Always on My Mind by @JillShalvis

Always on My Mind (Lucky Harbor, #8)After dropping out of pastry school and messing up her big break on a reality cooking show, Leah Sullivan needs to accomplish something in her life. But when she returns home to Lucky Harbor, she finds herself distracted by her best friend, Jack Harper. In an effort to cheer up Jack’s ailing mother, Dee, Leah tells a little fib – that she and Jack are more than just friends. Soon pretending to be hot-and-heavy with this hunky firefighter feels too real to handle . . .

No-strings attachments suit Jack just fine – perfect for keeping the risk of heartbreak away. But as Jack and Leah break every one of their “just friends” rules, he longs to turn their pretend relationship into something permanent. Do best friends know too much about each other to risk falling in love? Or will Jack and Leah discover something new about each other in a little town called Lucky Harbor?

I’ve been looking forward to this book for ages and it exceeded expectation and here’s why ….

– Love the friends-to-lovers trope but usually it is portrayed as one-sided (usually on the girl’s side) and slightly unbelievable when the clueless one ‘suddenly’ realises he’s in love. However, Leah and Jack’s friendship and relationship was so much more complex than that – yes, they were friends but they had almost explored a relationship before and it wasn’t a surprise to either of them that there were feelings there, just the depth of those feelings.

– Jack and Leah weren’t perfect. They were real, they had flaws and we got to see how their relationships with their fathers made them who they are.

– I loved all the secondary characters and Jack and Leah’s relationships with them: Ali and Aubrey, Dee (loved that she knew that Jack and Leah’s relationship was pretend), Elsie and Lucille of course!

– The whole firehouse life – please Jill can book #9, #10 and #11 be about the firefighters the EMT and their relationships?!

– Kevin the dog!

– The reveal of the ‘bad guy’ came as a bit of a surprise.

I loved the set up for Ben/Aubrey’s story and I can’t wait to read it. After Book #3 was released and it was announced that there would be a Book #4, #5, #6, I wasn’t sure whether more books in the series were necessary but with Book #7 and now the wonderful Book #8, I am firmly convinced that I am not ready to leave the town of Lucky Harbor yet!

PS. My only grumble is that I wish the editors knew the difference between fiancé and fiancée.

Book: 5*

Cover: 4*

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