Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Hero: Joseph Andrew Shanahan
Heroine: Gabrielle Breedlove
Date of Publication: March 07, 2000
Started On: July 28, 2021
Finished On: July 29, 2021
Needing to read a book that would bring all the feels and then some, I decided to take something out of the backlist of Rachel Gibson’s published works, and found myself reading It Must be Love, bringing together two protagonists who are the very opposite of each other in every single sense.
35 year old Joseph Andrew Shanahan (Joe) is a law enforcement officer who has been shadowing the moves of 28 year old Gabrielle Breedlove for the past couple of days. Fifteen years as a police officer, and Gabrielle is the first person to get the jump on him, which hurts his pride. Gabrielle and her business partner Kevin comes under investigation upon suspicion of using their curio shop to deal in stolen antiques, and Joe remains unconvinced that Gabrielle might be as innocent as she claims to be.
Forced to play boyfriend-girlfriend for Joe to get the evidence he requires means that the situation creates for the kind of moments that makes it hard to turn away from the blistering heat and desire that flares to life between them. Neither Gabrielle nor Joe believes that they are right for each other, but then there is no denying the other half of your soul, is there?
I had such fun reading this novel, and picking this was the right choice at the time. I love the uniqueness that is Ms. Gibson in her books – she brings together the classic alpha male who literally makes you swoon and then some, and it is always an experience to see how the smart-ass heroine brings them to their knees before all is said and done.
Like I said earlier, Joe and Gabrielle are the antithesis of each other, which makes it hard for either of them to see the qualities that actually draws them together. Joe, who has a colorful childhood growing up with four older sisters, is chauvinistic in his way, and wants a woman who is low maintenance, would be a good housewife (after all, he does not like to cook), would pick up after him, and also enjoy fabulous uninhibited sex of the kind that he does.
Meanwhile Gabrielle, who has an unconventional childhood at best traveling across the country with a mother who claimed to have psychic powers after their “summer of awakening”, wants a man who is enlightened and physically appealing – a tough combo to find if ever there was one. Gabrielle would rather chew her arm off than admit to the fact that Joe gets under her skin in a way that makes it impossible for her to deny how much she is affected by everything that is Joe.
However, being forced to engage as a couple means looking beyond their initial impressions and finding common ground, which leads them to give in to the heady desire and strong connection between them. While both Gabrielle and Joe are reluctant in their own ways, Joe has a harder time reconciling with his reaction towards a woman whom he considers to be crazy and not so right in the head.
I loved Joe, his chauvinism and all – I found it adorable the way he fell so helplessly for the woman who drove him stir-crazy in many ways. I loved Gabrielle too; for all her need for an enlightened man, she is no match for the charm and intensity that is Joe in every sense. Yin to her yang, it is Joe that resists towards the end, until he too of course has no choice left, but to surrender. I also had such fun getting acquainted with Gabrielle’s mother, Joe’s family, alongside with the unruly mouthed parrot of Joe’s!
Recommended for fans of Ms. Gibson and romances that features two opposites, whose journey towards their happily ever after is always a delight!
Final Verdict: It is nothing but love that draws together two people at odds with each other; what is fascinating is their journey towards reconciling with that love, which is where Ms. Gibson excels at!
The kiss was tender, almost sweet, and she fought to keep her eyes open, fought to remind herself that the lips brushing hers, as if he really were her lover, belonged to a hard-nosed cop with a black aura. But at that moment, his aura didn’t feel black. It felt red, the sultry hot red of passion, his passion, surrounding them both and urging her to surrender to his persuasive touch.
She lost the fight. Her eyes slid closed and her lips parted. He coaxed her mouth open, and his tongue touched hers, hot and slick and enticing a response. She pressed her mouth against his, deepening the kiss, and gave herself to the sensations surging through her. He smelled good. He tasted better.
Teasing even as he soothed her with his mouth. Her position against the wall arched her back and thrust her breasts into his hard chest. Her nipples drew tight, and when he deepened the kiss, Gabrielle got all squishy inside. Hot liquid pooled low in her abdomen and dragged a moan from deep within her chest. She heard it but barely recognized it as coming from her.
Then she heard something like Joe clearing his throat, but standing within the hypnotic influence of his deep red aura, she wondered how he could clear his throat when his tongue was in her mouth.
“When you get done with the handyman, Gabe, I need you to look over those invoices for that damaged shipment of sushi plates.”
“You don’t believe I’m trigger happy?”
She shook her head. “I don’t believe you’re reckless, or that you’d take someone’s life unless you weren’t given a choice.”
“Maybe I’m as cold-blooded as the papers said. How do you know?”
She answered what she knew to be true in her heart. “Because I know your soul, Joe Shanahan.”
Joe looked into her clear green eyes, and he almost believed she could see inside him and know something he didn’t know with absolute certainty.
She licked her lips, and he watched the tip of her tongue slide to the corner of her mouth. Then she did something that stopped his heart and sent pure lust slamming into his groin. She bent her head and kissed his thigh.
“I know you’re a good man.”
He reached for her and covered her mouth with his. He recognized the taste of her full, sweet lips, as if they were lovers. As if he’d known her forever. He slanted his head to one side, and her mouth opened to him, hot and slick and welcoming. He felt her shudder as his tongue touched hers. Her arms twined around his neck, and she clung to him. The front of her bibbed dress brushed his bare chest, while her hips arched toward him, pressing into his rock-hard erection. Joe grasped her waist, and instead of playing it smart and shoving her away, he ground his pelvis up against her. The pleasure was exquisite and painful. Throbbing agony and ecstasy, and he wanted more from her than a kiss.
He opened his mouth to tell her she had great breasts, but all that came out was a tangle of swear words as he spread the bead of oil across the tip and circled her puckered flesh.
Gabrielle swayed and placed one of her hands on the back of his neck. She pressed her moist lips to his and gently sucked his tongue into her mouth. Joe smeared oil all over soft breasts and smooth belly. He wanted her. He’d never wanted anything like he wanted to give into the aching lust pounding his groin.
“Do you remember the night I walked into your backyard and found you floating in the kiddie pool?”
“I wanted to do this.” He leaned over her and placed his palms beneath her shoulders. He lifted, then nestled his face in her cleavage. He placed soft kisses between her breasts as she ran her hands across his bare shoulders and down his smooth back. She wrapped one leg around his waist and pressed into him. A low groan tumbled deep in his throat as he pressed back, shoving his hard erection against her crotch. Everything in her consciousness focused on him, the pleasure of his touch, and the dull ache between her legs.
“Put your hands behind your head,” she ordered.
Suspicion shone in his eyes, but he did as she asked. “What are you going to do?”
“I’m going to blow your mind.”
“That’s a bold statement.”
Gabrielle just smiled. She’d taken six months of belly dancing, just enough to know how to roll and undulate real good. She raised her hands high in the air and rotated her hips as she swayed. She closed her eyes and lost herself in the feeling of him touching her deep inside. “You like this?”
Her smile grew, and with him buried deep inside, she blew his mind.
He knelt before her, placed her foot on his shoulder, and grasped her behind in his big hand. He combed his finger through her short pubic hair, then tilted her pelvis toward his mouth and kissed her there. She leaned her head back against the shower wall as the tension inside her built tighter and tighter. Then he stood and she wrapped her legs around his waist. His smooth, hot erection slid against her bottom, and she shivered.
“This is my favorite part,” he said, lifting, then lowering her onto his engorged penis, burying himself deep inside. “Touching you where you’re all hot and slick. Where it feels so good. Where you feel so good.”