by Jill Shalvis
Book #5 in the Lucky Harbor series
ARC from NetGalley★★★★
HER LOVE HAS COME ALONG . . . Amy Michaels loves her new life in Lucky Harbor. A waitress in the local diner, she's looking forward to her first weekend hike through the mountains. But when a wrong turn takes her off the trail, she finds herself up close and personal with forest ranger Matt Bowers. And even though she's tempted to kiss that sexy smile right off his face, she won't make the mistake of getting involved with the town heartthrob.
A former cop whose life went south, Matt doesn't let anyone get too close. But something about the feisty beauty caught his eye the moment he first saw her in the diner. After a hot night under a starry sky, Matt can't deny their attraction-or the fact that for the first time in a long time, he feels the stirrings of something more. Now it's up to Matt to help Amy see that, no matter what is in their past, together they can build a future in Lucky Harbor.
Amy Michaels, a waitress at the Eat Me diner, has a reputation for being a "tough girl" because she exudes attitude and wears steel-toed boots. She's only been in Lucky Harbor for about six months and the residents don't know how really tough her life was before she came to town as Amy keeps everyone at a distance. That includes Matt Bowers, the local forest ranger, who exudes sexiness, has his own past he'd like to leave behind and seems to have his eyes firmly fixed on Amy. She notices and they've been doing a quiet dance around this odd attraction for awhile.
Amy is a tough girl, no question about it, having been on her own since she was sixteen and her life wasn't a picnic before she left home. She now has two very good friends in Mallory Quinn and Grace Brooks and they're focused on getting her to be "The Good Girl" for a change. Everyone in town seems to know that she and Matt have some sort of "thing" and her friends are determined to find the opening to shove her through to get something going.
Matt and Amy go from almost 0 to sixty overnight but that's consistent with who she is, someone looking to just have a sexual fling and no strings attached. That seems fine to Matt but these two have an unusual attraction that eventually breaks down all of those barriers they've erected. Amy uses her deceased grandmother's journal to help her find the peace, hope and heart she needs to achieve fulfillment. And, she befriends a young runaway who helps her to clearly see and forgive herself. Matt benefits from her transformation, too, as he sees an opportunity for a second chance in this relationship.
It's not easy to connect with Amy but her inner dialogue exposes her vulnerability, making her more appealing. That tough exterior is a ruse for a resilient young woman who wants to make a change in her life. Matt is just plain scrumptious and never really gives up on Amy or the potential of their relationship. Even though some of her forest adventures didn't keep my attention, Amy's change because of them made it worthwhile.
I liked the story, Amy and Matt's romance and the craziness of the quirky people of Lucky Harbor. I'm looking forward to the final story of the Chocoholics (Grace's story).