Narrator: Angele Masters
Series: Lucky Harbor #11
Published by Grand Central Publishing on September 30, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
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#11 in the Lucky Harbor series. I’m really going to miss this town after I read the next and final book in the series.
Olivia Bentley is new to Lucky Harbor. She lives in the same building as Becca from It’s In His Kiss. Right next door, in fact. And the walls are very thin, Olivia discovers. Very, very thin. Out for an early morning walk one day, she sees what she thinks is a man falling from his boat and needing help getting back to shore. Without hesitating, she jumps in to help him. Cole Donovan did fall off of his boat, but he was hardly in need of rescue. And if Olivia hadn’t jumped in directly on top of him, he may have accomplished that a little more easily. As it turns out, he ends up having to get both of them out of the water.
Olivia has secrets. Unfortunately for her, Cole’s number one requirement for anyone – friend, lover, sister, mother, whoever – is complete and total honesty. This was the only part that didn’t work for me completely. I get Cole’s need for honesty. I can even understand why it’s so much of an absolute for him. View Spoiler »His former fiancee, Samantha, was in love with his best friend. He found that out at the best friend’s funeral when Sam had a complete breakdown. He finds out later in the book that his other two BFF, Sam and Tanner, knew about it and didn’t tell him. « Hide Spoiler But I also understood Olivia keeping her past a secret. It wasn’t anything that could potentially cause Cole problems, it wasn’t anything criminal or immoral. And, to be completely fair, she didn’t lie about it. She just didn’t tell him.View Spoiler »She used to be a child star, who went through a very public break up and meltdown after her show was canceled. « Hide Spoiler Keeping that secret been her MO since she left her previous life behind and moved to Lucky Harbor. There was one outright lie she told, and Cole did find out about that and did not react well, but he was more upset about what she didn’t tell him at all. And, frankly, it’s something that Cole could have found out in about five minutes on Google, and who doesn’t Google new people in their lives anymore?
But before Olivia’s secret came out, Cole and Olivia had fantastic chemistry. They know each other, at least casually, since their respective best friends are dating, and Olivia has spent more than one morning with Becca watching the guys surf and work on their boat. But from the minute she jumps in the water, everything is different. Their every touch and kiss fairly sizzled on the page. Olivia’s secret was hanging over them, though, and it got a little tiresome listening to her think to herself that she really needed to tell Cole the truth, but knew he wouldn’t understand, but she really had to tell him, then not tell him. That went on a little longer than it probably should have until it predictably blew up in her face. I’ve noticed this happening a lot, not just in Shalvis books. It’s difficult in today’s time, in a book set in America or the UK or somewhere similar, to come up with a realistic reason for a couple who wants to be together not to be. So the authors seem to drag out whatever conflict they’ve come up with long enough for the stakes to be as high as possible. If Olivia had told Cole about her past as soon as they started dating, he would have said “Ok” and the story would have been fine. I don’t mean this to be a knock. It has to be really tough to make these conflicts work these days.
The cast of side characters was pretty standard for Jill Shalvis. Cole has, I think, 3 sisters and a mother, all of whom he’s very close to. One of his sisters has a secret she’s hiding from the rest of the family, and, predictably, Cole is not on board with this. He’s not going to betray her and spill everything himself, but he makes it clear to her on several different occasions that she needs to come clean. His family was interfering but well-meaning, and fully on the side of Cole and Olivia getting together.
There was also the standard cast of Lucky Harbor residents, couples from previous book popping up to let us know they’re still doing well. I really like that Jill Shalvis manages to do this in her books without actually making all of these people full characters in each book. I like the little appearances and sightings, but can’t imagine trying to keep up with all of them in every single book. Looking at you, JR Ward. Lucille was sticking her nose in everyone’s business and posting everything that happens in Lucky Harbor to various social media sites. The next book, and final book in the series, features Lucille’s granddaughter Callie, and I’m really looking forward to that one.