After yet another spectacular life failure, Leah Sullivan comes back to Lucky Harbor to help her grandmother and embroils herself in a pretend relationship with her best friend that she wishes more than anything could be real.
Leah spent a miserable childhood listening to her father tell her she’d never amount to anything, so why is anyone surprised that she’s lived down to his expectations? She knows she’s a screw-up, and she’d be so happy, thank you very much, if everyone would stop trying to convince her that she can do something with her life or that she just might be worth loving. Then there's firefighter Jack Harper, the best friend she’s always loved but isn’t going to risk hurting, again, because she can’t be depended on for anything. So why she decides to try to cheer his ailing mother up by announcing the two of them are a couple—when they definitely aren’t—she’ll never know. Perhaps it’s wishful thinking. But when the white lie takes on a life of its own, Jack and Leah have a real challenge on their hands. Attraction between them has never been a problem, and being forced to spend time together to keep up appearances is like setting a match to a mountainside of dry brush. Frankly, Lucky Harbor has enough fires going on, what with a serial arsonist on the loose. Jack finds the investigation a welcome distraction from dealing with Leah, the girl who broke his teenage heart. He knows her better than anyone, and the second he makes her feel like he wants her for good is the second she’ll turn and run. Shalvis pens a best-friends-to-lovers winner with Leah, a wounded, deer-in-headlights heroine who must first believe she is worthy of love before she can accept the devotion of hunky Jack, the hero who can have any woman in the world but chooses her—and would do anything to help her save herself.
A sexy, textured winner.