convince Adam to look for her father, and then sneaks along for the rescue. This portion of the book dragged at times for me; it felt as if Holly and Adam rehashed their past problems multiple times. While they grow close over the course of the rescue, Adam remains adamant about not starting a relationship with anyone.

Adam grows considerably throughout the book. In contrast, Hollyís development takes place before the book begins. She stayed in a lousy marriage too long, and then never told her brother and father when she actually divorced her ex-husband. By the time the book begins, although she still hasnít told her family the truth about her marriage, sheís settled in to what she wants, where she wants to live, and itís in Sunshine managing her fatherís properties.

I havenít read the first two books in the series so donít know how this fits in, but it worked well for me as a standalone. Lilah and Brady from Animal Magnetism and Jade and Dell from Animal Attraction make appearances. They come across as strong and interesting, and make me want to go back and read their stories. I especially enjoyed the interactions between Adam and his brothers.

Although they didnít play a major role in the book, I look forward to the next book in the series featuring Hollyís friend Kate and her brother Griffin. In her few scenes Kate came across as intelligent, but socially awkward, and I look forward to seeing how that plays out.

A few things are wrapped up too quickly for my taste at the end, particularly Hollyís fatherís relationship with a woman. But despite that, I really enjoyed this book. While this worked for me as a standalone, I want to read the rest in the series; a sure sign of a successful read.

-- LinnieGayl Kimmel

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