I'm Rowena and I blog at Book Binge. I read lots of romance, YA and lately, NA. You'll find a lot of those on my shelves.
Jill Shalvis really knows how to write the books that I want to read. Ever since I got this book for review, I’ve been itching to read it and I pulled it out the first chance I got…and I’m not sorry about it.
Ben McDaniels lost his wife Hannah five years ago and has been living on the edge ever since. He quit his engineering job in town to work around the world in war-torn places, building much needed things like water filtering systems. He’s worked in places where suicide bombers are the norm and he’s seen some pretty bad stuff. Now, he’s back home in Lucky Harbor and the town has welcomed him with open arms. He’s the beloved son of the town. Everyone loves him.
Aubrey Wellington is the opposite. She’s not the town’s most popular resident and she hasn’t ever been but she’s trying to fix that. She knows that she hasn’t always been perfect but she’s never meant harm to anyone, not really anyway. Aubrey has a list of people to make amends with and when Ben finds out about her list, he’s mighty intrigued by it all.
Aubrey’s opening her Aunt’s bookstore again and her uncle hired Ben to help her with the renovations. He’s handy with a set of tools and he’s got the brains and the brawn for the job so Aubrey accepts his help.
Both Aubrey and Ben are working through different sets of issues. Ben is trying to reconnect with his family and friends but the disconnect keeps creeping up on him and the only person he wants to be around constantly is…Aubrey. Which is weird, considering they both don’t really like each other. But boy are they attracted to one another.
Aubrey used to be a mean girl in high school and not a lot of people liked her because of it. She got into a lot of trouble and she’s trying to be a better person these days but in order to fully move on, she wants to make amends with the people she’s wronged in the past. Having the courage to do that is what really made me Team Aubrey. She kept falling on her ass throughout this book but she never let that get her down. She gave herself a chance to dwell on what happened and then she shook it off and tried again. I really respected that about Aubrey. She wasn’t the most perfect character but she was trying to be someone she could be proud of and I really liked that about her.
I really liked the way that Ben saw her as well. He saw past what everyone else thought about her and he liked the person that he knew Aubrey to be. My favorite thing about Jill Shalvis books are the imperfections in her characters. They’re like normal people that you come into contact with every single day and she gives those people stories. She gives them life and a background and she makes those imperfect people likable and relatable. And I really dig that.
We find out toward the beginning of the book that Ben is on Aubrey’s list. When he finds out about that, I was taken aback by his reasons for being mad. Not that he was mad, I knew he would be but the way that he handled that whole thing ticked me off…but of course, in the end I forgave him because duh, he’s a sexy man and I’m easy like that. But I wanted to kick him in the nuts for being an idiot (as Jack told him, repeatedly)
Ben and Aubrey came a long way over the course of this book and the ride was definitely one that I enjoyed being on. It was a fast read for me and I couldn’t get enough of both Ben and Aubrey. Their story was a good one and while it wasn’t perfect, it was so damn close to it that I loved it anyway. I definitely recommend this book to lovers of the Lucky Harbor series and to lovers of Jill Shalvis and contemporary romance. This is a great romance and these characters are character you’re going to want to know.