About That Kiss
In this latest installment of Ms. Shalvis’ Heartbreaker Bay series, it’s Joe and Kylie’s turn for a happily ever after. We’ve known them for the whole series, as they’re both members of the gang at the center of this world, and we’ve known there’s some friction between them, but we’ve never known why. When Kylie needs Joe’s help, they’re forced to confront that friction and – of course – along the way find themselves in each other.
Kylie Masters is a talented woodworker who learned the craft from her grandfather. She works in the building this whole series is based out of, and once shared an over-the-fence-home-run type of kiss with Joe Malone, who works at the security firm in the same building. He never called after said kiss and Kylie wrote him off.
Until one of her grandfather’s pieces goes missing from Kylie’s workshop. You see, there was a fire a while back that not only cost her grandfather his life, but destroyed most of his work as well. The small carving of a penguin is all Kylie has left of him and she is determined to get it back. Knowing that Joe is best placed to help her, Kylie hires him to track down the carving. He agrees, but is constantly annoyed when she insists on tagging along to stakeouts and interviews.
Joe is not really a commitment guy. Yes, the kiss was amazing, but he knew Kylie was an all-in kind of girl and didn’t want to play with that fire. When she needs help, he agrees, but wants to keep it strictly professional. She keeps mucking with that plan and it drives him bonkers.
One thing – as it does – leads to another and pretty soon these two are acting on the attraction between them. What they’re also doing, however, is getting more emotionally vulnerable with the other person than they ever anticipated. In the PoVs that Ms. Shalvis provides, you can almost hear them say to themselves ‘why did I tell her that?’ or ‘wow, he did not need to know that!’ as they disclose pieces of their past to each other. They both have pain (as we all do) and they both have baggage (ditto) and a lot of this book is Kylie and Joe figuring out if their baggage outweighs their chemistry or vice versa.
My patience for the mystery of the penguin ran out about fifty pages into the book, which that was kind of a bummer. I felt like we spent a lot of time with Kylie and her grandfather and not nearly as much with Kylie and who she was outside of that relationship. Maybe I’m missing the point – entirely possible – but I had to fight the urge to skim whenever she started talking about the penguin or we were in any conversation about the penguin. The resolution did nothing for me, but I’m also not sure how you would motivate this plot without it, so I’ll just shrug my shoulders and say ‘eh’.
Overall, About That Kiss is a decent read, as all of Ms. Shalvis’ books are, and that it’s one that’s not particularly to my taste probably says more about me than anything else. If you like instachemistry – then pick this one up.