When Adam, an emotionally wounded veteran, decides to help Holly—the woman he left behind 10 years ago when he enlisted after a local tragedy and found himself in Afghanistan—he opens the door to a future he’s convinced he doesn’t deserve.
Adam Connelly really just wants to be left alone. Still nursing emotional wounds he suffered in battle, as well as guilt over the fatal accident which led him to enlist, the last thing he needs is Holly Reid—the only girl he ever loved and whom he abandoned for her own good—demanding his help to find her father. But, they both know that Holly wouldn’t ask if she weren’t desperate, since she’s made it pretty clear she can’t stand the sight of him after what he did to her. She’s married now, to the guy she hooked up with almost as soon as he left her, so reentering her orbit won’t be particularly risky. Will it? Of course, Holly has her own secrets, and neither time, distance nor antipathy seem to have dulled the raging attraction between the ex-lovers. Holly and Adam must lay themselves bare to one another before they can overcome the emotional ghosts of their individual and shared pasts. Shalvis’ book, the third in her Animal Magnetism series (Animal Attraction, 2011, etc.), contains many of the things Shalvis is known for: great dialogue, smooth writing and compelling pacing. However, something goes awry in this book. Adam’s emotional arc is fickle. The character tells himself he doesn’t want to get involved, that he’ll only wind up hurting Holly—but then seduces her with a sweet wistfulness that seems at odds with his professed intentions and his angry, wounded persona. Holly claims strength as a guiding principal but represents the quality in unsettling, implausible ways. Intentions and motivations continually shift; at times they seem inauthentic, at other times simply unconvincing.
Despite great pacing and well-executed emotional high notes, Shalvis misses the mark in creating authentic, cohesive main characters, undermining the overall success of the book.