Review: Once in a Lifetime by Jill Shalvis

Once in a Lifetime by Jill Shalvis
Series: Lucky Harbor (# 9)
Release Date:  February 18, 2014
Publisher:   Grand Central Publishing
Pages: 353
Source:  book provided by NetGalley for review

SOMETIMES WRONG IS OH-SO-RIGHT

After a wrenching loss, Ben McDaniel tried to escape his grief by working in dangerous, war-torn places like Africa and the Middle East. Now he’s back in his hometown and face-to-face with Aubrey Wellington, the hot-as-hell woman who is trouble with a capital T. Family and friends insist she’s not the one to ease his pain, but Aubrey sparks an intense desire that gives Ben hope for the future.

Determined to right the wrongs of her past, Aubrey is working hard to make amends. But by far, the toughest challenge to her plan is sexy, brooding Ben – even though he has absolutely no idea what she’s done . . .

Can this unlikely couple defy the odds and win over the little town of Lucky Harbor?

 

Review:  What happens when you toss a drink into the wrong guy’s face, namely hometown hero Ben?  You end up hiding in a church and mistakenly invited into an AA meeting.  Aubrey just wants to get out of there, but she starts listening to the “making amends” part of the meeting, and realizes that she needs to make amends.  She wasn’t always a nice person, but she’s ready to fix what she did and apologize to all those she was mean to in her past.

Ben is home after five long years spent working in war-torn, ravaged countries.  He’d escaped from Lucky Harbor hoping to run from the pain of losing his beloved wife to a drunk driver.  But one too many near-misses has him rethinking his life, and missing that small town he called home.  Roped into helping Aubrey with renovations to her bookstore, they agree to avoid each other because of their past, but soon their attraction leads to a hotter than hot kiss.  The gossip lines are flooded with talk of Ben and Aubrey, and they soon end up together, although they swear it’s “just sex.”

Aubrey is torn – sex with the smokin’ hot Ben, or confess to him the wrong she committed against him in high school.  She puts it off as long as she can, because once she tells him, he’s going to hate her.  But now her heart is involved, and she doesn’t want to lose him.

This is my second Jill Shalvis book to read, and I’m an addict now.  I love this Lucky Harbor series!  This book takes a different path with Aubrey, the heroine.  She’s a former mean girl who has finally realized she’s got to be a nicer person or she’ll never be accepted, especially  now that’s she’s opening her own bookstore.  Ben’s the hometown hero who everyone loves, and no one is a fan of Aubrey’s.  But Ben begins to see there’s much more to Aubrey than anyone realizes, and he figures out she’s on the path to redemption with her list.

Ms. Shalvis drew me in from the very beginning of the story.  I felt as if I were right there in Lucky Harbor, the quaint and charming town she’s written about many times before. Her descriptions are so vivid and real.  She gets the reader invested in the lives of her characters, and really makes one want to get to know them better.  Told from the points of view of Ben and Aubrey, we follow them on their paths, and even grow with them as they learn the lessons they needed to.  They are both afraid to let anyone get close because they don’t want to be hurt again.

I love how the author uses the renovations on the bookstore to equal the renovations in Aubrey’s life and personality.  She’s becoming a much warmer and inviting person, as is the bookstore with Ben’s remodeling.

While this is part of a series, Once in a Lifetime can be read as a stand-alone book.  But really, why not read all of them, and get to know the inhabitants of this wonderful and charming town?

Ms. Shalvis writes wonderful, heartfelt romances, with plenty of steamy scenes to satisfy the reader.

 

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