passion rating: hot
Dear Ms. Shalvis,
At Last is the fifth book you’ve written set in the small Washington State coastal town of Lucky Harbor. I’ve read all five and, as I began this one, I wondered if the charms of that happy hamlet might finally begin to pale for me. They did not. In fact, in At Last, Lucky Harbor is an extraordinary place to live—everyone there seems to have enough money to live safely, health care is available to all, and, even though there are only two places to go out to eat, the Love Shack bar and grill and the Eat Me diner, both are always full of droll, satisfied, convivial customers. There’s no racial tension (or, for that matter, real diversity), law enforcement is wonderfully tolerant of petty crimes, and everyone, whether they ask for it or not, becomes part of a caring, connected community.
Although At Last is the fifth book set in Lucky Harbor, it’s the second in a trilogy about three women—Mallory, Amy, and Grace, the Chocoholics—who bonded in the first book, Lucky in Love. Both At Last and Lucky in Love feature ex-military hunks with the bodies of gods and aversions to commitment. The hero of this book, Matt, might be the biggest catch on the planet—so much so that I had a bit of hard time believing he was single… or real. He’s gorgeous, generous, great in bed and, in every way, one of the good guys. Matt—or Ranger Hot Buns as he is known on Lucky Harbor’s infamous Facebook page—been lusting after Amy for six months, ever since the day she rolled into town.
Amy has rolled in and out of many towns since she ran away from home—escaping a lecherous step-father—when she was sixteen. She came to Lucky Harbor deliberately.
Nearly five decades ago now, her grandma had spent a summer in Lucky Harbor, the small Washington coastal town Amy could catch glimpses of from some of the switchbacks on the trail. Rose’s summer adventure had been Amy’s bedtime stories growing up, the only bright spot in an otherwise shitty childhood.
Now Amy was grown up— relatively speaking— and looking for what her grandma had claimed to find all those years ago— hope, peace, heart. It seemed silly and elusive, but the truth was sitting in her gut— Amy wanted those things, needed them so desperately it hurt.
Amy’s created a nice life for herself in Lucky Harbor. She’s a waitress at the Eat Me diner, has two true friends, lives in a tiny but safe apartment, and has plenty of time to pursue her true passion: drawing. She doesn’t have a man in her life, but that’s fine by her—her past experiences with that sex have left her skittish and uninterested in romantic or sexual entanglements. Uninterested, that is, in all men but Matt Bowers.
There was a sort of . . . crackling in the air between them, and it wasn’t a bird or insect or frigging elk call either.Amy’s kept Matt at arm’s length and he, sure she’d shut him down and out if he made a move, has let her do so. But then, one day, Amy gets lost in Matt’s territory—she, using her grandmother’s fifty year old journal, is trying to retrace the journey her grandmother made all those years ago. As night closes in, Amy calls Mallory for help and Mallory calls Matt who is more than willing to go after Amy. The two end up spending the night together, eating beef jerky and marshmallows, talking about their pasts, and sharing one combustible kiss. That night changes things between them and slowly, slowly, Amy begins to let Matt into her life.
It was sexual tension. It’d been a long time, a real long time, since she’d allowed herself to acknowledge such a thing, and it surprised the hell out of her. She knew men, all of them. She’d been there, done that, bought and returned the t-shirt. She knew that beneath a guy’s chosen veneer, whatever that may be— nice guy, funny guy, sexy guy, whatever— lay their true colors, just lying in wait.
But she’d been watching Matt for months now, and he was always . . . Matt. Amused, tense, tired, it didn’t seem to matter, he remained his cool, calm, even-keeled self. Nothing got to him. She had to admit, that confused her. He confused her.
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