Astrid Llewelyn and Giovanni Cole from Diana Peterfreund's Rampant
I loved this book. I mean it's about killer Unicorns. It's my new Buffy. Someone should totally buy the rights for it and get it into a cinema near me!
The main reason I love it (aside from Bonegrinder) is Astrid. She's tough and vulnerable and confused and clever and clueless and very real.
I'm so glad she gets to be with someone like Giovanni because I think they are perfect for each other. Alternatively sweet, argumentative and incredibly hot! Lots of sexual tension here, given that Astrid loses her Unicorn Hunting powers when she's no longer a virgin.
I love that Giovanni is strong enough in himself to be with a girl whose physically stronger than him, who can protect him, whose a warrior.
Which isn't to say Giovanni doesn't look after Astrid in different ways. Just not in the traditional way of saving her from the big, bad Unicorns! Rather he helps her become a person who can save herself and everyone else.
I'm really curious to see where their relationship goes in Ascendant. I have my theories!
Here are Astrid and Giovanni in one of their more sizzling moments-
He pressed into the tree and me, and my hair tangled against the bark, but I didn't care at all. I was barely standing on my own, supported in his arms and against the thigh he he'd somehow wedged between my legs. Heavenly, butterfly-light touches of his fingertips on the skin of my stomach battled with heavy hard kisses. He was holding himself back, but my heart was beating so fast, I thought my veins might pop. "More," I whispered, and he sighed, a near moan.
"Astrid." He rested his forehead against mine, breathing hard. "Ti voglio bene."
Seriously, after this, I don't know how you're still a Unicorn Hunter Astrid!