by Jill Shalvis
Published: February 18, 2014, Grand Central Publishing
My rating: 4.5 of 5 ⭐️
Not Lucky Harbor's favorite citizen, Aubrey Wellington gained her reputation as class A bitch starting way back in school and not all of it deserved. She had recently taken over her uncle's old bookstore, hoping to turn it into a cozy haven, complete with coffee corner. But first she needed to settle some things, make some apologies and clean her slate. And one person who was on her list of 'restitution', was Ben McDaniel, the hot and sexy Ben she had crushed on in high school.
It has been five years since Ben McDaniel left Lucky Harbor to put his knowledge to good use in the most needy places around the world. It was also a good way to get away from the all too vivid memories of what he had lost. Back now, he hadn't quite decided what his next move would be, when he was called upon to do some renovations on the old book store. Bristly Aubrey Wellington's book store, to be exact. A woman who could turn a polar bear hot, but scare the stripes off a tiger!
Despite the fact that Ben is known as the town's golden boy and we already know what they think of Aubrey's, the chemistry between them is intense. Ben is cautioned from all sides, warned that woman isn't good enough for him. While Audrey on the other hand, is struggling to come up with a way to confess her sins to Ben. Sins he has absolutely no idea she has committed.
What started out as some sexy fun has turned into something pretty serious, only to get very complicated........
I adored this story!!!
Somehow stories about people with 'reputations' who turn out to have been mostly misjudged, and get to set the record straight, hit me in exactly the right spot!! Because I HATE BOXES!! Hate judgement, hate categorizing people....detest it with a passion... Especially judging adults by what they may or may not have done as children or adolescents.... really??? But that's a whole different story.
To the book: Jill Shalvis' writing is predictably delightful, and honestly....I would be absolutely shocked if it were anything but. She has a little edge to her, that makes her characters, in particular of the female variety, so very entertaining. They are by definition sassy, and almost always a bit of a smarta**. Aubrey, in this book, has quite the mouth on her. Now granted, she is mostly living up to a reputation she doesn't really deserve, but she has learned how to fill the shoes. I'm not going to get into how she got there, you'll have to read the book to find out, but I will tell you that all is not always as it seems and that is so very true in Aubrey's case.
Without fail, Ms. Shalvis' 'men' are Alpha..... apparently she has one of her own....lucky girl.... So too is Ben, an Alpha that is. A bit of a silent one this time, but no less effective. He suffered quite a loss in his youngish life, and although it had impact it didn't leave him rigid (or frigid, for that matter!!) .... the boy is a stud!! And he is well aware of the effect he has on Aubrey... he uses it at will.
I couldn't help notice a small reference made by one of the characters to the fact she was banned from her Facebook account for posting risqué pictures of hot guys on her page......sounded familiar...... Any comment, Ms. Shalvis???
This was my favorite in the Lucky Harbor series thus far. All of these stories can be read individually as standalones, but the cast of characters will return here and there in subsequent stories.
As you can tell, I was emotionally invested in the story, as well as very amused by it (it's funny too), the humor is of the 'clever' variety, my preference. Also, Ben and Aubrey got pretty damn hot and steamy....so there was that! An overall fabulous read!!
✨A spunky, stimulating and vivacious quest for absolution✨
**ARC provided by NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing in return for an honest review.**