Saturday, April 10, 2010
Instant Temptation by Jill Shalvis
To Harley, the landscape around Wishful, California, is exhilarating, untamed, and more than a little dangerous. The same could be said for T.J. Wilder, who’s invited himself along on her trek to study a rare coyote. Harley’s career is riding on this trip, and she doesn’t need a stubborn, incredibly sexy distraction. But T.J. is a professional guide who knows when to stay back and when to provide invaluable expertise–just like he’s done since they were in high school. And Harley, as usual, is torn between throttling him and giving in to the raw attraction that’s been smoldering all these years.
T.J. knows how proud and capable Harley is, but he’s damned sure not letting her put herself at risk when there are illegal hunters in the area. She needs him, with the same soul-stirring urgency that he’s always craved her. And here, in this beautiful place days from civilization, he’ll finally have a chance to prove it–over and over again. . .
Oh goodness. When I read Instant Gratification, I noted that Jill had me at hello. She did here as well, only not with the humor, which was more understated in this book, but with TJ and Harley themselves. Their characters are so well done, so well formed that I couldn’t help but root for them and sigh every time they had a confrontation.
TJ is the last Wilder brother, and is feeling a bit uncomfortable living with all the love and couplehood happening in his family. And Harley is going through some changes as well, having finally gotten her degree and beginning the next phase of her life.
I absolutely loved both TJ and Harley, TJ especially. This book seemed somehow softer than the previous two, and I mean that in a great way. It was about TJ discovering his inner feelings and coming to terms with how he felt for Harley and his life, and for Harley to learn to love TJ as an adult and get over what happened years before. TJ is now my favorite Wilder brother (Stone previously held that distinction). He seemed so real, and someone that hot also willing to explore his feelings? Oh yum.
Shalvis gives us a glimpse of the love that Cam and Katie, Stone and Emma, and Abby and Nick have without having them overpower TJ’s story. It was great to see them all so happy, and also to remember some of the humor in the previous stories, such as Stone’s incredible fear of needles. All that happiness also is part of the impetus for TJ to explore his feelings and adds to his discontent.
Harley was a little harder to love. She held on fast to her issues, and it became clear she didn’t want to let TJ know just how much he meant to her out of fear of getting hurt again. But she also treats him wonderfully most of the time. I found it amusing that every time they thought they were going to have sex, they got interrupted (I seem to see that in my books a lot lately). But when they do come together finally, it was amazing, for TJ, Harley, and me as the reader. Because their feelings had time to grow and be nurtured.
I also loved the little shout out to Shalvis’ dog Mountain Barbie, who unfortunately passed away several months ago. She nicknames a group of sorority girls “Mountain Barbie”s, and from reading her blog over these years, it sounded as though Mountain Barbie would have made a perfect sorority girl.
I loved the book. It was sweet, sexy, funny, and emotional. A perfect combination. Shalvis remains a go-to author for wonderful, witty and warm contemporaries.