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?
It was dark outside when she got back to the Book & Bean, and she stopped short just outside the door. She’d locked up when she left and turned off the lights.
But the door was unlocked now, and the lights on. She went still, then pulled out her phone and dialed 9-1-1. She didn’t hit send but kept her thumb hovered over call. Taking a step inside, she paused. “Hello?”
The low, slightly rough voice wasn’t what had her heart pumping. That honor went to the fact that there was a man on a ladder in the back of her store.
He was in jeans with a tool belt slung low on his hips, his t-shirt clinging to him. He seemed a little irritated, a little sweaty, and just looking at him Aubrey got a whole lot hot and bothered in places that had no business being hot and bothered by this man at all. “What are you doing in here?” she asked.
“I work here.”
“What are you talking about? Get out.”
“Sorry, Sunshine.” He wasn’t even looking at her, but using some sort of long, claw-like tool to pull down a ceiling tile above the wall she’d been working on. And his tool worked way better than hers.
His movements were agile and surprisingly graceful for a guy his size. Not that he was bulky in any way. Nope, that tall, built body was all lean, tough muscle, and it screamed power. And with each subtle movement, his body made it clear that it knew exactly what to do with all that power. “The owner of this building hired me,” he said. “Said you were making a mess of things because your pride was bigger than your wallet.”
This caught her completely off guard, both the insult and the information. “My uncle owns this building,” she said.
He smiled thinly. “Yep. Happy Birthday.”
“It’s not my birthday.”
“Then happy you’ve-got-a-great-uncle day.”
I'm a fan of Jill Shalvis. And I have never read one of her books, until now. I guess it is the nature of our social media world that one can follow an author on Facebook, Twitter, etc., be a fan, and have never read her work. I follow Jill on Facebook and Twitter. Sometimes she gets picked on and I like how she fights back. I now know where her character gets her spunkiness.
Aubrey is the anti-Golden girl of Lucky Harbor. Although she is beautiful, she is labelled the "bad sister" early on in life. Not that she didn't deserve some of that judgement, but in a small town, that label convicts you for life. Now she is back and older and trying to make a go of renovating and re-opening her deceased aunt's bookstore. It reminds me of the importance of independent book stores and not just a retail establishment, but also a meeting place. For Aubrey, it is the one place she felt safe growing up. In the midst of this huge endeavor, Aubrey also decides to try and make amends with the people she has wronged in the past. This take courage and stamina because people are not always quick to forgive. Like I said, I like Aubrey's spunk.
Ben is the Golden Boy of Lucky Harbor, who has returned to re-establish his life after suffering a terrible loss. He is definitely not looking for a relationship or entanglement. But the heart wants, what the heart wants.
Once in a Lifetime is a sweet, contemporary story about two people trying to re-invent themselves. The writing is engaging with laugh out loud and tender moments. This is great escapist fare.
IN A NUTSHELL:
If you enjoy a solid contemporary romance with a slice of heartbreak and joy, make sure you pick up this newest edition to the Lucky Harbor series.
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