Did you all hear any loud noises today? I’m pretty sure I heard a collective sigh as Jill Shalvis readers started reading ALWAYS ON MY MIND. I was fortunate enough to get an early copy of the book (thanks, Jill!), and I can pretty much guarantee that those readers will not be disappointed!
There’s nothing like the real thing.
After dropping out of pastry school and messing up her big break on a reality cooking show, Leah Sullivan needs to accomplish something in her life. But when she returns home to Lucky Harbor, she finds herself distracted by her best friend, Jack Harper. In an effort to cheer up Jack’s ailing mother, Dee, Leah tells a little fib – that she and Jack are more than just friends. Soon pretending to be hot-and-heavy with this hunky firefighter feels too real to handle…
No-strings attachments suit Jack just fine – perfect for keeping the risk of heartbreak away. But as Jack and Leah break every one of their “just friends” rules, he longs to turn their pretend relationship into something permanent. Do best friends know too much about each other to risk falling in love? Or will Jack and Leah discover something new about each other in a little town called Lucky Harbor?
ALWAYS ON MY MIND is typical Shalvis in that it has a ridiculously hot alpha male, a beautiful, quirky, totally capable female, and the requisite undeniable attraction between the two. What sets this apart, in my opinion, is the weight that both are carrying on their shoulders and the lengths they are willing to go to trying to prove that they’re just fine.
Leah had a cold, sometimes violent, childhood and could always rely on her Gram for gentle hugs and positive support. When Gram has knee surgery, Leah comes home to Lucky Harbor to run her bakery while she’s recovering. Between dropping out of culinary school and appearing as a contestant on a cooking show, Leah has had her share of stress and welcomes returning to the calm of her hometown. Except for the fact that Jack is still there. Jack was also a constant in her childhood and offered his shoulder on more than one occasion when Leah would sneak out of her room and into Jack’s to escape her father’s wrath. Unable to share the results of the cooking contest until the final episode has aired, everyone in Lucky Harbor is constantly asking Leah if she was the winner. All bets are on her. It’s too bad she doesn’t have the confidence in herself that everyone else does.
Jack can’t believe that Leah is back in Lucky Harbor. He’s now a firefighter, just like his father who died a hero while fighting a fire. His father’s heroic death weighs heavy on Jack and he’s always taking risks, just like his father did. Jack’s mother is battling breast cancer and when she’s down because of chemo's side effects and the fact that Jack is still all alone, Leah takes heart and tells her that she and Jack are seeing each other. This thrills Dee and starts the entire town talking. Jack isn’t immediately very happy with Leah but when he sees how the little lie has brightened his mother and her outlook, he can’t deny that they should let it go just a bit longer. Little does he know that Leah would worm her way back into his heart (or maybe she never left?) and he has some decisions to make.
Jill Shalvis always tosses an abundance of humor into her books and the biggest source of humor in ALWAYS ON MY MIND is Jack’s dog, Kevin. Kevin is smart and goofy, just like most dogs, but he weighs in at one fifty, making him impossible to ignore. Characters and settings from previous books make an appearance and it’s nice to see how the others we’ve come to know and love are doing. I give ALWAYS ON MY MIND my highest recommendation.
To celebrate the release of ALWAYS ON MY MIND, Jill is offering one reader here a copy (print or ebook, winner’s choice) of any of the previous books in the Lucky Harbor series. Leave a comment if you’re interested and you’ll be entered. If you want to talk about Jill’s work, her fun daily blog, characters, covers, etc., please do! Every time I read one of Jill’s books, I have new favorite characters. The winning reader will be chosen on Friday, September 27th. Be sure to check back and see if you’re the winner – good luck!!
Thanks Jill, for allowing me to read and review ALWAYS ON MY MIND!