This is the first of the last trio of Lucky Harbor novels. I loved the first three, powered through the middle ones even as some as the secondary wacky townies characters started crowding into the story too much. However I enjoyed “It's in His Kiss” despite the fact that I questioned some of the choices made by some of the characters.
“It's in His Kiss” is the story of Sam and Becca. Sam runs a boat charter business in Lucky Harbor with two of his closest friends. He works and plays hard, running himself into the ground figuratively and literally. Becca, just arrived in town from parts unknown is looking for new start in Lucky Harbor. Becca moves into the rundown converted warehouse apartments in the same wharf district as Sam’s Boat charter business. They keep running into each other. The more Becca sees of Sam the more she wants to see of him, while Sam sends non-stop mixed signals her way. Sam really likes what he sees, but is determined to push her way.
What worked for me: The way Becca steamrolled right into Sam’s compartmentalized life and how she called him on his false protestations. When he tries to make her choose between working for his charter company or seeing him, she simply refuses to play that game. She wants to do both and he can bluster all he wants, but she refuses to see that as anything other than what it is, a false obstacle. Both Sam and Becca care too much for other people. Becca has given and given beyond her ability for the sake of her brother and family, and Sam has withdrawn from all but the most essential of relationships out of self-protection because he believes father’s continual demands are sucking him dry of love and compassion. They both need someone to care for them, to replenish them.
What didn’t work for me: While I loved Becca's tenacity, part of steam-rolling in to Sam's life was that she inserted herself into Sam's relationship with his father in what in very problematic ways. Sam’s relationship with his dad Mark has been toxic. Mark has used and abused Sam’s love, to the point that Sam deeply mistrust people who claim to love him, but he never fails to be swayed by Mark appeals for money and help. Becca has recently separated herself from her co-dependent brother, and instead of backing up Sam when his father shows up, she is all about giving him more chances. I really bothered me that Becca with her own history of co-dependence would think she knows best. The positive way this storyline was resolved seemed highly-improbable to me. It wasn't enough to sink the book for me, but I didn't like it.
Despite these flaws both Becca and Sam were interesting and fun to read about, and I enjoyed their chemistry. I thought the worked as couple. Shalvis did a good job in this book managing her sometimes overbearing and unruly town-folk giving them to us in small but effective doses. While some things bugged I will still be coming back for the next couple of books.
A review copy of “It's in His Kiss” by Jill Shalvis was provided by Grand Central Publishing (Hatchette Book Group) via NetGalley.