Aug 19 2014 12:00pm

First Look: Jill Shalvis’s It’s In His Kiss (August 26, 2014)

It's in His Kiss by Jill ShalvisJill Shalvis
It's in His Kiss
Grand Central Publishing / August 26, 2014 / $8.00, print / $5.99, digital


Becca Thorpe has uprooted her life and escaped to the beach. Now's her chance to get away from city living, throw caution to the ocean winds, and live in the moment. Especially if the moment includes the deliciously sexy surfer she meets shortly after arriving in Lucky Harbor. Something about the dark intensity of Sam's eyes and the thrill she gets at his touch convinces her to stay awhile.

Boatbuilder and investment genius Sam Brody is a self-made man who knows how dangerous it can be to mix business and pleasure. But he can't resist offering Becca a job just to hear her laugh and have her near. Yet when her brother comes to town asking for help, will he tempt her back to her glamorous life in the city? Or do Sam and little Lucky Harbor have a chance to win Becca's heart?

It takes a lot of courage to pack up and move across the country, away from all that’s familiar. As hard as this is, it’s exactly what Becca Thorpe does in Jill Shalvis's It's in His Kiss, landing her in Lucky Harbor, Washington, for the summer at least. Although a new, strange town presents its own challenges, the bigger issue she’ll have to face is the reason she’d decided to leave her home in the first place. With a chance at a fresh start and the possibility of leaving the past where it should be left, Becca feels the sand and the ocean will be the healing elements the do the trick.

Becca's first run-in with Sam Brody is full of promise, as he provides a bit of eye candy for the travel weary heroine. When the run-ins continue, Becca sees it as a good thing; a little flirtation would be another step in the right direction. Sam’s no fool, though, and has Becca on her toes from the get-go. His astute observations challenge her desire to just forget all the reasons she chose to leave New Orleans in the first place.

“You’ve got a bruise on your face,” he said… “What happened?”

She reached up and touched the tender spot. “I was reading in bed and smacked myself with my flashlight and e-reader.”

He stared at her. “Is that your version of I ran into a door?”

She let out a mirthless laugh, which made his frown deepen. Apparently laughing in the face of an overprotective alpha wasn’t the right move.

“Seriously,” she said. “I did this one all on my own.”

“This one?”

Well, shit. An overprotective, sharp alpha.

Despite having been caught ogling Sam and his business partners several times, Becca manages to land the job as their charter company’s new reception/administrative assistant. It’s something Sam is dead set against, particularly considering that now he feels obliged to stop what he and Becca had started. Overruled by his partners, the woman he can’t stop thinking about becomes virtually untouchable. The move turns out to be both a good and bad thing; bad because of Sam’s ‘no sleeping with the boss’ stipulation, good for so many more reasons.

Becca, through her new employment, is able to supplement the small income she’s receiving from her jingle writing gig. She’s also able to demonstrate to the guys (as well as the people in her new town), just how capable she is. Her proximity to Sam, though underscored with enough sizzle to risk melting all the surf gear in the shop, allows him to get a chance to show her he's not like the men in her past. Sam hasn’t yet discovered all that Becca has had to deal with, but he knows she’s been badly traumatized by something.

Clever lessons that range from the practical, like how to use the scuba gear Becca is now responsible for renting out, to the sublime, in the form of mind blowing kisses that leave Becca longing for what she can’t have with the no sex rule still in place…until it no longer is.

“Hold on,” he said.

“For what?” she asked breathlessly.

“The ride.” And then, still holding her to the wall, he kissed her.

And God. God, he had a way a way of kissing like she was his entire world. He was right. She needed to hold on for this. So she did, to him, gripping his hard biceps, his broad shoulders, his back, clutching at everything she could reach because she was starved for this, for him.

She might be utterly flabbergasted by her boss/love interest but Becca isn’t willing to let this one aspect define her either. Gossip, spread in large part by the eighty-something year old bikini-wearing busybody, reports that Becca is no slouch on the piano. She quickly finds herself working with a group of kids more eager to learn than they are good at paying attention to what’s going on around them.

All the elements seem to be fitting together. Yet Becca still can’t play the instrument she loves whenever she’s aware anyone can hear. The old anxieties about her worth and skill, or lack thereof, refuse to let go. With Sam at her side, there seems to be some consolation for these defects, with other aspects of Becca’s life appearing to be on the mend.

She was out of control, and he had plenty of control. Hell, he had all of it, but this wasn’t about pressure, or forcing her. She’d been in that position before, and this was different. Like always with Sam, she was fully, definitely, willingly on board, and absolutely willing to take what he was giving.

And in turn give him everything she had.

It was a new sensation, and she wanted to revel in it, the utter feminine power that came with the surrender…

Of course, Sam has his own issues. For him, love and trust are concepts that have been so abused by others in his own past that he thinks whatever he touches will be doomed to fail. How then do these two broken people reconcile the connection that only seems to intensify whenever they are together (and often, even when they’re not)? And how do they shake the ghosts that threaten their individual futures, never mind whatever tenuous happiness they have for the time Becca is in town? The answers will come by facing the past head on and having faith one more time that people, circumstances, and addresses are always capable of change.

Learn more about or order a copy of It's in His Kiss by Jill Shalvis, available August 26, 2014:

Buy at Barnes & Noble

Buy at Indiebound



Jackie Lester imagines a day when she can make a living as a writer. Until then, she reviews eclectic books at My Ever Expanding Library and lives in small-town Ontario with her daughter.

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