“Didn’t see that coming.”
“Didn’t see what coming?”
It Had to Be You by Jill Shalvis was yet another sweet, tender, funny and light-hearted addition to this wonderful contemporary romance series. This book made me laugh out loud, had me swooning over sexy Luke and definitely left me happily sighing when I finished. Once again this author made me fall deeply in love with her characters and this series. <3 <3 <3
No, she wasn’t okay, not even a little bit. She’d been unceremoniously dumped, made homeless, and could be arrested at any moment. It’d been a craptastic week.
Ali Winters moved to Lucky Harbor to start fresh. Despite having grown up in a rough neighborhood and not always having it easy, Ali is sweet, caring, cheerful and optimistic. She has been dealt a rough hand at times in her life but she has always walked away with a smile. Ali wants to step away from where she grew up and find her own way and therefore decides to move to the picturesque town of Lucky Harbor. She has not been in Lucky Harbor long but she has spent enough time there to be screwed over by a cheating ass-hat of an ex-boyfriend, be left with no place to live and be a suspect in a case of stolen money. This is all in the span of one week. Ali can use a drink…maybe four. She meets the landlord of the place she has to leave while leaving an angry voicemail for her cheating douche ex-boyfriend – while in her underwear. Yes, that is how she meets Detective Luke Hanover.
Luke Hanover is back in Lucky Harbor for a break despite the fact that he has not been back to this small town for ten years. He took a three week leave from his job with the San Francisco PD after dealing with a high-profile case and having things go very wrong. Luke wants some peace, quiet and to simply be left alone. When he enters his home and sees an angry woman yelling at her phone in her underwear, he is a little taken aback. After dodging some ceramic pottery being thrown at home hearing some explanations, Luke agrees to let Ali stay the night. He can’t shake his need to always help and he definitely is unable to let Ali leave with no place to go. Chivalry at its finest, ladies. Lady in distress, meet your shining white knight.
The plot thickens when Ali is accused of the town’s fundraiser money which was in her ex-boyfriend’s office. An office Ali had visited the night of the fundraiser. Things do not look good for Ali. After having spent some time with Ali, Luke knows in his gut that she is not the thief. And so our alpha-male with the hero complex makes the decision to help Ali out and investigate matters to find the stolen funds and determine who the true thief is. Ali continues to stay with Luke in his home and the pair become friends which leads to something more. Cue the sexual tension and constant flirting. Playing with fire, anyone????
He might be standing in darkness, wallowing, weighed down by the things he saw on his job, but she wasn’t like that. She was light.
Luke, our strong and dominant hero, while on his crusade to clear Ali’s name, is also dealing with his past. Being in Lucky Harbor has brought forth many memories and a plethora of demons he is now struggling with. Ali is a beacon of light for him. She is the type of woman who, despite her circumstances, sees the glass as always being full. Luke is not only drawn to Ali as a woman but to her buoyant spirit which calls to him on a deeper level. Luke knows he should leave Ali alone, but he is unable to stay away and keep his hands (and others parts) to himself. This fierce, protective woman who he is supposed to be helping is the one aiding him. Ali is honest about her feelings for Luke but she also understands that he has made no promises to her. He is determined to leave Lucky Harbor and go back to his job. Will Luke be able to leave Lucky Harbor and go back to his job in San Francisco? Will he be able to leave happiness with Ali?
“Not the go out and share sushi kind, but yeah. It’s more the ‘your dress is pretty, where did you get it’ sort.”
Luke shook his head. “Was that in English?”
“You look at me like I’m the best thing you’ve seen all day. You make me feel...I don’t know. Pretty. Sexy. And important to you. You make me ‘feel’, Luke.”
He smiled. It was an uninhibited smile. A wolf smile. And it made her nipples get very perky. “I think I’m indicated.”
I loved the progression of Luke and Ali’s relationship. At first they kind of tiptoe around their unquestionable attraction; however, this does not last long. They definitely steam things up but both understand that more is at work than undeniable chemistry. They have a connection and while Ali is embracing it, Luke is running scared. Jill Shalvis is a master at writing funny and sweet with a mix of hot and sexy. I loved the hilarious banter between Luke and Ali just as much as the swoony moments. Seeing the couple come full circle in this cute romance had me grinning from ear to ear. Seriously, you try reading a Jill Shalvis book without a smile on your face!
All in all, this book was a wonderful read. It Had to Be You is just another reason why I adore this author and her books. I loved the fact that we got to catch up with Lucky Harbor’s senior clan. They are always there to provide some laughs with their antics. This book is funny, romantic and simply one of the reasons why I love reading so much. I am already anticipating the next book in the series about one of the local hottie firefighters. Hell yes...bring it on!
“Me. Us.” He kissed her. “This.”