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Book Cover C2’s review of The Sweetest Thing (Lucky Harbor, Book 2) by Jill Shalvis
Contemporary romance published by Grand Central 1 April 11

Jill Shalvis’s The Sweetest Thing takes us back to the seaside town of Lucky Harbor to visit with Phoebe Traeger’s daughters.  This time Tara, the oldest daughter, is on deck for her happily ever after…but will it be with her first love – local bad boy Ford Walker – or with her racecar driver ex-husband who just showed up in town?

Tara Daniels life has changed a lot in a few years.  She used to be the wife of a celebrity with money and social power.  Now the money and power are long gone, and she and her sisters are struggling to get a business off the ground.  And Tara does not need distractions…but how do you ignore a large, gorgeous, flirty male (one you’ve already seen naked)?

Ford Walker is a professional sailor – as in sailboat racing – a former Olympian, even.  When he isn’t off somewhere exotic winning all sorts of competitions, he lives in Lucky Harbor and helps his best friend, Jax, run his bar.  Lately, though, Ford has been feeling less…something.  Or something is missing and he can’t quite figure out what it is.  Until he does figure out what’s going on – well, pestering Tara is always entertaining.

As tempted as Tara is, taking Ford up on his flirtatious offers isn’t something she can do.  The last time she and Ford got together, everything ended badly – as in teenage, unwed pregnancy – and Tara isn’t willing to go through that again.  And nothing about the grown-up Ford’s life convinces her a relationship would be anything but temporary.  Tara doesn’t think Ford is willing to work for something like that and will walk away when things get difficult or when he gets bored, whichever comes first.

The sisters are working to get their inn ready to open and still have lots of things to take care of before it is ready for the public.  There is a lot riding on having a successful business, so the last thing Tara needs is another distraction…so, of course, her ex-husband shows up, determined to get back together.  Logan is famous, he’s rich, he’s handsome and charming. Ford is jealous and annoyed.  And Tara does not want to deal with two men competing for her attention…she’s already stressed out!

What could possibly raise Tara’s stress level even higher?  The arrival of the daughter she gave up for adoption years before.  Apparently, Phoebe left Mia some money in her will.  Mia and her dad were able to track down Tara and Ford, and Mia applied for a summer job at the inn. Surprise!

Even though it seems like all the things going on would distract from the romance in the book, it really doesn’t.  Sure, Logan’s around, but he’s never a real competitor…he’s just a good way to get Ford to focus on what he wants.  And having Mia turn up makes Ford and Tara deal with the issues left over from when they were teenagers – issues that are standing in the way of them getting back together and staying together.  Very smart plot weaving, says me.

That doesn’t mean the road is completely smooth.  Tara and Ford both have others issues they need to deal with – internal issues everyone has to address at some point – what is really important, what makes them happy, etc.  What happens if everything doesn’t mesh and they still can’t find a way to be together and happy?  Ah, faithful reader, it’s a romance.  Of course they end up happy and together!

Before I started reading The Sweetest Thing, I wasn’t sure…  In the first book of the series, Tara is not the most likable character – and she stays her sometimes bitchy, anal self – but it makes more sense and we see more sides to her.  Ford is hot!  And not an immature womanizer – even if he is a pro athlete of sorts – he is just unsettled and not sure what to do next. He doesn’t start out as a frat boy caricature, but he does mature and grow over the course of the book.  The scenes with Ford and Mia are so sweet and his suspicions about her boyfriend are funny.

Does this book stand alone?  Yes.  But the first book is very good and you get more background about Phoebe, so why not start there?  Did it make me anxious for the next book?  Oh, gosh, yes – I’ve been intrigued by the baby sister and the sheriff since the beginning (book coming soon – yay!).

If you’re looking for a good straight up contemporary romance with sweetness and heat and humor, look no further…Jill Shalvis always delivers.

CSquareds IconGrade: B+


Two Men Are One Too Many . . .

Tara has a thousand good reasons not to return to the little coastal town of Lucky Harbor, Washington. Yet with her life doing a major crash-and-burn, anywhere away from her unfulfilled dreams and sexy ex-husband will do. As Tara helps her two sisters get their newly renovated inn up and running, she finally has a chance to get things under control and come up with a new plan for her life.

But a certain tanned, green-eyed sailor has his own ideas, such as keeping Tara hot, bothered . . . and in his bed. And when her ex wants Tara back, three is a crowd she can’t control-especially when her deepest secret reappears out of the blue. Now Tara must confront her past and discover what she really wants. If she’s lucky, she might just find that everything her heart desires is right here in Lucky Harbor.

Read an excerpt.

Other books in the series:

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