When a contractor needs someone to care for his inherited cat, he turns to the neighborhood pet-store owner, not realizing that the two have an unfortunate shared past or that she just may be the future he’s never admitted he’s looking for.
Both Keane Winters and Willa Davis had difficult childhoods: Keane was the son of older, impatient parents who punished him for his energy and curiosity, and Willa was the daughter of an alcoholic mother whose neglect landed her in and out of foster care. When Keane’s great-aunt goes into the hospital, he promises to take care of her cat, a promise that becomes long-term when she goes into a rehab center. Feeling guilty for leaving the cat alone all day, Keane attempts to board her at the neighborhood pet store. Owner Willa agrees to take the cat but is oddly antagonistic despite the fiery attraction they share and doesn’t soften for days even while she cares for the cat. Finally she lets him know that he was responsible for a devastating experience she had in high school that he doesn’t even remember, but he apologizes, does her a huge set of favors, and then asks her out, an invitation she accepts. The two spend time together and finally give in to their attraction, both adamant that it’s just physical and they don’t want anything else. But as the sex gets more impassioned and their lives more entwined, they still have to learn how to trust themselves and each other before they can form a real relationship, which they each resist in their own ways. Shalvis' second Heartbreaker Bay novel hits all the notes the author is celebrated for: realistic characters enveloped in a tight, dependable community; emotionally intense back story and angst-y internal turmoil; rapid-fire dialogue and wordplay; and scorching sexual tension, all of which almost completely camouflages the lack of deep conflict between the characters beyond I’m emotionally unavailable when they patently aren’t.
A sexy Shalvis read that fans will love.