This is the second in the author’s latest series set in Lucky Harbor, featuring three women who become friends after being trapped at a diner during a sudden snow storm. This is the first book I’ve read by Jill Shalvis, but it definitely won’t be my last. I thoroughly enjoyed this contemporary romance.
Amy Michaels has bounced from town to town since leaving home at 16. Although she’s now a waitress at the local diner, she came to Lucky Harbor on a quest. Raised by her grandmother until the older woman died. Amy has held onto her grandmother’s journal, in which she wrote of finding hope, peace, and heart on a hike through the forest outside of Lucky Harbor. Amy could desperately use all three, so intends to follow her grandmother’s path. Problem is, her grandmother was a bit vague in terms of directions.
Amy takes a wrong turn when she heads out through the forest and gets hopelessly lost. But Amy is smart and calls one of her friends for help. Instead of rescuing Amy herself, the friend contacts Matt Bowers, a forest ranger, to rescue Amy. While contacting Matt was the smart thing to do – after all, he’s trained to locate people – her friend did it to get Amy and Matt alone together. Her friend figures Amy could do a lot worse than hook up with Matt, or Ranger Hot Buns as he’s been dubbed on Facebook.
The plan works as Matt not only rescues Amy, but gets pretty close to her when they’re forced to camp overnight. But their relationship doesn’t go smoothly, which is realistic. These are two people with a lot of baggage.
Matt and Amy feel real to me. They have real backgrounds, real problems. Amy spent a lot of her teenage years homeless, and doesn’t trust anyone. She’s willing to have sex, but doesn’t do feelings. She’s spent years protecting herself, building up a tough girl persona, and isn’t about to let any man – no matter how hot – endanger that. Matt is convinced he sucks at relationships. A former Chicago cop, his life completely fell apart while there. He came to Lucky Harbor to forget and to be alone. Matt blames himself, and his job, for endangering his ex-wife; he isn’t about to get involved in another real relationship.
While characters from some previous Lucky Harbor books make an appearance, the focus is primarily on Matt and Amy as they struggle with their pasts and the feelings for each other. There is an interesting subplot involving a young runaway who Amy reluctantly befriends. I hope she appears in future Lucky Harbor books.
The third book in the series featuring Amy’s friend Grace, is scheduled to be released on July 31. As soon as I finished this book I ordered the third for download to my Kindle upon release. In the meantime, I hope to find some time to check out the author’s backlist. Contemporary romance is my favorite romance genre, and I’m delighted to have another author to add to my list.