Four of today's most popular romance authors introduce four sizzling new tales of finding love unexpectedly—with a little help from man's best friend. Includes an all-new Buckhorn Brothers story from New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster!
The authors are donating all of their proceeds from Animal Attraction to the Animal Adoption Foundation of Hamilton, OH, a charitable organization.
Buckhorn Ever After by New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster
Imagine Me and You by USA TODAY bestselling author Maisey Yates
Gimme Shelter by USA TODAY bestselling author Heidi Betts
Partner in Crime by Jules Bennett
And here is Bean's review:
Novellas can be very hit or miss – an author doesn't have much time to set up characters the reader can relate to and care about and it's hard not to take the short cut straight to charicature. In “Imagine Me and You,” Maisey Yates has mixed success with character development, but makes an admirabe attempt.
“Imagine Me and You” is a standalone novella (not attached to any of Yates' series) and a typical friends to lovers story (which is totally catnip for me). Samantha (Sam) and Jace have been best friends for fourteen years and when Sam needs a place to stay, she turns to Jace. Along with Sam comes Sam's massive dog Poppy. Jace is a borderline obsessive neat freak, so he's not too keen on having a big, sloppy dog in his home. But Poppy comes with Sam, and Jace would do anything for her.
I thought Jace was the better developed of the two characters. He is a rancher, but also a neat freak (Yates describes him as “tough and masculine, yet deeply involved with soap”). He's so cleanliness obsessed because his mother was a hoarder and he had no control over his environment growing up. Although he has had feelings for Sam for a long time, he doesn't think he can act on them because he knows he couldn't deal with living with her permanently; he couldn't give up that kind of control.
Sam, on the otherhand, seems more like a caricature. She, too, knows that she has feelings for Jace but won't act on them because…she's flighty? We know she has abandonment issues – that her father left (although we only learn this in a throwaway sentence) and her mother led a transient hippie lifestyle and left Sam to fend for herself when she was seventeen. As a result she's developed a serious case of wanderlust, holding a variety of jobs over the years because she gets bored easily. While she's had long-term relationships (one lasting four years), she always shies away from real commitment.
In the end, though, Sam seemed to me to be too much of the manic pixie dream girl trope. I wasn't particularly interested in her character development. For me, abandonment issues don't work as well in the friends to lovers paradigm – Sam and Jace had been best friends for fourteen years. He clearly has staying power.
What saved “Imagine Me and You” was Maisey Yates' writing. She has a way with witty banter and a bite to her prose that I find very entertaining. I like when the hero and heroine banter, even during the sex scenes.
One of my favorites:
“Finding an orgasm is usually like searching for the Holy Grail. Tricky. Hit or miss. Step on the right stones in the right combination. Either I get there or you step on a stone and I throw a spear at your head.'”
He laughed, the vibration hitting her between her legs. “I hope to make it out without getting a spear thrown at me.”
In the end, “Imagine Me and You” is a fun little story with witty writing and characters that, if not quite developed, are still enjoyable. It's part of the larger anthology, Animal Attraction, which includes four other stories, the proceeds of which benefit a no-kill animal shelter.