23 Jun '12

A Nix Arc Review – At Last by Jill Shalvis (5 Stars)

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A recent addition to the Lucky Harbour family, Amy is happy with the way things are going. She loves her job at the diner, her new chocoholic friends and the new feeling of things finally coming together. The only fly in the ointment is the sexy Park Ranger who just won’t leave her alone. Matt is gorgeous, caring and makes no bones about wanting her; he is too much of a temptation. She has sworn off sex having spent far too many years using it to get whatever she wants. Lucky Harbour is her escape from the past, but her feelings towards Ranger Hot Buns is threatening all the foundations she has started to put into place.
Matt came to Lucky Harbour to leave behind his past. He has been through the emotional works, with a betrayal from his former police partner and the breakdown of his marriage in his very recent past. He doesn’t want to get involved in anything serious with Amy, but the attraction he feels towards her is too strong to deny. He goes to the diner where she works every day, he constantly stares at her and there isn’t a person in Lucky Harbour who is unaware of how he feels towards her.
Amy’s main reason for coming to Lucky Harbour is try to connect with the peace that her late Grandmother found many years ago in the town. Amy has no family anymore, driven away by a combination of her previous behaviour and an inexcusable breach of trust by those supposed to love her unconditionally. This trip is about feeling like she isn’t alone anymore and so she follows the paths described by her Grandmothers journal, desperately searching for happiness. When she gets lost on a particularly nasty trail, she sends out an SOS to the chocoholics. But they don’t come for her, they send Matt instead. Ignoring their chemistry is easy when you are surrounded by people; when it’s one on one, it’s a lot more difficult. After a falling tree leaves them alone in the woods together overnight, it becomes crystal clear to both of them that avoiding this issue is no longer an option.
Neither especially wants a relationship, both too scared by the hurts of the past. Of course they agree to a sex only relationship, but all us Romance readers know that is just an excuse to get physical contact without admitting to any emotional connections. Can they keep up their sex only relationship or will they let it fall apart because of fear of being hurt?
Here in the UK, Jill Shalvis is a hard woman to find books by. This series is especially difficult to find, only available on book depository in paperback format. I will be buying every single title in this series for my keeper shelf and I recommend that anyone who has a fondness for contemporaries does the same. This is actually my favourite of the series because the emotional depth of the story brought an extra oomph to a tale I was already looking forward to.
Matt is just a yummy man who has been hurt by a lot of people in his past. He can’t deny his feelings for the prickly Amy, but he won’t admit the full depth of them to anyone, including himself. When she offers up a sex only arrangement, he nearly bites her hand off for it. Unfortunately, this means spending time with Amy, something that they have both managed to avoid in the 6 months they have been circling each other. As he finds out more about her, he starts to realise that there are reasons for the back off attitude. He starts to try to unpick the twisted web of her past and in doing that he starts to care. It isn’t long before he realises that he is kidding himself if he thinks he can carry on. I love, love, love Matt. He is my favourite hero of this series.  
Amy is an awesome heroine but man has she got issues. Her past choice of using sex to get what she wants backfired spectacularly, so she steers clear of men and has remained pretty much celibate for a while. She can’t help but be drawn to Matt; he’s sexy, strong, protective and kind. When he brings Riley home from the woods, a young runaway who reminds Amy so much of her younger self, I think she starts to crumble a bit. He is completely aware of the way to handle the troubled youngster and Amy starts to see the man past the hot shell. The majority of this tale is about Amy’s emotional journey, how she learns to let people in and believe they care about her. I answered a question yesterday on who I like best out of the hero and heroine in a book and my answer was that to truly love a book I have to love them both. In this book, that was definitely the case. I adored Amy and fully routed for her changes….I also loved her spunkiness J

Did I believe in the love story? Yes. Did I want the love story to happen? Yes. Ever since I met these two in book four, I have wanted to see if that chemistry could run to something deeper. Once I started to read the emotional trauma that Amy had been through, my heart bled and I wanted to her to find some sort of happiness. I’ll admit I really wanted it to be with Matt just because he treated her like a princess, but I think I’d have been happy if she just found somewhere to belong. Please don’t mistake me, I was sympathetic to Matt’s emotional baggage too, but it wasn’t the complete betrayal that Amy had seen.  I wanted Matt to be happy because he really deserved to be. He was a lovely lovely man who showed compassion to even the most damaged (whilst being a real stickler with the rules…)
The sex was awesome. Honestly it was clammy palm inducing sex that set me up to be hot and bothered for the duration of the tale. Matt was real thoughtful in the bedroom department which only made me love him more. He had that whole big and in charge thing that I particularly like, but his affection for Amy shone through each and every scene. I don’t have a favourite…I loved them all!
Overall, this is my favourite book in the Lucky Harbour Series. It may also be my favourite book of the moment. With a hot Park Ranger, a damaged yet spunky heroine and a whole host of charming side characters, it has something for everyone. I love Lucille and her Facebook wall too….
  

Nix

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