Rumor Has It is my first chance to read anything by Jill Shalvis and it won’t be my last. I grew up in what I thought was a small town only to move to an even smaller town with a need to break free. So I felt a lot for the hero, but he had it even worse than I do.
Sunshine, Idaho is the setting for the Animal Magnetism series. Not having read the previous books in the series, I can’t tell you much about how this all gets set up other than what I read in this particular book.
Griffin Reid is home from a career ending injury as a Special Ops officer disarming bombs. His younger sister, Holly, is marrying his best friend. At loose ends, he is trying to figure out his future, deal with some side effects of his injuries and mend the broken fence with his father. Never mind that a sexy second grade teacher has had a crush on him forever and wants a one-night stand.
Kate Evans has lived her entire live in Sunshine and doesn’t see that ending even if she has been accepted into a prestigious science program. While she doesn’t mind Sunshine, she wants to break free and dissect cow brains or something like that. When her mother died, her father fell apart. Fighting to take care of two younger siblings and her father is a full time job and she sees no way to leave them even for a once in a lifetime program she has been invited too three times.
So when Kate’s best friend Holly gets married, she decides to seduce Grif for a one night stand and move on. But Grif isn’t cooperating. He sees it just as an entanglement he can’t afford to get entangled in. So while he feels attraction back for her, he pushes her at arms length then gets jealous when she flirts with anyone else.
The two do end up in bed with each other and trade services (yoga techniques for migraines for self-defense lessons…get your mind out of the gutter) that keep the one-nightstand going on for multiple nights. They turn it into chemistry lessons be each knows it is growing stronger day by day.
Grif though has to deal with his father, who isn’t so forgiving. The two fight and fight with each other to the point Grif is driven to leave. Kate also must face the fact that she can’t continue to live her life for her family even though she loves them dearly. Through this all, the two have to do some soul searching to figure out what they really both want.
I loved the quality of small town, where everyone has known you since you were a baby. They all stuck by each other when things got tough. We also get to see inside of Kate’s classroom, but not so much into Grif’s career. There is a little bit of suspense, but for the most part the story is about two people coming to terms what they both need, want and are willing to sacrifice for each other.
The story weaves through Sunshine, Idaho and makes us feel right at home. The characters become family and warm our heart if not our lady bits. Which I would say lady bits would be warmed up as well. I truly loved Kate’s strength. She loves and cares for everyone, but stands by her decisions and up for the underdog. Her little brother reminds me of my son so much that I felt like Jill was in my mind. The older sister reminds me of my oldest daughter. So I felt so comfortable getting to know these characters. I laughed, cringed, teared up and felt relief along with each and every one of them.
I recommend this to anyone who loves the small town feel of people who are more than friends, they are family. With a side of hot passion, this story leaves you wanting to know more about this group of characters and wonder who’s next.