Instant Attraction by Jill Shalvis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The first book in the trilogy about the Wilder brothers - T.J., Stone and Cameron -, Instant Attraction was an enjoyable and easy read.
Cameron Wilder is the youngest of the Wilder brothers, a former Snowboarding Olympics and X-Games champion who "lost it all" when an accident ended his career one year ago. Used to the adventurous life and the adulation that came with his fame, he's having a hard time dealing with his current situation and doesn't know what to do with his life anymore. After spending the last year wandering around the world and trying to "find himself", he's finally back home in the Sierras - but he's still pretty much wallowing in his private pity party.
Katie Kramer is also struggling with a traumatic accident - she was the sole survivor of a bridge collapse that killed thirty other people - but the way she chooses to deal with it is completely different from Cam's. While he's basically decided to shut himself to the world and hide from life, she's decided to live it to the fullest. So she quits her boring job at LA, gets into her brand-new used car, hits the freeway and, eight hours later, finds herself in the wild Sierras, where she ends up taking a temporary job at the Wilder Adventures, a local outdoor adventure and expedition compay owned by the Wilder brothers. Is there any better way to start her new adventurous life? :)
Cam and Katie are instantly attracted to each other but, unlike what's become a standard in recent releases, they don't jump into bed right away. Neither wants anything permanent - Katie's only staying in the Sierras for a month before leaving for her next "adventure" and Cam, well, he doesn't know what he wants - so they take their time trying to figure out how to deal with their feelings. They slowly fall in love with each other but don't realize it right away. Katie convinces herself that she doesn't want more than a nice fling with Cam, but he really cares for her and he's afraid he'll hurt her in the end. So they dance around each other...
Overall, I really liked this book. Cam and Katie's interactions were funny and sweet, their relationship was romantic - as much as they had the hots for each other, I never felt that lust was their main focus - and the story had a nice pace.
There were a couple of times when I wanted to smack Cam in the head - enough with the self-depreciation already! - but I cut him some slack because I believed he really loved Katie, he just didn't know how to deal with his feelings. To be fair, he'd never learned how to, because that family of his wasn't the best example to follow when it came to communicating with each other. Don't get me wrong, I loved all the Wilder clan - Cam, Stone, T.J., their aunt Annie and her husband Nick - but communication wasn't their forte.
On the bright side, Annie was just adorable. Like Cam, she was also emotionally damaged but her positive attitude towards life was engaging. She wasn't perfect either, and I thought it was very realistic to have her refusing to talk about her accident and, at the same time, "forcing" Cam to talk about his. It's human nature: sometimes it's easier to focus on other people's issues than to look inside oneself.
While Cam and Katie's romance and emotional healing was central to the story, there was also a secondary romance involving Cam's aunt Annie and her estranged husband Nick that provided some funny moments. I loved her aprons - you could always guess her mood by the saying that was printed on them - but her stubborness made me want to shake some sense into her. Hmm, smack Cam in the head, shake Annie... I sense a theme here. Maybe the Wilder family had a knack for pushing my emotional buttons, LOL. Not enough to annoy me, though. In fact, I can't wait to read Cam's brother's stories.
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