When wood artist Kylie Masters loses a beloved object, she hires Joe Malone—the laconic man of mystery with whom she recently shared a sexy kiss—to help her find it.
Kylie isn’t sure why she pulled Joe into the alley to kiss him; she’s only sure It. Will. Never. Happen. Again. Joe works in the same building where Kylie has her wood workshop. He’d “been special ops and still had most of his skills, skills he used on his job at an investigation and securities firm upstairs.” She wants to avoid the man who makes her hormones go haywire, refusing to wind up like her mother, who likes bad boys but never manages to find relationships that stick. However, when she discovers that her prized penguin sculpture, a gift from her grandfather, is being held hostage until she performs an illegal task for the mysterious statue-napper, she hires Joe to find the criminal and the object. As the two track down the list of suspects, Joe wants Kylie to stay behind, but she is determined to be in on the action, setting the couple up for the final conflict that they have to overcome to be together. Shalvis brings her signature style to another Heartbreaker Bay novel and satisfies on many levels. However, light and dark sit uneasily together—for instance, the criminal takes funny pictures of the penguin in hazardous situations, which seems more suited for a game than a real crime. Also, Kylie’s insistence on comparing Joe to her mother’s typical boyfriends despite every indication that he's different, as well as the vague theme of “men are simple and pretty stupid until women tame and civilize them,” wears a little thin.
Typical Shalvis but with strangely mismatched elements.