The Donnigans series, book 2
by Marie Harte
by Marie Harte
A FLING MIGHT BE JUST THE THING...
Gavin Donnigan left the Marine Corps a shell of a man, hounded by guilt for deaths he couldn't prevent. But teaching a self-defense class at the local gym brings some stability to his life―along with a gorgeous woman who won't give him the time of day.
Zoe York lost her twin sister to a freak car accident a few months ago. She's been struggling to bury her grief, but it isn't until she signs up for a self-defense class with its distractingly hot instructor that she begins to come out of her shell again. With the memory of her sister telling her to live a little, Zoe decides a fling with buns-of-steel Gavin Donnigan might be just the thing.
Soon they're sparring both in and out of the gym. And for the first time in a long time, each is looking forward to tomorrow.
Gavin chuckled, then turned to Zoe, only to see her watching him, her gaze intense. “What?” She looked like she either wanted to run him over, punch him, or—dare he hope—kiss him.
“I’m just waiting for one of your incredibly fascinating comments about pink pants, small biceps, or fine form.” She didn’t sound too winded, yet she’d been on the machine for a good ten minutes at least. She was in phenomenal shape—those yoga pants didn’t lie.
He frowned. “Hey now, your biceps are just fine. Nothing small about them.” He didn’t recall ever criticizing her shape.
“I meant yours,” she said drily.
“You really are mean.”
She scowled. “I am not.”
“You are. That’s why I like you.”
“That’s a terrible thing to say.” Her lips curled, and his heart raced.
“Yet true.” Before a nearby musclehead could jump on the machine that opened up next to her, Gavin stepped in front of him, blocking the way. “Sorry, man. I’m training her.” He turned around, searching for a free machine. “There you go. That one just opened up.” He pointed out a machine in front of them before facing Zoe again.
The guy gave him an odd look and shrugged. “Well, I’m not gonna kiss you, but I get it. Poor bastard.” He chuckled and walked away, no harm no foul.
Before Gavin could ask what the guy was talking about, Zoe cut in, “Training me? Liar.” She slowed her machine to a walk.
Gavin put on a hurt look. “But I am training you. To smile. Slowly but surely, I’m working on that last nerve. The same one I’m constantly rubbing the wrong way on everyone else, according to my siblings. They, like you, have no appreciation for my sense of humor.” He bent over to touch his toes, luring her with his flexibility. When he straightened, he noticed the strange look she gave him.
Zoe glanced at him a moment more before grinning. Man, she had one sexy mouth. “Oh, I don’t know. I appreciate humor as much as the next gal.”
“Yeah?” He stared in awe. Her bright eyes were so…blue.
“How about this?” She added a husky laugh that shot sparks through his chest and radiated all over his body.
“You have a great laugh. You should do it more often.”
“Oh, I will.” She chuckled some more. “Thanks, Gavin. You really made my night.” Then she shocked the hell out of him when after getting off her machine, she leaned close to kiss him on the cheek.
“Th-thanks.” God willing, he could control himself with the woman. “Not that I don’t deserve that, but what made you kiss me? Uncontrollable lust? Finally owning up to your feelings? Realizing you’re in love with my charming self?”
She looked on the verge of exploding with mirth. “You sure you want to know?”
“Well, yeah, before we set our wedding date, at least.” He grinned at her. But she laughed again, and he had a feeling it was at—not with—him. He frowned. “Okay, what?”
She cleared her throat, her humor still plain to see. “Well, Smoky, there’s a sign on your back that says Kiss me if you pity men with small brains.”
He blinked. “What?”
“I feel for you. It’s not your fault size really does matter.” She snickered again before leaving him busy staring over his shoulder at the mirrored wall behind him.
Marie Harte is an author who's books have been sitting on my tbr list for quite awhile now, and I am so glad that I read Just The Thing. Although this title can be read as a standalone, I am sure I will find myself reading the previous book in the series at some point in the future, as I really enjoyed the Donnigan family.
Just the Thing is a heartwarming story that deals with some serious issues including loss, grief and moving on. This story is based on the trope of opposites attracting, it's sweet, sexy and laced with moments of humor that had me laughing out loud. I found this book to be entertaining and engaging with strong themes of family, friendship and love.
Gavin and Zoe are opposites in so many ways, but they also have in common that they both have demons to face, regarding their grief. This pair of characters are complex, endearing and quite relate-able. Gavin is an enigmatic character, who outwardly appears quite arrogant, yet fun, who is charming, sexy and sweet, a bit of a goof ball with a great sense of humor. Underneath the exterior is a lot going on as he deals with PTSD and faces demons from his time in the military. Zoe is dedicated to her job, smart, sassy, bossy and much more serious. The chemistry this pair share is intense, yet believable.
I look forward to reading more of Marie Harte's work in the future, and will be eagerly anticipating the next title in The Donnigan series.
Meet the Donnigans
With the eldest Donnigan brothers adjusting to civilian life, their younger sister constantly in trouble, and their little brother clueless about life in general, falling in love is the last thing on anyone's mind...
Can this Bossy Badass Marine...
The Marine Corps was everything Landon Donnigan ever wanted in life...until a bullet sent him home with a medical discharge. Teaching a self-defense class at the gym is old-hat for a marine, but when he meets sexy Ava Rosenthal, his combat skills are useless for protecting his heart.
Be her Mr. Right?
Ava can take care of herself and likes quiet, bookish men-not muscular warriors who think women need to be coddled. But Landon is more than he seems, and when they come together, the results are explosive.
THE ONLY THING
Releasing in 2018, date TBD
On the cusp of turning thirty, Hope Donnigan is getting her life together. She’s working in a job she likes, has good friends, and has finally stopped dating Mr. Wrong. Entirely. So she should have no problem ignoring J.T. Webster. He’s big, bad, and totally what she should be steering clear of.
J.T. fell for the hot blonde months ago at his sister’s wedding. Having seen what love did to his father, he’s never felt close to a permanent relationship with a woman. But Hope gets to him. When he agrees to be her pretend boyfriend to annoy her mother, he never expects their fake relationship will be better than anything real he’s ever had. Before he knows it, he’s falling in love and not sure what to do about it.
But someone else wants Hope all to himself, and that someone isn’t happy about J.T. being in the picture. Soon, J.T. and Hope will have to deal with a secret admirer, her protective family, his annoyed sister, and their feelings for each other, which aren’t so pretend. But sometimes, there’s only one thing to do when you’re falling in love. And that’s let yourself go.
Caffeine addict, boy referee, and romance aficionado, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Marie Harte has over 100 books published with more constantly on the way. She’s a confessed bibliophile and devotee of action movies. Whether hiking in Central Oregon, biking around town, or hanging at the local tea shop, she’s constantly plotting to give everyone a happily ever after. Visit Marie's website and fall in love.