ONCE IN A LIFETIME                             JILL SHALVIS
Posted:  Feb. 18, 2014

Once in a Lifetime (Lucky Harbor #9)  SOMETIMES WRONG IS OH-SO-RIGHT

After a wrenching loss, Ben McDaniel tried to escape his grief by working in dangerous, war-torn places like Africa and the Middle East. Now he's back in his hometown and face-to-face with Aubrey Wellington, the hot-as-hell woman who is trouble with a capital T. Family and friends insist she's not the one to ease his pain, but Aubrey sparks an intense desire that gives Ben hope for the future.

Determined to right the wrongs of her past, Aubrey is working hard to make amends. But by far, the toughest challenge to her plan is sexy, brooding Ben - even though he has absolutely no idea what she's done . . .

Can this unlikely couple defy the odds and win over the little town of Lucky Harbor?

       Making amends are never easy.  Yet, that is one of two goals Aubrey Wellingtons set for herself.  You see Aubrey has always been known as a mean girl, when really she spent her whole life in fear that people would find out it was a bluff to keep people away.  She didn’t want them to see she was less then, not smart like the sister her dad chose to take in the divorce, or fearful of not being liked so she was bitchy first in order to stand up to the bullies.
     The first goal was to reopen her aunt’s old book store.  She knows by all the nay sayers that with e-books and all being such a big thing, that they think it won’t work.  She just wants a gathering place where the lonely and afraid can find comfort in books and friendship in the bookstore.  The second goal she’s made a list of all the people that she needs to make amends to.  She just happened upon an AA meeting by accident and saw such brave people who had the courage to do so and decided she needed to do so also.
There was someone on her list that had held a special place in her heart since the day he defended her against some bullies, Ben McDaniel.  He was back in town and the first time she sees him she was trying to throw a drink in her ex’s face, he moved and it hit Ben instead.  Yeah, she wasn’t starting out to well.
     Ben McDaniel was home after several years with the Department of Defense and the Army Corp. of Engineers.  He was in some of the worst dangerous war torn countries just trying to out run the pain and memories.  You see he had lost his wife to a drunk driver and he couldn’t stick around with the memories.  After a too close for comfort suicide bombing he decided it was time to come home.  Jack his cousin roped him into doing a construction remodel and making book shelves for guess who, you got it Aubrey.  He almost turned it down.  He couldn’t though her uncle was doing it in the memory of his late wife and for Aubrey and paying for it all.
     When Aubrey finds out she is not happy at all tries to fire him.  He explains he doesn’t work for her he works for the owner of the building her uncle.  She tries to call her uncle and finds out from Ben her uncle went on a month’s cruise with his new girlfriend.  Though it is tense they work it out, the work schedule of course trying not to be there at the same time.  On the few occasions that it did happen sparks were flying.  Then one day he kisses her…
     I so enjoyed this story.  I have to say I did miss the meddling that usually went on in this town by all the seniors.  It was always so funny.  What there was, was very cute.  I do have to say I really did not care for Jack’s character in this book at all.  I thought he acted like a total jerk.  I guess really it was the tone of kidding which with having brother’s sometimes are barb’s towards each other than not and it just seemed mean.
     I liked the whole storyline of Aubrey making her amends and how she feels they effects all these years later.  Understanding the 12 steps program and the amends portion, this is never is easy for either party.  So, for her to take it on is fearless.  I like that Jill always seems to empower her female characters on some level.  You just never make amends if it will cause life and Jill made that clear with her character Aubrey’s handling of some of those she needed to make amends to.  Even asking advice of her Pastor friend.  So, refreshing to read.
     This book brings out a lot of uncomfortable issues but they are handled in an amazingly simple to the point, sometimes loving, sometimes painful but always honest way to fit the storyline.  Yet, still giving you a fun, enjoyable, and HEA.  Provided by netgalley

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