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?
Once in a Lifetime by Jill Shalvis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Jill Shalvis is my comfort read author. I say this every single time I read something of hers, but I can count on her for several things:
1. A Swoony Guy
2. Female characters I wanna hang out with
3. A lighthearted story that is filled with humor and friendship and a touch of serious
So… if you’re ever looking for any of these things, run and get every single book in the Lucky Harbor series. I swear to you, if this place was real, it would be crawling with single women. The men while having slight issues are all sexy and swoony and it’s got that small town feel and Once In A Lifetime is no exception.
In book 9 of this series we meet Ben McDaniel. Ben is beloved by the town of Lucky Harbor, after losing his wife he left to work through his grief in places you’d never consider visiting. But he’s had enough and has returned to Lucky Harbor hoping to live a quiet, peaceful life. Until Aubrey Wellington inadvertently throws a drink in his face.
You remember Aubrey – we have gotten glimpses of her in previous books. These days she’s determined to right some wrongs she’s had in her past, and rebuild her family bookstore.
I really loved what Shalvis did with Aubrey. She isn’t the girl everyone likes and you know that right up front. The entire town is practically up in arms when they find out that Ben is hanging around the Bookstore… even if it is just to help her redo some of the interior. But what we find out about Aubrey is that she’s lonely. She’s never had anyone who she could depend on… no one who had her back and took care of her. Instead, her parents split her and her sister up in their divorce and where she and her mom struggled to make ends meet, her very successful father and sister had a completely different life, and to further the feelings of abandonment her father now has a new family… one that doesn’t include her at all. Her backstory is a bit heartbreaking to be honest. There were times I wanted to clothesline each and every person who wouldn’t give her the opportunity to show how she’s become different than the person she was when she was growing up.
Ben… Do you like brooding, sexy men? Because he fits the definition to a T. The loss of his wife convinced him that he’s better off alone. He can’t and won’t love like that again… no matter how he might feel about anyone. Including Aubrey. He remembers Aubrey from High School, but initially he sees her just like everyone else. A pretty face, a sexy body and no substance. But as he gets to know her all that changes, and when he sees her flitting around town doing random things with a list of names his curiosity gets the better of him.
And some sexy stuff.
I do have to say, that I pretty much figured out why Ben was on the list early on, BUT it definitely didn’t take away from the story for me in the least. Like I said, I read Jill’s books because I know I’m guaranteed a few things and while they are formulaic that takes nothing away from the enjoyment for me.
As always, I don’t know how many times I’ll say this in my lifetime, but if you haven’t picked up the Lucky Harbor books, do so now!! They’re among my favorites in romance and I know if you read them, they’ll be yours too!
Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for the advance copy in exchange for my honest review.