I adore Jill Shalvis as an author, she has niche for writing books that pull you in by the strength of her characters and in a continuation of her amazing Lucky Harbor
series she gives us the story of the second member of the Chocoholics
Amy Michaels, pairing her up with Supervisory Forest Ranger Matthew Bowers.
We have met Amy in the previous books and she works at the diner and is closed off and tough as nails and not much is known about her past and she prefers it that way. She is a survivor and is in Lucky Harbor trying to connect with her grandmother and through her journals, hoping to find the same peace and heart her grandmother did, so it is a pain that she gets lost in the process and has to ask for help, something she hates
to do. Her friend Mallory sends Matt.
Matt has a thing for Amy, but she ignores him even though she serves him at the diner everyday. He goes to rescue her and knows that she won't like it and she doesn't. They both end up spending the night camping and demonstrating their sizzling
Matt came to Lucky Harbor for some peace. He joined Chicago SWAT after spending some time in the Navy, where he met Ty, but left the force after things went to hell, his partner was on the take and doing the right thing cost him his peace of mind and marriage. His ex blamed him and his job and walked off and Matt lost all taste for commitment, so when Amy tells him that in case they do give in to the hormones between them, it will be just sex, he laughs his head off, since that suits him perfectly.
Matt also has a name "Ranger Hot Buns" and as always Lucille and her Facebook page is up and running, giving us laughs along the way. I have to say this book was darker than the previous books in the series because Amy has a lot of baggage and the presence of Riley, a teenage runaway with things to hide, somehow brings Amy's past to the surface and brings along with it a chance for her to help someone out, someone who reminds her of her old self, stubborn to the extreme, refusing to accept help.
The book is filled with moments that will bring a smile to your face, like when Amy goes on her first ever date because of Matt and even when Amy starts to connect with her mom over the phone. The book in many ways chronicles Amy's growth, her trying to find something to center herself through her grandmother's journals and in the end realizing that she has found her own hope and happiness in Lucky Harbor.
Both Matt and Amy from not wanting to get involved, find themselves involved and at separate moments try to pull away, for Amy when the sex felt so much more emotional and Matt, when he realized that he had only told Amy the good parts of himself and not what happened in Chicago.
That Amy wanted to believe and help Riley was so evident. Amy had been a messed up teenager, her grandmother died at 12, leaving her with a mother she didn't know and Amy self-destructed, lying, manipulating, using sex as a tool and that all came to bite her when her stepfather wanted her and no-one believed her so she ran away at 16 and it took her a couple of years to turn things around, to stop using sex and become her own person. But we see at the end that she had come so far from the person she used to be, forgiving her mom, opening herself up by telling Matt about her past.
Amongst all the books of this series, Amy was the heroine with the maximum number of issues and I liked her emotional pay-off at the end and how Riley played a role in it. Matt was as always a great Shalvis hero, hot and sexy as hell and protective.
I enjoyed the book but somehow this still ended up being my least favorite book of the series, the romance worked a little less for me since the focus of the book I felt was more on Amy's journey. Now, the question will I recommend At Last
to others? My answer is yes but this is not the best of the series. *ARC provided by Grand Central & Netgalley