Lucky in Love
I always enjoy reading a Jill Shalvis book. She’s a consistently elegant, bold, clever writer. Her latest, Lucky in Love, the fourth in her Lucky Harbor series, is a sweet, sexy read. This book is the first of a series of three Lucky Harbor books all being released this summer.
The novels tell the stories of three women who are caught in the Eat Me diner during a sudden snow storm and who bond over chocolate cake. Each makes a vow to do something to change her life. Mallory Quinn, the heroine of this book, vows to get a date — just one — for an upcoming auction she has to chair. Her friend Amy, a waitress at the Eat Me and the heroine of the next book, makes Mallory promise she’ll look for a Mr. Wrong. Mallory, the good girl of Lucky Harbor, reluctantly agrees.
Moments later, the three women — the third is Grace who is new to town and to the Lucky Harbor series — hear a thud against the wall of the diner and then a moan. Mallory, a nurse and the sort who tries to save anyone she thinks needs saving, bravely steps out into the howling storm and almost steps on a large semi-conscious male who looks to have been knocked out by a fallen tree branch. He’s bleeding from the head and as Mallory tries to examine him she realizes he’s the man known on Lucky Harbor’s exceedingly popular Facebook page as Mysterious Cute Guy. MCG has been in Lucky Harbor for six months and no one knows anything about him at all — except of course that he’s one fine-looking man. Before the ambulance shows up to take MCG to the hospital, Amy gets him to agree to be Mallory’s date at the upcoming auction (a deal that later he has no memory of).
Mallory goes to the auction, hoping that MCG shows up, but even if he doesn’t, she’d be there anyway making Lucky Harbor a better place. Mallory is a grade A good girl. She’s a fabulous nurse who goes beyond the normal call of duty to care for her patients, works hard to keep her somewhat slack family on track, and lately, has poured hours of time and effort to start a public health service clinic to serve the non-traditional patients whose counseling and health needs aren’t being met by Lucky Harbor’s hospital. The auction, organized by Mallory, is a fundraiser for the future clinic and most of Lucky Harbor is there. So, although he is completely unaware he’s Mallory’s date, is MCG.
MCG is Ty Garrison, an ex-Seal first responder trauma paramedic. Ty quit the military after losing his entire team in a plane crash four years ago and has since been working as a private contractor. He’s currently out of action — he reinjured himself on a mission jumping out a second story window — and is counting down the days until he will be cleared by his doctor — Lucky Harbor’s Dr. Josh Scott – to return to work. Ty’s in Lucky Harbor, renting a house found by his friend Matt, a local forest ranger Ty went through naval basic training with years ago. Ty is a loner who doesn’t do relationships. All that matters to him is getting back to the job — he believes that the only way he can atone for surviving the crash that killed his team is to keep going out on missions and saving those in need.
Ty goes to the auction, hoping (against his better judgment) to see “his bossy, warm, sexy nurse” again. Once there, Ty realizes that not only Mallory, but much of Lucky Harbor, assumes he’s there as her date. Ty steps up to the plate, helping out with auction, getting the bidding going, and in general, charming the hell out of Mallory who is already aswoon at how hot he looks cleaned up in his tux. Mallory finds him so charming, in fact, when the two find themselves in a deserted storage room looking for a misplaced vase, Mallory, who has never had sex outside a committed relationship in her life, pretty much throws herself at Ty. The two share a super-charged kiss and just as Mallory is about to pass out from desire, Ty tells her they’re stopping. Mallory asks why.
He let out a low, innately male groan. “Because you’re not the fuck-a-stranger-in-a-storage-room-with-her-boss waiting type of woman.” Well, when he put it like that…Damn. Her inner bad girl retreated a little. More than a little….
“I am for tonight,” she said, and wrapped herself around him. “Mallory.” He stared down at her, the moonlight casting his features into relief. “I’m not a long-term bet. Hell, I’m not even a short-term bet.”
“I just want this,” she said. “Here. Now. With you.”
Anyone has ever read a romance knows how this story goes. The fun of the book is that even though the reader knows it’s only a matter of time until Ty realizes his future lies with Mallory, Ms. Shalvis tells that story with panache and humor. This is a very witty — I laughed out loud countless times reading Lucky in Love — and terrifically well-written book. The secondary characters — and the town counts as one — are hilarious and differentiated. Fans of the earlier books will love seeing Lucky Harbor’s denizens again at their meddling best. Lucky in Love is also one of the hottest books I’ve read by Ms. Shalvis. Mallory and Ty burn up the sheets (and the pages) with regularity and these scenes are sizzling.
Lucky in Love isn’t the best contemporary I’ve ever read. It isn’t even the best contemporary Ms. Shalvis has written. That’s just fine. It’s a damn good time. Kick off your shoes, grab some chocolate of your own or pour yourself a glass of wine, settle into a comfortable chair, and read Lucky in Love. And when you’ve finished, don’t panic, the next book At Last comes out June 25th!