The Wildstone Series, Book 7
From the publisher:
But although Gracie finds herself slowly falling for Sir online, she has
USA TODAY BESTSELLER
What would you change if you had to start your life—and love life—over again?
When Emma Harris wakes up from a coma she learns that her fiancé and her BFF have fallen in love, she’s lost her job, and the life she knew is gone. Overwhelmed but grateful to be alive she starts over from scratch. Not as easy as it sounds, of course. But she’s never been a quitter, even if she wishes she could quit rehab, where her hot but evil physical therapist, Simon, puts her through the wringer.
Eager for a new beginning, Emma opens a doggy day care. Unfortunately, the only space she can afford is owned by her childhood nemesis Ali Pratt. But hey, she’s been through worse, right? She tries to roll with the punches, but a friend drops his grandpa off at the doggy day care in desperation then on top of that, she and Ali bring the term ‘frenemies’ to a whole new level. And then another grandparent shows up. And another.
In the midst of all that, Emma realizes she’s accidentally fallen for Evil PT. But the most horrifying thing of all is that Ali just might have turned into the best friend she’s ever had. And as Emma grows from the pain of her past and takes on her new path, she comes to realize that life isn’t what you’re given, it’s what you make of it.
This was such a good book on so many levels. Shalvis writes great romances, and this certainly is, but it is so much more. For one thing, our heroine feels like anything but. Emma was a runner, and got hit by a car as she crossed a street. It was a no fault accident; the driver who hit her didn’t see the stop sign hidden by a tree (rather like the parking ticket we just got in Brooklyn because the “no standing” sign was hidden behind a tree). The driver hit another car and all told, Emma had horrific trauma to her but the driver’s wife died. They are both feeling lots of survivor guilt.
Simon is the physical therapist that has been working with Emma since the accident almost a year earlier. Her doctors told her she would never walk again, but with Simon’s help/torture, she is walking. But if having a traumatic accident wasn’t bad enough, Emma’s fiancé and her best friend ended up falling in love. so the two most important people in her life are now her enemy. She had been living with her BFF, but once she’s out of rehab she knows she can’t go back there. Luckily, Simon found her an apartment. It’s a second floor walk up, which means Emma has to deal with the stairs but that is good for her, too.
Emma is half in love with Simon, but he’s too important to her as a PT so she doesn’t want to risk a relationship with him. Not to mention she is in no mindset to date. Simon fell in love with Emma when he saw her arguing with her doctors about walking. She is the most determined person he’s ever met, and he has tons of admiration for the work she’s done to get better. Plus he thinks she’s hot.
Meanwhile, Emma cannot find a job. No one wants to hear that the gap in her employment history is due to being in a coma for months. She works very part time at a dog sitting service. She does training with the dogs who need it. But she needs a real job. Then the owner decides she wants to spend time with her grandchildren (I can relate!) and wants to sell the business. Emma decides it’s the perfect business for her but after she is turned down by three banks for a business loan, she is at the end of the road. But then Simon’s sister Ali comes through.
Ali helps run the family real estate business but has always wanted something of her own. But Emma and Ali have history, having competed all through high school. Due to a series of unfortunate events, they pretty much hate each other. But both are willing to overlook that to get what they want, and a partnership is formed.
As Ali and Emma finally become friends, Simon and Emma admit their feelings for one another. But Simon is in a bad place. His father suffered a couple of strokes and Simon is now his caretaker, not to mention running his father’s real estate company, which he hates. He loves doing PT, but has had to cut way back on his hours due to his other responsibilities, and he is at the point where he just doesn’t think he has the time for a relationship. In fact his last relationship ended when he couldn’t give her enough time.
But despite all this, Emma and Simon do get together, and then it falls apart. Ali and Emma become good friends, and Simon and Emma get their happily ever after. This was a very compelling read with terrific characters you can’t help but root for. Another excellent addition to the Wildstone series that can be read as a standalone.
7/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch
LOVE FOR BEGINNERS by Jill Shalvis. William Morrow (June 8, 2021). ISBN: 978-0063082243. 384 pages.