Wednesday, August 27, 2014

ARC Review: It's in His Kiss

It's in His Kiss (Lucky Harbor #10)

by Jill Shalvis


Becca Thorpe has uprooted her life and escaped to the beach. Now's her chance to get away from city living, throw caution to the ocean winds, and live in the moment. Especially if the moment includes the deliciously sexy surfer she meets shortly after arriving in Lucky Harbor. Something about the dark intensity of Sam's eyes and the thrill she gets at his touch convinces her to stay awhile.
Boatbuilder and investment genius Sam Brody is a self-made man who knows how dangerous it can be to mix business and pleasure. But he can't resist offering Becca a job just to hear her laugh and have her near. Yet when her brother comes to town asking for help, will he tempt her back to her glamorous life in the city? Or do Sam and little Lucky Harbor have a chance to win Becca's heart?
Themes: contemporary
Rating: 4.25 stars
Heat Rating: 
The sexy men of Lucky harbor are back with a vengeance in this new trilogy, set in the larger Lucky Harbor series.  I began the series on a lark when I found book one in my local used book store and it was the best fifty cents of my life. I have enjoyed every second to this point and even love the other series I have tried by this author, so if you enjoy a good romance with lots of laughs and sweetness you can never go wrong with any Shalvis novel.  This newest trilogy revolves around three best friends who own one of the adventure companies in Lucky Harbor and the women that steal their hearts.  Book one is about Boatbuilder and financial guru for the group, Sam, who we met in previous books and the new girl to town who spells trouble for him in a lot of ways.  While I have heard rumors this might be the last trilogy in the lucky harbor series I can only say I hope the rumors are wrong, because the characters in this town are for lack of a better word true characters and getting to see glimpses of all the previous couples as they move forward together is great.
Becca’s story begins with her arrival at the edge of the country, dipping her toes into the Pacific Ocean for the first time.  She has been trying to find her own life for a while now, having always been the support system for others, often to her own determent. She has arrived in the small town of Lucky Harbor hoping for a fresh start and when she sees the sexy surfer on the beach she never imagines how important he would become to her new life.  Sam finds the woman on the beach talking to herself more than a little sexy, but he has no interest in anything more than quick sex with any woman, no entanglements, and no emotional connections.  But from the very beginning things are different with Becca; his emotions are pulled by her spirit and the vulnerability that she tries too hard to hide.  When she comes to work for him and his partners, against his better wishes, he forces himself to try to keep things professional between them, but really he had no hope of that.  Only when things become even more entangled for them both, the deeper emotions that develop begin to terrify Sam and the question becomes whether he can accept the truth of their love or not.
Sam is one of those characters that has always reminded me of a snapping turtle; when messy emotions are involved he pulls back into his shell, but when you get too close to him he will snap and try to hurt you to make you leave.  He has issues from his past that continue to spill over into his present life, coming back to bite him at the most inopportune moments in his life.  He is obviously a character with a troubled past, but the way he deals with them as he interacts with his friends and Becca shows that he has not ever accepted his past or overcome it. I was a bit disappointed with how he treated Becca, pulling her in trying to make her open up, then pushing her away as she tried to learn more about him.  I will say that he finally pulled his head out of his ass and redeemed himself so he was worthy of Becca, but it took awhile.
Becca on the other hand is obviously trying her hardest to live her life away from the dangerous and unhealthy relationships with her family and her past. Deciding it was time for a change she has left her hometown, her job, and to a great extent her family behind, traveling across the country in an effort to try to get a fresh start.  Becca’s adventurous spirit is hidden behind some fears but Sam is able to bring it out of her in a lot of situations, even though she resists him at every turn.  When she goes to work for the guys, she never thought it would interfere with any chance she has of having a relationship with Sam, but she needs this job to try finding a way to shine in her new home.  Finding herself drawn into his life again and again, Sam finds his way into hers, and she decides not to fight the attraction between them and give them a shot, even though Sam doesn’t seem to want them to be anything more than what they are.  I liked seeing her come out of her shell and shine as a member of the team with the guys and also as a woman who is determined to get her man.  The troubles with her family are also addressed just the way they should have been, instead of her taking on more of their problems she challenges them to finally step up to the plate for themselves.
Sam and Becca were a different type of couple, one that you might never imagine would work together, but they are a good example of opposites attracting.  But when you look deeper you see they aren’t really all that different at the base—two characters whose family caused them a lot of heartache and in the end they both found ways to live with those issues, whether right or wrong.  Becca is going to find her place in her new life, without falling back into old patterns and nothing is going to stop her, not even the intense and immediate emotional connection to Sam. Sam has dealt with the blows in his life again and again and found a way to keep his heart from getting too hurt by anyone else, keeping them at an emotional distance.  The overall story is one that revolves just around the changes in these characters lives, while some stories have a continuing battle or villain, this story like many Shalvis novels is based entirely around the emotional changes and challenges that bringing two lives together can pose.  Sam and Becca shine individually as they make changes in their lives, but more importantly they shine together as they support and lean on one another.  I am dying to find out how the upcoming stories in the series will unfold and find out what emotional challenges the H/H will face as they fall in love.  Another wonderfully sweet and heartwarming Shalvis novel.
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 

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