Books, Gardens, Dogs


Always On My Mind - Jill Shalvis


Leah Sullivan grew up in Lucky Harbor with a domineering father and a mother who allowed him to bully her, so as soon as she could, she left and never looked back. Drifting aroung and never finishing school, she does succeed as a pastry chef so when her aunt has to have surgery, she comes back home to help out in her bakery.  She has competed onSweet Wars, a televised reality baking show, which will have you rooting for her much like the people who live in Lucky Harbor to win.  Her best guy friend growing up, Jack Harper has remained an ally with Leah but there has never been anything more than sworn friendship, even though the sparks are present.  And considering, he is now head of the fire department, you know this is going to lead to a blaze of hotness.  (I know, for some reason these books bring out the puns in me.)

Oh, and Jack's mother is fighting breast cancer, so when Joe brings Dee into the bakery to tempt her to eat, Leah blurts out that they are now seeing each other which makes Dee overwhelmingly happy.  Jack figures something that makes his mother snap out of her depression is a wonderful thing and decides that he doesn't really want to lie to his mother so he gives it his all.  Even the little details like Leah's friends and their snarky comments all ring true.  Those girls have cornered the market on hot firefighter cliches!  I love reading about how Leah, with the help of Jack just makes everything come together.  It also wouldn't be a true "Jill" book without a bit of mystery and conflict.  In this case, it is a strange building fires around the small community.

The situation that Leah creates with one little white lie is so believable that everything just falls together so naturally in this story.  Every time I pick up one of Shalvis's books, I keep wondering if this will be the one that lets me down and every time I adore that one more than the last.  I instantly get sucked into the characters and the winning dialogue with just enough detail that isn't overwhelming or sticky sweet.  (ok, sorry, more puns).   So dig in, grab a glass of wine, or in my case water, and read this charming story. 

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